Batumi Olympiad Round 8: USA beats Azerbaijan in a thriller

by Sagar Shah
10/3/2018 – It was perhaps the most hard-fought round of the tournament. Nine out of the first ten matches ended decisively in the open section. We now have a sole leader — USA in the open section. The US team managed to beat Azerbaijan in a thrilling match. In the women's section, Ukraine managed to beat overnight leaders Armenia to take the top spot. They are joined by the Chinese girls. With three rounds to go this Olympiad is excitingly placed with the biggest match today being USA taking on Poland in the open section. Report from Batumi by Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal.

The Aggressive Classical Dutch for Black The Aggressive Classical Dutch for Black

The Dutch (1.d4 f5) is known as a very aggressive and unbalanced opening, resulting in the lowest percentage of draws among the most common replies to 1.d4 . The opening became popular during the 1951 World Championship match, where both players tried it successfully. Today, players known for spectacular attacking chess are using the opening as a dangerous, surprise weapon.

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Initials moments before the start of the 8th round! Enjoy the feel of the atmosphere!

It was the most exciting round of the entire event. In the top ten matches we had nine decisive ones and only one draw! That shows how hard the players are trying and also the fact that when the stakes start to rise, mistakes happen more often. This is how the results look for the eighth round:

Results of 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 2 : 2 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 3 : 1 10 16 Belarus BLR
SWE Sweden 19 10 1 : 3 10 17½ Austria AUT

Complete list

The biggest news of the day was definitely team USA beating Azerbaijan. The Azeri guys have been playing some phenomenal chess at this event with Mamedyarov leading from the front. It seemed as if they would continue their good form when Teimour Radjabov scored the first blood by beating Wesley So. Hikaru Nakamura couldn't get much against Arkadij Naiditsch and had to split the point. The score was 1½/2 in favour of Azerbaijan with two games in progress. Fabiano had a slight edge against Mamedyarov and Shankland was pressing against Rauf Mamedov. It didn't seem as if USA would be able to win both the games, especially because there was so much pressure. But both Fabiano and Sam delivered and USA managed to beat Azerbaijan with a score of 2½-1½.

Team USA extremely focused and concentrated on the job at hand | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The Azeri team is always in good spirits before the game, but they met their match in the form of USA | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Fabiano Caruana has been absolutely splendid in this tournament | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Caruana is just 4.5 Elo points away from Carlsen! | Source 2700chess

Fabiano Caruana explains his win against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

 

Final moments of Fabiano Caruana beating Shakhriyar Mamedyarov captured on camera

Sam Shankland speaks about his game and also about Anish Giri calling him a weak-link in team USA

 
 

Sam realized that the only break available to him was to play g5 followed by h5. But for that he should be well prepared and the king should not stand on g8. Hence he played Kf7 and moved his king all the way to b7 where it was safe and then executed the plan on the kingside. 

Final moments of Shankland beating Rauf Mamedov

The Polish team fought really hard and had an edge in the match against Armenia, but in the end all four games ended in a draw and it was a 2-2 tie | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Jan-Krzysztof Duda speaks about his amazing game against Levon Aronian!

 
 

Sasikiran Krishnan beat GM Jiri Stocek on board four to ensure that team India beat the Czech Republic, 2½-1½, with all other games drawn

The German team has been doing really well and managed to beat Spain thanks to the victory of Daniel Fridman on board three over Joseph Martinez | Photo: Amruta Mokal

In the other decisive results of the day England managed to beat Israel with a score of 2½-1½. Luke McShane came out on top board three by beating Maxim Rodshtein. France was able to beat Ukraine and Netherlands was defeated by China.

Ranking in the Open section

Rk. Team Team
1 United States of America USA
2 Poland POL
3 Azerbaijan AZE
4 India IND
5 France FRA
6 China CHN
7 Armenia ARM
8 Germany GER
9 England ENG
10 Norway NOR
11 Russia RUS
12 Croatia CRO
13 Moldova MDA
14 Italy ITA
15 Austria AUT
16 Israel ISR
17 Spain ESP
18 Vietnam VIE
19 Ukraine UKR
20 Netherlands NED

Complete list

In the women's section, we now have two leaders with the score of 14.0/16 — Ukraine and China. There are five teams on 13.0/16 and they include USA, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Hungary and Kazakhstan. Hungary and Kazakhstan managed to create the upsets of the day by beating India and Georgia 1 respectively.

Results of Round 8 (Women)

Team Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team Team
UKR Ukraine 20 12 3 : 1 13 20 Armenia ARM
CHN China 20 12 : ½ 12 19½ Romania ROU
USA United States of America 19 11 3 : 1 11 19 Italy ITA
HUN Hungary 19½ 11 3 : 1 11 20½ India IND
GEO2 Georgia 2 20 11 : 11 20 Azerbaijan AZE
GEO1 Georgia 1 *) 19 12 1 : 3 11 20 Kazakhstan KAZ
NED Netherlands 18½ 10 0 : 4 10 19½ Russia RUS
IRI Iran 18½ 10 : ½ 10 19½ Peru PER
POL Poland 19½ 10 1 : 3 10 18½ Mongolia MGL
VIE Vietnam 21 10 2 : 2 10 19 Cuba CUB

The Armenian women's team had been doing really well in this tournament, but they were beaten comprehensively by the Ukrainian team. Elina Danielian lost to Anna Muzychuk and Anna Sargsyan (board three) lost to Anna Ushenina | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The top board of the Ukrainian team Anna Muzychuk defeated Elina Danielian | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Anna Ushenina also won her game against Anna Sargsyan | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Gulnar Mammadova is pregnant and yet playing such a high-stress event. Kudos to her! The Azerbaijani team won their match 2½-1½ against Georgia 2 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Team India suffered a defeat at the hands of Hungary 3-1 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Thanks to victories by Tatev Abrahamyan (above) and Irina Krush, team USA is back on track and beat Italy with a score of 3-1 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Zhansaya Abdumalik with her win help Kazakhstan to beat Georgia 1

Ranking in the Women section

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

Complete list

Photo Gallery by Amruta Mokal

We saw a lot of players with books today. Here are a few:

Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura preparing for the game by reading a book! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

That's what Hikaru's reading! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

One of the books we found in the playing hall | Photo: Amruta Mokal

David Navara shows the book that he carries (on Korchnoi) with himself to prove to Vishy that he isn't using any chess analysis from the book | Photo: Amruta Mokal

That's the number of arbiters you need to hold a successful Olympiad! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

One of the most famous photographers in the world Boris Dolmatovsky is 80+ years old, but is still searching for nice moments in the playing hall! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

We could caption this as a reaction after making a blunder, but in reality is fellow is having a quick nap! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

President of IBCA Charudatta Jadhav (right) with his escort Murthy Manjunatha | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The official photographer of the event David Llada has many jobs to handle. One of them being taking care of his 9-year-old daughter Nahui. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Elmira Mirzoeva is reporting here for Russian television | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Nosing around! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Everyone loves a selfie with Vishy! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Wesley So spends some time with his friends from the Philippines before the game! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

A photograph with the star — Phiona Mutesi, also known as the Queen of Katwe | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Three Ukrainians: Coach of the Ukrainian team Olexander Sulypa, top player Pavel Eljanov and FIDE Press Officer Anastasiya Karlovich | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Those are the twin sisters from Colombia — Angela and Beatriz Franco! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The Muzychuk sisters! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Sisters from Hungary Anita and Gara Ticia | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The Olympiad is a wonderful place to meet your friends — Lilit Mkrtchian (right) from Armenia with Elisabeth Paehtz (left) from Germany! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

ChessBase won the FIDE Commission of Chess Journalists award for the best chess news website. ChessBase Editor-in-Chief Macauley Peterson receives the award on behalf of his entire team! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Rani Hamid won the love for chess award. She has qualified for the Women's World Cup that will be held later this year on the basis of winning Asian Zonals. All of this at the age of 73! It was a great gesture by FIDE and the organizers of the Olympiad to felicitate her. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Turkish chess Federation President Gulkiz Tulay receives the award from FIDE for the best website maintained by any national federation | Photo: Amruta Mokal


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 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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Maturner Maturner 10/5/2018 02:18
Shankland is not a weak link. He has been outstanding in this tournament. USA chess has never been better than it is now.
psamant psamant 10/4/2018 07:42
Congratulations to Chessbase and Macauley Peterson!
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/4/2018 01:19
I don't understand : The Caruana - Mamedyarov game doesn't figure in replayable form on this page ? (And even less with annotations...) It is clearly the Game of the Day, though, isn't it ??? (And perhaps even - we will see later for this... - the most important game of these Olympiads...) And I must go elsewhere to find it ; VERY difficult to understand !
Denix Denix 10/3/2018 02:46
Congratulations Chessbase!!
badbishop1 badbishop1 10/3/2018 02:13
Very nice report!
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