Batumi Olympiad Round 7: The medals are not too far away!

by Sagar Shah
10/2/2018 – With just four rounds to go, we are now closing in on the last lap of the 43rd Batumi Chess Olympiad 2018. The seventh round of the women's event saw the lead change hands. Armenia beat the USA and are now the sole leaders. In the men's section, Poland and Azerbaijan drew their games to stay at the top but are now joined by the USA. Armenia is standing solely on the second position with 12.0/14 in the open section. Read on for some instructive positions, exciting pictures and videos that tell you more details about the matches. | Pictured: It was the first time that all the three Polgar sisters (L-R: Judit, Sofia and Susan) were commentating together | Photo: Amruta Mokal

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Everything to play for

The story unfolds with each round as we get closer to the finish line. "Our team can win all their matches and still stand on the podium at the end of the tournament." This is the way in which most of the fans from 189 countries around the world are thinking right now. But for people who are watching the event from close quarters realize how difficult it is to fight for even two match points! Each and every team is giving it their all and winning a match takes a tremendous amount of effort and hard work. One top team who might just be out of the medal race is Russia, who drew their match in the seventh round against Serbia! With heavyweights like Karjakin, Kramnik, Vitiugov and Jakovenko not being able to provide a win, you can imagine how tough it must be out there!

The players make their way to the playing hall as the round is about to begin in a few minutes!

Let's have a look at how the results panned out in the seventh round of the open section.

Results of Round 7 (Open)

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
POL Poland 18½ 12 2 : 2 12 19 Azerbaijan AZE
CRO Croatia 17 10 1 : 3 11 17½ United States of America USA
UKR Ukraine 15 10 2 : 2 10 16½ China CHN
GER Germany 16½ 10 2 : 2 10 19 Netherlands NED
CZE Czech Republic 16 10 2 : 2 10 18 Israel ISR
BLR Belarus 15 10 1 : 3 10 16½ Armenia ARM
IND India 17½ 9 : 10 15 Egypt EGY
HUN Hungary 15 9 1 : 3 9 17 France FRA
ALG Algeria 15 9 ½ : 9 17 Spain ESP
SRB Serbia 15 9 2 : 2 9 16 Russia RUS

Complete list

Poland and Azerbaijan deadlock

Both Poland and Azerbaijan have been playing phenomenal chess at this event and it was an evenly matched encounter when they both clashed against each other in the seventh round. Three boards ended in quick draws and it was the top board of both the teams trying hard for the full point. Both Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov fought until the very end before agreeing to a draw. Mamedyarov was slightly better through most part of the game, but the Polish youngster never let his opponent's advantage increase.

After three draws, it all hinged on the game between Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Chess can become boring and dull for a man who is in the best form of his life!

Azerbaijan and Poland have now been joined by USA on the top of the table with 13 points.

USA too strong for Croatia

USA had no real difficulties in dispatching Croatia as Shankland and Wesley So won their games quite early. Nakamura was never really better in the game, but was not worse as well. The person under some pressure was Fabiano Caruana who played on the top board against GM Ivan Saric. Fabi found some critical moves and drew the game.

Different players have different ways to prepare for their game!

Lotis Key, Wesley's foster mother, likes to find her space in the stands, sit alone and read

Wesley So who was playing with the white pieces against Marin Bosiocic found the move h4! which has never been played from the 1333 games that have reached the above position!


It just shows how rich and diverse chess is and how playing h4! in the opening can make any position interesting!

Israel and Czech Republic exchange blows

Navara beat Gelfand on board one and Hracek beat Nabaty on board three, but the Israeli players pulled it back with Rodstein getting the better of Laznicka and Smirin defeating Michalik.

Smirin 1-0 Michalik

How to play the KID? GM Ilya Smirin explains!


What's wrong with Russia?

Russia has already dropped four match points in this tournament. Two against Poland, one against India and now one more against Serbia. The seventh round draw against Serbia was quite a big blow to the team's medal chances. Karjakin and Vitiugov took quick draws with the black pieces. Perhaps this was their strategy, but if things went wrong in one of the two remaining games, they would lose a match point. This is exactly what happened. Although Kramnik won his game, Jakovenko lost to Marko Nenezic. 

Karjakin and Kramnik

Sergey Karjakin (left) couldn't fire on the top board against Serbia | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Kramnik played a great game of chess to beat Milos Roganovic | Photo: Niklesh Jain


Jakovenko was the casualty for team Russia. He went down deep into the endgame. But his opponent had a chance to finish him off sooner with a beautiful combination. Check out what Nenezic missed:


China and Ukraine had draws on all four boards of the open section

Belarus gives a tough fight to Armenia

Belarus is a strong team with Kovalev on top board followed by Zhigalko, Aleksandrov and Fedorov and gave the Armenians a run for their money, but in the end, lost out due to Hovhannisyan scoring a win over Fedorov

It's pretty rare to see Aronian getting outprepared in this manner in the opening

The Hungarian team is strong, but it was no match for France which won the match 3-1

'MVL' managed to trick Peter Leko in an extremely complex game, after it seemed the Frenchman was worse out of the opening

Analysis by GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly

The battle between two of the most solid teams Germany (left) and the Netherlands ended in a 2-2 draw, with draws on all four boards

The Indian team did have a few nervous moments — Vidit Gujrathi lost his game to Adham Fawzy — before crossing the finish line to beat Egypt 2½-1½


GM Bassem Amin talks about the game with his idol Vishy Anand

(Women's Section) Armenians beat USA to snatch sole lead

Jennifer Yu has been the find of the tournament for USA — despite the US team losing to Armenia, she managed to win against Maria Kursova and has scored a stunning 6½/7 so far.

Anna Sargsyan provided an important victory by overpowering her out of form opponent Sabina Foisor

Armenia is now the sole leader after Elena Danielian and Anna Sargsyan helped Armenia beat USA 2½-1½.

The women in orange posed no threats to the Chinese women. China won against Netherlands 3-1.

The Muzychuk sisters. Mariya (right) managed to beat Mitra Hejazipour to give Ukraine a 2½-1½ win over Iran

The match between Indian women players and Georgia ended in a 2-2 deadlocked as Indian team captain GM Jacob Aagaard reviews the match

The Russian women did manage to beat Greece 3-1, but it was only after Valentina Gunina lost her game to a 2260 rated opponent Anastasia Avramidou in just 20 moves! 


Results of Round 7 (Women)

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 3 : 1 10 17½ Netherlands NED
IRI Iran 17 10 : 10 17½ Ukraine UKR
ITA Italy 17 10 2 : 2 10 18 Azerbaijan AZE
ROU Romania 17 10 : 10 16½ Uzbekistan UZB
IND India 18½ 10 2 : 2 11 17 Georgia 1 *) GEO1
PHI Philippines 16 9 1 : 3 9 17 Georgia 2 GEO2
KAZ Kazakhstan 16½ 9 : ½ 9 15½ Argentina ARG
PER Peru 17½ 9 2 : 2 9 16 Lithuania LTU
SRB Serbia 15½ 9 ½ : 9 16 Hungary HUN

Where things stand

Azerbaijan, Poland and USA are leading the tournament with 13.0/14. Armenia lost to Azerbaijan, but apart from that they have won all their games and are on the second spot. After that, there are ten teams on 11.0/14. Based on their performance in this tournament, all of these teams are dangerous and can fight for the medals. Iran and Russia are two more teams on 10.0/14 who can really make a dash towards the top.

Ranking in the Open section

Rk. Team Team
1 Azerbaijan AZE
2 Poland POL
3 United States of America USA
4 Armenia ARM
5 India IND
6 Spain ESP
7 Israel ISR
8 France FRA
9 China CHN
10 Ukraine UKR
11 Germany GER
12 Czech Republic CZE
13 Netherlands NED
14 England ENG
15 Iran IRI
16 Russia RUS
17 Sweden SWE
18 Norway NOR
19 Vietnam VIE
20 Turkey TUR

Complete list

It must be mentioned that the first tiebreak is the match points (2 for win, 0 for loss, 1 for draw), the second one is Sonneborn-Berger, which essentially is the points your opposing team has scored multiplied by your result against them. And the third tiebreak is game points. With this order of tiebreak, it becomes more important that you have played stronger opposition than scoring a lot of game points against them.

Ranking in the Women section

The Armenian team looks really dangerous at this point. Ukraine, China, Georgia 1 and Romania are on 12.0/14, one point behind Armenia. Romania has been the big surprise of this event. USA, India, Azerbaijan and others on 11.0/14 are strong teams but it seems they would really need to push harder in order to fight for the gold. 

Rk. Team Team
1 Armenia ARM
2 China CHN
3 Ukraine UKR
4 Georgia 1 GEO1
5 Romania ROU
6 United States of America USA
7 India IND
8 Azerbaijan AZE
9 Italy ITA
10 Hungary HUN
11 Georgia 2 GEO2
12 Kazakhstan KAZ
13 Russia RUS
14 Iran IRI
15 Poland POL
16 Mongolia MGL
17 Vietnam VIE
18 Uzbekistan UZB
19 Czech Republic CZE
20 Lithuania LTU

Complete list

Photo Gallery by Amruta Mokal

What do the players do before the start of the round?! Talk and smile!

GM Ivan Cheparinov became a proud father today; his wife GM Antaoneta Stefanova had their first baby, Melissandra.

The thoroughly supportive Elshan Moradiabadi is present at the Olympiad as the coach of Papua New Guinea. He pumps up his fiancé Sabina Foisor before the game.

Here's some footage captured by Amruta Mokal!

Red is everywhere I

Red is everywhere II

Red is everywhere III

As election date comes closer, more gifts are being distributed. These bags are being given by the Dvorkovich team to all the participants.

Kema Goryaeva with match arbiter Mohammed Faizal

The water consumption each day is mammoth when you have nearly 2,000 people under the same roof

Video Gallery

The Indonesian team has an extremely strong youngster on the top board Novendra Priasmoro. We speak to him about his sudden rise in the world of chess. From a rating of 2300, Novendra has reached an Elo of 2498 in nearly a year and has two GM norms. We also talk to his team mates Jodi Azarya Setyaki, Sean Winshend Cuhendi and Andyka Pitra. Get to know more about the Indonesian team at the Batumi Olympiad 2018.

What do you know about Malawi? It lies in southeastern Africa. IM Sagar Shah got in touch with three players from Malawi - Chilly Chipanga, Ellen Mpinganjira, and Richard Chiona. We talk to them about the chess culture in Malawi and also the efforts they are taking to make the sport popular in the country. At the same time, we try to get more insights into the lives of Chipanga, Ellen and Richard.

We were talking to Franklin Kouya about chess in Ivory Coast and he tells us that the country has recently introduced the program of Chess in Schools. We ask him why did the schools agree. At this point, Franklin calls out Marie who is standings a few metres away and tells us Marie's (and other boys and girls) story which motivated the shools to pick up chess. 

Just have a look at Marie when she speaks. The fire in her eyes, the smile on her face the excitement of becoming the best women chess player in the world. These are expressions which have to be preserved and nurtured and facilities have to be made available to people in Ivory coast.

Pairings for Round 8 (Open)

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
USA United States of America 20½ 13   :   13 21 Azerbaijan AZE
ARM Armenia 19½ 12   :   13 20½ Poland POL
CZE Czech Republic 18 11   :   11 20 India IND
ESP Spain 20½ 11   :   11 18½ Germany GER
ISR Israel 20 11   :   11 17 England ENG
FRA France 20 11   :   11 17 Ukraine UKR
CHN China 18½ 11   :   11 21 Netherlands NED
CRO Croatia 18 10   :   10 20 Iran IRI
RUS Russia 18 10   :   10 16 Belarus BLR
SWE Sweden 19 10   :   10 17½ Austria AUT

Pairings for Round 8 (Women)

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
UKR Ukraine 20 12   :   13 20 Armenia ARM
CHN China 20 12   :   12 19½ Romania ROU
USA United States of America 19 11   :   11 19 Italy ITA
HUN Hungary 19½ 11   :   11 20½ India IND
GEO2 Georgia 2 20 11   :   11 20 Azerbaijan AZE
GEO1 Georgia 1 *) 19 12   :   11 20 Kazakhstan KAZ
NED Netherlands 18½ 10   :   10 19½ Russia RUS
IRI Iran 18½ 10   :   10 19½ Peru PER
POL Poland 19½ 10   :   10 18½ Mongolia MGL
VIE Vietnam 21 10   :   10 19 Cuba CUB

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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