Bursa: Turkey beats Israel, USA leads the field

1/12/2010 – The big surprise in round seven was Turkey's 2½-1½ win over Israel (Sutovsky and Rodshtein lost to Yilmaz and Esen). The USA beat Greece with the same score, while Russia drew Armenia. That meant that the US is now in the sole lead, with twelve match points to Russia's eleven. Azerbaijan and India follow with nine match points each. Two rounds to go.

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World Team Championship 2010

The World Team Championship, which is organised every four years, but has been delayed by one year this time, is taking place in Bursa from January 3rd to 14th 2010. The teams are from Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Israel, USA, India, Brazil, Egypt, Turkey and Greece. Top players are Levon Aronian (2786), Vugar Gashimov (2758), Boris Gelfand (2758), Alexander Morozevich (2750), Teimour Radjabov (2748), Alexander Grischuk (2736), Dmitry Jakovenko (2736), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2719), Hikaru Nakamura (2715), Evgeny Tomashevsky (2708), Vladimir Malakhov (2706), Vladimir Akopian (2700), Nikita Vityugov (2694), Gabriel Sargissian (2676), Pentala Harikrishna (2672), Alexander Onischuk (2672), Emil Sutovsky (2666) and Krishnan Sasikiran (2653).

Round seven report

By Michael von Keitz

A new day, and a new tournament leader. With the Russians proving unable to hold off the Armenians, allowing a drawn match, the Americans seized the opportunity to climb atop the standings, taking Greece to task by a slim 2½-1½ margin. Lagging desperately behind the leaders, third-placed Azerbaijan saw the need for wide margins, and beat Brazil soundly with a 3½-½ match score. Somewhat surprisingly, the Indian team had their hands full with Egypt, ultimately squeaking by with a 2½-1½ result. The real surprise of the round, however, was Turkey, which scored its first match victory of the tournament over the much more experienced Israeli team, as Sutovsky finally decided to show he is human in a loss at the hands of Yilmaz.

With yet another providential victory, Nakamura sits on a stellar score of 5.5/6, while Adly held a draw against Sasikiran to bring his individual tally to 4.5/7. In addition, players like Mamedyarov, who sits at 6.5/7, are also enjoying the consequences of being in excellent form. Some key games of the round included Pashikian-Malakhov, Yilmaz-Sutovsky, Esen-Rodshtein, Abdel Razik-Gopal, Mamedov-Diamant, Kotronias-Nakamura and Milos-Mamedyarov.

In facing one of the frontrunners in this tournament, the Armenians showed steadfast resolve in holding the match even. Unfortunately, it looked as though they may have missed out on an opportunity for more in the form of a titanic struggle on the fourth board. Following a relatively unexplored line in the Slav Defence, it was Pashikian who chose to contribute to theory with 10.Bd3, departing from the previously tried 10.Be2.


Armenian GM Arman Pashikian at the start of his traumatic round seven game

Pashikian,A (2647) - Malakhov,V (2716) [D15]
7th World Team Championship Bursa TUR (7), 11.01.2010
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.e3 b5 6.b3 Bg4 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 e6 9.Qd1 Nbd7 10.Bd3 Bb4 11.Bd2 0-0 12.0-0 Qe7 13.cxd5 cxd5 14.a4 Rfc8 15.Qe1 bxa4 16.Rxa4 Rcb8 17.Qd1 Rb6 18.Qc2

Things seem to be going relatively smoothly for Malakhov, until he uncorks 18...Nb8??, allowing White to garner a pawn, in addition to forcing a queenless simplification in which White had two bishops for Black's two knights. 18...Nb8 19.Rxb4 Rxb4 20.Nxd5 exd5 21.Qc8+ Qe8 22.Qxe8+ Nxe8 23.Bxb4 Nc6 24.Bd2 Rb8 25.Rc1 Rb6 26.Rc5 Ne7 27.b4 f5 28.g4 g6 29.f3 Kf7 30.Be1 Ke6 31.Kf1 h5 32.Ke2 hxg4 33.hxg4 Nd6 34.gxf5+ gxf5 35.Bc2 Nb7 36.Rc7 Nd8 37.Ra7 Ndc6 38.Ra8 Nb8

39.Ra7? It seems White relieves some of the pressure with this move – Fritz suggests activation of the king to be preferable. 39...f4 40.Bd3 fxe3 41.Kxe3 Nf5+ 42.Bxf5+ Kxf5 43.Rf7+ Rf6 44.Rb7 Nc6 45.Bd2 Rg6 46.Rc7 Rf6 47.Rd7 Ke6 48.Rb7 Kf5 49.b5 axb5 50.Rxb5 Ke6 51.Rb6 Kf5 52.Rb5 Ke6 53.Rb7 Kf5 54.Rh7 Ke6 55.Be1 Rf7 56.Rh5 Rf5 57.Rh6+ Rf6 58.Rh7 Rf7 59.Rh6+ Rf6 60.Rh5 Rf5 61.Rh8 Nxd4 62.Rh6+ Kd7 63.Kxd4 Rxf3 64.Kxd5

Here, at the cost of his knight, Black had rid the board of all pawns. Despite continuing on in the bishop and rook versus rook ending that resulted, the issue could not be forced beyond the theoretical draw, and Pashikian – reluctantly – accepted that the fifty-move rule would inevitably come into effect a few short moves after the 113th, the juncture at which the players ended it. Draw. [Click to replay]


A terrible blunder and a miracle escape: Russian GM Vladimir Malakhov

In order to pull off the upset over Israel today, Turkey required solid play on the part of all their players, which they were more than happy to provide. Yilmaz-Sutovsky, in particular, highlighted the extent to which these players competed above their paltry ratings.

Yilmaz,M (2478) - Sutovsky,E (2657) [C02]
7th World Team Championship Bursa TUR (7), 11.01.2010
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.a3 f6 7.Bd3 fxe5 8.Nxe5 Nf6 9.0-0 Bd6 10.Nxc6. In an Advance Variation of the French, the game has followed a line from the 2008 Belgian Championship, deviating on this move. 10...bxc6 11.dxc5 Bxc5 12.b4 Bd6 13.c4 Qb8 14.h3 a5 15.cxd5 cxd5 16.bxa5 0-0 17.Nc3 Rxa5 18.Rb1 Bb7 19.Nb5 Bc5 20.Qe1 Qg3

21.Qxe6+. White exploits the opportunity to go up a pawn, playing this move almost immediately. Yilmaz holds on to the pawn throughout, demonstrating, as many of these players have, that maintaining a material advantage can yield results. 21...Kh8 22.Be3 Bxe3 23.Qxe3 Qxe3 24.fxe3 Ba6 25.Rb3 h6 26.Rfb1 Nd7 27.Nc7 Bc4 28.Rc3 Ne5 29.Bc2 Ra7 30.Ne6 Rfa8 31.Nd4 Nd7 32.a4 Nc5 33.Ra3 Kg8 34.Rb4 Rf7 35.Nf3 Raf8 36.Ra1 Re7 37.Ra3 Ref7 38.Bd1 Nd3 39.Rb6 Re7 40.a5 Ra8 41.Nd2 Ne5 42.Rb1 Rea7 43.Rba1 Rb8 44.Nxc4 dxc4 45.a6 Rb6 46.Bc2 Nc6 47.Be4 Nb4 48.Rc3 Rbxa6 49.Rxa6 Rxa6 50.Rxc4 Rb6 51.h4 Kf7 52.Kf2 Rb5 53.Rd4 Ke7 54.Kf3 Rb6 55.Rc4 Na6 56.Bd5 Kd6 57.Rd4 Nc5 58.Bc4+ Ke7 59.Rg4 Rf6+ 60.Ke2 Kf8 61.Bd5 Nd7 62.Rb4 Rd6 63.Be4 Ke7 64.Bf5 Ne5 65.Bc2 Rc6 66.Be4 Rc4 67.Rb7+

67...Kf6? After 67...Kf8 Black should be able to hold. 68.Rb6+ Ke7 69.Bd5 Rxh4 70.Re6+ Kd7 71.Rxe5 Kd6 72.Re4 Rh2 73.Rd4 1-0. [Click to replay]


The tea didn't help: Israeli GM Emil Sutovsky

In the other vital Turkish victory of the round, Esen took advantage of some endgame trickery to score the full point. The game started off in the Panno Variation of the King's Indian, following, for twelve moves, a line used by Baburin in a white win at the 1996 Yerevan Olympiad. For a while, Black's position looked rosy, but the position seemed largely drawish by his sixty-seventh move.

Esen,B (2513) - Rodshtein,M (2622) [E62]
7th World Team Championship Bursa TUR (7), 11.01.2010
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 0-0 5.Bg2 d6 6.0-0 Nc6 7.Nc3 Bf5 8.d5 Na5 9.Nd4 Bd7 10.Qd3 Ng4 11.f4 c5 12.Nc2 a6 13.Rb1 b5 14.b3 Rb8 15.Bd2 f5 16.h3 Nf6 17.Kh2 Re8 18.Bf3 Kh8 19.Ne3 b4 20.Ncd1 e5 21.dxe6 Bxe6 22.Nf2 Qd7 23.g4 Nc6 24.g5 Ng8 25.Rfe1 Nge7 26.Rbd1 Rbd8 27.Bc1 Nd4 28.Bg2 d5 29.cxd5 Nxd5 30.Nxd5 Bxd5 31.e3 Bxg2 32.Kxg2 Qc6+ 33.Kf1 Ne6 34.Qc2 Nc7 35.Rxd8 Rxd8 36.Rd1 Re8 37.Qc4 Nb5 38.Rd5 Rc8 39.Qd3 Qa8 40.Bd2 Nc3 41.Bxc3 bxc3 42.Rd7 Re8 43.Rxg7 Kxg7 44.Qxc3+ Kf7 45.Qc4+ Re6 46.Qxc5 Qc6 47.Qd4 Qf3 48.Qa7+ Re7 49.Qxa6 Qxe3 50.Qc4+ Kg7 51.a4 h6 52.h4 Qb6 53.b4 Rc7 54.Qd5 Kh7 55.Nd3 Re7 56.h5 hxg5 57.fxg5 Qe3 58.hxg6+ Kxg6 59.Nf2 f4 60.b5 f3 61.Qd3+ Kxg5 62.Qd5+ Kg6 63.Qd3+ Kg5 64.Qd5+ Kg6 65.Qd3+ Qxd3+ 66.Nxd3 Kf5 67.b6 Ke4 68.b7 Re8 69.Kf2

69...Kxd3?? Rodshtein falls for a thinly-veiled trap, capturing Esen's proffered knight in exchange for two unstoppable connected passers on the on the queenside. 70.a5 Ke4 71.a6 Rd8 72.a7 Rd2+ 73.Kg3 f2 74.b8Q f1Q 75.a8Q+ Rd5 76.Qb4+ Ke3 77.Qe8+. With a mate-in-two on the board, Rodshtein raised the white flag, clearly astonished at how he had allowed things to take a turn for the worse. 1-0. [Click to replay]

Coming off a crushing victory over Armenia, Greece was in high spirits, confident they could hang tough with the Americans. For much of the round, they did just that, but Kotronias let it slip when it counted. Having traversed the Atlantic in search of adventure, Nakamura decided to go for the unexpected, as he chose to have Kotronias contend with a Petroff Defence. The game followed well-tested lines for nine moves, until the American introduced 9...c6.

Kotronias,V (2599) - Nakamura,Hi (2708) [C42]
7th World Team Championship Bursa TUR (7), 11.01.2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nd6 7.Bf4 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Re1 c6 10.Nbd2 Be6 11.c3 Nd7 12.Qc2 h6 13.Nf1 Re8 14.Ng3 Bf8 15.Re2 Bg4 16.Rxe8 Nxe8 17.Ne5 Be6 18.Re1 Nef6 19.Ng6 Qb6 20.Nxf8 Nxf8 21.h3 Re8 22.Re5 N8d7 23.Re2 Nf8 24.Re5 N8d7 25.Re3 Qa5 26.a3 Nf8 27.Be5 Qd8 28.f4 Bd7 29.Qf2

29...N6h7? After this move Fritz heavily favours White's position, as Kotronias' pieces were well-coordinated and poised for devastating blows on the kingside. 30.Nh5 g6 31.Qg3 f5 32.c4 Kf7 33.cxd5 cxd5 34.Be2 Ne6 35.Qf3 Bc6 36.Kh2 Qb6 37.Ng3 Nxd4 38.Qf2 Nc2 39.Nxf5 Nxe3

White's chances have fizzled, prompting him to commit a major error: 40.Nxh6+?? 40.Nxh6+ Kf8 41.Qg3 Bd7 42.Bc3 Nf5 43.Nxf5 Bxf5 44.Bf3 d4 and, being a rook down proves too much to live with in the Greek's reckoning. 0-1. [Click to replay]

Looking to gain ground on the tournament leaders, the Azeris pulled out all the stops in their match-up with Brazil. Mamedov produced, perhaps, the most appealing result of the round – a miniature on the white side of a Richter-Rauzer Sicilian. In a position that seemed ripe for a novelty, Diamant counted on 8...Be7 proving a boon for Black in praxis. The new move was certainly not bad for the Brazilian, but his excursion with the a-pawn proved to do more harm than good, as his queen was kicked around for five moves of the next fifteen, ultimately ending with an inextricable placement for her royal highness – and a win for Mamedov on the twenty-fifth move.

Mamedov,Rau (2640) - Diamant,A (2497) [B60]
7th World Team Championship Bursa TUR (7), 11.01.2010
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.Bg5 Qb6 7.Nb3 e6 8.Qd3 Be7 9.Be2 0-0 10.Qg3 a5 11.Bh6 Ne8 12.Be3 Qc7 13.0-0 a4 14.Nd2 Bf6 15.Nc4 a3 16.Bb6 Qe7 17.Nxa3 d5 18.exd5 exd5 19.Rfe1 Be6 20.Nab5 Ra6 21.Qe3 Qb4 22.Bc5 Qxb2 23.Rab1 Qxc2 24.Bd3 d4 25.Qe4 1-0. [Click to replay]

In another critical pairing for the Azeris, Mamedyarov sealed a beautiful win in the middlegame against his 2600 foe. The game employed the Breyer Variation of the Closed Ruy Lopez, following theory for sixteen moves, before Milos decided on 17.dxe5. the position developed tolerably for the Greek, but he missed the need to occupy a critical file, opting for 33.c4, prior to executing the needed Rd2; thus, he allowed 33...Rd8, giving Mamedyarov control of the file, and, by move thirty-six, unpleasant mating threats. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Milos surrendered.

Milos,G (2618) - Mamedyarov,S (2741) [C95]
7th World Team Championship Bursa TUR (7), 11.01.2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Nb8 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Bc2 Re8 13.Nf1 Bf8 14.Ng3 g6 15.a4 c6 16.b4 Nb6 17.dxe5 dxe5 18.Qxd8 Raxd8 19.Bg5 Kg7 20.Nd2 Nxa4 21.Bxa4 bxa4 22.Nc4 c5 23.bxc5 Bxc5 24.Rxa4 Rd3 25.Be3 Bxe3 26.Rxe3 Rd1+ 27.Kh2 h5 28.f3 h4 29.Ne2 Bc6 30.Rb4 Bb5 31.Nb2 Bxe2 32.Rxe2 Rc1 33.c4 Rd8 34.g4 hxg3+ 35.Kxg3 Nh5+ 36.Kh2 Nf4 0-1. [Click to replay]

Individual results of round seven

 4 Russia
2-2
 10 Armenia
GM Grischuk Alexander 2736
½:½
GM Aronian Levon 2781
GM Morozevich Alexander 2732
0:1
GM Akopian Vladimir 2678
GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2705
1:0
GM Sargissian Gabriel 2680
GM Malakhov Vladimir 2716
½:½
GM Pashikian Arman 2647
 5 Egypt
1½-2½
 3 India
GM Adly Ahmed 2591
½:½
GM Sasikiran Krishnan 2653
GM Amin Bassem 2544
½:½
GM Harikrishna P 2672
IM Abdel Razik Khaled 2468
0:1
GM Geetha Narayanan Gopal 2584
IM Sarwat Walaa 2386
½:½
IM Adhiban B 2511
 6 Israel
1½-2½
 2 Turkey
GM Smirin Ilia 2668
1:0
IM Erdogdu Mert 2513
GM Sutovsky Emil 2657
0:1
IM Yilmaz Mustafa 2478
GM Postny Evgeny 2648
½:½
IM Can Emre 2442
GM Rodshtein Maxim 2622
0:1
IM Esen Baris 2513
 7 Brazil
½-3½
 1 Azerbaijan
GM Vescovi Giovanni 2660
0:1
GM Radjabov Teimour 2733
GM Fier Alexandr 2601
½:½
GM Guseinov Gadir 2614
GM Milos Gilberto 2618
0:1
GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2741
GM Diamant Andre 2497
0:1
GM Mamedov Rauf 2640
 8 Greece
1½-2½
 9 USA
GM Kotronias Vasilios 2599
0:1
GM Nakamura Hikaru 2708
GM Papaioannou Ioannis 2625
½:½
GM Onischuk Alexander 2670
GM Banikas Hristos 2608
½:½
GM Shulman Yuri 2624
GM Halkias Stelios 2566
½:½
GM Akobian Varuzhan 2628

Hikaru Nakamura continues to climb on the performance scale. With his 5.5/6 score he has now reached a 3061 level of play. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov has 6.5/7 with a 3038 performance. Alexander Onischuk has scored 5.5/7 and "dropped to" a 2849 level. Some players have equally impressive performances but with less games played. Alexander Grischuk has 3.5/5 with a 2859 performance, and Nikita Vitiugov has scored 3.5/4 and with a 2892 performance.

All round results

Round 1 – 5.1.2010 Round 2 – 6.1.2010
Azerbaijan 
2½-1½
 Armenia
Turkey 
1-3
 USA
India 
2½-1½
 Greece
Russia 
2½-1½
 Brazil
Egypt 
1-3
 Israel
Armenia 
2½-1½
 Israel
Brazil 
2½-1½
 Egypt
Greece 
2½-1½
 Russia
USA 
3-1
 India
Azerbaijan 
3-1
 Turkey
Round 3 – 7.1.2010 Round 4 – 8.1.2010
Turkey 
½-3½
 Armenia
India 
2½-1½
 Azerbaijan
Russia 
3-1
 USA
Egypt 
2½-1½
 Greece
Israel 
2½-1½
 Brazil
Armenia 
2½-1½
 Brazil
Greece 
1½-2½
 Israel
USA 
3-1
 Egypt
Azerbaijan 
1½-2½
 Russia
Turkey 
1-3
 India
Round 5 – 9.1.2010 Round 6 – 10.1.2010
India 
2-2
 Armenia
Russia 
3½-½
 Turkey
Egypt 
1-3
 Azerbaijan
Israel 
1½-2½
 USA
Brazil 
1-3
 Greece
Armenia 
1-3
 Greece
USA 
3-1
 Brazil
Azerbaijan 
2-2
 Israel
Turkey 
2-2
 Egypt
India 
1½-2½
 Russia
Round 7 – 11.1.2010 Round 8 – 12.1.2010
Russia 
2-2
 Armenia
Egypt 
1½-2½
 India
Israel 
1½-2½
 Turkey
Brazil 
½-3½
 Azerbaijan
Greece 
1½-2½
 USA
Armenia 
-
 USA
Azerbaijan 
-
 Greece
Turkey 
-
 Brazil
India 
-
 Israel
Russia 
-
 Egypt

Standings after seven rounds

 # Team
win
draw
loss
MP
BP
Res.
SB
 1 USA
6
0
1
12
18
0
72.50
 2 Russia
5
1
1
11
17½
0
75.50
 3 Azerbaijan
4
1
2
9
17
0
50.75
 4 India
4
1
2
9
15
0
58.00
 5 Armenia
3
2
2
8
15
0
48.75
 6 Israel
3
1
3
7
14½
0
43.00
 7 Greece
3
0
4
6
14½
0
42.00
 8 Egypt
1
1
5
3
10½
0
18.75
 9 Turkey
1
1
5
3
0
19.75
10 Brazil
1
0
6
2
0
10.50

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