Batumi Olympiad Round 5: Chinese men stunned, USA women are sole leaders

by Sagar Shah
9/30/2018 – We have a sole leader in the women's section of the Batumi Olympiad 2018. Team USA has won all of their five matches and are now on 10.0/10 match points. They are being followed by six teams with a score of 9.0/10. In the open section, Czech Republic were able to create the upset of the round by beating the super strong Chinese team. Poland beat France and USA was unable to get past Israel. Everything related to this exciting round has been covered in this report which is filled with photos, videos, game analysis and much more. | Pictured: Jiri Stocek | Photo: Amruta Mokal

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Let's have a quick look at the results on the top board matches for fifth round in the open section: 

Important results of round 5 (open):

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
ARM Armenia 11½ 8 : 8 13½ Azerbaijan AZE
FRA France 14 8 1 : 3 8 13 Poland POL
CHN China 13 8 1 : 3 8 12 Czech Republic CZE
USA United States of America 12 8 2 : 2 8 14 Israel ISR
UKR Ukraine 11 8 : 7 13 Spain ESP
GER Germany 12 7 : 7 10½ Moldova MDA
LTU Lithuania 10½ 7 ½ : 6 13 Netherlands NED
IND India 12 6 : ½ 6 11 Paraguay PAR
SWE Sweden 11 6 : 6 12½ Turkey TUR
CHI Chile 10 6 2 : 2 6 11½ Vietnam VIE

Complete list

Azerbaijan wins the grudge match against Armenia

It was the most critical match of the entire round. When the games were about to begin both the teams looked extremely motivated and focused. Azerbaijan players have their own way of standing together away from their board. Often they are not even talking to each other but just standing together as if showing some sort of solidarity and support. On the other hand, Armenia has a nice mix of young and experienced players who sit at the board without talking much to each other. They are all on their boards, but one look and you just feel instantly that they are all a team. These two teams have the best team spirit and it was extremely interesting to see them in action, especially as the two countries share such a rivalry with each other that goes beyond the chess board!

Armenia versus Azerbaijan has begun. Aronian against Mamedyarov was the game to look forward to.

Initial moments of the match between Armenia and Azerbaijan


Instead of Be7-d6 Black could have also played axb3 axb3 and Bb7, to which GM Ganguly writes, "Once again possible and could easily be the best in computer or correspondence chess, but clearly Mamedyarov didn't want a position like this where White has zero risk. True to his style he opted for the most aggressive way and got into a position which might be worse but gives White much more difficult options to choose."


The idea is to force the rook to d2 and then sacrifice the bishop on g2. When that happens, the white king which will start running from the kingside towards the centre and the queenside will not have the d2 square to hide.


Have a look at this amazing game by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov analyzed by GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly:


With this win, Azerbaijan took lead in the match. Armenia pulled one back when Melkumyan beat Naiditsch on board three. But Radjabov was able to score another victory for Azerbaijan by beating Sargissian. Mamedov drew his encounter against Haik Martirosyan and Azerbaijan was able to win the match with a score of 2½-1½.

Aronian and his love for cats!


Extremely depressed was Aronian when he realized that there was absolutely no way to save the match

The unstoppable Poles!

The Polish team seems to be in great spirits at this Olympiad. It's not that just Duda and Wojtaszek are playing some high-quality chess. Their lower boards consisting of Tomczak, Piorun and Dragun have achieved something special here. Each one has beaten a srong opponent. In the fifth round against France, although Duda lost his game to MVL, the French team could not capitalize on the early lead. They lost all the three remaining games giving Poland a 3-1 victory.

The hero for Poland until now has been Jacek Tomzcak — apart from beating Vladimir Kramnik, he also beat Christian Bauer

Radoslaw played a great positional game in the fifth round to beat GM Etienne Bacrot. He spoke to us after the game and tells us how Poland beat France and also why the Polish team is doing so well. "All the members in the team are good guys", he said. What exactly does that mean? And how does Radoslaw keep a good level of play in spite of being a second of Vishy Anand for so many years we ask him in this interview.

Here's an Instagram post from Wojtaszek which shows the team camaraderie:


A post shared by Radoslaw Wojtaszek Official (@radek_wojtaszek) on

The Czech Mate!

Jiri Stocek

On the outside, the Czech team looks pretty ordinary. But in an event like the Olympiad, it's not the rating of the participants but their camaraderie and friendships that determine how a team fares. In the case of Czech Republic, all of the players have been showing some phenomenal bit of chess, especially Viktor Laznicka and Jiri Stocek. The Chinese team look invincible in team tournaments. They have Ding Liren on the top board followed by Yu Yangyi, Wei Yi, and Bu Xiangzhi. Where is the weak spot in their camp? But the Czech Republic team simply destroyed the Chinese wall. Ding Liren was held to a draw by David Navara. On board two Viktor Laznicka got the better of Yu Yangyi. Wei Yi made a mistake from the white side of the Sicilian against Jiri Stocek. Peter Michalik on the last board held Bu Xiangzhi to a draw.

Jiri Stocek has been the find of the tournament for Czech Republic. He has scored 4½/5 against decently strong opposition, but beating Wei Yi with the black pieces was a fantastic achievement.

The Czech team was able to beat the Chinese with a convincing 3-1 score. What an upset!


Viktor Laznicka explains his win over GM Yu Yangyi. He also tells us the secret of how Czech Republic is doing so well and mentions that if it were an individual event it would have scared him to play against these opponents. But in the team event, his confidence levels are very high.

American women unstoppable, American men stoppped

The American women's team consisting of (from top left): Tatev Abrahamyan, Anna Zatonskih, Irina Krush, Yu Jennifer, Sabina-Francesca Foiser.

Boris Gelfand tried hard but could not stop the World Championship Challenger Fabiano Caruana

Fabiano Caruana explains his win over Gelfand, his win against Anand and the upcoming World Championship Match

Wesley So was unable to get the better of Maxim Rodstein and Hikaru Nakamura also had to split the point with Tamir Nabaty. It was a must-win situation for Israel on board four and Emil Sutovsky delivered by defeating Samuel Shankland.


A move like a7 has to be made with great care. Either the position is now winning or completely drawn. Sutovsky had taken 30 minutes on his clock and had calculated all the variations. Check out what he had seen.

The first one in this tournament to beat an American, Emil sealed a 2-2 draw in the match between USA and Israel


Amazing fight back by Georgia! 

Somewhere around two hours into the match, the Georgian women's team were getting outplayed on nearly all the boards. But they kept their cool and the top two (Dzagnidze and Mkrtchian) boards drew their games. On board three Nino Batsiashvili lost her game to Anna Ushenina. Everything now hinged on the crucial final board clash between Bela Khotenashvili and Natalia Zhukova. 

Khotenashvili showed that she has the never say die spirit as she converted a completely losing position into a win and tied the scores 2-2


Final moments of Zhukova losing the plot and losing the game against Bela

Important results of round 5 (Women):

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
ARM Armenia 12½ 8 2 : 2 8 13 China CHN
USA United States of America 12 8 : ½ 8 13 Mongolia MGL
GEO1 Georgia 1 12½ 8 2 : 2 8 13½ Ukraine UKR
ARG Argentina 12½ 7 ½ : 7 13 India IND
GEO2 Georgia 2 12 7 : ½ 7 12½ Turkey TUR
CZE Czech Republic 13 6 : 7 11 Australia AUS
GRE Greece 11½ 6 1 : 3 6 12½ Azerbaijan AZE
TJK Tajikistan 11 6 1 : 3 6 12 Canada CAN
IRI Iran 11½ 6 : 6 12½ Vietnam VIE
ECU Ecuador 12 6 ½ : 6 10½ Italy ITA

Complete list

Photo gallery by Amruta Mokal

Armenia led by Elina Danielian were able to hold China to a 2-2 draw on the top board. Lei Tingje's win on board four was compensated by Lilit Mkrtchian's win on board two

"Bro, let's have some fun tonight!", Baadur Jobava and Markus Ragger making plans for the Bermuda party?!

Chinese players have this very nice design imprinted on their t-shirts

The founder of Russian Charity Foundation "Country of Talents" Polina Torochkova visited the tournament venue. She will organize the World Disabled Championships in 2019 in Moscow.

The Olympiad playing hall is one of the most confusing places you can ever be at the start of a round! Players, captains, journalists, photographers, arbiters and so many more people!

Ganguly's corner

Surya Sekhar Ganguly brings you his favourite positions from the round five of the event. We recommend that you spend some time with the positions and try to figure out the right way to play and then check the solutions. Doing so will help you improve your chess.


Ivanchuk realizes that he has the rooks well placed. However, his knight on e2 is not doing a great job So he manoeuvred it from e2 to f4. The idea is to get it to d3 followed by Nb4 with pressure on the c6 pawn.


Ivanchuk plays a great game under time pressure to beat his young opponent


David was able to find the best continuation and with a series of most accurate moves was able to finish off the game. 


What is a Bermuda Party?

As per our research, the first Bermuda party was held at the Olympiad in 1992. Players enjoyed it so much that it has become a part of the tradition at the Olympiads now. At every Olympiad, the night before the free day, a Bermuda party is held with music, alcohol and a lot of fun. It's basically an atmosphere of a pub, but here you have nearly 300 to 400 people from many different countries and the best of all, they are all chess players!

What happens in the Bermuda party, stays in the Bermuda party! But we bring you a short video that lets you understand the atmosphere of the Bermuda party!

Round 6 pairing in the open section

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
AZE Azerbaijan 16 10   :   10 15 Czech Republic CZE
POL Poland 16 10   :   10 13½ Ukraine UKR
ISR Israel 16 9   :   9 14½ Germany GER
BIH Bosnia & Herzegovina 16 8   :   9 14 United States of America USA
IRI Iran 15½ 8   :   8 14 China CHN
RUS Russia 14 8   :   8 15½ India IND
ENG England 12½ 8   :   8 15 France FRA
NED Netherlands 16½ 8   :   8 14½ Georgia 3 GEO3
NOR Norway 15½ 8   :   8 14 Croatia CRO
TUR Turkey 15 8   :   8 12½ Belarus BLR

Complete list

The top two board clashes are extremely interesting. Azerbaijan seems to be much better than Czech Republic, but the Czech guys have never been so unrelenting. After beating Iran and China they are all set for the new challenge. Poland, after beating Russia and France seems to be the clear favourite against Ukraine, but you can never know. On board three I would put my money on Israel. USA has a relatively easier match against Bosnia and Herzegovina. China is the favourite against Iran, but the young guns from Iran — Maghsoodloo, Firouzja, Tabatabaei and others would be looking to prove themselves against world-class teams. Russia versus India is a match to watch out for. 

Round 6 pairing in the women's section

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
IND India 16½ 9   :   10 15½ United States of America USA
UKR Ukraine 15½ 9   :   9 15 China CHN
RUS Russia 15½ 8   :   9 14½ Armenia ARM
AZE Azerbaijan 15½ 8   :   8 14½ Latvia LAT
ITA Italy 14 8   :   8 15½ Cuba CUB
GEO1 Georgia 1 14½ 9   :   9 15½ Georgia 2 GEO2
LTU Lithuania 14 8   :   8 14½ Kazakhstan KAZ
CAN Canada 15 8   :   8 14 Uzbekistan UZB
CZE Czech Republic 15½ 8   :   8 14 Iran IRI
MGL Mongolia 13½ 8   :   8 14½ Romania ROU

Complete list

The USA team will be facing India in round 6. It should be an exciting match to follow as the Indian team with Humpy and Harika are surely the stronger team on paper, but the Americans are in great form. Ukraine versus China will also be a close match to follow. Georgia 1 takes on Georgia 2!

Replay all games of open in round 5


Replay all games of women in round 5



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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