China won the World Team Chess Championship in Jerusalem, defeating Uzbekistan in the competition’s finals on Friday.
China beat its rival 2.5-1.5 in two deciding matches, claiming the gold medal at the prestigious event.
Spain claimed the bronze title in the tournament, defeating India 3-1 in a playoff match. The teams tied 2-2 in two previous games.
Twelve top teams, including Israel, vied for the International Chess Federation’s world title in the weeklong competition in Israel’s capital.
Both the United States and Israel were eliminated on day three of the tournament in the group stage and did not advance to the quarter-finals.
At full strength, the US team is ranked first worldwide.
— International Chess Federation (@FIDE_chess) November 26, 2022
Team Israel was led by Maxim Rodshtein and captain Ilana David.
Kyiv also sent a national team to the competition. Ukraine’s team made it to the quarter-finals but was eliminated after losing to Uzbekistan.
Russia, a powerhouse in the sport, has been banned from competing as a national team due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Belarus was also banned from international competitions for supporting Russia, although individual players from those countries were allowed to compete under a neutral flag.
The games marked the first appearance in a tournament by US chess star Hans Niemann since he sued rival Magnus Carlsen for accusing him of cheating, in a high-profile scandal that rocked the chess world and spilled outside its bounds.
Niemann, 19, sued Carlsen last month in the US for $100 million, accusing him of defamation.
Niemann is ranked 8th in the US and 40th worldwide, while Carlsen has held his ranking as the top international player. The teenager was the lead competitor in the Jerusalem tournament for Team USA, which is led by captain John Donaldson.
Gil Boruchovski, CEO of the Israel Chess Federation, hailed the tournament as a “great achievement” for Israel.
“The successful event provides the State of Israel many merit points, respect and a great image in the world,” he said.
Federation chair Tzvika Barkai congratulated China on its win and vowed to bring more international tournaments to the Jewish state.
“It was a high-quality, fascinating and tension-filled championship,” Barkai commented.
The event was held at Jerusalem’s Dan Hotel and was supported by the Sports Ministry and Jerusalem Affairs Ministry.