Olympiad R9: France Joins China, Russian Women Still Lead

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 8/12/14, 1:57 AM.

France joined China in the lead in round 9 of the 41st Chess Olympiad in Tromsø. It was again Etienne Bacrot who clinched the two match points for the French team, and on the top boards China drew four games with Ukraine. The Russian women's team is still two match points ahead after beating Armenia 2.5-1.5.

While all delegates and most of the journalists were a few miles away in the Tromsø University, waiting for the results of the FIDE Presidential elections, the 9th round of the Olympiad started in the former Mack Brewery. “Chess Olympiads are all about performing well in the last three rounds,” is a well-known saying, and so on this day it was going to be clear which teams would be playing for the medals.

It looks like China and Ukraine decided to take no risks. Their match on the top boards saw four rather uneventful draws, where one would almost suspect that a chat between the two team captains took place after a few hours of play. The way the draw was reached on board 4 was rather spectacular:

The top match Ukraine-China saw little excitement

For the second day in a row, Etienne Bacrot was the match winner for France. With draws on the other boards, the 31-year-old grandmaster beat Viktor Laznicka in a Chebanenko Slav. A game between two players who are in form often leads to something very nice. This time it was a crystal-clear positional game finished with a tactical sequence, like Anatoly Karpov liked to play them:

After losing to China, Azerbaijan dropped another match point against Romania, who are have a great tournament as the 32nd seeded team! 
Unlike China-Ukraine, this was a hard-fought match, especially on board 3:

Israel and Cuba seem to have lost the chance for a medal as they lost their matches on Monday. It Israeli GMs went down against Hungary, where Csaba Balogh beat Maxim Rodshtein, and Richard Rapport won against Emil Sutovsky. The latter game saw a bit of a strange opening (perhaps it's an Exchange Caro-Kann, via a transposition of moves?):

A good game by Richard Rapport

The Cubans lost to Bulgaria, whose board one player Veselin Topalov is having an excellent tournaent. He only lost to Vladimir Kramnik, and on Monday he moved to +3 again (a 2864 performance) against Leinier Dominguez:

Veselin Topalov played well for Bulgaria

Norway isn't going to win a medal either, but that wasn't the goal anyway. A place in the top 10 is still in reach after playing 2-2 with Turkey. That could have been a loss, though, as Simen Agdestein went down against Emre Can and Magnus Carlsen escaped from a lost position against Dragan Solak and even won:

Carlsen wins a rollercoaster game

Lost of other top matches saw 2-2 scores: Belarus-Netherlands, Argentina-India, USA-Germany and Armenia-Serbia.

The situation at the top is as follows: China & France leading with 15 points, and so with the best chances for gold. Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania are on 14 points, followed by USA, Russia, India, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Armenia, Poland, Uzbekistan, Serbia, Vietnam, Germany, Belarus and Argentina.

The mighty Russian team can be considered lucky to be in this group. They were paired against Norway 2 in round 9, and their 2.5-1.5 win wasn't convincing at all: three 2700-GMs (Peter Svidler, Sergey Karjakin, Ian Nepomniachtchi) drew with three IMs (Frode Elsness, Torbjorn Ringdal Hansen and Aryan Tari) on boards 2-4. Only Alexander Grischuk played a “normal” game:

Grischuk vs Urkedal

The USA team is having a strange tournament where one player is performing amazingly well, and another doing badly. Sam Shankland's winning streak ended as he drew with Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu but of course his tournament is still fantastic. Gata Kamsky, however, is on 3.0/8, with a 2464 performance. He missed a tactical shot against Georg Meier:

Top Pairings Open Section, Round 10

No. Team Pts. MP - MP Pts. Team
1 France 25½ 15 - 15 26 China
2 Ukraine 25 14 - 14 23½ Azerbaijan
3 Croatia 23½ 12 - 12 21 Norway
4 Hungary 24 14 - 14 24½ Romania
5 Bulgaria 23½ 14 - 13 25 Poland
6 United States of America 24 13 - 13 23½ Argentina
7 Serbia 22½ 13 - 13 23½ Russia
8 Germany 23 13 - 13 24½ India
9 Netherlands 24 13 - 13 22½ Uzbekistan
10 Czech Republic 24 13 - 13 22½ Belarus
11 Vietnam 25 13 - 13 23½ Armenia

Russia kept excellent chances for gold in the women section after another win. Nerves start to play a role though! Kateryna Lagno lost her first game of the event. She was under pressure almost from the start and then took a poisoned pawn:

Lagno losing her first vs Danielian

Valentina Gunina was also in trouble but had a narrow escape:

Top Pairings Women Section, Round 10

No. Team Pts. MP : MP Pts. Team
1 Ukraine 24 15 : 18 28 Russia
2 Norway 22½ 12 : 12 23 Azerbaijan
3 China 28½ 16 : 14 24½ Spain
4 Germany 24 14 : 14 24 Romania
5 Georgia 25 13 : 14 22 Poland
6 Kazakhstan 21 13 : 13 23½ France
7 Slovakia 23½ 13 : 13 26 Bulgaria
8 Croatia 23½ 13 : 13 24 Armenia

In the 10th and penultimate round the matches France-China and Ukraine-Azerbaijan will be crucial for this Olympiad. No mistake can be allowed at this stage! The women section has the fight between Russia and Ukraine, especially interesting if Ms. Lagno plays. Update: she does play, on board one, against Anna Muzychuk, who switched back to the Ukrainian federation recently, while Ms. Lagno switched from Ukraine to Russia!

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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!

9793 reads 14 comments
One Vote


  • 2 years ago






  • 2 years ago


    france vs china is amayzing i hope france win

  • 2 years ago



    it looks like theirs shirt is the same

  • 2 years ago


    LOL at Carlsen smiling away before his game against Dragan!

    I think he was planning all along to play the way he did in that game, haha Tongue Out

  • 2 years ago


    It was DEFINITELY not prearranged, why would China risk losing gold with a draw? IT doesn't make any sense, especially when with a win Ukraine would have had a very good shot at gold. Yu Yangyi pushed for a win with white, Moiseenko pushed for a win with white and went into complications with his king in the center, Ivanchuk and Ding chose to simplify early with black and leave their opponents without much material on the board, but in a team competition you are much more responsible and can't risk the whole outcome of the medals by taking unecessary risks. You are not playing just for yourself anymore.

  • 2 years ago


    Bacrot´s game was really clear and instructive, very nice:


  • 2 years ago


    Btw china ukraine was most likely not prearranged. Moisenkos dissapointment was very clear right after the game.

  • 2 years ago


    Solak's loss looks suspicious. Was he in time trouble or distracted by Carlsens theatrics? Even my grandmother would have won his position against Carlsen.

  • 2 years ago


    - After the back-door draws between China and Ukraine it is clear that France (which decided its results over the boards) deserves the gold. 

    - Topolov still shines brightly while Kramnik drifts into the sunset.

    - Regardless of the position Carlsen is in his element while playing defense.

    - Turn-about is fair play as Lagno tasted some Armenian home cooking.   Lagno's recent classical chess history is replete with draws.

  • 2 years ago


    Risky play by Carlsen!

    Obviously Kramnik, Kamsky and Krush are in bad form.

  • 2 years ago


    "After losing to China, Azerbaijan dropped another match point against Romania, who are have a great tournament as the 32nd seeded team! Unlike China-Ukraine, this was a hard-fought match, especially on board 3"

    Also on board 1, where Mamedyarov was worse with white for almost the entire game and was lost (twice, once before move 40, once after), but Lupulescu failed to spot the winning combinations:


  • 2 years ago


    France and China at the top. That's maybe the first time since WWII than a non East-European team has the best chances to win the Olympiad.

  • 2 years ago


    Wonderful game by Rapport!!!

    Excellent rook sacrifice and perpetual check by Wei Yi!!!  It scared me yesterday!!!


    Both of them are extraordinary geniuses!!!

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