Kavalek at Huffington: Ukraine wins Chess Olympiad

10/5/2010 – To win gold medals at any chess olympiad, you need exceptional performances of at least two players, who know how to take risks and collect points. But you also need a few others who can steady the team – solid players hard to defeat. If that is not enough, you need some luck. The team of Ukraine had it all at Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk. GM Lubomir Kavalek annotates.

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Ukraine Wins Chess Olympiad

By GM Lubomir Kavalek

To win gold medals at any chess olympiad, you need exceptional performances of at least two players, who know how to take risks and collect points. But you also need a few others who can steady the team – solid players hard to defeat. If that is not enough, you need some luck. The team of Ukraine had it all at the 39th Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, that finished Sunday.

Led by the amazing GM Vasyl Ivanchuk, Ukraine clinched the gold undefeated, winning eight matches, tying three and collecting 19 points. Russia's top team finished with the silver medals with 18 points. Israel tied for third place with Hungary with 17 points, but won the bronze on a better tiebreak.


Ivanchuk receiving the gold medal, Russian team on the left

In the Women's olympiad, Russia 1, led by the Kosintseva sisters, Tatiana and Nadezhda, and by the women's world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, grabbed first place, winning all 11 matches, collecting 22 points. China sneaked into second place with 18 points. The once powerful team of Georgia won the bronze medal with a better tiebreak over several teams, including the U.S. team.


Russian golden women, China on the left

We can speculate why the all-mighty Russian team did not win. A loss to Hungary didn't help, but an all-out effort by Russia's GM Peter Svidler, who lost against Spain in the last round, allowed the Ukrainian team to tie their last match against Israel 2-2 and clinched the gold. In the end the dreaded tiebreak worked out well for Israel.

Ukraine had two players among the top ten performers. Ivanchuk's 8-2 score was the best on the first board, earning him 2890 performance points. It was eclipsed only by five points by the Israeli second board, GM Emil Sutovsky. GM Sergei Karjakin, an Ukrainian deserter who believed that his career can advance better in Moscow, was the top scorer for Russia's fourth board.

Russia didn't win despite a huge monetary bonus promised to each member for the first place. When was the last time they won? Those interested in the answer can visit Olimpbase, an incredible, monumental web site, covering all olympiads to date and various team events.

Ukraine had two steady players: the former world champion GM Ruslan Ponomairov, with 5-4, and GM Pavel Eljanov, with 7-3. The biggest surprise was the performance of GM Zahar Efimenko, 25, who chipped in with a 8,5-2,5 score. He secured the most important victories in long rook endgames. We present his win against Bosnian IM Dalibor Stojanovic, a Spanish encounter with an explosive middlegame attack.

Note that in the replay windows below you can click on the notation to follow the game.

Original column hereCopyright Huffington Post


The Huffington Post is an American news website and aggregated blog founded by Arianna Huffington and others, featuring various news sources and columnists. The site was launched on May 9, 2005, as a commentary outlet and liberal/progressive alternative to conservative news websites. It offers coverage of politics, media, business, entertainment, living, style, the green movement, world news, and comedy. It is a top destination for news, blogs, and original content. The Huffington Post has an active community, with over one million comments made on the site each month. According to Nielsen NetRatings, the site has around 13 million unique visitors per month (number for March 2010); according to Google Analytics the number is 22 million uniques per month.


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