Tromso 07: Russia Wins, Russia Falls!

by Alejandro Ramirez
8/9/2014 – A very eventful round seven! The Russia Women's team beat top-seeded China and are now the leaders of the event. In the open section Azerbaijan defeated Cuba despite Dominguez's demolition of Mamedyarov. Meanwhile the Russian men were defeated by the Czech Republic! Oh, and just by the way, Carlsen lost, costing his team the match! Report of a dramatic round seven.

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Round Seven Report

The first big result of the day was Dominguez's win against Mamedyarov. In a brutal attack the Cuban annihilated his opponent's Sicilian Defense:

[Event "41st Olympiad Tromso 2014 Open"] [Site "Tromsø"] [Date "2014.08.09"] [Round "7"] [White "Dominguez Perez, Leinier"] [Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2760"] [BlackElo "2743"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [EventCountry "NOR"] [WhiteTeam "Cuba"] [BlackTeam "Azerbaijan"] [WhiteTeamCountry "CUB"] [BlackTeamCountry "AZE"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f3 Qb6 {Not as popular as e6 or e5, but still certainly a valid move.} 7. g4 Nc6 8. Nb3 e6 9. Qe2 Qc7 10. Be3 b5 11. O-O-O {a fork in the road for Black. Besides the move played by Mamedyarov, Be7 and Bb7 are also alternatives. This line hasn't seen much exposure in the past few years but it is certainly important.} Nd7 12. Qf2 Nce5 13. Kb1 {With theory basically gone we have an interesting Sicilian. Black has neglected development but has positioned his knights nicely; he hopes to hold on the dark-squares to prevent any kind of White play.} Be7 14. Rg1 g5 {This is the point of the system, now the Black knight on e5 is very powerful and cannot be dislodged.} 15. h4 h6 16. Rh1 Rg8 (16... gxh4 $5 {is not as dumb as it looks.}) 17. hxg5 hxg5 18. Rh3 $1 {A very smart rook lift. With the defense of the pawn on f3 white prepares to use his queen for active operations as well as allowing himself to double up on the h-file.} Rb8 19. Nd4 b4 20. Na4 Nf6 21. b3 Bd7 22. Bxa6 $5 {Not a very human move, but certainly an interesting one. Black was gaining some momentum on his attack but was not particularly paying attention to the placement of his pawns. Dominguez snaps one of them forcing Mamedyarov to show his hand.} d5 (22... Bxa4 $6 23. bxa4 $16) (22... Qa5 $5 23. Be2 Bxa4 24. bxa4 Qxa4 25. Qf1 $1 {The ctonrol of the diagonal is very important and the threat of Bb5+ is simply very unpleasant.}) 23. Qh2 $1 {The way Dominguez plays all ove the board is beautiful. The point of this is to lure the bishop to d6!} Bd6 24. Qe2 $1 {now Nb5 in some variations will be an issue.} Qa5 25. Rh6 Ke7 (25... Be7 {was the better move.. . However white would have had a surprising resource.} 26. Qh2 $1 $16 (26. Nf5 $5 {might also be winning!})) 26. exd5 {a simple capture that does not have a good answer.} Bxa4 (26... Nxd5 27. Nf5+ Kf8 (27... exf5 28. Rxd6 Kxd6 29. Bc5+ Ke6 30. Rxd5 $1 Kxd5 31. Qd1+ $1 Kc6 32. Qd6#) 28. Nxd6 Bxa4 29. Rxd5 $1 {is hopless. White would have an attack that is simply too strong.}) 27. dxe6 $1 { There is no reason to recapture on a4 when there is a move like Nf6 up in the air!} fxe6 28. bxa4 Nd5 29. Nc6+ $1 Nxc6 30. Bxg5+ Kf8 31. Qxe6 $1 {The game is simply over; Black's counterplay comes too slow in every line and he is getting checkmated everywhere. For example:} (31. Qxe6 Nc3+ 32. Ka1 Qxg5 33. Rf6+ $18) 1-0

However things started to look up for Azerbaijan. Guseinov won his game against Ortiz after outplaying the Cuban in time pressure. With a draw in Quesada-Mamedov it was all down to the game between Radjabov and Bruzon. The Azeri held the advantage the whole time, but the ensuing endgame was not so clear. With patience and good technique Radjabov eventually won a key game and Azerbaijan leads the tournament!

Dominguez (right) won his game, but Bruzon could not hold on to the draw

The Russian team had the disaster of the round for sure. Grischuk was simply outplayed by Navara and the same was true of Svidler and Laznicka. With 2-0 in the top two boards all the Czech Republic needed was one draw in the bottom two to win the match, and they even managed to draw both games for a clean 3-1 victory.

Serbia got absolutely mauled by China. Ding Liren destroyed Perunovic's weak play while Wei Yi also quickly won. Yu Yangyi beat Markus. The rest was unnecessary and China took an easy win, relatively.

Bulgaria continues to be just on pace playing a wonderful tournament. Early wins by Iotov and Rusev allowed Topalov to simply draw Giri for the match win against the Netherlands. There wasn't even a need for the third game to finish for the result to favor the Bulgarians.

Romania edged out Croatia with a last minute win by Nevednichy. Meanwhile the United States finally gets back in the game after destroying Uzbekistan.

Shankland helped America's destruction of Uzbekistan. A much needed result for the Americans.

Poland's white players won their games and the black ones held theirs, giving them a good win against Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Despite missing an immediate win on move 34, Aronian played a relatively clean game and demolished Peter Leko. This was not enough to win the match though as Balogh came back for Hungary to beat Sargissian and draw the match 2-2.

A hard fought split match: Armenia vs. Hungary

Magnus Carlsen held a very strong advantage and was even up a pawn against Arkadij Naiditsch. However he somehow completely misplayed the position, lost control and found himself in a much worse endgame! Naiditsch very cleanly converted his advantage and gave Germany the win over Norway by the 2.5-1.5 margin.

Carlsen was surprised by Naiditsch!

Canada-England was a very exciting match that should have ended in a 2-2 tie, but Howell managed to trick Sambuev near the end of the game:

[Event "41st Olympiad Tromso 2014 Open"] [Site "Tromsø"] [Date "2014.08.09"] [Round "7"] [White "Sambuev, Bator"] [Black "Howell, David W L"] [Result "*"] [ECO "A48"] [WhiteElo "2528"] [BlackElo "2650"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "5b2/1p1n1k2/8/p2nPN2/P1p2P2/2P3P1/1PB2K1P/8 w - - 0 40"] [PlyCount "43"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [EventCountry "NOR"] [WhiteTeam "Canada"] [BlackTeam "England"] [WhiteTeamCountry "CAN"] [BlackTeamCountry "ENG"] 40. h4 {A bizarre situation. White has four pawns for a piece, and they are all connected and passed! He should be winning but things are clearly not as simple as they look.} Nc5 41. h5 Nb6 42. g4 $6 {too hasty.} (42. Ke3 $1 Ncxa4 43. Bxa4 Nxa4 44. Nd6+ Ke6 (44... Bxd6 45. exd6 {is too many footpawns.}) 45. Nxc4 $18) 42... Nbxa4 43. g5 $2 {way too hasty.} (43. Bxa4 Nxa4 44. g5 { White's bishop is surprisingly not so important.}) 43... Nxb2 44. g6+ Kg8 45. h6 a4 46. Ke3 a3 47. Bb1 Nba4 48. h7+ Kh8 49. Nd6 Bxd6 50. exd6 Nd7 51. Kd4 b5 52. Kd5 Nf8 {Another strange position. It seems as if neither side can really make progress as White's king cannot come closer to his kingside pawns. Why, do you ask?} 53. Ke5 $4 (53. Kd4 $11) 53... Nxg6+ $1 {Genius! The pawn is worth far more than the knight.} 54. Bxg6 Nb6 {The threat of a2 is decisive, the bishop must go back.} 55. Bb1 b4 $1 {the point, the bishop alone cannot hold both pawns.} 56. f5 bxc3 57. f6 c2 58. Bxc2 a2 59. f7 a1=Q+ {Black queens with check!} 60. Ke6 Qe1+ 61. Kf5 {An important turn around that gave England the 3-1 win.} *

GM Dejan Bojkov is the coach of Papua New Guinea

The Ukrainian team has had a few problems this Olympaid but today they took care of Kazakhstan without issues

Women's Section

Just as important as the result in the Open section between Dominguez and Mamedyarov was the game Lagno vs. Hou Yifan. The World Champion fell for a trick early in the opening and never was able to recover.

[Event "41st Olympiad Tromso 2014 Women"] [Site "Tromsø"] [Date "2014.08.09"] [Round "7"] [White "Lagno, Kateryna"] [Black "Hou, Yifan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D38"] [WhiteElo "2540"] [BlackElo "2661"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "79"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [EventCountry "NOR"] [WhiteTeam "Russia"] [BlackTeam "China"] [WhiteTeamCountry "RUS"] [BlackTeamCountry "CHN"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 {Hou Yifan's Ragozin has served her well for many games.} 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 Nbd7 7. Qc2 c5 8. g3 {An unusual idea, but it has been treid this year a few times.} h6 9. Bf4 {Wojtaszek has tried this move before, against Peralta in 2012. The more common retreat is to e3.} O-O 10. Bg2 b6 11. O-O Bb7 $6 {Black's development seems sensible enough for now, but this last move underestimates White's threats.} (11... Bxc3 $1 12. bxc3 Re8 13. Ne5 Bb7 $11) 12. Nb5 Bc6 $2 {Hou Yifan fails to smell the danger.} (12... c4 13. a3 Be7 14. Nh4 {is a little more pleasant for White.}) 13. Nc7 $1 Rc8 14. a3 $1 Ba5 15. b4 {This is the uncomfortable point for Black. Now her bishop is trapped on a5 and she must at least lose the exchange. There is also not a good way to get decent compensation for it.} Ne4 {a try that is as good as any.} 16. dxc5 bxc5 17. bxa5 Rxc7 18. Bxc7 Qxc7 19. Nd2 f5 20. Rac1 Kh8 21. f3 Nxd2 22. Qxd2 f4 23. gxf4 Rxf4 24. e3 Ra4 25. f4 Qxa5 26. Rfd1 Nb6 (26... Nf6 {gave more hope. White would still need some convincing technique to win the game.}) 27. Qb2 Rxa3 28. f5 (28. Qe5 $1) 28... Ra2 29. Qe5 Qb4 30. e4 Nc4 31. Qc3 $1 {The trade of queens is not feasable for Black, but neither is allowing f6.} Qb7 (31... Qxc3 32. Rxc3 Nb6 33. Rxc5 {is not really holdable.}) 32. exd5 Rxg2+ {desperation.} (32... Bb5 33. f6 gxf6 34. Qxf6+ Qg7 35. Qxg7+ Kxg7 36. Rc3 $18) 33. Kxg2 Bxd5+ 34. Kg1 Bf7 35. f6 Qe4 36. fxg7+ Kh7 37. g8=Q+ $1 {The cleanest way to finish the game.} Kxg8 38. Rd8+ Kh7 39. Rh8+ Kg6 40. Qg3+ {A very tough loss for Hou Yifan and one that could not have come at a worse moment.} 1-0

This was a huge result as none of the other Chiense women were able to win; Olga Girya also beat Tan Zhongyi to seal the deal and despite Zhao Xue's best efforts she was unable to best Kosteniuk.

Poland and France traded blows and the result was a 2-2 tie. Marie Sebag won a good game against Monica Socko but Marta Bartel took out Guichard to even the score.

The Cinderella stories of the tournament, Indonesia and Iran, faced each other. The match was surprisingly intense! Iran quickly took board two with a clean win by Sarasadat Khademalshar (lets call her Sara) against Medina Aualia. Iran then also took board four and went up 2-0, but the position in the remaining two boards were not good. Irene Sukandar destroyed Atousa Pourkashiyan's kingside and won the game while Chelsie Sihite converted a long game against Mitra Hejazipour.

Russia's hero: Kateryna Lagno

The Colombian Women's team has had a great showing, today they dispatched Greece and advance in the standings

They also know something important about photography: it's always a good time for a selfie

Lorena Zepeda de Van Wely from El Salvador. Her team lost against Venezuela.

A shocked Hou Yifan and a shocked Chinese Women's coach (Yu Shaoteng)

The China-Russia match went for the Olympic defending Champions and China is hoping someone will stop them

The top board of the Women's section and the Open section are very close by

Today was Lilit Mrktchian's birthday! She is being congratulated by Kateryna Lagno. Mrktchian drew America's Anna Zatosnkih.

The Tunisian team crushed Namibia 3.5-0.5!

Photos by Alejandro Ramirez and André Schulz


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Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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cptmajormajor cptmajormajor 8/10/2014 01:32
Karjakin and Lahno both switch to Russia highlights my lack of understanding of their countries political situation. Seems a slap in the face for ex-team mates and for the people of the Ukraine from where I am looking at it -but when reported upon it has seemed to be natural.
Jason Rihel Jason Rihel 8/10/2014 11:45
Oh! After 54. Kxd7 a2 White plays 55. Ke8 a1=Q 56. d7 and the Black Queen amazingly has no great way to stop the pawn without giving it back.... Yet, doesn't 56...Qa8 56. d8=Q Qxd8+ 57. Kxd8 c3 (or even 57...Nd2 Ne4 stopping the pawns) give Black an extra queen easily enough??
Jason Rihel Jason Rihel 8/10/2014 11:35
What am I missing in the Sambuev-Howell game? Doesn't 52...Nxc3+ win the Bishop on b1, giving the pawn plenty of time to queen first? e.g. 52...Nxc3 53. Ke6 Nxb1 54. Kxd7 a2 55. Kc7 a1=Q 56. d7 Qg7 and I will easily stop the pawns with my queen.

Did I miss something obvious?
Eric83 Eric83 8/10/2014 05:24
to VGerber,
Dear Chessfriend,
Whatever reasons Mrs Lagno had to play for the Russians, they are certainly more noble (even if we don't share her political views) than playing for some weak teams for money when you are not strong enough to be selected in your mother-country. On another hand, our pleasure to watch her games must not be diminished as the pleasure to see Botvinnik's games (even if a true representative of the Soviet System) or Alekhine's (who really wrote some silly things about jews during WW2) for example.
Eric83 Eric83 8/10/2014 05:04
2 favorite teams and 2 World Champions beaten! That's what we love : surprises and fight. This also prouves how bad for chess are super-tournaments where always the same players meet, know each other by heart and look for a novelty at move 73. Long life to super-opens like Gibraltar, Politiken, ... where sometimes we can see big upsets.
vincero vincero 8/10/2014 04:17
@VGERBER..I DONT FIND IT to political but it does "violate" my sense of truth.
samirkasparov99 samirkasparov99 8/10/2014 01:43
The photo with the comment " The Tunisian team crushed Namibia 3.5-0.5! " is not for the Tunisian team .. this photo for our Sudanese Women team and they also crushed Namibia 3-1 in R4 ..and crushed the Seychelles team 4-0 in R7.. the most notable thing about the Sudanese Woman team is they first time ever appear in chess Olympiad in all history ..
Mattangriff Mattangriff 8/9/2014 10:55
Russians got Czechmated! Great wins by Navara & Laznicka!
VGerber VGerber 8/9/2014 09:51
According to the FIDE rules Lahno wouldn't have played for Putin's Russia today. These things we call mafialike structures. But we shouldn't be bad losers. Even if we completely disapprove her decision to turn her back on her Ukrainian homeland to join the Russian team in the middle of an ongoing war, we have to congratulate her. It was a bitter defeat for Yifan and the Chinese team. But at the end of the day it doesn't matter. Yifan is on her way and she will be the Number One - sooner or later.
I hope this is not too political to violate your rules for reader comments.
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