Armenia beats France; USA women defeat Russia

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Russia-ArmeniaArmenia swept France 3?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? and Germany lost their first match against Israel. The Chinese ladies were held to 2-2 again, this time by Ukraine, and USA beat Russia 3-1! Round 8 report with games, results, standings and the press conference on video.

The Chess Olympiad takes place 12-25 november in Dresden, Germany. ChessVibes provides on-the-spot coverage from the venue, until the end of the tournament.

Although everything is usually decided in the last two rounds of the Olympiad, Armenia are the clear favorites for gold after their crushing victory over France. Bacrot and Aronian quickly bashed out loads of theory but in their highly topical Marshall ending there was nothing new under the sun; White has an extra pawn but against Black's bishop pair it's impossible to convert it.

And then... Armenia just won their other three games. Akopian totally crushed Vachier-Lagrave's irregular Najdorf with the nice 18.Bh5! and the even nicer pointe 19.Bxg6! and Sargissian easily equalized against Fressinet, who then found himself in a lost ending just a few inaccurate moves later. Tkachiev dared not to accept Petrosian's Evans Gambit pawn (fantastic Tigran, you're our hero!) and instead of romantically, the Frenchman went down positionally.

Germany lost their undefeated status against Israel, who have good-old Boris Gelfand on board one doing very well; currently he's fourth on the list of best performers in Dresden. Against Germany he decided the match with the only victory, over Naiditsch.

In both sections USA and Russia played each other and in the open it was Russia who took the two match points with a 1?Ǭ?-2?Ǭ? win. Kamsky beat Svidler, but this was more than compensated by Grischuk and Jakovenko who beat Nakamura and Akobian. After winning against The Netherlands, Vietnam continued to surprise by holding China (who left out Wang Yue) 2-2.

Much has been written about the pairing system in Dresden, but the fact that after just one upset (versus Bosnia & Herzegovina) New Zealand plays Ukraine in round 8 of an Olympiad can't be right (with all due respect for the kiwis!). Naturally the match ended in 4-0.

Bulgaria's 2-2 versus Belarus only increased Topalov's chances to win gold at board one and England recovered with a small victory against Georgia thanks to a brillant Black game by Short. Carlsen's win versus Navara shouldn't be missed either.

Drama for the Aussies who lost a match they should have won. Zong-Yuan Zhao, David Smerdon and Stephen Solomon drew reasonably balanced games but Darryl Johansen had been considered a certain win the larger part of the match. In a totally won position he completely lost track and suddenly found himself getting mated.

Top pairings for today: Armenia-Israel, Poland-Germany, Russia-Ukraine, Serbia-Azerbaijan and France-China.

Round 8 press conference with, among others, Henrik Carlsen and blitz world champion Leinier Dominguez:

The big news in the women's section was of course the USA blowing away Russia 3-1, shattering world champion Kosteniuk and her team's last hopes to win the gold medal. Krush's opening and early middlegame didn't look very healthy, but the way Kosteniuk tried too refute it was just too bombastic. Zatonskih provided that it's quite possible to play for a win with the Petroff and that was it - with two meaningless draws on boards 3 and 4 Russia went off and took their cold shower.

China was held to 2-2 again, this time by Ukraine. Zhao Xue smashed Natalia Zhukova on board two (husband Grischuk might have to explain some details of that Tarrasch once more) but Gaponenko beat Ju Wenjun to level the score.

Germany-Estonia was a fightful tie, in which all games were won by White, and Poland did a very good job with their 3-1 against Hungary. Armenia was clearly superior to Azerbaijan (4-0) and Argentina upset Czech Republic 2?Ǭ?-1?Ǭ?. Sweden beat neigbour Norway 4-0; their board one Pia Cramling is now on six out of six!

Perhaps we shouldn't overestimate China's chances; they play Serbia today who are just one match point behind, like Poland, Ukraine and USA. By the way on board two, yes it's true, Luxembourg plays, against Germany.

Results and standings in both the Open and Women's sections:

[TABLE=490] [TABLE=491] [TABLE=492] [TABLE=493] [TABLE=494] [TABLE=495]

Here's a selection of round 8 games for replay:

Bacrot and Aronian

Bacrot and Aronian, moments before they'll start their latest test of the Marshall...


...with many, many spectators and players at the background

Aronian, Petrosian, Akopian

This is what self-confidence looks like


Laurent Fressinet, no in such a bad mood either

Lahno - Hou Yifan

Lahno versus Hou Yifan was the top board of Ukraina-China match

Ju Wenjun

Ju Wenjun, board four of China, lost to...


...Inna Gaponenko


Grischuk defeated Nakamura in the match Russia-USA...

Jakovenko-Akobian which Jakovenko beat Akobian


Veselin Topalov, clear favorite for gold with his 5.5/6 and a 2936 performance


Vassily Ivanchuk, performing slightly under his rating with 5/8


Boris Gelfand, in the race for a gold medal on board one for Israel, now on 5.5/7 and a 2835 performance


Zoltan Almasi, board three of Hungary


The experienced Alexander Beliavsky, playing his 14th Olympiad and his 7th for Slovenia

Miezis and Sveshnikov

Latvia's boards one and two: Normunds Miezis and Evgeny Sveshnikov


Viktor/Viorel Bologan, Moldova's top player


Former FIDE World Champiom Rustam Kasimdzhanov


World champ Alexandra Kosteniuk overestimated her position


Judit Polgar, unsuccessful at the world blitz and now underperforming in Dresden as well


Luckless Australia with Zong-Yuan Zhao, David Smerdon, Stephen Solomon and poor Darryl Johansen


A satisfied Vladimir Chuchelov, who saw his team from The Netherlands beating Philippines 3?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?

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