Batumi Olympiad Round 6: Poland, Azerbaijan lead in open and USA, Armenia in the women's

by Sagar Shah
10/1/2018 – Watch Round 7 LIVE! After six rounds we are still trying to find a sole leader in the open section. We now have Poland and Azerbaijan, both the teams on 12.0/12 facing off against each other. The Polish team beat Ukraine, while Azerbaijan were just too strong for Czech Republic. In the women's section, USA maintained its lead but were joined by Armenia who got the better of Russia. In this report you will find analysis of the key encounters and also a lot of videos and excellent pictures.

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Different routes to the same destination

For a journalist, the World Chess Olympiad is a bliss! You turn to your right you have a story, you turn to your left you have an interesting person to interview. The only problem is that the Olympiad lasts for just 12 days! If only, it could go on for a bit longer! In our bid to provide maximum updates to the readers, Amruta and I decided to leave early from our Hotel Hilton to the playing hall. As luck would have it, we got delayed in reaching the venue due to a flat tire!

A flat tire on the day when you want to reach early is always irritating!

We did reach the venue on time and the sixth round was going to be an exciting one. There were four teams with a perfect score of 10.0/10. They were Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Poland and Ukraine. It was interesting to note that all the big guns like USA, Russia, China and India were pushed behind. As these four teams took on each other we once again saw two decisive results which meant that we were left with two leaders: Azerbaijan led by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov beat Czech Republic and the Polish team led by youngster Jan Krzysztof Duda ensured that the Polish team outwitted Ukraine.

Top teams after six days

Azerbaijan and Poland are the two teams that are on 100% score right now with 12.0/12. They both have played some phenomenal bit of chess to reach where they are right now. 

The Azeri team (clockwise from top left): Teimour Radjabov, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Eltaj Safarli, Arkadij Naiditsch and Rauf Mamedov.

The Polish Team (clockwise from top left): Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Jan Krzysztof Duda, Kamil Dragun, Jacek Tomczak, and Kacper Piorun

The Azerbaijan team has been relying heavily on its top boards to fire. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov has already scored wins over Michael Adams, Levon Aronian and David Navara. Not to mention he has reached a live Elo rating of 2826, just 13 Elo points behind Magnus Carlsen. For Poland, however, it has been quite the opposite. Their lower boards are the ones who are causing the maximum damage. Jacek Tomczak, Kacper Piorun and Kamil Dragun are all playing some amazing chess and have a rating performance of above 2750. It will be interesting to view the seventh round when these two team fight it out against each other! 

Azerbaijan's win over Czech Republic

There was no doubt about this fact that Azerbaijan was the stronger team. But once the Czech Republic had beaten China in the previous round, no one was taking them lightly. However, Azerbaijan is different from other teams in the fact that their top board, Mamedyarov, is in the best form of his life. After demolishing Aronian in round five, Shakh had absolutely no difficulties in outplaying David Navara with the white pieces. The second win for the Azeri team was scored by Arkadij Naiditsch and a convincing 3-1 result was the final scoreline.

Stocek (right) has been playing some excellent chess for the Czech team in the past rounds. He wasn't able to cause much damage to Mamedov with the white pieces

Analysis by GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly

Poland beats Ukraine

Until now it had been the lower boards that were doing really well for Poland, but in round six it was the top board, youngster Jan-Krzyzstof Duda who provided the big breakthrough for the Poles. He managed to outplay Vassily Ivanchuk and bring home the full point. Rest of the boards were not without action, and the assessments fluctuated quite a bit. Wojtaszek and Eljanov ended in a draw. Piorun Kacper was completely winning against Kryvoruchko but couldn't convert the better position. It seemed as Korobov would level the scores for Ukraine but Kamil Dragun fought on bravely and managed to hold. A well-deserved 2½-1½ victory for the Polish team.

Polish stars Duda (in the Nike shirt) and Piorun enter the tournament hall

Coach Bartosz Socko tells us about the victory of Poland over Ukraine

It was a close fight, but the Poles came out on top with a score of 2½-1½

Analysis by GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly

Winning against the Grünfeld

The Grünfeld is a highly dynamic opening in which Black's position often seems to hang together by a single thread; and yet, this apparently precarious equilibrium appears to be enough to make it entirely viable — up to the highest level.

The Americans had absolutely no difficulties in winning against Bosnia and Herzegovinia. They won the match 3½-½ with the minor upset being that Hikaru was held to a draw by Dejan Marjanovic (2382)

One of the key encounters of the sixth round was between India and Russia. The Russians made a smart move by resting Sergey Karjakin. This is a luxury which only a team like theirs can afford. The main idea was that Anand didn't really have a great score against Nepomniachtchi. But because of this change, their top player Vladimir Kramnik had to accept the black pieces. Well, you cannot get everything! Russia's surprise move almost worked when Nepo had a great position against Vishy, but towards the end, he made some errors and the game was drawn. All other boards also ended in draws, with Adhiban having good chances to press against Jakovenko.

The two great ambassadors of the game — Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik were not pitted against each other, but still greeted each other with a handshake and big smiles!

The match meant a lot for the Russians. You can see Arkadij Dvorkovich in the picture with a famous Russian footballer. Can you guess who he is?

Three Indians who are above 2700 Elo at the moment in the country!

Captain of the Russian team Andrey Filatov, who is a billionaire, serves tea to the players. Check out this video to get more information on what special tea the Russians are drinking

The Germans managed to hold Israel to a draw, after Daniel Friedman won his game on board three but Sutovsky managed to beat Rasmus Svane

Only White wins in India vs USA

The top match in the women's section was between USA and India. It was a match where all the white players won their games. 

Anna Zatonskih was having a great event with 4½/5, but was beaten in the sixth round by Koneru Humpy

Indians took an early lead in the match with two wins by Koneru Humpy and Tania Sachdev, but the US team pulled it back with wins by Irina Krush and Jennifer Yu

Learn from USA's best woman player, GM Irina Krush

Armenia stuns Russia

With Kosteniuk, Goryachkina, Gunina and Pogonina the Russian team looked really formidable. However, they are just not able to perform at their best level. In the sixth round, they were simply crushed by the Armenian team with a score of 3-1. Lilit Mkrtchian provided the first win over Aleksandra Goryachkina. This was followed by a victory by Siranush Ghukasiyan over Natalija Pogonina. The other two games ended in a draw and it was a convincing win for Armenia.

It's very difficult to understand why the Russian teams are not able to perform well at this Olympiad

Losing a basic rook endgame proves costly for Ukraine

Ukraine was cruising towards victory thanks to some excellent chess by Mariya Muzychuk to beat Shen Yang. Board one had ended in a draw and so had board four. When I saw the position on the third board between Anna Ushenina and Huang Qian, I lost my interest in that match, as I was sure that the position was drawn with ease. This is the position I was looking at:


But on move 119, Ushenina make a critical mistake.


Although Shen Yang lost her game, China managed to salvage a draw thanks to the efforts of Huang Qian

Georgia 1 shows no mercy to compatriots!

Georgia 1 was facing Georgia 2 in the sixth round. It was a very hard fought match, but in the end, it was Lela Javakhashvili's victory Inga Charkhalashvili that made all the difference.

Round 7 Pairings (top 10)

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
POL Poland 18½ 12   :   12 19 Azerbaijan AZE
CRO Croatia 17 10   :   11 17½ United States of America USA
UKR Ukraine 15 10   :   10 16½ China CHN
GER Germany 16½ 10   :   10 19 Netherlands NED
CZE Czech Republic 16 10   :   10 18 Israel ISR
BLR Belarus 15 10   :   10 16½ Armenia ARM
IND India 17½ 9   :   10 15 Egypt EGY
HUN Hungary 15 9   :   9 17 France FRA
ALG Algeria 15 9   :   9 17 Spain ESP
SRB Serbia 15 9   :   9 16 Russia RUS

Complete list

No one would have thought that Poland and Azerbaijan would clash each other at the end of six rounds and that too with a 100% score. But the match between them is going to be keenly contested. Ukraine against China will be great to follow as well as Germany against Netherlands. 

Round 7 Pairings (top 10)

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
ARM Armenia 17½ 11   :   11 17½ United States of America USA
CHN China 17 10   :   10 17½ Netherlands NED
IRI Iran 17 10   :   10 17½ Ukraine UKR
ITA Italy 17 10   :   10 18 Azerbaijan AZE
ROU Romania 17 10   :   10 16½ Uzbekistan UZB
IND India 18½ 10   :   11 17 Georgia 1 GEO1
PHI Philippines 16 9   :   9 17 Georgia 2 GEO2
KAZ Kazakhstan 16½ 9   :   9 15½ Argentina ARG
PER Peru 17½ 9   :   9 16 Lithuania LTU
SRB Serbia 15½ 9   :   9 16 Hungary HUN

Complete list

Armenia and USA take on each other. India against Georgia1 is also a match to look forward to two of the top teams clash against each other.

Photo Gallery by Amruta Mokal

Players observed a minute's silence for the victims of the Tsunami that struck Indonesia a couple of days ago. Above is the Indonesian women's team

These personalities changed women's chess forever by taking it to new heights! (From left to right): Nana Alexandria, Maia Chiburdanidze, Susan Polgar, Nona Gaprindashvili, Sofia Polgar, Nana Ioseliani and Judit Polgar!

Sopiko to Nino Batsiashvili (who took rest in the sixth round): "Do you know Anish has the highest performance rating in this tournament?!" 2944!

"I should also think about getting my hair coloured purple!"

The Hong Kong team with Arkadij Dvorkovich and Vishy Anand

Top players cannot breathe easy until the games have begun. Fans constantly ask them for pictures and autographs before the round!

Chess is like boxing, with your mind!

Guliskhan Nakhbayeva is the best performing Kazakh at this event. She is on 4½/5.

Legendary Blind chess player Zsiltzova-Lisenko Lubov looks over the game of Anna Stolarczyk. They are playing for the team of IBCA.

Do you know the great gentleman on the right? He is none other than the famous chess composer David Gurgenidze. Here is one of his famous compositions. Try your hand at solving it before checking the solution. It appears in the famous Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual:


All games of Round 6 (Open)


All games of Round 6 (Women)


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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