Canada vaulted to eighth place, one better than Russia, in the open section of the Baku Chess Olympiad today in Baku Azerbaijan.
Before today’s sixth-round matches and a key win by Eric Hansen who remains undfeated in six games, the Canadians were in 17th place in the 150 team tournament.
Hansen defeated Andrey Zhigalko of Belarus to salvage the match win over Belarus when Evgeny Bareev, Anton Kovalyov and Tomas Krnan drew their games for a match score of 2.5-1.5.
Losses by Germany and Turkey and a draw by Azerbaijan who were leading Canada in the rankings before today’s matches helped the Canadians jump in the ranking.
Today’s win puts Canada in the elite class of teams composed of the very best chess players in the world, and the competition ahead will be that much stronger.
The women’s team rose to 45th place with a 2.5-1.5 match win over Portugal with Yuanling Yuan extending her undeafed streak to four wins and two draws with a win today.
India has taken first place in the open section with a 2.5-1.5 win over the former first place Netherlands.
India is the only team with a perfect match record of 6-0.
The U.S. team surged to second place from fifth with a 2.5-1.5 win over powerhouse Ukraine who dropped from second to seventh place.
The loss by the Netherlands, now in third, and a draw between the Czech Republic, now fourth, and Georgia, fifth, helped the American cause.
China and Ukraine are slightly ahead of Canada based on individual scores and all have a five win, one loss record in match play.
World champion Magnus Carlsen drew his game with Julio Catalino Sadorra of the Phillipines, and his record is now three wins and two draws.
Carlsen’s challenger for the world championship to be held in November, Sergey Karjakin of Russia, also drew today and stands at three wins and two draws.