Tromso final round preview

by Alejandro Ramirez
8/14/2014 – The last round starts at 11 a.m. CEST. Many of the medals are still to be defined, and we are not just talking about the team medals either. With so many strong players and so many fierce battles it has become clear that some players were more of an asset to their team than others. We bring you a preview of tomorrow's games plus a prediction on who will get the medals.

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Round Eleven Preview

Round Eleven Preview

No. SNo Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team SNo
1 15 Poland 27½ 15   :   17 28½ China 7
2 5 Hungary 27 16   :   15 27 Ukraine 2
3 14 Norway 21½ 12   :   12 23½ Malaysia 103
4 1 Russia 26 15   :   15 27 France 3
5 8 Azerbaijan 25½ 15   :   15 26½ United States of America 6
6 19 India 27 15   :   15 25 Uzbekistan 33
7 13 Cuba 27 14   :   14 25½ England 10
8 17 Spain 25½ 14   :   14 27 Vietnam 31
9 9 Israel 25½ 14   :   14 27 Croatia 24
10 4 Armenia 25½ 14   :   14 26 Czech Republic 16
11 27 Belarus 24½ 14   :   14 25 Bulgaria 18
12 32 Romania 25½ 14   :   14 26½ Brazil 30
13 48 Paraguay 24½ 13   :   13 25½ Netherlands 11
14 60 Australia 24 13   :   13 24½ Germany 12
15 29 Serbia 24 13   :   13 25 Mexico 46
16 57 Qatar 24½ 13   :   13 25 Argentina 35
17 38 Egypt 24½ 13   :   13 26½ Iceland 43
18 22 Peru 24½ 13   :   13 23½ Italy 20
19 26 Turkey 24½ 13   :   13 26 Lithuania 47
20 95 Kyrgyzstan 26 12   :   13 21 FYROM 54

The top matches will determine many things in the last round of the Olympiad. With not only team medals at play, but also individual ones, there will be a lot of strategizing on which players to rest. China got a relatively accessible pairing in Poland as their final round opponents. Despite the Poles good results so far and Duda having a phenomenal tournament, he is currently only on silver medal because of... Yu Yangyi! Actually if Duda wins against Yu Yangyi (they both play board three) it might drastically change the final rankings.

Hungary is the only team that is only a half match point away from China. The Hungarians have relied on solid performances by most of their boards plus the extraordinary effort of their board two, Balogh Csaba. He is currently leading the gold medal race for board two ahead of Ngoc Truong Son Nguyen from Vietnam and Svetushkin from Moldova... though China's Ding Liren is not far off in the fourth position! They face the ever-powerful Ukraine. A must-see match!

Russia vs. France is another amazing match. The number one seed faces number three on the last round, and only the winner will have a chance for medals. France's tiebreaks are better than Russia's, but with seven teams tied currently with 15 points it is hard to believe that France will remain in the podium with just a draw. France will probably medal with any victory, though it looks hard for them to gold medal as their tiebreak is nowhere close to China's. Russia on the other hand will need a little luck plus the victory to reach a top-three position.

USA's dreams of medalling are still alive largely due to the spectacular performance of Sam Shankland, their reserve board who is guaranteed a gold medal going into the last round. They face the fierce Azerbaijan who started off with a good event but could not keep up the pace. Both teams need a combination of results plus their own victory to achieve Bronze; Silver for either looks unlikely.

Last but not least between medal contenders is the match India vs. Uzbekistan. In the unlikely scenario that all the top matches are drawn and one of these teams wins, the winning team would take home bronze medal (China would take gold and Hungary silver in this scenario).

Board Medal Positions before the last Round

Board 1
Rk.     Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1   GM Topalov, Veselin 2772 Bulgaria 2903 8 6.0 75.0 2710
2   GM Adams, Michael 2740 England 2856 8 6.0 75.0 2663
3   GM Giri, Anish 2745 Netherlands 2811 10 7.0 70.0 2662
4   GM Carlsen, Magnus 2877 Norway 2799 9 6.0 66.7 2674
5   GM Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2743 Azerbaijan 2798 9 6.0 66.7 2673

In the top board it seems that Topalov will clinch first as only a disastrous combination of results would take it away from him. Adams' silver medal is not as guaranteed, but he does have a comfortable lead over the opposition. England is not in medal contention (neither is Bulgaria) so the chance that they both rest is pretty high. Bronze medal is a complete toss-up however and it can be one more than ten players that are so close in rating performance that it is impossible to say what will happen. Carlsen will not play the last round against Malaysia, but if the right results happen he might even be able to medal!

Board 2
Rk.     Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1   GM Balogh, Csaba 2637 Hungary 2858 8 6.5 81.3 2607
2   GM Nguyen, Ngoc Truong Son 2634 Vietnam 2812 9 7.5 83.3 2533
3   GM Svetushkin, Dmitry 2547 Moldova 2809 9 8.0 88.9 2458
4   GM Ding, Liren 2742 China 2801 9 6.5 72.2 2635
5   GM Bacrot, Etienne 2720 France 2779 9 6.5 72.2 2613

Bacrot needs a good series of results to medal

Balogh will have to not lose his last round to keep his gold medal. It is difficult to believe that Hungary can afford to rest him with his fantastic performance, and he will have a tough match against Ukraine. On the plus side for him, he will be White if Hungary uses their top-4 line up. Nguyen might rest against Spain, but that would put his silver medal in jeopardy as a win by Svetushkin might give him the silver (Moldova plays Zambia, a great pairing for a must-win situation) while Ding Liren could also go into silver medal contention with a win. Bacrot on the other hand will need some kind of miracle results for him to go up to the podium, despite his fantastic tournament.

Board 3
Rk.     Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1   GM Yu, Yangyi 2668 China 2902 10 8.5 85.0 2605
2   GM Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2576 Poland 2797 10 8.5 85.0 2501
3   GM Markus, Robert 2602 Serbia 2763 8 6.0 75.0 2553
4   GM Eljanov, Pavel 2723 Ukraine 2762 8 6.5 81.3 2511
5   GM Iotov, Valentin 2553 Bulgaria 2756 10 7.5 75.0 2560

Yu Yangyi is one of the main reasons that China is sitting at the top, he might face Duda in the final round and that will be a huge result for the board three medals. The bronze medal is way too close to call.

Board 4
Rk.     Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1   GM Ortiz Suarez, Isan Reynaldo 2603 Cuba 2791 7 5.5 78.6 2561
2   GM Sedlak, Nikola 2554 Serbia 2760 7 5.5 78.6 2521
3   GM Ni, Hua 2666 China 2740 8 6.0 75.0 2534
4   GM Edouard, Romain 2680 France 2732 8 6.0 75.0 2535
5   GM Howell, David W L 2650 England 2722 9 7.0 77.8 2497

Cuba's Ortiz Suarez has had a great event despite his big blunder against Guseinov that lost the Cuba-Azerbaijan match. He absolutely must play tomorrow as he needs to get to eight games in order to qualify for a medal. The same applies to Sedlak, while there is little doubt that Ni Hua will be fielded. Interestingly Howell might be facing Ortiz Suarez, which might knock the Cuban from the gold and let the English player slide into the medals.

Board 5
Rk.     Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1   GM Shankland, Samuel L 2624 USA 2889 9 8.5 94.4 2435
2   GM Moiseenko, Alexander 2707 Ukraine 2719 8 6.5 81.3 2460
3   GM Sadler, Matthew D 2653 England 2641 9 6.5 72.2 2467
4   GM Indjic, Aleksandar 2539 Serbia 2624 7 4.0 57.1 2574
5   GM Van Kampen, Robin 2638 Netherlands 2617 8 5.0 62.5 2507

The reserve board gold medal will be going to Sam Shankland, while it is difficult to say that Moiseenko will lose his grasp on the silver. The bronze is more interesting, and England only has the choice of sitting out Adams (for his silver on board one) or Sadler (currently bronze on reserve). Definitely a difficult team captain choice!

Women's Section

Round 11 on 2014/08/14 at 11:00
No. SNo     Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team     SNo
1 2     Russia 29½ 18   :   15 28½ Bulgaria     14
2 54     Montenegro 24½ 12   :   12 23½ Norway     38
3 3     Ukraine 26½ 17   :   17 30½ China     1
4 4     Georgia 28 15   :   16 26½ Germany     12
5 10     Armenia 26½ 15   :   15 26½ Spain     11
6 17     Kazakhstan 24 15   :   14 27½ Czech Republic     27
7 6     Romania 25½ 14   :   14 28½ India     5
8 22     Azerbaijan 26 14   :   14 23 Poland     8
9 7     United States of America 25½ 14   :   14 26 Argentina     24
10 9     France 24½ 13   :   13 22½ Serbia     15
11 36     Lithuania 24½ 13   :   13 26 Belarus     40
12 16     Netherlands 24 13   :   13 25 Croatia     35
13 45     Canada 24½ 13   :   13 25 Slovakia     18
14 28     Mongolia 26 13   :   13 24½ Slovenia     37
15 21     Iran 27½ 12   :   13 22 Latvia     25
16 66     El Salvador 23 12   :   12 24 Vietnam     20
17 19     Cuba 23½ 12   :   12 24½ Sweden     29
18 26     Israel 27½ 12   :   12 23½ Hungary     13
19 46     Uzbekistan 24½ 12   :   12 23½ Turkey     33

Russia could not be happier with their last round pairing. Due to a combination of results the Russian's are playing Bulgaria, a relatively weak team to some of the squads with 14 points (India and USA come to mind). With the tiebreak advantage over China it seems that a draw will be enough for the Russian women to take home the gold, but the rating gap between them and Bulgaria also heavily favors them over the board.

China on the other hand faces the powerhouse of Ukraine. A loss for the Chinese will mean that they would be in danger of not medalling at all. Hou Yifan will have to come big against Muzychuk in the final round.

Germany has decen podium chances if they win their match (not with a draw, their tiebreaks are abysmal) but Georgia is not an easy pairing for them at all. With Dzagnidze having a star tournament it's going to be hard for the Germans to hold on to their current fourth place, let alone medal.

The only way that one team not mentioned yet medals is if China beats Ukraine and Spain wins their match while Georgia doesn't. This might catapult the Spaniards ahead of Ukraine in tiebreaks if the right results happen. A surprisingly important match will occur between Argentina and USA. The winner of this will qualify to the World Team Championship as the best team from the Americas.

Board 1
Rk.     Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1   GM Dzagnidze, Nana 2550 Georgia 2719 9 8.0 88.9 2353
2   GM Hou, Yifan 2661 China 2689 8 6.5 81.3 2434
3   GM Cramling, Pia 2500 Sweden 2635 10 9.0 90.0 2222
4   IM Munguntuul, Batkhuyag 2410 Mongolia 2625 9 8.0 88.9 2266
5   GM Lagno, Kateryna 2540 Russia 2571 9 6.0 66.7 2427

Yifan has had a good tournament but not as spectacular as the las few

Nana Dzagnidze has a big game tomorrow as a win will keep her team's chances of medalling alive and will guarantee her own gold medal on first board. This can only be challenged by Hou Yifan who might surpass her if she beats Muzychuk. Cramling holds just a minimal edge over Munguntuul, but should be out of striking distance of Lagno... unless Cramling loses and Lagno wins!

Board 2
Rk.     Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1   GM Gunina, Valentina 2524 Russia 2638 9 7.0 77.8 2418
2   WGM Khademalsharieh, Sarasadat 2324 Iran 2618 8 7.0 87.5 2282
3   WGM Ju, Wenjun 2559 China 2567 10 7.5 75.0 2374
4   GM Khotenashvili, Bela 2494 Georgia 2556 9 7.0 77.8 2310
5   WGM Zawadzka, Jolanta 2398 Poland 2500 8 5.5 68.8 2359

Gunina leads the race for gold in board two, while a surprising Khademalsharieh (who goes by Sara) from Iran has a very tough choice: a rest day for her guarantees her a medal, but she needs one more game to score a norm! It will be interesting to see what the Iranian team chooses as they face Latvia.

Ju Wenjun has Khotenashvili on her toes for the bronze and there is little doubt both of these players will be playing tomorrow as China needs all the firepower they can muster against Ukraine while Georgia wants to keep their medal chances afloat.

Board 3
Rk.     Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1   GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2531 Russia 2622 8 6.5 81.3 2355
2   IM Matnadze, Ana 2385 Spain 2415 9 6.5 72.2 2249
3   GM Ushenina, Anna 2487 Ukraine 2404 8 5.0 62.5 2291
4   WFM Frisk, Ellinor 2257 Sweden 2400 10 8.5 85.0 2090
5   WIM Sihite, Chelsie Monica Ignesias 2206 Indonesia 2377 9 6.5 72.2 2201

Matnadze hopes to hold on to silver

Kosteniuk has already clinched gold medal and she will certainly play against Bulgaria, there is no good reason to rest her. The silver is super close. Ushenina will medal for sure if she defeats whoever China decides to put on board three (Zhao Xue has been seeing a lot of rest while Tan Zhongyi's performance has not been good). Frisk from Sweden might want to play her last round match as if she wins and neither Matnadze nor Ushenina do, she might get the medal.

Board 4
Rk.     Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1   GM Zhukova, Natalia 2468 Ukraine 2524 9 7.0 77.8 2276
2   WGM Ohme, Melanie 2301 Germany 2463 8 6.5 81.3 2192
3   IM Bulmaga, Irina 2354 Romania 2443 9 7.5 83.3 2152
4   WIM Aranaz Murillo, Amalia 2314 Spain 2439 9 7.5 83.3 2153
5   WIM Olsarova, Tereza 2271 Czech Republic 2420 9 8.0 88.9 2051

The top scorers in board four are all going to be playing important games tomorrow, so nothing is quite set except that it looks unlikely that Zhukova will not win gold.

Board 5
Rk.     Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1   WGM Padmini, Rout 2318 India 2584 8 7.5 93.8 2124
2   WGM Guo, Qi 2453 China 2549 7 6.0 85.7 2211
3   WIM Dauletova, Gulmira 2252 Kazakhstan 2442 7 6.0 85.7 1988
4   WGM Cosma, Elena-Luminita 2327 Romania 2399 7 6.0 85.7 2056
5   WGM Hoolt, Sarah 2318 Germany 2386 9 7.0 77.8 2115

Padmini will win the Gold, and Guo Qi the silver (she is playing for sure against Ukraine tomorrow). Dauletova needs one more game for medal contention but if she draws she will get her bronze without doubts.

Photos by Alejandro Ramirez, Pascal Simon 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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Nisarg Nisarg 8/14/2014 10:38
Why speculate so much as to who will play or not? It would have been better to just publish the tables rather than write such absent-minded commentary.
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