2012 Chess Olympiad Istanbul: Round five

9/2/2012 – Today saw a number of match-ups of powerhouse teams in the Open section. On the first match table, two-time Olympiad Champion Armenia defeated defending champions Ukraine 2,5-1,5, with Aronian scoring against Ivanchuk. GM Alejandro Ramirez wrote "Beautiful game by Lev, dude's a monster" – and sent us his analysis of the game Levon Aronian vs Vassily Ivanchuk. GM analysis.

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The 40th Chess Olympiad is scheduled to take place in the Turkish metropole of Istanbul, from August 27 to September 10th, 2012. A record of 158 national chess federations have brought teams to Istanbul to participate in this prestigious event, which is being staged in the WOW Hotel and Convention Center, just minutes away from the airport.

Round five

Armenian Super GM and World #2 Levon Aronian (above middle, with team-mate Sergei Movsesian and Armenian trainer Arshak Petrosian) played the only decisive game in the match against Vassily Ivanchuk. Aronian went up an exchange and sealed the fate of Ivanchuk and the Ukrainian team a few moves later. Armenia scored a 2,5-1,5 victory.

The Russian and Hungarian teams engaged on the second match table, pitting the long-time friends and competitors Kramnik and Leko (above) against each other. The spectators were happy to see something that wasn't a Petroff between these two players. 32 moves later a quiet draw was taken. But on the board next to them Grischuk slashed and hacked at Almasi's defenses until all that was left was yet another simple tactical sequence to finish him off. The Russians had stuck the proverbial fork into their Hungarian competitors and finished them off 2,5-1,5.

The Azeri and Chinese teams demolished their Canadian and Iranian counterparts with a 3,5-0,5 score in each case, while France suffered their first loss against the Croatian team with score of 2,5-1,5. On the fifth match table we saw the USA held to yet another draw by the Czech team. The US team has their work cut out for them, still having to face the chess giants of Armenia, Russia, Ukraine, China, and Azerbaijan.

Round five: Top twenty team pairings – Open

No.
SNo
Team
Res.
Res.
Team
SNo
1
3
Armenia
Ukraine
2
2
4
Hungary
Russia
1
3
14
Germany
2
2
Montenegro
44
4
19
Croatia
France
8
5
5
USA
2
2
Czech Rep.
17
6
53
Canada
½
Azerbaijan
7
7
13
India
2
2
England
11
8
16
Poland
Argentina
29
9
6
China
½
Iran
45
10
18
Spain
½
Paraguay
63
11
10
Bulgaria
Peru
71
12
69
Ireland
Israel
12
13
51
Iceland
1
3
Philippines
35
14
24
Brazil
2
2
FYROM
49
15
26
Georgia
2
2
Vietnam
27
16
20
Serbia
Slovenia
28
17
66
Qatar
1
3
Bosnia Herz.
50
18
22
Italy
½
Kyrgyzstan
81
19
33
Uzbekistan
3
1
Tunisia
94
20
62
Albania
½
Turkey
31

In the Women Section Russia quickly secured the decisive advantage against France, with the two victories on the lower boards. Sophie Milliet could only reduce the losing margin after the European Champion Valentina Gunina ran into a checkmate. Russia won 2,5-1,5 to assume sole lead as the only team with a perfect score.

Serbia once again excelled as they defeated their Bulgarian neighbors by a score of 2,5-1,5. Ana Benderac, returning to the playing arena after being a captain for several years, won against Elitsa Raeva. The experienced Margarita Voiska turned the tables against Andjelija Stojanovic to even the score, but Maria Manakova continued to play in fantastic shape to score her 5th consecutive victory and bring two match points for Serbia.

Poland achieved a narrow victory against Greece, thanks to Jolanta Zawadzka, while Slovakia won with the same result against Latvia, where Veronika Machalova won the crucial game on the fourth board.

Harika Dronavalli made a good start for India in the match with China as she held the World Champion Hou Yifan to a draw with the black pieces. Yifan admitted that she couldn't find any advantage against the ultra-solid defence. Indian IM Karavade carelessly maneuvered a knight into enemy territory with no where to escape. On the bottom three boards the Chinese team scored three victories to obliterate the Indian team with a 3,5-0,5 score.

Georgia and Ukraine, as well as Slovenia and Israel, tied their matches with draws on all four boards. The US suffered a devastating 3-1 loss against Vietnam, who gave up an average of 158 rating points to the Americans. Perhaps the US players were bored to death with the lifeless London System showing up on boards 1 and 3 and dropped their defences, losing those games. Interestingly enough boards 2 and 4 both saw Caro-type formations for the Vietnamese ladies, where they split the games.

Round five: Top twenty team pairings – Women

No.
SNo
Team
Res.
Res.
Team
SNo
1
2
Russia
France
14
2
19
Serbia
Bulgaria
13
3
18
Greece
Poland
7
4
3
Georgia
2
2
Ukraine
4
5
24
Latvia
Slovakia
20
6
1
China
½
India
6
7
41
Moldova
½
Hungary
12
8
28
Vietnam
3
1
USA
5
9
16
Slovenia
2
2
Israel
25
10
32
Ecuador
½
Czech Rep.
23
11
39

Bosnia Herz.

½
Spain
11
12
27
Azerbaijan
½
Mongolia
21
13
61
South Africa
1
3
Philippines
57
14
42
Montenegro
3
1
Switzerland
38
15
49
Estonia
½
Costa Rica
80
16
29
Argentina
1
3
Kazakhstan
22
17
9
Germany
½
Cuba
15
18
34
Colombia
1
3
Uzbekistan
35
19
17
Netherlands
4
0
ICSC
56
20
36
Belarus
4
0
Croatia
30

Top rankings after five rounds

# Open
+
=
Pts
1 Armenia
5
0
0
10
2 Russia
5
0
0
10
3 Azerbaijan
4
1
0
9
4 Croatia
4
1
0
9
5 China
4
0
1
8
6 Ukraine
4
0
1
8
7 Germany
3
2
0
8
8 India
3
2
0
8
9 USA
3
2
0
8
10 Hungary
4
0
1
8
11 Philippines
4
0
1
8
12 Czech Republic
3
2
0
8
13 England
3
2
0
8
14 Bulgaria
4
0
1
8
15 Spain
4
0
1
8
16 Montenegro
3
2
0
8
17 Bosnia Herz
3
2
0
8
18 Poland
4
0
1
8
19 Slovenia
4
0
1
8
20 Italy
4
0
1
8
 
# Women
+
=
Pts
1 Russia
5
0
0
10
2 China
4
1
0
9
3 Serbia
4
1
0
9
4 Poland
4
1
0
9
5 Slovakia
4
1
0
9
6 Ukraine
3
2
0
8
7 Hungary
4
0
1
8
8 Georgia
3
2
0
8
9 France
4
0
1
8
10 Azerbaijan
4
0
1
8
11 Czech Rep
4
0
1
8
12 Spain
4
0
1
8
13 Philippines
4
0
1
8
14 Montenegro
4
0
1
8
15 Estonia
4
0
1
8
16 Vietnam
4
0
1
8
17 Greece
3
1
1
7
18 Latvia
3
1
1
7
19 Kazakhstan
3
1
1
7
20 Germany
3
1
1
7

Summaries from the official web site,
photos by David Llada, Arman Karakhanyan, Anastasiya Karlovich


Game of the day commentary by GM Alejandro Ramirez

The top two matches in today's rounds were something everyone was waiting for. Hungary vs. Russia and Ukraine vs. Armenia. Between these four countries, they have taken the great majority of Chess Olympiads, with only USA (1931, 1933, 1935, 1937 and 1976), Germany (1939), Poland (1930) and Yugoslavia (1950) having taken a Gold Medal from them. With chess becoming more and more competitive in many countries, it is unclear how long this supremacy will last. But for now, they are still among the definite favorites.

[Event "40th Olympiad 2012 Open1"] [Site "Istanbul"] [Date "2012.09.01"] [Round "5"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Ivanchuk, Vassily"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E15"] [WhiteElo "2816"] [BlackElo "2769"] [Annotator "Ramirez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [EventCountry "TUR"] [WhiteTeam "Armenia"] [BlackTeam "Ukraine"] [WhiteTeamCountry "ARM"] [BlackTeamCountry "UKR"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. d4 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. b3 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Nc3 Bb7 {A little rare, much more common is to allow e4 by castling, and then counterattacking the center with d5.} 8. Bg2 O-O 9. O-O Na6 (9... d5 {is possibly more logical.}) 10. d5 $5 {A new move, but of course the idea is well known in the Queen's Indian. White gains space and sacrifices a pawn, with the idea of recuperating it later in the game. If he is able to establish a strong pawn center with the spearpoint on d5, he will be better. The game now revolves mostly on determining under which circumstances Black will return the pawn.} exd5 11. Nd4 Bc5 (11... c6 12. cxd5 cxd5 13. Bf4 $14 {doesn't look like a happy position for Black. Now if White gets his pawn back he will be playing against an isolated pawn for no copmensation.}) 12. Nc2 c6 13. cxd5 cxd5 14. Bg5 Nc7 {White shouldn't be hasty, as retaking the pawn now leads to equality. But who would ever say Levon is 'hasty'?} 15. Ne3 (15. Nxd5 Ncxd5 16. Bxf6 Qxf6 17. Bxd5 Bxd5 (17... Bc6 $5 $11 {Black's pair of bishops compensates for the weakness on d7. Notice also how powerful that bishop on c5 is.}) 18. Qxd5 Qb2 $11) 15... d4 $6 {Levon punishes this mistake harshly. At a first glance, it seems like this is an interesting continuation that will be very messy, but Levon simply shows that he can control all the complications and obtain a significant advantage.} (15... Bxe3 $5 16. Bxe3 (16. fxe3 $5 {is interesting but it's not what I qualify as playing rational chess.}) 16... Ne4 {and Black's pseudo activity might compensate for his insanely bad structure. The game would be very interesting. But it is somewhat inhuman to part with the bishop.}) 16. Bxb7 Rb8 (16... dxe3 17. fxe3 $1 Rb8 18. Bxf6 gxf6 19. Bg2 Bxe3+ 20. Kh1 {is a very clear advantage to White. With the destroyed pawn structure on the kingside any attack that mounts against it will be very dangerous, as it will be enhanced by the presence of opposite colored bishops.}) 17. Ng4 $1 { The pain begins. Black's structure is shattered.} dxc3 18. Bxf6 gxf6 19. Be4 d5 20. Bc2 {The passed pawn on c3 might look dangerous, but it's nothing compared to the threats on the kingside. Immediately, White is threatening the innocent looking Qd3, which wins on the spot.} f5 21. Nh6+ $1 (21. Bxf5 Qg5 22. Qd3 h5 { destroys White's coordination. The bishop should go behind the queen!}) 21... Kh8 22. Nxf5 Qf6 23. a3 {did I mention Armenia's first board is anything but hasty?} a5 24. Qd3 Rg8 25. b4 $1 {Surprisingly, the killing blow comes from the queenside. White takes advantage of the opened files to deliver irrefutable threats.} axb4 26. axb4 Bxb4 27. Ra7 Ne6 28. Ne7 {That's one exchange, and the attack continues strongly.} Qg7 (28... Rg7 29. Nxd5 {loses a piece.}) 29. Nxg8 Kxg8 30. Qxd5 {Up the exchange, the rest is cake. However the finish is quite pleasant.} Bc5 31. e3 b5 32. Ra8 Rxa8 33. Qxa8+ Qf8 34. Qe4 Qh6 35. Ra1 b4 36. Ra5 Bf8 37. Qg4+ Qg7 38. Qh4 h6 39. Ra8 Nc7 {Basically any move here wins. Simply Rc8 creates too many threats. But Levon forces immediate resignation.} 40. Rxf8+ $1 Qxf8 41. Qg4+ Kh8 42. Qf5 {And Black must drop the knight to prevent checkmate. A cute finish to a game that was played nearly perfectly. Aronian's mastery of the position is beyond doubt. Board one again is key to Armenia as theye edged out Spain 2.5-1.5 and now Ukraine by the same score. Will they be able to continue this pace against all their rivals?} 1-0

Polgar sisters united in Istanbul

The visite of the middle sister Sophia Polgar in Istanbul was an incredibly pleasant surprise for both other sisters. Susan lives in the USA, Judith lives in Hungary and Sophia in Israel, so the sisters rarely find a chance to get together.

Sophia emphasized that she is very happy not only to meet her sisters, but also to be at the Olympiad, since she hadn’t participated in oner herself for 15 years. Susan, when asked whether she is going to come back as an active chess player, said that she is very much involved in educational activities doesn’t feel like entering the arena again. Judith told journalists about her web site and series of books “Judith Polgar teaches chess”, the first volume of which is “How I beat Fisher’s record”. The book is based on the games played by Judith starting from six year until the year 1991 and includes different chess and emotional memories. Judith is looking forward to hold the book in her hands herself, because it’s like her small baby.


Daniel King: Istanbul Olympiad 2012 round 5 Play of the Day

Andrew Martin: Game of the Day Rd 5 – Bator Sambuev vs Teimour Radjabov

Live video coverage of the Olympiad


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2 September 2012   Free Day
3 September 2012 15.00 6th Round
Daniel King
4 September 2012 15.00 7th Round
Reeh/Müller
5 September 2012 15.00 8th Round
Daniel King
6 September 2012 15.00 9th Round
Valery Lilov
7 September 2012 15.00 10th Round
Daniel King
8 September 2012   Free Day
9 September 2011 11.00 11th Round, Closing
Daniel King
10 September 2011 Departure

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