April 14, 2024

Asian Games: Iran and China win team competitions

The chess part of the 19th Asian Games is in the books. After Wei Yi and Zhu Jiner won the individual competitions a ten days ago, Iran and China clinched the titles in men’s and women’s team events, respectively.  

The men’s team competition, a 9-round Swiss event with classical time control, turned into a very close race of the rating favourites Iran, India, Uzbekistan, China and Vietnam. 

The Iranian players put in an excellent performance, conceding their rivals just two match draws (with India and Vietnam) and winning seven matches, including a crucial battle with Uzbekistan. Coming into the final round one point ahead of India, team Iran whitewashed South Korea (4-0) and secured the title. 

India made three match draws and finished a point behind the champions. Despite losing to Iran, the winners of the 44th Chess Olympiad, Uzbekistan, made it to the podium, winning bronze. 

Final standings men

After drawing their first-round encounter vs Uzbekistan in the women’s tournament, Сhina steamrolled the competition, winning eight straight matches and deservedly taking gold. India gave the Chinese powerhouse a good run for their money, but after losing the crucial match to the main rival in Round 4, they could not catch up and had to settle for silver, scoring 15/18. Team Kazakhstan finished third on 13/18.

Final standings women

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich attended the award ceremony and presented the medals to the champions and top finishers. He stressed the importance of chess‘ returning to a great multi-sport event. 

„It’s an immense honour to see chess take its place among the elite sports at the Asian Games, standing tall alongside other Olympic disciplines. As we approach FIDE’s centenary next year, we can’t help but marvel at chess’s incredible journey. From a niche pursuit to a global sensation, chess now captures the hearts and minds of millions worldwide. Notably, its resurgence is most pronounced in Asia,“ he said.

FIDE President also thanked the organizers of the 19th Asian Games and expressed hope that chess would join the Olympics family someday: 

„While chess has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee, it has yet to feature in the Olympic Games. However, it’s encouraging to see chess as an exhibition sport in various events, including the European Games and the African Games, as well as part of the official program in some Central American and Caribbean Games. Today, we celebrate chess’s return to a grand stage here at the Asian Games, one of the world’s largest sporting events, second only to the Olympics itself. Chess deserves its place among Olympic sports, and we are deeply grateful to Hangzhou for embracing us.“

After a 13-year hiatus, chess came back to the program of the 19th Asian Games, which took part from September 23 to October 8, 2023, in Hangzhou, China. This return gave our game broad exposure to one of the world’s most dynamically developing parts.

Photos: Xinhua News Agency and Konstantin Kiselyov

Official website: hangzhou2022.cn/