The 1st World Mind Sports Games has concluded and by sweeping the Team Rapid events China is only now finally 100% sure they are the overall champions!
Until the very last move both Ukraine and Russia had a real chance of spoiling the host's party and all credit to the young Chinese players who pulled through so soon after a the disaster of the Team Blitz when two Gold medals were lost in the finals.
Looking at the final standings you cannot imagine how close it all was:
1. China 4 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 Bronze
2. Russia 2 Gold, 1 Silver, and
3. Ukraine 1 Gold, 3 Silver, 1 Bronze
I was handling the top boards every day during the games where as top seeds China almost permanently camped out event after event and I have never seen at such close quarters how a group of young players was subjected to so much pressure to succeed.
All were guilty without understanding it - the officials, coaches (naturally), so called friends, expectant media, even perhaps the organisers.
Until the overall victory was confirmed with victory in the finals, this memorable and meaningful picture that I persuaded them to let me take just before a must win game is the only picture you will see of the Chinese womens team taking a moment to relax and let it out the entire event!
Congratulations China! Your players deserve to be Champions.