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Chess Olympiad notes by Sergey Shipov

When the rivals for the medals meet, every small accident (even the flap of the butterfly that flew into the playing hall) can influence the outcome. The pressure is so big and the nerves are so highly strung between the opponents that are close in class. This day was marked with two crucial matches (Russia – Armenia in men’s section and Russia – China in women’s), they attracted the special attention of the spectators. I just could not put aside the games of the leaders and look at some other matches during the online transmission! And the intrigue was there literally until the last moments of the round.
The draw result of both matches, in my opinion, was natural. Russian men were close to the success, because the quick win on the first board not only brought a point to the score table, but also psychologically stroke the Armenian player that still played.

Kramnik,Vladimir (2797) – Aronian,Levon (2816)
Russia – Armenia

(View press conference of Kramnik here)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Bf4 Nc6 6.e3 a6 7.Bd3 g6 8.h3 Bf5 9.Nf3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 Bg7 11.0–0 0–0 12.Rfc1 e6 13.Na4 Ne4 14.Nc5 Nxc5 15.Rxc5 Qd7 16.Rac1 Rfc8 17.a3 Bf8 18.R5c2 f6 19.Nd2


Playing the externally harmless variation of Slav defense, Vladimir put the alertness of Levon to sleep.
A step to the abyss.
There is no clear way to the advantage for White after sharp 19…e5, for example, 20.dxe5 (or 20.Bg3 exd4 21.exd4 Bh6) 20…fxe5 21.Bg5 (21.Ne4 Qf7 22.Ng5 Qd7 23.Bg3 Rd8=) 21…Qe6 22.Nb3 Rc7 23.Nc5 Bxc5 24.Rxc5 Rd7 – Black seems to stay fine.
There is a curios way to survive the appearance of the white rook on с5 – 19…Na7!? 20.Rc7 Qe8 21.Nb3 Nb5, and there is no 22.Rxb7? due to 22…Rxc1+ 23.Nxc1 Qc6 with the material losses for White.
20.Bxd6 Qxd6 21.Nb3 Rc7?
Not feeling the danger. Necessary was 21…b6!, and it is difficult to break through for White: 22.Nd2 (fruitless is 22.Rc3 Kf7 23.Qc2 Ne7 24.Rc7 a5 25.Nd2 Rxc7 26.Qxc7 Qxc7 27.Rxc7 Rc8=) 22…Kg7 23.e4! Qd7 , and… and what next?
22.Na5 Rac8
No fun after 22…Qd7 23.Nxb7 Rxb7 24.Rxc6 Rxb2 25.Rc7 Qd8 26.R1c6!.
Apparently, this was the bolt from the blue for Aronian.
23…Rxb7 24.Qxa6 Rbc7 25.b4 Qd7

This is much more accurate than 26.b5 Ne7 27.Rxc7 Rxc7 28.Rxc7 Qxc7 29.Qxe6+ Kf8! (29…Kg7 30.a4) 30.Qxf6+ Ke8 – Black was in time to hold the white passed pawns.
The absence of the black pawn on f7 is felt in the variations 26…Rb7 27.Rxc6! Rxb6 28.Rxc8+ Kg7 29.R1c7!, or 26…Rb8 27.Qxb8+!
Did not leave any hopes 26…Kf7 27.b5 Rb7 28.Qxc6! Qxc6 29.Rxc6 Rxc6 30.bxc6 Rc7 31.g4 g5 (31…Ke7 32.h4 Kd6 33.g5!) 32.f4 h6 33.Kf2 Ke7 34.Kf3 Kd6 35.a4 Rxc6 36.Rxc6+ Kxc6 37.e4+-
27.b5 Nxd4
Aronian wouldn’t’t be himself if he did not find a way to complicate the game. But the game of White is too easy.
28.Rxc7 Ne2+ 29.Kh1 Nxc1 30.Rxc8 Qxc8 31.Qc6!
Black king is not in “the square” of the pawn.
31…Qd8 32.b6! Kf7 33.Qc7+ Ke8! 34.Qa7! d4 35.b7 1–0

Curios to mention that the first to congratulate Kramnik with the win was Garry Kasparov who just arrived in Istanbul. In that moment the victory of Russians seemed inevitable. But the Armenians held. The one who was the only not to feel the joy of wins before that round, stroke this time.

Movsesian,Sergei (2698) – Grischuk,Alexander (2763)
Russia – Armenia

(Replay the game here)
This game is so complex that I do not feel it is possible to seriously consider it in the express-analyses. So I will mention just a few crucial moments.
1.c4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.d4 d6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.h3 e5 7.d5 a5 8.Bg5 Na6 9.Be2 Qe8 10.Nd2 Nd7 11.a3 h6 12.Bh4 Nb6 13.g4 a4 14.f3 Nc5 15.Qc2 c6 16.Bf2 Bd7 17.0–0–0 cxd5 18.exd5 f5 19.Kb1 Rc8 20.Be3 Qd8 21.h4


The great way to complicate the game.
22.fxe4 fxg4 23.h5 g5
The structure became pleasant for Black. But the moment of joy is short.
24.Bxc5! Rxc5 25.e5! Bf5 26.Bd3 Bxd3 27.Qxd3 Bxe5 28.Qg6+ Bg7 29.Nce4 Rxc4!
Every move sings!
30.Nxc4 Nxc4 31.Rdf1


Probably the crucial moment of the battle. Black has a compensation for the exchange, but he has to conduct it very accurately. The time trouble did not let Sasha dig the deep sense of the position.
The distracting maneuver did not work.
Did not help 31…Kh8 32.Rxf8+ Qxf8 33.Re1 Be5 due to 34.Ng3 Qg7 35.Qe8+ Qg8 36.Qe6!! Qxe6 37.dxe6, and the struggle with e6 pawn goes for a too big prize for Black – 37…Kg7 38.Nf5+ Kf6 39.e7 Kf7 40.Nxh6+ Kxe7 41.Nxg4 and so on.
The strongest is 31…Nxa3+! 32.Ka2! (leads to a draw 32.bxa3 Qb6+ 33.Kc1 Qb2+ 34.Kd1 Qb1+ 35.Ke2 Qb5+) 32…Nc4 33.Rxf8+ Qxf8 34.Re1 Ne5 35.Qe6+ Kh7 (35…Qf7? 36.Nxd6; 35…Kh8 36.Rc1?) 36.Nxd6 Qf3!, and Black kept the intrigue in the game.
32.Rxf8+ Qxf8 33.Re1! Ne5
The pawn was not in time to run to the edge: 33…g2 34.Nf6+ Qxf6 35.Re8+ Qf8 36.Rxf8+ Kxf8 37.Qf5+ Kg8 38.Qf2+-
34.Qe6+ Kh8 35.Nxg3 Nd3 36.Rf1 Nf4 37.Qd7 Qf6 38.Qc8+ [38.Rf2] 38…Kh7 39.Qc2+ Kg8 40.Nf5 Nxh5 41.Re1! Nf4 42.Re7 Bf8 43.Rxb7 Nxd5


The decisive invasion into Black’s back ranks.
44…Nf4 45.Ka1! Ne6 46.Nxd6 g4 47.Ne4 Qf1+ 48.Ka2 Ng7
The battle also won’t last after 48…Qf5 49.Qc4!.
49.Qc6 Qf5 50.Nf6+ Kh8 51.Rf7
Mate is inevitable, Black resigned.
The first, and the second, impression from the game is that Movsesian played veeeeeery strong! And Grischuk – just strong.

Azerbaijan players won their match convincingly, for their leaders perform very confidently and show the good result.

Radjabov,Teimour (2788) – Saric,Ivan (2638)
Azerbaijan – Croatia
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.Bg5 dxc4 6.e4 b5 7.e5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Nxg5 hxg5 10.Bxg5 Nbd7 11.g3 Rg8 12.h4 Rxg5 13.hxg5 Nd5 14.g6 fxg6 15.Qg4 Qe7 16.Bg2 N7b6 17.Qxg6+ Qf7

A good novelty in the popular Botvinnik variation. Before White traded the queens himself or stepped back to b1.
Apparently, this is inaccuracy. Probably Teimour studied another line in his hope preparation too: 18…Qxg6 19.Bxg6+ Kd7 20.Rh7+ Be7 21.Ne4 Kc7 22.g4! with the advantage for White.
Guile is the sign of skill.
19…Qg7 20.Qf3!
The one who was not in time to trade queens, does not get to trade them.
20…Nbd5 21.Rh7 Qg8 22.Ke2 Nf5?
Crucial mistake. It was better to first push the knight from с3 to the edge of the Earth by 22…b4 23.Na4 and only then to play 23…Nf5.
23.Qh5+ Kd8 24.Nxd5! cxd5 25.Bxf5 exf5 26.Qh4+ Ke8 27.Qh5+ Kd8 28.Rh8 Qg7


White’s pieces easily cope with passive Black’s bishops.
29…f4 30.Rh4! fxg3 31.Rf4 Bd7 32.Rhxf8+ Kc7 33.Rxa8 g2 34.Rxa7+
And Black resigned due to 34…Kc8 35.Rxd7 Kxd7 36.Rf7+.

Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar (2729) – Brkic,Ante (2587)
Azerbaijan – Croatia


Absence of the queen is not a reason for sadness if the pieces are ready for the attack.
27.f5! gxf5?
The opponents would still have a long game ahead in case of right 27…Bxf5 28.Re7 Kg7 29.d7 Qf8!, for example, 30.b4 (но не 30.Bxf5 gxf5 31.b4 Qg8!) 30…Bxc2 31.Kxc2 g5 (31…Qg8 32.Rde4) 32.Re8 Qxe8 33.dxe8Q Rxe8 – White is better, but it is not clear if this advantage is enough for a win.
28.Rg1+ Kh7
There is no 28…Kf8 because of 29.d7#. Nothing would be changed (comparing to the actual game) in case of 28…Kh8 29.Rh4 Kh7 30.Rhg4.
It is possible to miss this resource from beforehand calculation.
29…Qf8 30.Bd4 f6 31.Rg6 Rd8 32.Rxf6 1–0

Chinese also have no mercy for the opponents. It seems, they restored their energy after the unsuccessful 4th round.

Wang,Yue (2703) – Dizdarevic,Emir (2499)
China – Bosnia & Herzogovina

Black just put the pawn on g6, apparently, with the intention to safe the king from the bishop d3. But it did not work…
17.g5 Ne8 18.Nxg6! hxg6 19.Bxg6
White does not create the direct mate threats but pressure on the whole board. And Black’s king of course becomes an important factor of it.
19…Kg7 20.Be4 Nc6 21.d5! Ne7
Knowing the future, Dizdarevic would play 21…Qc5+! , but nobody knows the future.
22.Ba3! Nd6 23.Qh3 Rh8 24.Qg3 Ng6 25.Bb4 Qa6 26.Bxd6 cxd6 27.Qxd6
White successfully combines the development of the attack with material gains.
27…Rae8 28.dxe6 dxe6


The finishing attack makes a great impression.
29.Rb4! Qa5 30.c5!
Destroying Black’s communications.
Computer at first recommends 30…Rh5 31.f4 Nf8, but soon understands the waste of efforts, demonstrating the strange move 32.Rf2!! , which I could not understand. Is that a zugzwang? :)
31.Rxa4! Qxa4 32.Qxe6 Qe8 33.Qf6+ Kh7 34.Re1!
White has no rook, but this does not interrupt his calm game with slow moves.
34…Rd7 35.h4! 1–0

Hungarian players also climb for the top. They have people that win…

Polgar,Judit (2698) – Swiercz,Dariusz (2594)
Hungary – Poland


In a game with an attacking player of Judith’s level (it is possible to count them with the fingers on one hand), it is not good to put the pieces so far from the king – it is going to end badly. As now, for example:
26.g4! hxg4 27.h5 gxh5 28.Rxh5 Ra6
Just delayed the defeat 28…Rc6 29.Be3! (but not 29.Rg5 Qe8! 30.Qf6? due to 30…Ba2+!) 29…Qf8 30.Qh4 f5 31.Rh1 f4 32.Rh8+ Kf7 33.Rxf8+ Rxf8 34.Bxg4 and so on.
29.Bxa6 bxa6 30.Rg5! Qb7 31.Qf6 Qxe4+ 32.Ka1
Understood that the step back to h7 leads to the mate on the 8th rank, Dariusz resigned.

The crucial match of the women’s section started from the convincing win of the world champion.

Hou,Yifan (2599) – Kosintseva,Tatiana (2530)
China – Russia

Black’s attack would be strong if White defended passively. But she counter attacks!
28.gxh5! Qf5
On 28…Qxh5 follows 29.Be7! with losses for Black.
29.Bc5 Kh7
Was worth a try 29…g4, forcing the opponent to find not a human variation 30.Qh4 gxf3 31.Kf2! Rg7 32.h6! Rg2+ 33.Kxf3 with the win for White. The other continuations left some practical chances for Black.
30.Ra6! Rg8
And here on 30…g4 strong is 31.Qh4!
Accurate and concrete game of the world champion does not leave chances for Black.
31…g4 [or 31…Rxe7 32.Nf6+] 32.Qh4 gxf3+ 33.Rg6
The most reliable.
33…Rxg6+ 34.hxg6+ Kxg6


35.Qg5+! Qxg5+ 36.Nxg5 Rxe7 37.Rxe7 Bd8 38.Nxh3 Bxe7 39.Kf2!
The only winning move. Rest is easy.
39…Kf5 40.Kxf3 Bd6 41.Nf2 Be7 42.Nd3 Bg5 43.c4 1–0

But the sister of the defeated played in the Russian team, and she longed for the revenge.

Kosintseva,Nadezhda (2524) – Zhao,Xue (2549)
China – Russia



In the second mutual time-trouble the nerves of the Russian were stronger.
Inaccuracy. Leaded to the victory 63.Qa3! Rxd1 64.Kxd1 Qh1+ 65.Kc2 Qg1 66.Qxa6, and White king successfully escapes from the checks.
This mistake was crucial for the Chinese team. Right, of course, is 63…exd4 and after let’s say 64.Qa3 Qf4 it would be not easy for White to win. Draw motives appear in all variations. For example, 65.Qxc5? Qe3+ 66.Kd1 Qg1+! 67.Kd2 (67.Kc2? d3+) 67…Qe3+ with the perpetual check.
Now the threat of moving the с4 pawn decides the game.
The last try.
65.Qc2 Qf4 66.exf5+ Kf6 [66…Qxf5? 67.Be4] 67.Qe4 Qc1
Hopeless is 67…Qxf5 68.Qxf5+ Kxf5 69.c5 Ke6 70.Kd3 a5 71.Kc4 and so on.
68.Qc6+ Kg7
Nothing is changed by 68…Kxf5 69.Be4+ Kg5 70.Qg6+ Kh4 71.Qf6+!
69.Qg6+ Kf8
69…Kh8 70.Qf6+ Kh7 71.Qh4+ Kg7 72.Qxg3+ and so on, could prolong a game for a little.
70.Qf6+ White bishop finished the black king off. 1–0

A series of important matches will continue. Yet there are no clear leaders in both tournaments. I think a lot will get clearer in the next two rounds.

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