2012 Chess Olympiad Istanbul: Round nine

9/6/2012 – Sic transit gloria mundi. Yesterday the Russians were leading by two points, today they lost sensationally to the USA and now share the lead with three other teams. "The Olympiad has become a whole different tournament," writes our GM analyst Alejandro Ramirez. "It will be a sick bloodfest in the last two rounds." In the women's section China still leads. Report with GM commentary.

The 40th Chess Olympiad is taking 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 nine

Russia's big advantage in the Open section melted in one day as they went down against USA, allowing three other teams to catch up on the shared first place. Alex Onischuk and Sergey Karjakin made a relatively quick draw, and then Dmitry Jakovenko outplayed the young Ray Robson.


But USA prevailed on the top two boards as Hikaru Nakamura (right) defeated Vladimir Kramnik...


... and Gata Kamsky (left) defeated Alexander Grischuk.

Philippines' tremendous run was put to a stop by the powerful Chinese team. Ding Liren achieved another quick victory, and his team-mates followed the suit to gain a huge 3-0 advantage. Wesley So was the only to take a draw for Philippines, in the game against Wang Hao (picture below).

Armenia remained in the contention for the gold medal after defeating the European champion Germany with 2.5-1.5 points. The decisive moment was when Georg Meier blundered a queen in an approximately equal ending.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov played another excellent game to gain the lead for Azerbaijan in the match against Poland. However, the well-prepared Radoslaw Wojtaszek, who had been Vishy Anand's second for several years, defeated Teimour Radjabov in his favourite King's Indian Defence. The other two games were drawn and the match ended in a 2-2 tie.


Early stages of the match France vs Ukraine

The game Vassily Ivanchuk-Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was very interesting (see video lecture by GM Daniel King below). The French player practically "forced" Ivanchuk to execute the typical Sicilian sacrifice on d5. Black defended well for awhile, but apparently he forgot about the danger hiding behind the opening of the g-file. Ivanchuk efficiently concluded the game. Another Ukrainian victory by Aleksandr Moiseenko sealed the fate of the French team.

Netherlands are making their way to the top as they defeated Israel thanks to Loek Van Wely's swift victory against Emil Sutovsky and Jan Smeets' effort on the 4th board.

Round nine: Top twenty team pairings – Open

No.
SNo
Team
Res.
Res.
Team
SNo
1
5
USA
Russia
1
2
35
Philippines
½
China
6
3
3
Armenia
Germany
14
4
16
Poland
2
2
Azerbaijan
7
5
2
Ukraine
3
1
France
8
6
9
Netherlands
3
1
Israel
12
7
20
Serbia
Argentina
29
8
4
Hungary
3
1
Italy
22
9
26
Georgia
2
2
India
13
10
27
Vietnam
3
1
England
11
11
33
Uzbekistan
2
2
Slovenia
28
12
36
Austria
0
4
Czech Rep.
17
13
24
Brazil
Belarus
32
14
39
Denmark
FYROM
49
15
15
Cuba
½
Latvia
30
16
10
Bulgaria
3
1
South Africa
73
17
66
Qatar
½
Greece
21
18
18
Spain
Iran
45
19
41
Belgium
1
3
Romania
25
20
37
Egypt
1
3
Croatia
19

Women Section

China (above right) continued their winning streak by defeating France. Again the top two boards were at work, securing the final score of 3-1 in the favour of China.


India's top board: GM Harika Dronavalli

Russia drew with black, won with white, for the overall score of 3-1 in the match with India. Poland recovered from the drama in the previous two rounds and scored a minimal win of 2.5-1.5 against Bulgaria. Jolanta Zawadzka delivered the decisive punch.


Ukraine vs USA in the ninth round

Kazakhstan edged the equally talented team of Uzbekistan by a narrow margin 2.5-1.5. Ukraine and Armenia beat USA and Iran respectively by 3-1, while Azerbaijan stunned the third seeded Georgia. Israel shocked the higher-rated Serbia by imposing them a 3-1 defeat.


Armenia vs Iran, with GM Elina Danielian vs WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan on board one

Round nine: Top twenty team pairings – Women

No.
SNo
Team
Res.
Res.
Team
SNo
1
1
China
3
1
France
14
2
6
India
1
3
Russia
2
3
22
Kazakhstan
Uzbekistan
35
4
5
USA
1
3
Ukraine
4
5
13
Bulgaria
Poland
7
6
26
Iran
1
3
Armenia
8
7
3
Georgia
Azerbaijan
27
8
25
Israel
3
1
Serbia
19
9
12
Hungary
2
2
Slovenia
16
10
28
Vietnam
Germany
9
11
11
Spain
½
Lithuania
33
12
20
Slovakia
2
2
Switzerland
38
13
43
Austria
Czech Rep.
23
14
10
Romania
Philippines
57
15
17
Netherlands
4
0
Malaysia
83
16
21
Mongolia
½
Ecuador
32
17
31
Italy
Indonesia
54
18
29
Argentina
Peru
37
19
34
Colombia
½
Portugal
52
20
18
Greece
4
0
Puerto Rico
90

Top rankings after nine rounds

# Open
+
=
Pts
1 China
7
1
1
15
2 Russia
7
1
1
15
3 Armenia
7
1
1
15
4 USA
6
3
0
15
5 Ukraine
7
0
2
14
6 Netherlands
7
0
2
14
7 Argentina
6
2
1
14
8 Czech Rep.
5
3
1
13
9 Azerbaijan
5
3
1
13
10 Hungary
6
1
2
13
11 Germany
5
3
1
13
12 Philippines
6
1
2
13
13 Denmark
6
1
2
13
14 Belarus
6
1
2
13
15 Poland
6
1
2
13
16 Vietnam
5
3
1
13
17 Cuba
6
0
3
12
18 Georgia
5
2
2
12
19 India
3
6
0
12
20 Bulgaria
6
0
3
12
 
# Women
+
=
Pts
1 China
7
2
0
16
2 Russia
6
3
0
15
3 Ukraine
5
4
0
14
4 Kazakhstan
6
2
1
14
5 Poland
6
2
1
14
6 Armenia
7
0
2
14
7 France
6
1
2
13
8 Israel
6
1
2
13
9 Azerbaijan
6
1
2
13
10 Spain
6
1
2
13
11 Uzbekistan
6
1
2
13
12 India
6
1
2
13
13 Germany
6
1
2
13
14 USA
5
2
2
12
15 Slovenia
3
6
0
12
16 Hungary
5
2
2
12
17 Netherlands
5
2
2
12
18 Romania
6
0
3
12
19 Mongolia
6
0
3
12
20 Bulgaria
5
2
2
12

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


Game of the day commentary by GM Alejandro Ramirez

The Olympiad is full of good teams. But there are different types of 'good teams'. For example, China is a very solid team with not a huge level difference between boards 1 and 5. Armenia has a spectacular first board but none of the others cross 2700. Ukraine and Russia are just beastly teams, fielding 2700s on their last board. The US is an interesting team. Being the country that I represent now, I know their ins and outs. Essentially, there is a large contingency of players trying to get into board 4 and 5. Akobian, Shankland, Robson, Hess, Seirawan, and now Gareev will all be rather close in that race. However, as strong as these GMs are, they are unfortunately not quite the level of Jakovenko, Russia's top level 4th board. In these cases, it is up to the team 'super-stars', Kamsky and Nakamura, to pull through and take the match. In essence, this is exactly what happened today. The USA upsets Russia to catch up with then and make this an unpredictable Olympiad.

[Event "40th Olympiad 2012 Open1"] [Site "Istanbul"] [Date "2012.09.06"] [Round "9"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D73"] [WhiteElo "2778"] [BlackElo "2797"] [Annotator "Tetsio"] [PlyCount "136"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [EventCountry "TUR"] [WhiteTeam "USA"] [BlackTeam "Russia"] [WhiteTeamCountry "USA"] [BlackTeamCountry "RUS"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. c4 c6 5. d4 d5 6. cxd5 cxd5 7. Nc3 Ne4 {This rather dull line of the Gruenfeld has been used for decades to equalize. Black is always suffering a little, but at acceptable levels.} 8. Qb3 Nxc3 9. bxc3 O-O 10. Nd2 e6 11. e4 Nc6 12. O-O Na5 13. Qd1 Qc7 14. Qf3 b6 15. Ba3 Rd8 16. e5 Ba6 17. Rfe1 {Black has a bind on the light squares and pressure over c3. It seems that he really solved all his opening problems somewhere along the lines. After all, those queen maneouvers did look a little too fancy.} Rac8 18. Bb4 Bh6 19. Qd1 Nc6 20. Ba3 Na5 21. Bb4 Nc6 22. Ba3 Na5 {Playing Black, with Jakovenko already having a slight edge against Robson and Karjakin and Grischuk being seeminly solid against Onischuk and Kamsky respectively, it seemed smart for Kramnik to go for a draw. I think any strong player would realize that any move but Bb4 leaves white in a worse position, so they would go for it. However, Naka is just a fighter. It's this bloodthirst that will make him one of the next 2800s.} 23. Nb1 {By all means dubious, of course.} b5 $6 {I also don't like this move. It seemed better to chase the bishop away before pushing b5.} (23... Nc4 24. Bc1 Bf8 (24... Bxc1 $5) 25. h4 b5 $15) 24. h4 Nc6 25. Bc5 Qb8 26. Qe2 Na5 {Honestly I'm surprised at Kramnik's last few moves. They were just very clumsy. Not that he is worse just yet, but he could've put on more pressure.} 27. Nd2 Rxc5 28. dxc5 Qc8 $6 (28... Qc7 $1 $13) 29. Nf3 $6 (29. Nb3 b4 (29... Nc4 30. a4 $14) 30. Qc2 $16) 29... Qxc5 30. Nh2 Bg7 (30... Qxc3 $1 31. Ng4 Bd2 32. Red1 Nc4 $17 {seems a little dangerous but Black's pieces hold White's quite easily. Maybe Kramnik didn't fancy this variation.}) 31. h5 g5 $2 {But this is just bad. I don't know what Kramnik was thinking giving up his g-pawn for the h-pawn. And I can't believe he would miss h6.} 32. h6 Bxh6 33. Qh5 Bg7 34. Qxg5 Nc6 35. Ng4 Qe7 36. Qxe7 Nxe7 37. a4 {With the trade of queens Black's compensation completely evaporated. The rooks are now free to attack all those weak pawns, specially the one on a7. An exchange is an exchange so Kramnik muddies the waters.} d4 38. axb5 Bxb5 39. Rxa7 d3 (39... Nf5 40. cxd4 Nxd4 41. Nf6+ Bxf6 42. exf6 {is probably just a matter of time for White's victory.}) 40. Rxe7 d2 41. Rd1 Be2 42. Ne3 Bxe5 { White's up a rook now, but he has to deal with that passed pawn on d2. He should just be winning though.} 43. c4 h5 44. Ra7 h4 45. Ra2 $6 {It's like players in this game just didn't like pawns.} (45. gxh4 Bf4 46. Raa1 {should win, but maybe Hikaru didn't like his pieces being so tied up.}) 45... Bxd1 46. Nxd1 hxg3 47. fxg3 Bxg3 48. c5 f5 $2 {Another mistake. For some reason Black cuts off his own king on the 8th rank. Much better was to first put it on g7 and then push f5. Black's pawns are not particularly fast so I don't know why he is in such a hurry to push them.} 49. Ra7 e5 50. c6 e4 51. Bh3 Rc8 52. Ra6 Rf8 $2 (52... Re8 {probably loses anyways, but it doesn't lose as easily.} 53. Kf1 Bd6 54. Ke2 f4 $1 55. Bg4 (55. Kxd2 e3+ $11) 55... f3+ 56. Kxd2 Bb4+ 57. Kc1 Bd6 {And White still has a lot of work to do. Though I'm not doubting that he is winning.}) 53. Ra5 f4 {With the Bishop sealed away from the c7 square, Black's position cannot be held.} 54. Kf1 $6 (54. Rg5+ Kh7 55. Rxg3 fxg3 56. c7 {was also possible, as White will pick up all the pawns easily, and I trust Hikaru can mate with a bishop and a knight, blindfolded and with 15 seconds on the clock, despite what people on Playchess.com suggested.}) 54... e3 55. Ke2 Rf6 {This loses instantly (as opposed to losing slowly), but I can't put another question mark on a high level game without starting to feel bad.} 56. Ra8+ Kg7 57. Ra7+ Rf7 58. Rb7 Kf6 59. Kf3 Re7 60. Rxe7 Kxe7 61. c7 e2 {One last hope. Kxe2 draws, but Hikaru is on top of things.} 62. c8=N+ {A spadey underpromotion seals the deal. White is just up too much material.} Kf6 63. Kxe2 Ke5 64. Bg2 Bh4 65. Kxd2 Kf5 66. Ke2 Kg4 67. Nf2+ Kg3 68. Bf3 Bf6 { Definitely not the best played game ever. Ok, pretty far from that. But at the end the result speaks volumes, USA edges out Russia after Kamsky wins a RB vs R endgame against Grischuk, and the Olympiad has become a whole different tournament. It will be a sick bloodfest at the top boards in the last two rounds. Stay tuned!} 1-0

Daniel King: Round 9 Play of the Day Vassily Ivanchuk-Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Andrew Martin: Game of the Day Rd 9: Lenier Dominguez vs Alexei Shirov

Summary of round 8 from the official video coverage

Live video coverage of the Olympiad


Remaining schedule of the Olympiad

There is live commentary of the most interesting games on Playchess.com,
beginning around half an hour after the games have started.

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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