Batumi Olympiad Round 10: The mega duel China vs USA will decide the gold!

by Sagar Shah
10/5/2018 – It's the finale of the 43rd World Chess Olympiad 2018 and we couldn't have asked for a better match-up. It's USA versus China in the open section to decide who takes home the gold and China against USA in the women's section on the top board! The strongest of teams have been paired against each other and it is extremely difficult to predict who will take home the three medals at stake. It's final rounds like these that make a tournament like Olympiad exciting! Round 10 report from Batumi, Georgia.

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I think all of the players, officials, journalists, organizers, have a mixed feeling about this Olympiad. While everyone is definitely relieved that this is coming to an end, you always feel like you could have done better! The fact that the next Olympiad is two years away is just too much of a time-span to put to use what you have learnt here! In any case people ensured that they made the best use of whatever time they had. This is the best place to get all the champions under one roof and the fans did not miss the chance of taking autographs!

It's always a good idea to start with Fabi! Who knows, before this year ends, the value of this autograph will be significantly higher!

Ivanchuk! It's always a good idea to get an autograph from the Ukrainian genius!

Who doesn't love Levon!

The gentleman of chess - Wesley So

The big fight Poland versus China

The Polish team hadn't lost a single match until round nine. They had been playing some excellent chess and the Chinese team was next on cards for them. The thing about the Chinese team and what makes it different from any other team at this event is that each and every player in their team is capable of playing on board one and performing well. For example Li Chao, who plays on board four for China has had the highest rating of 2758 in the past! Bu Xiangzhi who plays on board three, just a year ago had ensured Carlsen's elimination from the World Cup 2017 in classical time control. Of course we do not even need to get started on the achievements of Yu Yangyi and Ding Liren. With such a depth, Poland had to once again show the miraculous form that they had been showing in the last few matches that helped them beat teams like Russia and USA.

Things started well for Poland when Duda managed to outprepare Ding Liren. But the Chinese player did not succumb to the pressure. He thought hard and came out on top with some amazing calculations!

Yu Yangyi and Bu Xiangzhi drew their games on boards two and three, Li Chao managed to score the crucial win on board four against GM Kamil Dragun

Ding Liren shows us some amazing lines in the bus! Why the bus? Well, the Chinese team was leaving and we couldn't afford not to get an insight into Ding Liren's phenomenal calculations and so we did it in the bus!

 

On the second board clash between Armenia and USA, things looked very balanced but Sam Shankland provided the win against Melkumyan. USA beat Armenia 2.5-1.5.

Samuel Shankland played a brilliant game showcasing great opening preparation to power USA to a win over Armenia by beating Hrant Melkumyan

 

It is rare to see all four players of one team not being at the board. It just means, Russia is back in form! 

The Russians managed to beat England 2.5-1.5. It was Vladimir Kramnik who brought home the important point by beating David Howell on board three. Rest of the games ended in draws.

 

Erwin l'Ami doesn't join the pre-game Indo-Dutch conversations like everyday as Netherlands took on India. Anish, who was playing Harikrishna on board one anyway joined in.

Women's section:

It was an unbelievable round in the women's section. The first seven matches ended in a 2-2 deadlock! Of course there were teams who were winning the match, and there were those who were losing, but by the end we had all of them at 2-2. Thus China maintains is lead over the pack. 

Results of Round 10 (Women)

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
CHN China 26½ 16 2 : 2 15 24½ United States of America USA
UKR Ukraine 25 15 2 : 2 14 26½ Russia RUS
AZE Azerbaijan 24½ 14 2 : 2 15 24 Armenia ARM
VIE Vietnam 26½ 13 2 : 2 13 24 Hungary HUN
ESP Spain 23½ 13 2 : 2 13 24 Kazakhstan KAZ
GEO1 Georgia 1 *) 23 14 2 : 2 13 25½ Czech Republic CZE
BLR Belarus 24 12 2 : 2 13 21 Slovenia SLO
IND India 23½ 12 3 : 1 12 22½ Peru PER
ITA Italy 22 12 : 12 23½ Georgia 2 GEO2
ROU Romania 21 12 2 : 2 12 23 Iran IRI

Complete list

The Ukrainian team faced Russia. It was a very tense match that ended in a 2-2 draw.

When you allow your opponent to claim a photographic draw in a crucial round, its quite disheartening. Zhukova claimed a draw and Olga Girya is not happy with the result.

 

One more case of draw by repetition Iran against Romania. Mitra Hejazipour drew against Isabela Peptan Corina

 

Who has chances to win a medal?

Ranking in the Open section (top 20)

Rk. SNo   Team Team Games   +    =    -   TB1   TB2   TB3   TB4 
1 1
 
United States of America USA 10 8 1 1 17 324,5 27,0 122
2 3
 
China CHN 10 8 1 1 17 320,5 26,5 124
3 11
 
Poland POL 10 7 2 1 16 325,0 26,0 130
4 7
 
France FRA 10 7 2 1 16 309,0 27,0 125
5 2
 
Russia RUS 10 7 2 1 16 301,0 26,5 119
6 5
 
India IND 10 7 1 2 15 325,5 27,0 128
7 8
 
Armenia ARM 10 7 1 2 15 299,0 25,5 125
8 6
 
Ukraine UKR 10 7 1 2 15 278,0 24,0 125
9 16
 
Germany GER 10 5 5 0 15 274,0 25,0 118
10 15
 
Czech Republic CZE 10 7 1 2 15 272,5 25,5 116
11 9
 
England ENG 10 7 1 2 15 271,5 24,0 119
12 37
 
Kazakhstan KAZ 10 7 1 2 15 256,0 25,5 109
13 27
 
Vietnam VIE 10 5 4 1 14 312,5 27,5 117
14 18
 
Croatia CRO 10 7 0 3 14 288,0 25,0 128
15 38
 
Norway NOR 10 6 2 2 14 272,5 26,5 114
16 32
 
Sweden SWE 10 7 0 3 14 269,5 26,0 112
17 30
 
Moldova MDA 10 6 2 2 14 253,0 24,0 113
18 35
 
Austria AUT 10 7 0 3 14 245,0 24,5 110
19 54
 
Philippines PHI 10 7 0 3 14 243,5 25,5 97
20 4
 
Azerbaijan AZE 10 6 1 3 13 318,5 25,5 134

Complete list

Pairings for round 11:

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
USA United States of America 27 17   :   17 26½ China CHN
FRA France 27 16   :   16 26½ Russia RUS
IND India 27 15   :   16 26 Poland POL
GER Germany 25 15   :   15 25½ Armenia ARM
UKR Ukraine 24 15   :   15 25½ Czech Republic CZE
ENG England 24 15   :   15 25½ Kazakhstan KAZ
PHI Philippines 25½ 14   :   14 27½ Vietnam VIE
CRO Croatia 25 14   :   14 26 Sweden SWE
AUT Austria 24½ 14   :   14 26½ Norway NOR
MDA Moldova 24 14   :   13 27½ Uzbekistan UZB

It is almost certain that the gold medal will be decided by the top board clash between USA and China. However, we could see Russia or France winning the gold as well, if they win their match and USA and China draw theirs. This is because all the teams will end on 18/22 and the Sonneborn Berger will be used to decide who wins. And SB is a very volatile tiebreak. So it would not be easy to predict until all the games the are over.

France and Russia will be a critical match to follow. Also Poland has great chances if they beat India. India also has an outside chance for a medal if they beat Poland. All other teams on 15 points shoudl win their match and hope that on 17 their tiebreak is good enough for a medal. 

Women's section

Ranking in the Women section (top 20)

Rk. Team Team
1 China CHN
2 Ukraine UKR
3 United States of America USA
4 Armenia ARM
5 Russia RUS
6 Georgia 1 GEO1
7 Azerbaijan AZE
8 Hungary HUN
9 Spain ESP
10 India IND
11 Georgia 2 GEO2
12 Poland POL
13 Kazakhstan KAZ
14 Vietnam VIE
15 Czech Republic CZE
16 Mongolia MGL
17 France FRA
18 Serbia SRB
19 Cuba CUB
20 Slovenia SLO

Complete list

Pairings of round 11 (women)

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
RUS Russia 28½ 15   :   17 28½ China CHN
USA United States of America 26½ 16   :   16 27 Ukraine UKR
VIE Vietnam 28½ 14   :   15 26½ Azerbaijan AZE
HUN Hungary 26 14   :   14 23 Slovenia SLO
POL Poland 27 14   :   14 25½ Spain ESP
ARM Armenia 26 16   :   15 25 Georgia 1 *) GEO1
MGL Mongolia 26 14   :   14 26½ India IND
CZE Czech Republic 27½ 14   :   14 26 Georgia 2 GEO2
SRB Serbia 24½ 14   :   14 26 Kazakhstan KAZ
CUB Cuba 25½ 14   :   14 26½ France FRA

If Russia beats China then the winner of USA and Ukraine would have chance to win the gold. If the top board ends in a win for China or even a draw, then China wins the gold because their tiebreak is really very good. If China beats Russia and one of USA or Ukraine win, then it leaves it open for other teams on 15 and 14 points to fight for the bronze.

The medal statistics if the tournament ended in ten rounds!

The Chinese and US guys are excellently matched. If I had to pick a board where one side is a favourite it would be Bu Xinagzhi against Nakamura. Naka is higher rated by over 50 Elo points. But seeing Nakamura's form we can conclude that this too will be a well fought encounter.

Russia have a clear edge over France. At least on boards two and three where Nepo and Kramnik are clearly better than Bacrot and Fressinet. Bauer is also not as strong as Vitiuov, but the Frenchman is in excellent form in this tournament.

India against Poland is a well balanced encounter. When the tournament began I would have said India is the favourite in this match, but now after 10 rounds and seeing Poland's form, it is clear that the match is going to be a hard fought one.

The match between Russia and China is a mouth watering one. Even if Russia cannot overtake China on tiebreaks, it would be a great feat for them to beat the leaders and hence you can expect the Russian team to go all out against China. USA and Ukraine will be fighting it out for the silver medal. And who knows if Russia does beat China, the winner of USA and Ukraine will win the gold.

Photo Gallery by Amruta Mokal

The Indonesian team ready for a nice picture with their slogan,"Jaya Indonesia!"

The one on the left is Iranian, the one of the right is Georgian, but don't they look similar?!

Bangladesh has huge hopes on this boy - Mohammed Fahad Rahman. He scored his first IM norm at the event!

Daniel Fridman has been the back bone of the German team!

Can you guess what these guys are doing?

Of course, solving a study! by Gia Nadareishvili! 

A reminder for all the coaches in different teams!

What do you choose? Apple or chocolate?!

John Nunn congratulates Nigel Short for being one of the Vice Presidents under Dvorkovich's leadership.

Replay all the games from round 10 (Open)

 

Replay all the games from round 10 (women)

 



Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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Miguel Ararat Miguel Ararat 10/5/2018 07:59
Thank you for the article, it is a refreshing read.
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