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Chess Olympiad 2022 – Round 6 report

Three-time Olympic champions Armenia scored a huge win this afternoon in the 4 Points Sheraton Convention Centre, defeating India B by 2.5-1.5 in a very exciting top-board match of the Open section. Despite losing on board one – Sargissian was steamrolled by Gukesh – the Armenians were stronger on the lower boards, and GMs Samvel Ter-Sahakyan and Robert Hovhannisyan (pictured below) won their games. Round 6 results open section

Going into the rest day, they are the sole leaders of the open section with a perfect twelve match-point score.

However, the man of the day was once again 16-year-old Indian prodigy Gukesh D, who scored his sixth win in a row. The feat is reminding many of us of the brilliant performance of former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik at the 1992 Manila Olympiad. Read more: 16-year-old Gukesh D shines in Chennai with 5/5 points!

Barely known internationally, Vladimir scored 8.5/9, notching up a 2958 rating performance, and winning the gold medal on board five. Kramnik was only 17 at the time…

Of course, both performances are not totally comparable – Gukesh is already a well-known grandmaster and the Olympiad is only halfway – but even so, his performance is already outstanding.

The round began with a double-move opening ceremony. The Director of Citi Bank, Mr. Pradeep Sekar opened the Women’s India vs Georgia match while veteran Indian IM K. Murugan – representing NLC – played the ceremonial move on the India B vs Armenia first board. Murugan has been an Olympic team member for India on a few occasions and is highly respected in the national chess community.

In addition to the key India B vs Armenia match, all eyes were focused on team India A. Would they be able to keep up the pace of the youngsters, against Uzbekistan, arguably an even younger team?

A tough day in the office; a very focused Harikrishna defeated Abdusattorov with Black on board one, when the young Uzbek misplayed a topical Italian opening.

On board four, Sasikiran was having trouble facing his young opponent’s attack, and in the end, it came crashing through: Vokhidov Shamsiddin scored a massive win putting the tie on the score boards.

On board two Vidit drawed effortlessly but on board three Erigaisi was on the verge of losing. All in all, a lucky save for India A – 2-2 in the end – who now have the same points as India B.

Fabiano Caruana went from villain to hero. His clear win this afternoon over Iran’s top player Parham Maghsoodloo – 2.5-1.5 was the final score for USA – leaves the Americans in prime position to continue climbing up the standings ladder. They are now clear second with 11/12 points and things are looking brighter for them every day. Replay the match here

Spain – Cuba ended in a 2-2, probably leaving the Spaniards slightly disappointed. Board two and elite player Vallejo Pons was unable to play again due to a slight throat infection: many players are suffering the outside heat combined with the air conditioning inside the playing hall.

These results on the top matches have permitted none less than ten teams to tie for third place with 10/12 and although there are still five rounds to go, these teams will clearly be medal contenders.  France, the Netherlands, Germany, Serbia, Peru … and the list goes on.

The Netherlands are clearly an up and going team. Sporting first board Anish Giri, they seem to be on a roll after their unexpected loss against Israel. First a 4-0 win against Canada and this afternoon they defeated the always dangerous Georgian team by 2.5-1.5 with two wonderful exchange sacrifices on boards one and two. Replay all the games here

In his short postgame interview with FIDE Press Officer IM Michael Rahal, Giri was kind enough to offer some insight into the game.

Led by Indian ace Koneru Humpy, top-seeded Indian eves won their sixth straight match in the Women’s section, defeating former champions Georgia in the sixth round of the 44th chess Olympiad by a score of 3-1 here at the Four Points by Sheraton. Round 6 results women’s section

The early indications gave an even fight between the two teams, but Vaishali R (pictured above), playing on the third board, proved to be the key factor as she cruised to a fine victory at the expense of experienced International Master Lela Javakhishvili of Georgia.

The Berlin Defence of Ruy Lopez has a solid reputation, but on this day, Vaishali was well-prepared to punish it. The symmetrical set-up by the Indian gave her a slight but long-lasting advantage in the middle game, and the Georgian felt the heat as her pieces gasped for breath. Finding some solace in an exchange that cost her two pieces for a rook, Javakhishvili fought on, but Vaishali was relentless and romped home in 36 moves.

Grandmaster D Harika played out an easy draw with Nino Batsiashvili on the second board. The mother-to-be Indian kept things under check right from the word go with black pieces, and routine exchange of pieces led to a drawn rook and pawns endgame where neither player had any hesitation in signing the peace treaty. Replay the match here

On the top board, Indian ace Koneru Humpy facing Nana Dzagnidze, had things under control, and the consistent threat of pawn promotion from the advanced passer on the queenside forced the Georgian to resign on the move 42. 

On board four, Tania Sachdev held her forte quite nicely against Salome Melia, and a draw was agreed on the 35th move. This critical match victory will bolster Indian chances as their confidence in the rounds to come. On the second table, Romania held mighty Ukraine to a 2-2 score and remains in the hunt for a podium finish.

Irina Bulmaga facing a former women’s world champion GM Mariya Muzychuk played innovative and fearless attacking chess from the get-go. Irina sacrificed an exchange to break through the centre on move 27 and got winning chances in the ensuing ending. Mariya had to summon all her defensive skills to draw the inferior ending. Replay the match here

Mihaela Sandu faced the elder of the Muzychuk sisters on the second board. Anna, only the fourth woman in chess history to attain a FIDE rating over 2600, played an aggressive game pushing pawns on the kingside from the white side in a Ruy Lopez and forced resignation before the first time control. Two other games in this tense match were drawn. 

In a high stake clash, top teams Azerbaijan defeated Kazakhstan thanks to the victories on boards three and four. On the third board, Gulnar Mammodova came out on top against Xeniya Balabayeva in a complex French Defence encounter in which Black had a clearly better position in the middlegame. On the fourth board, Ulviyyan Fataliyeva outwitted Nakhbayeva Guliskhan to hand the match 3-1 to Azerbaijan.

Players will enjoy tomorrow’s day off and games will continue on August 5th according to schedule. India A vs India C will be the main dish on the menu of the Open section, although all eyes will be on Armenia vs USA for first place. In the Women’s section, India meets Azerbaijan. Round 7 team pairings

All 44th Chess Olympiad 2022 news

Photo: Photo: Lennart Ootes, Mark Livshitz and Stev Bonhage

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