Olympiad R8: China Beats Azerbaijan to Take Sole Lead, Russia Tops Women's Section

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 8/10/14, 2:38 PM.

China is the new leader at the 41st Chess Olympiad in Tromsø. With three rounds to go they are the only team with 14 match points after beating Azerbaijan 3-1 on Sunday. Russia continues to top the women section after a 3.5-0.5 win over Hungary. On the eve of the FIDE Presidential elections, both candidates are urging their opponent to have a civilized meeting tomorrow, but it remains to be seen whether that will happen.


On Sunday morning (or rather Saturday night) the Kasparov team posted an open letter on its website (in PDF here), proposing to the Ilyumzhinov ticket “a short set of detailed procedures that would guarantee a fair and confidential election for FIDE President on Monday.” In includes, for example, a request to have all six members of each ticket to be seated on stage facing the assembly, and to have an extra 15 minutes for both teams to present their tickets.

Later on Sunday a reply from the other team came, unambiguously titled “Open Reply by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov to the Open Letter of Garry Kasparov”. It starts as follows:

“In the hours leading up to the FIDE Presidential Election, Garry Kasparov is in panic mode.  Painfully aware of his imminent defeat, unable to resign and just go home, he must play to mate.  All he can do at the moment is muddy the waters and try to manufacture explanations for his financial backers:  he is paying a team of lawyers from one of the most expensive firms in the world (>$725/hour/lawyer) to create fog and confusion.”

It is clear that on the eve of the election, both teams aren't mincing words anymore and the prose used in their communication predicts a hostile atmosphere tomorrow. Meanwhile, VG has posted a very interesting video interview with both candidates - don't miss it.


Before turning to the games, first an update on the Burundi story mentioned yesterday. Apparently a big part of their delegation has simply disappeared! Here's an official statement from the organizers:

“Seven individuals from Burundi have left the Olympiad - five players - four women and one man, plus a team captain and a team leader. We are disappointed that they have not completed the event. The police were informed yesterday (Saturday) evening about their disappearance.

All of the missing persons have Schengen visas, which give them three months freedom of movement in the Schengen area. No laws have been broken and we have not heard anything back from the police and have no reason to suspect any trouble. The matter is now in the hands of the police, and not the Olympiad organization.”

Round 8

At the Olympiad there was a change of the guard as China defeated Azerbaijan 3-1. Wang Yue-Mamedyarov and Radjabov-Ding Liren both ended in draws and Yu Yangyi slowly outplayed Eltaj Safarli. It then came down to the following game, which reached a knight vs not so great bishop endind that looks close to winning for White after 44.Ne2. But Guseinov stumbled at the end when the team desperately needed a win:

China takes over the lead | Photo © Paul Truong

Romania and Czech Republic played 2-2 with four draws and so did India & Armenia. The huge pre-tournament favorite, Russia, also dropped one match point in their fight with Spain. At the start it looked alright, as Sergey Karjakin was crashing through against Ivan Salgado Lopez's Dragon:

However, Vladimir Kramnik suffered a painful loss to Paco Vallejo (and in doing so, the 14th World Champion dropped out of the top 10 in the live ratings).

It was quite a disappointing day for Bulgaria as well, who were doing well after about two hours of play against Ukraine. Ruslan Ponomariov committed a blunder in a slightly worse position against Ivan Cheparinov. It was basically immediately over, but in team matches you normally play on a bit longer than normal:

Ukraine started badly but are back in the game | Photo © Paul Truong

But then suddenly the tables turned as Valentin Iotov lost his first game of the event, against Pavel Eljanov, Krasimir Rusev didn't survive against Anton Korobov and then Veselin Topalov failed to convert a winning position against Vassily Ivanchuk:

Norway beat Bosnia & Herzegovina 3-1, where Magnus Carlsen won against his friend Borki Predojevic to quickly wash away the memory of that unnecessary loss yesterday.

Carlsen beats Predojevic as Black| Photo © Paul Truong

France improved their medal chances with a 2.5-1.5 win over Poland where Etienne Bacrot was the match winner:

Etienne Bacrot clinches two match point for France | Photo © Paul Truong

As mentioned, there were some matches ending in 2-2 among the teams just below the top - for example also Germany-Cuba and Hungary-USA. The latter saw draws on boards one and two, but Onischuk blundeded terribly on three:

Sam Shankland saved the day for the Americans, moving up to an amazing 7.0/7 score!

Sam Shankland wins his seventh, against Judit Polgar | Photo © Paul Truong

Netherlands is also in the group of countries with two points below the leaders thanks to a convincing 3-1 victory over Brazil. One of the winners was Erwin l'Ami, who played a very creative game:

Top Pairings Open Section, Round 9

No. Team Pts. MP - MP Pts. Team Team
1 China 24 14 - 13 23 Ukraine UKR
2 Czech Republic 22½ 13 - 13 23 France FRA
3 Norway 19 11 - 11 20½ Turkey TUR
4 Azerbaijan 21½ 13 - 13 22½ Romania ROU
5 Israel 22 12 - 12 21 Hungary HUN
6 Bulgaria 21 12 - 12 22 Cuba CUB
7 Belarus 20½ 12 - 12 22 Netherlands NED
8 Argentina 21½ 12 - 12 22½ India IND
9 United States of America 22 12 - 12 21 Germany GER
10 Armenia 21½ 12 - 12 20½ Serbia SRB
11 Russia 21 11 - 11 19½ Norway 2 NOR2

After beating China, Russia continued their role as favorite for gold in the women section with a solid 3-1 victory over Hungary. Kateryna Lagno drew with Hoang Thanh Trang on board one and Anita Gara put up a good fight against Alexandra Kosteniuk, but on the other boards the difference in strength was clear. Valentina Gunina won very easily: 

A relaxed Russian ladies team before the round | Photo © Paul Truong

But also here the tournament isn't decided yet. China recovered well, and that includes Hou Yifan. The World Champion nicely demonstrated that a lead in development can also be decisive after the queens have left the board:

Like Carlsen, Hou Yifan duly picked up that winning thing again | Photo © Paul Truong

A horrible blunder was seen on board 2 of the match between Norway and Turkey. Black reached a winning position, but blundered a mate in one:

Top Pairings Women Section, Round 9

No. Team Pts. MP - MP Pts. Team
1 Armenia 22½ 13 - 16 25½ Russia
2 Estonia 17½ 10 - 10 20 Norway
3 France 23 13 - 14 25 China
4 India 23½ 12 - 13 21½ Ukraine
5 Spain 21 12 - 12 23 Argentina
6 Romania 21½ 12 - 12 21 Vietnam
7 Germany 21½ 12 - 12 20½ Hungary
8 Poland 19½ 12 - 11 22 Mongolia
9 Indonesia 20 11 - 11 21½ Georgia
10 United States of America 21 11 - 11 21 Montenegro

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!

17631 reads 37 comments
0 votes


  • 2 years ago


    i'm very disappointed by kramnik....as a former world champio he should know bettr

  • 2 years ago


    "Problems occur when he is the aggressor or the position merits going on the offense"

    I think problems sometimes occur when he attacks without the position meriting going on the offense, like against Predojevic or Radjabov or Solak. But when he feels as if he must win a game he tends to overpress once in a while, even if there are numerous games where the position merits going of the offense and he wins brilliantly, like in his game against Wojtaszek. Carlsen is good enough to play well enough when he has rhe advantage, then it's another thing that one can point out games of all players where they have messed up winning positions.

  • 2 years ago


    Magnus Carlsen said that his goal as a child was to not lose to his sisters.  His defensive style accomplished that goal; whereas attacks did not.  Fast forward to today, he is most successful and comfortable when defending.  So he has continued doing what works, which is defending. 

    Problems occur when he is the aggressor or the position merits going on the offense.  He had a +15 in his game against Peter Svidler last month but nearly lost the game (he drew).  He was close to a +3 against Naiditsch and lost the game.  He was better against Teimour Radjabov but lost the game.

    This may explain why Carlsen typically ends up playing defense even with white.  He had black In his game against Predojevic and tried to attack.  White ended up better but lost after hanging 2 pawns in succession.

  • 2 years ago


    It proves like today game vs Solak that he played open positions very bad, several bad moves but Solak never sacrifice more then pawn in whole life, any solid attacker crush him easy that position. Btw you are very brave to comment anything in chess, i dont see that you ever play single game here or anything other for 5 years that you are registred ;)

  • 2 years ago


    "@fabelhaft . i dont know what you dont understand ? First he always run from sharp continuations, second at least 3-4 times he openly said ( St. Louis and couple other big tournaments last year ) when host of the live show ask him why he not play that and that for big advantage that he try to calculate but failed ( remember vs Aronian not so much to calculate, just sharp and he said no, i was hoping that he will blunder something :) ). In open positions his chance are drastic smoller and that know kids 10 years old ! And if -3,4,5,6 for Naka in several games and not just one move, 6-7 moves in a row is not wining position then lol ?"

    Carlsen often saying that he found a line too complicated to calculate it doesn't equal him being "very bad" at calculating. No player has ever been clear number one and very bad at calculating. Then it's another thing that his preferred type of position isn't tactical messes. As for Nakamura having completely winning positions for many moves in a row in several games against Carlsen, it would be interesting to see a list of those games. A far as I recall Carlsen was totally lost in one classical game (while he has won ten), and exactly what that proves I'm not sure of. But it's of course clear that Carlsen is no Tal or Alekhine or Kasparov, style wise.

  • 2 years ago


    Congratulations Sam Shankland! I played with him at a tournament in Dresden, Germany 2013 and he even won the tournament before GM Georg Meier.Very nice guy :)

  • 2 years ago


    I wonder why isn't Wang Hao and Li Chao participating in the Olympiad? Anyone knows?

  • 2 years ago


    And for the 1st time the team name INDIA was written and shown in news section in all the 8 rounds played till now. Thanks!

  • 2 years ago


    I just noticed Magnus' friend Borki has an earring...

  • 2 years ago


    Come on, that current FIDE President Ilyumzhinov is said to have corrupted the last elections (vs. Karpov). He also was the President of Republic of Kalmykia (Russian Federation) and allegedly his opposition was prone to dissapearing or dying. He is politically related to Putin. It would be terrible if he remains FIDE President. Unfortunately, Kasparov's chances are low if only because he openly criticises Putin. Someone should at least change the rules so that the same pal can't be the President more than twice.

  • 2 years ago


    He is playing today with guy 250 points weaker and he is white! And ... he never will win Solak like others with that -0.3 pressing for mistake, Solak playing all his life equal positions or on micro advantage, he made mistake in drawish position once in a 3 years !!

  • 2 years ago


    @fabelhaft . i dont know what you dont understand ? First he always run from sharp continuations, second at least 3-4 times he openly said ( St. Louis and couple other big tournaments last year ) when host of the live show ask him why he not play that and that for big advantage that he try to calculate but failed ( remember vs Aronian not so much to calculate, just sharp and he said no, i was hoping that he will blunder something :) ). In open positions his chance are drastic smoller and that know kids 10 years old ! And if -3,4,5,6 for Naka in several games and not just one move, 6-7 moves in a row is not wining position then lol ?

  • 2 years ago


    It might be a bad habit of mine - and/or genuine interest in chess and chess writing. Anyway, sometimes I like to talk about semantics:

    Guseinov - Ni Hua: "a knight vs not so great bishop endind that looks close to winning for White after 44.Ne2" What does 'close to winning' exactly mean? In such simplified positions, it should be possible to prove a win IF it is objectively available!? But the final position of the main variation isn't winning for white (or is it?). Is it rather along the lines of: white has a clear optical advantage, black has to be careful (to avoid scenarios as in the sub-variation)? But then again, as the game showed, white also had to be careful ... .

    "Russia (women) ... solid 3-1 victory over Hungary". Actually they won 3.5-0.5 which (while I generally don't like zealous wording) would be crushing rather than solid?

  • 2 years ago


    "I think there is a lot of truth to @uarefunny's comments"

    Maybe the part about Carlsen being "very bad" at calculating in long games? Or that Nakamura has had "completely winning" positions in several games against him? I doubt Carlsen is very bad at anything nowadays, especially not the latter half of the games.

  • 2 years ago


    Wang Hao has been banished for getting old.lol

    Magnus got lucky again with his pawns..lol

  • 2 years ago


    Let me ask you. Who would you trust world chess business?

  • 2 years ago



    Was Wang Hao not selected, or was he ill? I don't know the story, which is why I ask.

  • 2 years ago


    I think there is a lot of truth to @uarefunny's comments.

  • 2 years ago


    China's "youth" movement appears vindicated.  Ding Liren (22 yrs) Yangyi Yu (20 yrs) and Wei Yi (15 yrs) replaced Wang Hao, Bu Xiangzhi, and Li Chao (from the 2012 Olympiad team).  The youngsters are playing fearlessly against their older and higher rated opponents.

    Poor Russia, a whole cadre of young brilliant chess players sitting at home, while "old" men with high ratings continue to fail at the Olympiad. Kramnik and Svidler should step aside and let the younger generation come into their own.  Grischuk should stop playing like Carlsen and start playing aggressive chess.

    Tip my hat to Topolov and Ivanchuk, they have been cheating Father Time for years, but Time will tell.

    Judit Polgar looked like she was playing blitz against Sam Shankland.  Not surprising since she only played blitz and rapid before the Olympiad. 

    Predojevic, Borki (Carlsen's buddy) had a good game until he gave up a pawn for nothing with 34. h3, he followed that up by giving up his a pawn for nothing.  Good win by Carlsen, converting his 2 pawn advantage.

    L'Ami, Erwin:  Bravo!  This is the way that chess should be played.

    Sam Shankland:  Bring home the gold (4th board gold)!  My only wish is that USA brought more young talent with them.

  • 2 years ago


    From million comments ( ofc most of that lucky thing ) no one of you never said and never will understand what happened in that game ! Do you think that 2700 player who btw play very good endings is so bad that 3-4 times in crucial moments playing "crazy" moves that get him on +1.5 comp evaluation instead simple moves that my dead grandmother will move for only +0.3+0.5 !! That is the only way , make Carlsen 3 hours calculating, i know you all love him but he is very bad in that part of game. And at the end he was tired, little time presure and make mistake. You saw all that Nakamura have that good tactic play vs him and was few games completely wining positions but than again ... he is Nakamura !! I think his great desire ( and he knows that he can do it by his style that dont suite Carlsen ) killing him ! Ofc in next 2-3 years only Caruana can challenge him in match.

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