2012 Chess Olympiad Istanbul: Round ten

9/8/2012 – After nine rounds four teams were in the joint lead in match points. One of them, the USA, suffered a fairly devastating loss against another from the group: China. The other two, Russia and Armenia, both won their matches, so that now they are three in the lead. In the women's section Russia crushed Armenia to join China in the lead. Illustrated report with GM commentary.

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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 ten comments by GM Alejandro Ramirez

The match situation was of course, very tense. With four teams tied for first place it seemed like anything could happen. Of course, the match-up of the day was China-USA, which ended in a victory for the Chinese after Ding Liren managed to convert a seemingly drawn endgame against usually super solid Alexander Onischuk. The rest of the games were relatively uneventful draws, though you could say that USA was slightly lucky to get the full 1.5/3 on those boards.

On the second table was a very unexpected match. Argentina is by no means a 'weak' team. They field four GMs near 2600, but by Olympiad standards they are nothing special. Yet somehow, after losing a match to Poland and drawing India, they find themselves only one point behind the leaders. Since Russia had already played the other teams with 15 points, they had to 'bring up' someone. The match should've been somewhat easy for the top ranked team, at least in theory. However Russia really suffered, their black pieces being held to draws with no problems and Sandro Mareco putting on the pressure (as black!) against Jakovenko. Unfortunately for the latin community Mareco could only draw and Flores lost disastrously to Karjakin in a miniature. Russia prevails with their typical 2.5-1.5 and joins the Chinese in the lead.

The last team with 15 points was Armenia, who got a strong opponent in the Netherlands. The Dutch team started the Olympiad horribly, losing to Venezuela (!) and Georgia in rounds 2 and 3, but they recovered and bested Israel in the last round. However, Armenia showed them why they have been playing nothing but the top boards the entire event.

[Event "40th Olympiad 2012 Open1"] [Site "Istanbul"] [Date "2012.09.07"] [Round "10"] [White "Giri, Anish"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E07"] [WhiteElo "2711"] [BlackElo "2816"] [Annotator "Ramirez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "95"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [EventCountry "TUR"] [WhiteTeam "Netherlands"] [BlackTeam "Armenia"] [WhiteTeamCountry "NED"] [BlackTeamCountry "ARM"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Qb3 e6 5. g3 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Bf4 a5 9. Rc1 {Nothing too interesting so far. Both players are developing like Caissa ordained: with White having a bit more space and Black in the defensive. As a side note Aronian used this line as White to defeat Eljanov. It seems that Giri keeps using Aronian's lines and they backfire.} h6 {This move is more annoying than it looks. Sometimes White wants to develop a knight to d2 but the bishop gets kind of trapped with g5-ng4 and stuff. The position is super closed anyways so you can afford this.} 10. a4 {I have never claimed to be a positional genius, but I don't like creating unnecessary holes in my position.} Ne4 11. Nfd2 (11. Nbd2 {seemed better as well.}) 11... Nd6 12. Bxd6 (12. c5 $6 Nf5 13. Nf3 Nxd4 14. Nxd4 e5 $15) 12... Bxd6 13. e4 dxe4 14. Nxe4 Bb4 15. c5 Nf6 16. Qc4 $6 {The way Giri has been handling the position is rather strange. With no knights to take advantage of the d6 square there will be no way to hold Black back from eventually pushing e5 and opening the position for the pair of bishops. I like Black already.} Nxe4 17. Bxe4 Kh8 {A Kasparovian move, improving the king before going for the throat. Not that too many people imagine there is a huge attack lurking anywhere soon.} 18. Bg2 (18. Nc3 e5 19. d5 f5 20. Bg2 e4 {transposes}) 18... e5 19. d5 f5 $1 (19... cxd5 20. Qxd5 Qe7 {was also possible but the move in the game is more energetic.}) 20. dxc6 (20. Nc3 e4 21. Rd1 (21. d6 b6 {breaks the pawn structure immediately and leaves Black clearly better.}) 21... Qf6 $15) 20... e4 21. cxb7 Bxb7 22. c6 Ba6 {The pawn sacrifice is very strong. It's interesting to see how strong players find all these kinds of ways to open up the position from something that seemed quite normal. White isn't lost, but his position is uncomfortable. The fact that he has not developed is making a very obvious impression.} 23. Qb3 Rc8 24. Nc3 Rxc6 25. Nd5 Bc5 26. Bf1 {Trying to trade off bishops. Aronian is like 'nah'.} f4 $1 {This advance is very brutal, let's look at some sample variations:} 27. Nxf4 {This meets a pretty simple refutation. I'm not entirely sure why Giri went for this as opposed to the slower and more painful death. Huh maybe I do know why.} (27. Bxa6 fxg3 28. hxg3 (28. Bf1 Qh4 29. hxg3 Bxf2+ 30. Kg2 Rg6 $19 {and the whole house falls down.}) 28... Bxf2+ 29. Kg2 Rxa6 $19 ) (27. Rxc5 {objectively best.} Rxc5 28. Nxf4 Rc6 (28... Rxf4 29. gxf4 Bxf1 30. Rxf1 {doesn't seem all that convincing to me.}) 29. Bxa6 Rxa6 {and Black remains the exchange up because White doesn't have any tricks. This was however White's best hope. Black's e-pawn is somewhat weak, and g6 is weak, so there are chances.} 30. Ne6 $2 Qb8 $1 31. Qc4 Qc8 $1 {Aronian obviously saw this when playing f4. Dude is just so good. Now the trade is forced and Black wins.}) 27... Bxf2+ $1 28. Kh1 (28. Kxf2 Rxf4+ (28... Qd2+ $4 29. Kg1 Rxc1 30. Ng6+ {is a no no.}) 29. gxf4 Qd2+ 30. Kg1 (30. Kg3 Rg6+ $19) 30... Rxc1 31. Rxc1 Qxc1 32. Qh3 e3 {is completely kaput.}) 28... Rb6 {The rook must protect g6 so it cannot be traded. Thankfully there is this neat intermediate move that solves that issue.} 29. Qc2 e3 30. Bg2 Qe8 {White might be alive, but it's temporary.} 31. Qc5 Rff6 {White's nearly zugzwanged, since he is completely tied down to the e-pawn. Moves like Rab1 or b3 would've allowed him to flail around a bit longer.} 32. Rc2 $2 (32. Nd5 e2 33. Nxf6 Rxf6 34. Qxa5 Re6 $19) 32... g5 33. Nd5 (33. Ne2 Bd3 $19) 33... e2 34. Qxa5 e1=Q+ (34... Rbd6 {was more exact but who cares.}) 35. Rxe1 Qxe1+ 36. Qxe1 Bxe1 37. Nxb6 Rxb6 38. Rc6 Rxc6 39. Bxc6 Kg7 40. Kg2 Kf6 {White's down a piece, Levon's got this. The rest is pretty simple. Such powerful play by the Armenian! Giri really had no chance this game to create anything.} 41. Bf3 Ke5 42. h4 Bc8 43. hxg5 hxg5 44. Kf1 Bxg3 45. b4 Kd4 46. a5 Kc4 47. a6 Bb8 48. Bb7 0-1

Akopian also won with black after Sokolov pushed his pawns too far in an Exchange Slav and a timely piece sacrifice left White's pawns too weak to defend. The ensuing endgame proved that four passed connected pawns have more potential value than a knight. Specifically four queens more valuable. Armenia took the match and set up a heartstopping last round. Since the top three teams already played each other, they will be pulling up from the trailers, Ukraine at 16, USA, Hungary, Poland and Germany at 15. Will the top teams maintain their momentum? Who will lose the gold medal in the very last game? Sunday will be a big day.


Round ten summary

The Open Section will see an exciting finish as three teams are entering the final round with equal points: China, Armenia and Russia (sorted according to tie-break score).


The Chinese team with Bu Xiangzhi, Ding Liren, Wang Yue and Wang Hao

China's top striker Ding Liren nicely outplayed Alexander Onischuk in a rook endgame, and with the other three games being drawn, China signed an important victory against USA.

Russia assumed a quick lead against Argentina as Diego Flores lost a wandering knight to Sergey Karjakin right from the opening. But Argentinians held two draws with white pieces and Sandro Mareco pressed hard against Dmitry Jakovenko. Mareco was a pawn up but he couldn't convert the advantage and the match finally ended in Russia's favour.

Armenia achieved a relatively easy win against Netherlands. Levon Aronian won a nice game against Anish Giri (above), while Vladimir Akopian sacrificed a piece for three pawns and proceeded to an endgame where his phalanx was unstoppable. Armenia won 3-1. Ukraine leaped ahead to the fourth place thanks to a narrow 2.5-1.5 victory against Azerbaijan. Czech Republic took an early lead with David Navara's win, but then the Polish team switched the gear and won the remaining three games.

As the leaders have already played against each other, in round 11 they are paired against teams in the lower point groups: Ukraine-China, Hungary-Armenia and Russia-Germany.

Round ten: Top twenty team pairings – Open

No.
SNo
Team
Res.
Res.
Team
SNo
1
6
China
USA
5
2
29
Argentina
Russia
1
3
9
Netherlands
1
3
Armenia
3
4
7
Azerbaijan
Ukraine
2
5
17
Czech Rep.
1
3
Poland
16
6
39
Denmark
0
4
Hungary
4
7
32
Belarus
Germany
14
8
35
Philippines
2
2
Vietnam
27
9
13
India
2
2
Cuba
15
10
12
Israel
2
2
Georgia
26
11
33
Uzbekistan
3
1
Bulgaria
10
12
25
Romania
France
8
13
21
Greece
2
2
Spain
18
14
28
Slovenia
Croatia
19
15
58
Venezuela
2
2
Moldova
23
16
20
Serbia
Switzerland
43
17
11
England
4
0
Uruguay
70
18
24
Brazil
3
1
Mexico
38
19
49
FYROM
Slovakia
42
20
22
Italy
Norway
54

Women

In the Women Section the things are heating up again as the 22nd-seed Kazakhstan bravely drew against the leading China. WIM Guliskhan Nakhbayeva held the World Champion Hou Yifan to a draw, while Madina Davletbayeva totally outplayed Ding Yixin. Zhao Xue could only even up the score with a victory against Gulmira Dauletova.


Kazakhstan vs China with Guliskhan Nakhbayeva facing Hou Yifan

Russia convincingly defeated Armenia by 3.5-0.5, as Lilit Galojan was the only player to make a draw for her team. Russia is now even with China in the term of match points, while China still holds some edge in the tie-break.


Poland vs Ukraine, with GM Monika Socko facing GM Kateryna Lahno on board one

Ukraine narrowly beat Poland 2.5-1.5, with Natalia Zhukova bringing the key point, and is now in serious contention for one of the medals.


The Peruvian teams, with the hero of the day, Deysi Estela Cori Tello, front right

From the other matches, it should be noted that the 2011 World Junior Champion Deysi Cori beat the top-rated player in the section, Anna Muzychuk (2606), as Peru defeated Slovenia by 2.5-1.5.

Round ten: Top twenty team pairings – Women

No.
SNo
Team
Res.
Res.
Team
SNo
1
1
China
2
2
Kazakhstan
22
2
8
Armenia
½
Russia
2
3
4
Ukraine
Poland
7
4
27
Azerbaijan
France
14
5
6
India
½
Israel
25
6
9
Germany
3
1
Spain
11
7
35
Uzbekistan
2
2
Italy
31
8
21
Mongolia
2
2
USA
5
9
37
Peru
Slovenia
16
10
12
Hungary
1
3
Bulgaria
13
11
10
Romania
½
Netherlands
17
12
26
Iran
½
Austria
43
13
3
Georgia
Vietnam
28
14
45
Turkey
2
2
Greece
18
15
19
Serbia
2
2
Colombia
34
16
47
Brazil
½
Belarus
36
17
33
Lithuania
2
2
Latvia
24
18
15
Cuba
½
Switzerland
38
19
23
Czech Rep.
2
2
Slovakia
20
20
57
Philippines
2
2
Malaysia
83

Top rankings after ten rounds

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

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


Daniel King: Round 10 Play of the Day – Giri vs Aronian

Andrew Martin: Game of the Day Rd 10: Kasimdzhanov vsTopalov

Summary of round ten from the official video coverage

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8 September 2012   Free Day
9 September 2011 11.00 11th Round, Closing
Daniel King
10 September 2011 Departure

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