2012 Chess Olympiad Istanbul: Round four

8/31/2012 – The top seeded Russians beat China in one of the derby matches of the Olympiad, USA vs India, Azerbaijan vs German and France vs England were drawn. There are four teams left who have won all their matches so far: Ukraine, Hungary, Armenia and Russia. Our round commentators GMs Alejandro Ramirez, Danny King and IM Andrew Martin all chose the same game of the day.

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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 four

The teams of USA and India were paired to play on the first table. Just before the time control India's leader, Krishnan Sasikiran, became entangled in the net of Hikaru Nakamura, but Pentala Harikrishna immediately struck back on the second board by defeating Gata Kamsky. In the other two games the Indians held the minimal positional advantage but this was not sufficient to achieve more than two draws and the match finished in a 2-2 tie.


In round four of the Olympiad Indian GM Pentala Harikrishna, above, beat...


... US grandmaster Gata Kamsky

In one of the derby matches of the Olympiad Russia and China played on the second table. Bu Xiangzhi comfortably held Sergey Karjakin with the Petroff defence, but Wang Yue erred terribly against Alexander Grischuk and fell victim to a knight's fork. Dmitry Jakovenko made a positional exchange sacrifice and gradually outplayed the ambitious Li Chao, bringing the decisive advantage in the match to Russia. In the longest game of the match Wang Hao held an inferior position against Kramnik. Final score 3-1 in favour of Russia.


Top Russian boards: Vladimir Kramnik, right, and Alexander Gischuk

Azerbaijan assumed a 1,5-0,5 lead against Germany before the time control, but the Germans were pressing hard with white in the remaining two games. Eltaj Safarli succeeded in securing the draw against Igor Khenkin, but Gadir Guseinov went down in an opposite-coloured bishops endgame against Daniel Fridman. The official commentator Evgeniy Miroshnichenko believes that Guseinov could have held the draw with precise play.

France and England split the points, while Armenia achieved a narrow victory against the Philippines.


Levon Aronian (left) praised his opponent Wesley So in an interview after the game


Top seed in the Olympiad: Armenian GM Levon Aronian


Young talent: Wesley So of the the Philippines

Ukraine is catching up after the swift 3-1 victory against Poland. Vassily Ivanchuk (above) won his first game in the Olympiad, while Ruslan Ponomariov beat Mateusz Bartel to avenge the loss from the recent Dortmund super-tournament.


Ukrainian former FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov

Round four: Top twenty team pairings – Open

No.
SNo
Team
Res.
Res.
Team
SNo
1
5
USA
2
2
India
13
2
1
Russia
3
1
China
6
3
7
Azerbaijan
2
2
Germany
14
4
8
France
2
2
England
11
5
35
Philippines
Armenia
3
6
2
Ukraine
3
1
Poland
16
7
42
Slovakia
1
3
Hungary
4
8
17
Czech Rep.
4
0
Norway
54
9
53
Canada
Mongolia
56
10
29
Argentina
Mexico
38
11
31
Turkey
Croatia
19
12
50
Bosnia Herz,
2
2
Serbia
20
13
44
Montenegro
3
1
Greece
21
14
74
Faroe Islands
1
3
Georgia
26
15
95
Lebanon
½
Bulgaria
10
16
12
Israel
Kazakhstan
40
17
103
Yemen
0
4
Spain
18
18
49
FYROM
Latvia
30
19
15
Cuba
Iran
45
20
28
Slovenia
Portugal
64

In the Women's section Georgia swept across the match like a hurricane against their Cuban opponents with a 4-0 score, while China fielded World Champion Yifan Hou for the second day in a row, to defeat Germany 3-1 (Hou Yifan drew against Elisabeth Pähtz),


Held the Women's World Champion to a draw: German IM Elisabeth Pähtz

A French connection existed between the French ladies as they asserted their dominance over Argentina crushing, them with a 3,5-0,5 match score. The Russians showed the strength and depth of their team by winning convincingly on boards 3 and 4, with the top boards drawing, taking home a 3-1 match win.

Poland and Slovakia could not make headway in their match, trading wins on the top and bottom boards, with no progress in the middle. Much the same with the US and Slovenia, except the top and bottom boards exchanged draws while the middle boards exchanging wins.


Indian IM Tania Sachdev defeated WIM Marija of Serbia in round four

In the last match of the evening the Serbian team held the Indian team to a draw. On board one IM Bojkovic held GM Dronavalli to a 108 move draw, with over 70 moves being a dance between kings, queens, and pawns.

Round four: Top twenty team pairings – Women

No.
SNo
Team
Res.
Res.
Team
SNo
1
6
India
2
2
Serbia
19
2
23
Czech Rep,
1
3
Russia
2
3
20
Slovakia
2
2
Poland
7
4
14
France
½
Argentina
29
5
9
Germany
1
3
China
1
6
15
Cuba
0
4
Georgia
3
7
5
USA
2
2
Slovenia
16
8
24
Latvia
3
1
Belarus
36
9
4
Ukraine
3
1
Netherlands
17
10
22
Kazakhstan
Greece
18
11
35
Uzbekistan
Bulgaria
13
12
25
Israel
½
Romania
10
13
45
Turkey
Ecuador
32
14
27
Azerbaijan
Armenia
8
15
12
Hungary
½
Iceland
62
16
30
Croatia
2
2
Norway
40
17
83
Malaysia
Moldova
41
18
11
Spain
½
Austria
43
19
28
Vietnam
3
1
Lithuania
33
20
80
Costa Rica
Italy
31

Top rankings after four rounds

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

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


Game of the day commentary by GM Alejandro Ramirez

Even though Russia has been the top seeded team in pretty much every event they play, they haven't been able to win maybe as much as you would think. Ukraine and Armenia have taken the past four Olympiads, and in two of them Russia didn't even medal. It's hard to pinpoint exactly why this is – many could attribute it to the simple fact that competition at the top is extremely fierece; especially since many strong teams were spawned from the breakup of the Soviet Union. However, this hasn't changed one fact. Russia is still #1 by rating, with the most solid lineup you can possibly imagine, and every team in this tournament would be happy to draw them. China has had many players rise to the top levels in recent years, and although they are very strong and very highly ranked, Russia shows them in this match who is boss.

[Event "40th Olympiad 2012 Open1"] [Site "Istanbul"] [Date "2012.08.31"] [Round "4"] [White "Wang, Yue"] [Black "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A37"] [WhiteElo "2703"] [BlackElo "2763"] [Annotator "Ramirez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "56"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [EventCountry "TUR"] [WhiteTeam "China"] [BlackTeam "Russia"] [WhiteTeamCountry "CHN"] [BlackTeamCountry "RUS"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 e5 {A perfectly fine continuation that has resulted in some quick victories for both sides.} 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. d3 Nge7 7. h4 { I like this aggressive move, it forces Black's hand to do something slightly uncomfortable. In htis case, he must either allow h5 or he has to push his h-pawn himself.} (7. O-O d6 8. Ne1 Be6 9. Nc2 d5 {is harmless and scores fabulously for Black.}) 7... h6 8. Bd2 d6 9. a3 {probably an improvement over Qc1, which Panchanathan played against me in 2011.} Be6 10. Rb1 a5 {This is the normal reaction for Black against the a3-Rb1 setup. Unlike some other variations of the symmetrical English, Black can afford to weaken his queenside a little as long as White does not push b4 and gain space.} 11. Qc1 Rc8 12. O-O b6 13. e4 Bg4 14. Re1 Kf8 {Notice how both sides have played in a way to restrict their opponents. Black with e5 and a5, White with Qc1 preventing castling. It is a strange position in which it is uncomfortable to find a constructive plan, and probably to find constructive moves. The Artificial Castling idea seems rather normal. The position is so closed that K-g8-h7 is not out of the question.} 15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. exd5 Bxf3 17. Bxf3 Nd4 18. Bg4 f5 19. Bd1 {At first I thought Wang Yue had gotten the better of Grischuk. White is threatening b4 and it is very hard to stop. Not to mention he can always play Be3-xd4 if need be. I just didn't know what the Russian could do.} g5 $1 {And here was my answer!} 20. hxg5 {Wang Yue simple snatches the pawn. I think pushing the pawn was better, though it was very unclear. After the move in the game the h-file is just too dangerous, which is something Whtie might have underestimated.} (20. h5 Qd7 21. b4 axb4 22. axb4 f4 {is very complex. That expansion on the kingside looks threatening.}) 20... hxg5 21. Bxg5 Qd7 22. Qe3 (22. b4 f4 $19 {is already decisive, with the idea of Qh3. White must be careful.}) 22... Qf7 {It's honestly hard to find a move here for White. Maybe f4 is necessary but it looks ugly. The move played in the game is natural, but too slow.} 23. Kg2 Bf6 24. Ba4 $2 {The idea is to play Rh1 and battle the h-file. However, this is too slow. Grischuk exploits this beautifully.} (24. Bh6+ Ke7 {leaves the Bishop on h6 in a terribly awkward situation.}) (24. Bxf6 Qxf6 {And White can't stop the multitude of deadly threats.}) 24... Bxg5 25. Qxg5 Rh2+ $1 {The rook is taboo, which lets Grischuk infiltrate with decisive effect!} 26. Kf1 Rh1+ 27. Kg2 Rh2+ { repeating moves like a pro.} 28. Kf1 Qh7 {Nothing close to a perpetual, and the threats are obviously decisive. A simple but powerful game by Grischuk, sweeping the Chinese player off the board.} 0-1

GM Daniel King: Istanbul Olympiad 2012 Round 4 play of the day

Andrew Martin: Game of the Day Rd 4 – Grischuk vs Wang Yue

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.

31 August 2012 15.00 4th Round
Daniel King
1 September 2012 15.00 5th Round
Lawrence Trent
2 September 2012   Free Day
3 September 2012 15.00 6th Round
Daniel King
4 September 2012 15.00 7th Round
Yasser Seirawan
5 September 2012 15.00 8th Round
Daniel King
6 September 2012 15.00 9th Round
Yasser Seirawan
7 September 2012 15.00 10th Round
Yasser Seirawan
8 September 2012   Free Day
9 September 2011 11.00 11th Round, Closing
Daniel King
10 September 2011 Departure

Some hours after the end of each round we will be posting video summaries by Daniel King on our news page. If possible they will appear on the same night, otherwise early the next morning. We also expect best-game video commentary from Andrew Martin.


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