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World Cities Team Champs Begin Print E-mail
By Sevan Muradian   
December 22, 2012
WorldTeamsOpeninglead.jpgThe opening ceremony of the World Cities Team Championship was held on December 21st at the Al Ain municipality building. After a number of local custom performances  FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Asian President Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan gave speeches.

The US team consists of:

Board 1 - GM Varuzhan Akobian
Board 2 - GM Jaan Ehlvest
Board 3 - GM-elect Robert Hungaski
Board 4 - GM Ben Finegold

24 participating teams are arranged in rating order (taking the rating average of the top 4 players), with the host city team (Al Ain) being seeded in the first position (even though France was the highest rated). After arranging the teams in rating order they are divided into 4 groups of 6 teams. Teams 1 through 6 (in that order) came to the stage to determine their grouping by drawing a ball from a rotating basket that had a letter in it and then selecting an egg with a number in it which determined their pairing.  After the first group was completed, the balls were placed back in the rotating basket and the process was started over again.

The US team (seeded in position 12) ended up in Group E (we were last to draw in the second grouping so it was really decided before I pulled a ball out!) with pairing number 1. In our round robin group is top seeded France, Iran, and Uganda. Our first round match is against Uganda on Saturday evening 6pm local UAE time (+9 for EST, +10 for CST, +11 for MST, and +12 for PST).

In order to advance past the preliminaries the US team has to be one of the top two scores in our Group otherwise it goes to a wildcard system where the Top 4 3rd place teams will advance on and begin in the elimination part of the tournament. Any team that is eliminated after the preliminaries or during the elimination matches will then parachute into the Al Ain Classic running in parallel to the main event.

For full coverage of the event including live games, visit the tournament website at http://www.worldcitieschess.com