By Nick Butler

Russia and Ukraine translated their political rivalry into a draughts grudge match today at the World Mind Games ©SportAccordUkraine's super blitz draughts player Viktoriia Motrichko won the only gold medal available on the penultimate day of action at the SportAccord World Mind Games in Beijing, but compatriot Artem Ivanov stole the headlines in a world record breaking men's loss to Russia's Aleksandr Georgiev.

For the first time in the history of the event, 18 rounds were required to separate the two titans, with the non-stop format, that sees action continue until one concedes, proving extra tense for players and fans alike. 

"It demands complete concentration at all times, the slightest mistake and you might be punished," said Georgiev, the Russian who eventually prevailed in front of a huge crowd.

He admitted afterwards he had been in a losing position in the penultimate round, but "luckily Ivanov did not see it as he could have beaten me".

The competition continues in the men's event tomorrow, with Roel Boomstra of The Netherlands and Joel N'Cho Atse of Ivory Coast, rather than the Ukrainian or the Russian, overnight leaders.

Motrichko ensured Ukrainian success in the women's competition which did conclude today, however, getting the better of Tamara Tansykkuzhina of Russia, while compatriot Darya Tkachenko took bronze.

Marion Michielsen holds the joint lead with a day to go in the bridge individual competition ©SportAccordMarion Michielsen holds the joint lead with a day to go in the bridge individual competition ©SportAccord

Elsewhere, action hotted up in the four other sports on the Mind Games programme ahead of the final day tomorrow. 

Catherine Draper of England and Marion Michielsen of The Netherlands are joint leaders in the women's bridge competition, while Tor Helness of Monaco leads the corresponding men's event.

Action will also conclude in chess, Go and xiangqi, with Russia looking to extend their lead on the medals table from their current haul of five gold and 10 total medals.

China, Ukraine, The Netherlands and Israel occupy the next four places in the standings.

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