Olympiad R10: China Close to First Gold Ever, Russia Women Lose But Still Lead | Update: VIDEO

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 8/12/14, 9:34 AM.

China has excellent chances to clinch its first-ever gold medal at a Chess Olympiad.

In the penultimate round in Tromsø, China's biggest star, Yu Yangyi, decided the match with France by beating Laurent Fressinet in a double rook ending.

The Russian women lost their match with Ukraine, as Olga Girya was defeated by Natalia Zhukova, but they're still in the lead as China was held to  2-2 by Spain.

First, an update on a small side-story that was reported on earlier this week. According to NRK, the Tromsø sistrict court has dismissed the petition submitted by the Russian Chess Federation to arrest an amount of 1,288,217 NOK (155,962 Euro or U.S. $208,593), because of the legal costs they made just before the Olympiad to get their women's team playing.

At the start of the 10th (and penultimate) round of the Olympiad, there was an important delegation at board one of the Norway vs. Croatia match. Besides old/new FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, there was Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg. She performed the first move for Norway's big sport hero:

But it wasn't a good day for Carlsen. Maybe it's the pressure coming from the huge amount of media attention, the spectators sitting a few meters away or a prime minister showing up? Or is it something else?

In any case, the world champ played below par and was convincingly beaten by the strong GM Ivan Saric, board one for Croatia.

After the game, Carlsen told him that he had missed, or forgotten about 14.f4, after which he realized that he didn't have enough for his sacrificed pawns. All in all, it was a risky opening strategy that completey backfired.

For the rest of the Norwegian team, it didn't go much better, as Jon Ludvig Hammer and Kjetil Lie also lost. That means that the goal, to reach the top 10, won't be achieved.

That's it for the local perspective; let's quickly move on to the top boards, where China created an excellent opportunity to win its first Olympiad gold medals ever.

With draws on the other boards, the match winner was Yu Yangyi, who has now reached the splendid score of 8.5/10:

Yu Yangi is in great form in Tromsø.

China got to 17 match points while France stayed at 15. Out of the five teams that were on 14, only Hungary won (against Romania) and so it is now in clear second place.

Like yesterday, the wins came from Csaba Balogh and Richard Rapport on boards two and four; they beat Mircea-Emilian Parligras and Leventa Vajda respectively. 

In a slightly worse position, Vajda blundered material:

The following teams are tied for third place behind China (17 points) and Hungary (16 points) and will fight for medals as well: France, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, USA, Russia, India, Poland, and Uzbekistan.

Azerbaijan, and especially Ukraine, could have been shared second with Hungary if they hadn't tied their match 2-2. In an equal ending, Vassily Ivanchuk suddenly collapsed:

Luckily for the Ukrainians, Pavel Eljanov was playing a good game and didn't give Rauf Mamedov a chance as Black's queen was completely out of play:

A good win for Pavel Eljanov.

USA's team captain left out-of-form Gata Kamsky out, and at the end of the day a 2.5-1.5 victory over Argentina was on the score board. Hikaru Nakamura used 1.b3 to beat Fernando Peralta:

And on board four, Sam Shankland improved his enormous score even further, to 8.5/9! He might have won the gold medal for board five already, because Palestine's Christian Michel Yunis, who was on 7.0/7, lost today.

Sam Shankland is in tremendous form.

What about Russia? Did it finally do a bit better after all these disappointing performances? Well, yes and no. Russia won, with good games for Vladimir Kramnik and Sergey Karjakin, but Peter Svidler lost again. He has now even dropped out of the world's top 20 in the live ratings.

Peter Svidler has had better tournaments.

India vs. Germany was a very hard fought match, eventually decided by Krishnan Sasikiran's game against Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu. All other games were drawn, with David Baramidze holding a R vs RN ending against Baskaran Adhiban.

Despite another victory for Veselin Topalov (now on 6.0/8!) the Bulgarians couldn't do it today against Poland as Ivan Cheparinov and Valentin Iotov lost to Grzegorz Gajewski and Jan-Krzysztof Duda, respectively. First that Topalov game:

And here's Gajewski's win, scored in the always-exciting Mar del Plata King's Indian:

Uzbekistan upset Netherlands today, which was higher rated in all games but could only draw on boards 1-3.  On board four, GM Robin van Kampen lost to IM Jahongir Vakhidov:

Top Pairings Last Round (Thursday), Open Section

No. Team Pts. MP - MP Pts. Team
1 Poland 27½ 15 - 17 28½ China
2 Hungary 27 16 - 15 27 Ukraine
4 Russia 26 15 - 15 27 France
5 Azerbaijan 25½ 15 - 15 26½ USA
6 India 27 15 - 15 25 Uzbekistan
7 Cuba 27 14 - 14 25½ England
8 Spain 25½ 14 - 14 27 Vietnam
9 Israel 25½ 14 - 14 27 Croatia
10 Armenia 25½ 14 - 14 26 Czech Republic
11 Belarus 24½ 14 - 14 25 Bulgaria
12 Romania 25½ 14 - 14 26½ Brazil

The women's section saw the top match Russia vs. Ukraine, which doesn't need to be made political to be interesting!

The game on board one, between two players who recently switched federations (Anna Muzychuk and Kateryna Lagno), was a rather quick draw.

Valentina Gunina and Mariya Muzychuk also split the point, and so did ex-world champions Anna Ushenina and Alexandra Kosteniuk on three.

It was Natalia Zhukova who ensured a thrilling finale on Thursday, as she beat Olga Girya. The game went a bit up and down, but in the end it was the Ukrainian GM who had the strongest nerves:

Ukraine-Russia, with Girya-Zhukova on board 4. | Photo © David Llada

But Russia was lucky because China, who had a chance to catch Russia in first place, couldn't get more than a 2-2 tie with Spain!

Update: here's a video with both Natalia Zhukova and Hou Yifan:

Hou Yifan won again to take her score to 6.5/8, but Tan Zhongyi went down against Ana Matnadze:

Ana Matnadze wins for Spain. | Photo © David Llada

This means that Russia is still on 18 match points, followed by China and Ukraine who have 17. The latter two meet at the board in the final round on Thursday, while Russia faces Bulgaria, keeping good chances for gold.

Top Pairings Last Round (Thursday), Women's Section

No. Team Pts. MP - MP Pts. Team
1 Russia 29½ 18 - 15 28½ Bulgaria
3 Ukraine 26½ 17 - 17 30½ China
4 Georgia 28 15 - 16 26½ Germany
5 Armenia 26½ 15 - 15 26½ Spain
6 Kazakhstan 24 15 - 14 27½ Czech Republic
7 Romania 25½ 14 - 14 28½ India
8 Azerbaijan 26 14 - 14 23 Poland
9 United States of America 25½ 14 - 14 26 Argentina

Don't miss the Chess in Tweets blog!

The official website is here, and the Olympiad is also on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Chess.com is transmitting a number of top games every round in Live Chess, and we're hosting a daily show on Chess.com/TVOur reporter Peter Doggers is present in Tromsø for on-the-spot (video) reports and calls in live from Tromsø during the Chess.com/TV show, so stay tuned!

25658 reads 67 comments
3 votes


  • 2 years ago


    @Grandma (better late than never): If I understand your comment correctly, you don't seem to understand the concept of Internet live commentary. It is directly linked with the live transmission of the games - not linked in the Internet meaning of the word, but presented in the same browser window. So if people want to see the current position of the game being discussed, they simply have to choose this game in the parallel live transmission! They will then also see the remaining time for both players, as well as (unique for the chess24 system?) thinking time per previous move.

    If they aren't particularly interested in this particular game, they can check other games - that's the advantage of the Internet: flexibility.

    I 'spot-checked' the Norwegian TV coverage, and was a bit confused about that much parallel visual info in a small space - where am I supposed to look? One might get used to it (and watching on TV might be a different experience), forgive me for not staying too long as I don't understand Norwegian. As a sidenote: following the postmortem between Aronian and Gelfand behind the scenes in Wijk aan Zee was fascinating, even though (or also because?) they were talking Russian. But they are another level than the Norwegian TV commentators, and it was followed by the opportunity to ask brief questions in English ... .

  • 2 years ago



    I agree that we should try to have a positive attitude to people with different opinions, and I'll do my best. :-)

    But I don't see the point in beeing too positiv  or to answer comments from some people who are notoriously biased and unreasonable or notoriously ignorant or just are pure web-trolls, whatever the topics under discussion are. Better to just ignore them. I'm not thinking only on people on chess-sites, but on the internett in general.


    What Kirsan says, is not worth much for me.
    It's sad that the chess world has to deal with his leadership for four more years.
    But I think it is very important to broaden the chess appeal, to make chess more popular among more people worldwide. 

    (May be  you remember this from earlier discussions on Chessvibes)


    Chess is a great product and should be easy to sell, but it has not happened to a satisfying degree.
    FIDE must take the blame for it.

    Regarding the international  coverage from Tromsø OL and Chess 24: It wasn't bad.
    Chess24 had got the pictures (there were many cameras, and they could choose from all the available pictures, I guess.) They also used the  graphics from NRK, and that's it good. Cooperation is necessary.


    But I missed a few thing, and in this comment I will mention two:


    1. For a good broadcasting, you nead two chessboards (diagrams) on the screen. One diagram which at every time shows the situation in the games in real time, and which should not be touched by the commentators in studio.

    And  of course one analyze diagram/board.

    Two diagrams make it much easier to follow for quite a lot of viewers, and it's implemented both by NRK (the Norwegian state channel) and TV2 (the biggets commercial channel in Norway.)

    I don't know if NRK made two boards available for Chess24, but I assume they did. In any case it should not be difficult to implement two diagrams at the screen.


    2. I missed the clock after the player's names.

    (I saw that Chess24 from time to time showed the computer analyzes which they also got from NRK, but the clock was absent.)

    A pity, because the time left can in some cases be crucial. When you only have made move 22 and have just one minute left on the clock and your opponent has an hour, it often has a huge impact as you know.
    It's much more interesting for the audience to follow the broadcasting when they all the time can watch two boards and a clock.


    This is not negative critisism from me, but more  constructive suggestions.


    I give you a random link from NRK to illustrate what I mean. You can find other links by searching "sjakk OL"

    ("del" means "part", thus "del 2" is part 2)




    Notice the the analyze board isn't always on the screen. When you see the commentators in the middle, you don't see the board, but the real time board is always there.


    I strongly mean that it must be possible to show chess on TV, not only on internett, in many nations. Chess on TV is necessary if the sport shall reach a broad public.

    There are a lot of sport channels everywhere around in the world, and they broadcast all kinds of sports 24/7, so why shouldn't some of them be interested in broadcasting chess?

    I would like to write more about this topic, but not tonight. :-)

  • 2 years ago


    @grandma: "He has not left his ship. He has played nine games for Norway. He rested the first and the last day when Norway faced much weaker opponents."

    Not playing last round is logical. Leaving his team and the Olympiad venue is leaving the ship. It's not resting either but travelling.It's like a soccer player just leaving the stadion after a switch.

    A positive opinion of his former coach/ brother of his manager is likely to be biased. Anything less than cheerful comments are impossible in Norway anyway. But the facts are there for all to see.

  • 2 years ago



    you miss my point entirely...

    carlsen has had a pretty awful showing at the olympiads hosted in his country; and the culmination of this was his dreadful loss in the game where your prime minister made his opening move. the world was watching and naturally had varying opinions about it. aren't they free to express these just as you claim you're entitled to express yours?

    your reaction to this is to attack first the russian men team's performance, then the media at large, then fide, then the event moderator (trent lawrence). to top it off you offer up a barage of excuses for carlsen's poor performance in the olympiad hosted in norway.

    he's the world chess champion (at 23 years of age - tired?) and with that comes a great deal of responsibility to the international chess community and to the game. he's the world chess champion; petty excuses and explanations don't hold muster, and certainly your scatter gun attacks on everything associated with chess, don't serve the game well either; AND do harm to carlsen.

    he's the world chess champion; every time he loses games frivolously to tom, dick, and harry - it cheapens the title and the game's repute.

  • 2 years ago



    I can answer you later, maybe, don't have more time just now. But I can correct one mistake immediately :

    Norway has in fact successes  in quite a lot of sports, summer and winter.Smile

    And I can  criticize anyone when there is good reason to criticize.

    Later about NRK, Chess24 etc...

    You can maybe read my answer to @adarkhorse and @savantz and the links.

  • 2 years ago



    Yes, chess24 is the primare source for the international community, and as far as I know they got the pictures and graphics from NRK.

    You can read a little more here:




    The Norwegian team regards Magnus as a very good and inspiring captain. He has not left his ship. He has played nine games for Norway. He rested the first and the last day when Norway faced much weaker opponents. 

    When Norway got the message that they were going to play Malaysia, it was desided that Magnus should rest the last round. His contribution was not necessary for the team today because Norway 1 is significant stronger than Malaysia. It should be easy for everyone to understand. And both the two amateurs, Leif Erlend Johannesen and Kjetil Lie, got the chance to play and to achive convincing wins.Smile

    The team stands 100%  behind Magnus and his decision to fly back to Oslo since there were no more games for him to play, and that's what counts, not what some persons in other countries might think.

    You can for example read Simen's point of view in this article:


    (With google translate you may understand the most important, I assume.)

  • 2 years ago


    @Grandma: It's important to be positive (which might include a positive attitude to people with different opinions?), IMO it also doesn't hurt to be critical. Have you ever criticized Carlsen? Maybe not as he is simply perfect from your point of view, but nobody is ... .

    As to Norwegian TV coverage: It's a special situation because - correct me if I am wrong - the country has few successes in other sports (but winter sports, which don't exist half of the year). There is also the Russian Chess TV which seems to do a pretty good job (in Russian, more common in the chess world). As to Kirsan's praise: not saying that he's wrong, but it was certainly also diplomatic language - like every IOC president calling all Olympic Games "best ones ever".

    Chess24: First, it is relatively common (at least not unprecedented) for chess organizers to work with companies for their Internet coverage - simply because they may lack own technical or human resources. Some chose Chessdom, some chose Chessbase, the Olympiad chose the relative newcomer chess24. Chess24, previously known as cisha (Creative Internet Services Hamburg), seems originally a German company with Jan Gustafsson as Chief of Strategy or whatever his formal job title is. They (partly) moved to Gibraltar, possibly for tax reasons but also to reach the Spanish market.

    Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with chess24 even if I had email contact with a few staff members. And the cisha project was discussed in German chess circles long before it went online and became known internationally.

  • 2 years ago


    Grandma, the Norwegian coverage may be great, but us foreigners can hardly know. Chess24 coverage was, just like the olympiad organisation, so-so. It was a pity that the world champ didn't find time for the international audience with Gustafson and Trent but ofc. Magnus knows that most of his money is to be made in Norway. As for him leaving before the last round, you may be right that it's best for him. It's not typical inspiring behavior of a team player of course, but he has shown before that he doesn't care about his team, f.i. when he suddenly cancelled his appearance at the ett and his team had to play a man short. I mention this because you said it was a very wise decision. But that, in truth, totally depends on your point of view and nationality it seems. I for one interpet it as a sore loser's move, a captain abandoning his ship before he lead it to the harbour. And I don't know about any other player who did so at the Olympiad ever.

  • 2 years ago


    to my knowledge... chess24 is the primary source for reporting and disseminating information, regarding this olympiad in tromso, to the international community. their web site is a cornucopia of videos, live streaming, interviews and live coverage to the international community.

    last time I checked they're a british held enterprise --- and then there's nigel freeman

  • 2 years ago



     I usually interpret people in a positiv way. I think it's important in my professional life, and I think people in general should have a more positiv attitude to each other.

    Norwegian TV has done an outstanding job. Chess 24 and all the other commentator-teams  which we have seen during all chess-tournaments and chess-matches have a lot to learn from  them. Of course, they don't have the same financial and logistical resources as NRK, (or TV2).

    But shouldn't that be a matter for Fide?  What have Kirsan & co done to broaden the chess-appeal in the world?

    When it's possible for Norwegian TV, in a country with 5 mill people, it should also be possible for countries with more people AND for FIDE!

    Keep in mind that MY thoughts about Chess24 is my private opinion, and it has nothing to do with Carlsen's thoughts!

    This is the first time the Norwegian Chess TV team is located at the same place where the action is. Otherwise they have broadcasted from Oslo or Bergen.  Magnus (and a lot of other  players, leaders and other people) could thus come in the studio to discuss several matters.
    I think it's been interesting for Magnus (and others) to discuss chess with Atle Grønn and Torstein Bae deeper than he does in other postgame-interwievs. Of course fun and instructive for the Skandinavian audience.

    He had probably not time to visit Gustafsson and Trent due to other obligations. After all, the Olymiad is not about Magnus, and not  much about the Norwegian teams. The Olympiad is a good opportunity to let good players below the absolut top shine, and of course, also to interview players from the top-matches.

    Btw, Kirsan was in the NRK-studio today, and he praised NRK for it's brilliant work. Could we expect the same effort from the Fide broadcast in the future? He tried to analyze some games in the Russian woman match with Torstein Bae, but not with great succes.

    Kaspararov has of course also been in the NRK studio, and HE can analyze any match!Smile

    In the given situation with Magnus was his (or maybe team Carlsen's) decision wise, the absolute best thing to do. Do you really think that he can get peace and rest in Tromsø?

    Does it bother you that he has left Tromsø?
    Does it bother anyone?

    Norway 1, (who partly has disappointed during the Olympiad) won as expected  easily 4-0 over Malaysia without their big star.

    Congratulations, China, with  deserved Gold!

    I was rooting for France, but I also like China very well. They played best during the Olympiad, and they deserve the title.

    Congratulations to the Russian woman team as well!

    PS: According to rumors in Tromsø, Simen has played his last game as a professional player. Understandable. He's 47 years old, and he has an important job to do at NTG with young up and coming chess talents.

  • 2 years ago


    Chess Olympiad playlist:


  • 2 years ago


    @Grandma: "It's somehow irrelevant what you think ..." - it's pretty irrelevant what all of us think, which shouldn't prevent amateurs from joining the discussion.

    "you are not in Tromso!" - probably most people on this forum aren't, but there is such a thing as Internet. When you wrote "I have never seen him [Carlsen] so exhausted and tired", does this mean that you travelled with him to every tournament he played?

    You interpret everything about Carlsen in the best possible way, calling his decision to leave town 'very wise' - other opinions are possible. You praise his daily appearances on Norwegian TV, calling this "Much more important than to chat with Lawrence Trent!". Norway matters (to Norwegians), others can hardly follow these programs because Norwegian is a rather uncommon language. The rest of the world doesn't matter? Carlsen might also owe a thing or twenty-two to the rest of the world, but maybe it doesn't matter.

  • 2 years ago


    shankland will be going home with a GOLD medal for top performance on board 5

  • 2 years ago


    shankland board 4 results are good, not great.    after 8 games he had only gained 11 rating points, which tells you he is playing weak opposition compared to 1st 3 boards.  

  • 2 years ago


    Go Shang kelan! 

  • 2 years ago


    @grandma: you know what's rude? You referring to inselschaker as TO. You'r truly an evil woman.

    Talking about rude...I read in a recent interview by GM Giri that Carlsen intentionally brought down a 70 year old arbiter by a tackle in a friendly soccer match. Giri mentioned this to illustrate the nasty traits that (some) champions seem to need.

    Since you are so well informed and wise on the subject I wonder if you know the name of this particular senior chess arbiter who was kicked by our noble world champion.

  • 2 years ago



    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

    phew!!! now I'm tired too!

  • 2 years ago


    It seems to me, Carlsen lost his appetite.

  • 2 years ago



    I don't think I wrote "poor" Carlsen. 

    It's somehow irrelevant what you think in this case, Thomas R. You do not like Magnus, and I have the feeling that you always interpret everything regarding him in the worst meaning. And you are not in Tromsø! 

    Magnus is totally out of shape. It's not only that he's tired. 

    It's more like a collapse. 

    He has not said anything about the reasons behind the loss of form in public, but I think that the enourmous pressure from all kinds of people is one of the key factors. 

    Magnus has played 9 out of 10 games, (in a row), more than the four other players on Norway 1. The point with five players Is that they can rest players in the team if necessary. Now it's necessary for Magnus to rest.
    The average rating of the team NOR1 is going play tomorrow is about 2300, and Simen should not have any problem on first board in that match. 

    And: Magnus has been in the NRK studio every day, not only to analyze his own games, but also his teammates games, and sometimes also games in other matches. The Norwegian public has really appreciated this.

    Much more important than to chat with Lawrence Trent!

    I don't understand why they use him as a commentator. Trent is IMO not competent enough and should be replaced.

    Otherwise: I have not followed Carlsen's games closely. This is an Olympiad with many teams, and I try to follow  the top teams and some other teams in between all the work. Therefore, I'm not in the mood to discuss specific Magnus-moves or openings now.

    But the last game was clearly one of the worst Magnus ever has played. 

    I don't think it's rude at all to leave Tromsø, come home, get some very necessary rest and try to figure things out. After all Magnus shall try to regain some form before the supertournament in USA later in august, and he has also a World Champion match to prepare.

    Nobody has done so much for Norwegian chess as Magnus, and what is the point to stay two more days in Tromsø when he's not going to play and needs time and silence without media and fans everywhere?

  • 2 years ago


    @Grandmabestemamma: Of course I was kidding - twice.

    Poor Carlsen is tired!? When things go well, his fans like to mention and boast about his superior physical (and mental) fitness ... . Chesswise, his program was hardly tougher than the one of several other board 1 players, e.g. Giri, Mamedyarov, Kasimdzhanov(!), ... . True, he may have suffered from (rather than, or in addition to enjoying) extra media attention - but my impression is that his management keeps such things under control. For example, to my knowledge he never appeared in the official live coverage or the parallel Chessbase coverage.

    Anyway, if I was tired I wouldn't go for such a dodgy opening as against Saric. This loss and the bad positions he had against Caruana and Solak seem recklessness rather than tiredness, only the loss against Naiditsch may have been tiredness (or carelessness).

    Now he left town before the final round and closing ceremony? Arguably rude, but he will probably get away with it.

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