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Giants fall at Baku chess Olympiad

media wikimedia commons

After defeating the best woman player in the world at the Baku Olympiad, Latvia's finance minister skipped a top EU meeting this week to persue her passion for chess. Meanwhile, top favorites were wiped from the map during the last round in Azerbaidjan's capital.

On Monday, Dana Reizniece-Ozola, a grandmaster for 18 of her 34 years in the game, beat Hou Yifan of China in round four the women's team event at the FIDE Baku Chess Olympiad in Azerbaijan.

Her ministry confirmed she would not attend a September 9 meeting of EU finance ministers in Bratislava, Slovakia, in order to keep playing chess.

"The minister is on vacation and will still be in Baku, so Latvia will be represented by the secretary of state in Bratislava instead," said spokesman Aleksis.

Video footage of the end of Monday's match showed the minister covering her mouth with her hands in disbelief as she realised she had won.

"I am very satisfied, and not only by the fact that I beat the world champion -- although of course that doesn't happen every day! -- but also by the quality of the game," Reizniece-Ozola was quoted by the tournament website as saying after beating Hou.

Meanwhile, during the seventh round, Team USA surprisingly beat India by 3.5-0.5, Previous co-leaders Netherlands lost badly to Latvia 3-1 and China, ranked third, lost 3-1 to England.

Russia's 3.5-0.5 win over the Czech Republic sets up a double-date with the USA. In the Women's event, Russia was held to a draw by Poland, while China beat Ukraine.

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