Italy Shocks Norway On Day Of Endgames, Estonian Grandmaster Faints At Board
Multiple entrances to the tournament are guarded by security personnel with volunteers and metal detectors well before players arrive. Photo: FIDE/Stev Bonhage.

Italy Shocks Norway On Day Of Endgames, Estonian Grandmaster Faints At Board

| 29 | Chess Event Coverage

Italy inflicted a shocking defeat on third-seeded Norway with a convincing score of 3-1 in the third round of the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad, as Netherlands and India 2 scored impressive 4-0 victories against Sweden and Switzerland respectively. India, the U.S., Spain, Poland, and Azerbaijan were among the winners keeping their eyes on the ultimate podium finish among a total of 20 teams on six match points. In an upset victory, Polish GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek was defeated by GM Temur Kuybokarov of Australia.

After about the fourth hour of play, Estonian GM Meelis Kanep fainted during his game and was rushed to a hospital, where his current condition is believed to be stable.

The  44th FIDE Women's Chess Olympiad saw 19 teams lead with six match points, among them the medal favorites of India, Ukraine, Georgia, Poland, France, and Azerbaijan. The 28th-seeded Mongolia pulled off a great upset by defeating the seventh-seeded U.S. by a compelling 3-1 margin. Notable among the games of the match was Mongolian WIM Turmunkh Munkhzul's steady victory over American IM Carissa Yip

How to watch the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad

You can watch the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad and FIDE Women's Chess Olympiad live on and on our Twitch channel, or catch all of our live broadcasts on

You can also keep up with all the details of both events on our live events platform by following the respective links: 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad | 44th FIDE Women's Chess Olympiad.

The Olympiad Arena

In addition to the actual playing halls, the Chennai Olympiad is also the host to many activities. A lot is going on in the expo part of the hall with unbelievable hustle and bustle. There are many visitors, and some are quite special.

The architect of the Olympiad, Chief Minister of the State of Tamilnadu, M.K. Stalin (second from left) pays a visit and is shown around by Sanjay Kapoor (President of the All India Chess Federation), Vishy Anand, and Arkady Dvorkovich (President of FIDE). Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes.
The booth is a busy place. Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes.

The souvenir shops are eternal temptations. Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes.
A lecture "How to Photograph Chess" by photographer Maria Emelianova at the Queens Pavilion. Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes.
The inevitable blitz battles. Onlookers obviously get hooked without realizing Ellen Nilssen is present. Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes.
Step outside onto the foyer, and there are photo ops aplenty. The Ecuador team on a decorated auto-rickshaw, a common means of transportation in India. Photo: FIDE/Stev Bonhage.

Open Section

Italy scored a creditable win against the world champion-led Norway, the latter represented by higher-rated opponents in all the boards of the matchup. On the top board, GM Daniele Vocaturo played an impressive positional game to hold the draw against GM Magnus Carlsen, even having slightly better chances in the endgame, undeterred by a near 250-point difference in Elo or the famed Carlsen endgame prowess. Crucial wins were scored by GM Lorenzo Lodici (Elo 2553) against GM Jon Ludvig Hammer (2638) and by GM Francesco Sonis (2543) with black against GM Johan-Sebastian Christiansen (2593), who probably overpressed while looking for a win for the sake of his team.

The Italy-Norway matchup, the cliched David vs. Goliath fight. Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes.

In a dramatic development for any tournament, Estonian fourth-board player Kanep (2417), 39, fainted at about the end of the fourth hour of play and was rushed to a hospital in an ambulance. His Jamaican opponent Jaden Shaw (1930) respectfully agreed to a draw. At the abrupt end of the game, Kanep with black pieces had an extra rook and was about to deliver a checkmate by force in a few moves. Here is the position after 39...Kg7:

The American team's victory over Georgia with a 3-1 margin featured two brilliant endgames. GM Levon Aronian produced a creative beauty with the domination of rooks and a knight over rooks and a bishop, resembling a legendary early 20th-century Soviet composer:

The ancient expression "Aronian and the art of slow-motion swindling" comes to mind!

When Aronian was busy doing a Genrikh Kasparyan, GM Sam Shankland decided to do a Tigran Petrosian!

Samuel "Petrosian" Shankland pulled up his sleeves and delivered for the U.S. Photo: Maria Emelianova.

India scored an impressive 3-1 victory over Greece, a most swashbuckling win coming on GM Pentala Harikrishna's blitzkrieg on the black kingside with a twin bishop sacrifice, which is our game of the day.

Hari visited the press center afterward and produced a wide grin when reminded that before the third-round kingside attack, he had produced an endgame beauty in the second round. "It doesn't matter what kind of a game it is—enough for me as long as I play good chess!"

The Netherlands were impressive in their 4-0 victory over another all-GM team, Sweden. GM Anish Giri, GM Jorden van Foreest, GM Benjamin Bok, and GM Max Warmerdam all scored impressive victories, mostly with logical playing styles.

The most impressive among them was Warmerdam's purposeful play against seasoned GM Emanuel Berg:

Left to right: Bok, Warmerdam, GM Jan Smeets (non-playing captain), and van Foreest. Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes.

As for Giri, we all know the secret behind his impressive show in this Olympiad:

See full results here

Women's Section

The Indian women showed steady play to outwit the seasoned English team by a 3-1 margin, as IM R. Vaishali and IM Bhakti Kulkarni delivered wins with the white pieces. Curiously, Vaishali outwitted her opponent in a queen and knight vs. a queen and bishop endgame, the same combo as employed by her younger brother GM Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu on the same day!

Vaishali followed in her younger brother's footsteps. Photo: Maria Emelianova.

Mongolia's victory of 3-1 over the U.S. was achieved with two knight endgames. Munkhzul outwitted Yip in a topsy-turvy maneuvering game:

The tense Mongolia-U.S. match in progress. Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes.

The second loss for the U.S. was probably because WGM Tatev Abrahamyan tried too hard to win another... knight ending:

See full results here.

The 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad and Women's Chess Olympiad are over-the-board team events where national chess federations compete in classical games for gold medals, trophies, and the title of strongest chess nation in the world. The event consists of an 11-round Swiss tournament where each player from a national team plays against another player from the opposing national team. Teams receive "game points" for winning or drawing games and "match points" for winning or drawing a match. Teams with the most match points for each section become the champions of their section, with a third award going for the team with the most points from both sections combined.

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