Batumi Olympiad Round 3: Top seeds sail through!

by Sagar Shah
9/27/2018 – The third round of the Batumi Chess Olympiad 2018 saw no real problems for the top seeds. Almost all of them won their games and it seems as if the real battles between strong teams will begin from the fourth round, the most interesting being India versus USA. In the women's section too, there were some draws, but no loss for the higher seeded team. This report is broken into four parts. The first part gives you the idea of the results of round three, second part are positions and analysis selected by GM Ganguly, third part are photos by Amruta Mokal and fourth is videos by Sagar Shah!

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What happened in the third round?

There were no real upsets in the third round, just tense and hard-fought games.

Results of round three (Open)

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
FRA France 8 4 : ½ 4 7 Algeria ALG
POR Portugal 7 4 : 4 8 Poland POL
NED Netherlands 8 4 1 : 3 4 United States of America USA
PER Peru 8 4 1 : 3 4 China CHN
AZE Azerbaijan 4 : ½ 4 8 Slovenia SLO
BRA Brazil 8 4 : 4 England ENG
VIE Vietnam 4 : ½ 4 8 Bangladesh BAN
ISL Iceland 4 ½ : 4 Israel ISR
GER Germany 4 2 : 2 4 Serbia SRB
PHI Philippines 4 1 : 3 4 Croatia CRO

France had it easy against Algeria. Poland got a small shock when their top-rated player Duda Jan-Krzysztof lost to Luis Galega but the remaining two boards managed the show. USA was just too strong for Netherlands and so was China for Peru. But we have to mention that Cori Jorge was able to beat Wei Yi.

England versus Brazil was hard fought encounter with David Howell scoring the crucial win for England for a 2.5-1.5. Serbia fought well to hold Germany to a draw.

Results of round three (Women)

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
SRB Serbia 7 4 2 : 2 4 8 India IND
ENG England 7 4 1 : 3 4 8 Azerbaijan AZE
LTU Lithuania 7 4 ½ : 4 8 Vietnam VIE
ROU Romania 8 4 1 : 3 4 Ukraine UKR
CUB Cuba 8 4 ½ : 4 China CHN
TUR Turkey 8 4 2 : 2 4 Poland POL
GRE Greece 8 4 ½ : 4 Armenia ARM
ARG Argentina 8 4 2 : 2 4 Hungary HUN
GEO2 Georgia 2 4 2 : 2 4 Spain ESP
CZE Czech Republic 4 : 4 Italy ITA

Serbia managed to hold India to a draw. Top two boards of India Humpy and Harika won their games but the bottom two boards lost. Jovanka Houska scored a fine win for England, but the remaining three boards lost their games. Turkey held Poland to a commendable draw. 

Time to put your thinking cap on!


Kramnik played a fine game to beat Irakli Beradze of Georgia 2. His win helped the team to score the full point. Here's the game annotated by Surya Sekhar Ganguly:


Harikrishna is a fantastic positional player, but in the third round he played an aggressive game to beat GM Razvan Preotu from the white side of an offbeat Sicilian | Photo: Amruta Mokal

GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly has annotated the game of Harikrishna from which you can learn a thing or two about how deeply these super grandmasters think:


How Bobby Fischer battled the Sicilian

Fischer liked to play aggressive but basically sound lines against the Sicilian and many of his variations are still very much alive and a good choice for players of all levels.

Video Gallery by Sagar Shah

Viswanathan Anand played the offbeat 3...g6 in the Ruy Lopez with Black and beat GM Eric Hansen. This was a great result for Indian GM. While he is clearly superior to his opponent by 150 Elo points, winning with the black pieces against a 2629 GM is never easy. Vishy explains his win to us and also shows us how his dynamic feel and understanding of chess is at such a high level. In the video, we also ask Vishy about the photographer disturbing at the start of the game and he tells us what he thinks about the same.

Anish Giri drew his game pretty quickly with the white pieces against Fabiano Caruana in the Berlin. After the game, we asked him about the Re1 variation in Berlin and what is basically White's idea. How does White play for a win in such symmetrical positions? Anish answers this question in great depth and detail. We also ask him about the World Championship match between Caruana and Carlsen and who is the favourite. Hypothetically in whose team would he like to work for the World Championship Match is also answered.

Finally, we just ask Anish about the game of his countryman Jorden van Foreest and we start analyzing the game with him. It is here that you see the super GM strength in full action. Giri finds variations, moves and ideas in a flash. This video gives you a great idea as to how the minds of geniuses like Anish Giri work.

Parham Maghsoodloo and team Iran are in great form at the Batumi Chess Olympiad 2018. The team started as the 23rd seeds but have clawed their way up to the top with three wins from three matches. In round three they beat the strong Belarus team with ease. We caught up with their top board and asked him about the game.

Saba Jamal Mohammed Abo ALQamachi is the fifth board of the Iraq team. She tells us about the situation of chess in Iraq. In a country dominated by terrorism and where bombs can go off at any moment, how does chess get priority? Saba tells us some stories and facts that will open your eyes to how lucky you are if you are living in a peaceful country.

Togo is a small country in West Africa. We caught up with Kolani-Banake  Sopague  and asked him about how chess is developing in his country. According to Kolani, there are 7 million people who live in Togo but only 200 play chess. Know more about chess in Togo from this interview.

Lucie  Zephir  is an unrated chess player from Mauritius. She tells us about the state of chess in her country and also her experience at the Batumi Olympiad 2018.

Pairings for round 4 (open)

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
VIE Vietnam 10 6   :   6 11½ France FRA
ISR Israel 11 6   :   6 10 Sweden SWE
USA United States of America 6   :   6 10½ India IND
CZE Czech Republic 6   :   6 10½ Iran IRI
AZE Azerbaijan 10 6   :   6 9 England ENG
CHN China 6   :   6 10½ Croatia CRO
GRE Greece 10 6   :   6 Armenia ARM
ARG Argentina 10 6   :   6 Ukraine UKR
POL Poland 10½ 6   :   6 Russia RUS

Some lip smacking chess coming your way in round four of the open section. Vietnam has Le Quang Liem on the top board, but for a team of France's calibre, it might just fall short. The real big encounter according to me is between USA and India - Fabiano Caruana versus Vishy Anand, Wesley So against Harikrishna,  Hikaru Nakamura against Vidit Gujrathi and Shankland against Sasikiran or Adhiban. In 2016 USA had defeated India 3.5-0.5

Pairings for round 4 (women)

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
CHN China 10 6   :   6 Uzbekistan UZB
ITA Italy 9 6   :   6 10 Armenia ARM
IRI Iran 11 6   :   6 Mongolia MGL
VIE Vietnam 11½ 6   :   6 Georgia 1 GEO1
AZE Azerbaijan 11 6   :   6 United States of America USA
UKR Ukraine 6   :   6 Slovenia SLO
HUN Hungary 5   :   5 Georgia 2 GEO2
IND India 10 5   :   5 Poland POL
TUR Turkey 10 5   :   5 9 Serbia SRB
GEO3 Georgia 3 5   :   5 8 Australia AUS

Uzbekistan has played really well in this tournament. They defeated Russia in round two. Can they do the same to China as well?

Photo gallery by Amruta Mokal

Levon Aronian in his casual attire! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Baadur Jobava always gives it his 100%. Be it with his fans... | Photo: Amruta Mokal

...or on the chess board! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The usual routine of Vidit Gujrathi before the game is to spend some time with his Dutch friends Anish Giri and Erwin l'Ami | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Ivan Cheparinov transferred to Georgia after the Bulgarian Chess Federation lost its affiliation with FIDE | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Ivanchuk has played two games and drawn both of them. Until now the heavy hitting in the Ukrainian team has been done by their fourth board player Anton Korobov who has scored two wins to given Ukraine 2½-1½ victories against Uzbekistan and Romania. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Some players bring companions to the game! Readers can correct me if I am wrong here, but isn't he the Lion from Madagascar | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The US team had a clinical performance against Netherlands with Wesley So beating Erwin l'Ami and Sam Shankland getting the better of Jorden van Foreest | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The youngest captain in the tournament hall?! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Inspired by the one and only Bob Marley! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Third youngest GM in the history of chess Abdusattorov Nodirbek just turned 14 a few days ago. He is representing the Uzbekistan team and could well be the youngest participant in this Olympiad | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The Poles at the Batumi Olympiad have a perfect mix of experience and youth. While Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Jacek Tomczak are the ones with the grey hair, Duda, Piorun and Kamil are the young guns in the team. Poland is a team that you have to watch out for. Today they take on Russia.  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Jacob Aagaard has been the trainer of Sam Shankland and has played a critical role in Shankland breaking into 2700 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov has players inside the venue who are his big fans! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

FIDE Presidential candidate Nigel Short with Shohreh Bayat and Alina l'Ami | Photo: Amruta Mokal

When administrators, coaches and players have fun together, the sport flourishes! It seems the case for Turkey - players with coach Michal Krasenkow (right) and President of Turkish Chess Federation Gulkis Tulay. | Photo: Amruta Mokal


Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. 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 and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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