Israel clear first after beating Armenia

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Karpov making the first moveAnything can happen in the decisive last two rounds of the Olympiad in Dresden after Israel surprisingly but convincingly beat Armenia. The Chinese women dropped to shared 4th after losing to Ukraine, who now share first with Poland and Serbia. Round 9 report with games, results, standings and a very interesting 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.

Before we go to the 9th round, first we'd like to draw your attention to yesterday's very interesting, 45-minute press conference in which former world champions Anatoli Karpov and Alexander Khalifman were interviewed. Topics like Fischer, Olympiads, the Russian team and opening books were extensively discussed. Enjoy!

Round 9 press conference with Anatoli Karpov, Alexander Khalifman and Robert von Weisz?ɬ§cker:

During the 9th round, one could see Levon Aronian using paper handkerchiefs throughout the day - he has a cold, and it might have prevented him from playing at his top level. And you really need this when you want to stand a chance against a Boris Gelfand in top shape - the Israeli GM is showing the form he was in during the world championship in Mexico last year and convincingly beat the Armenian board one, with Black.

A big blow for the Armenians, who couldn't make up for it at the lower three boards, against an Israeli team playing without the experience of Sutovsky and Smirin, but with the energy of the young GMs Roiz and Rodshtein. The former drew with Akopian and the latter beat Petrosian, and so the match was decided; it didn't matter that Gabriel Sargissian added another point to his massive score (now 8/9!) against Avrukh.

Another important result was Ukraina's victory over Russia. In a wild game that shouldn't be missed (go to the selection of games right now!) Ivanchuk and Kramnik drew, the same result as in Karjakin-Svidler and Grischuk-Eljanov (where Black drew the famous rook plus f- and h-pawn versus rook). And so Ukraine's board four Zahar Efimenko became the match winner, beating Alexander Morozevich (who by the way has dropped from second to fifth place in the live ratings).

And so it looks like Russia is again not going to win gold at an Olympiad, despite having the highest rated players in the team. According to Karpov, the reason is that after he and Kasparov left, Russia is missing a clear leader in the team. An interesting theory that might have some truth in it...

Armenia and Ukraine are now sharing second place, one point behind Israel. The following group, on 14/9, consists of China (who beat France 1-3), England (they defeated Vietnam 1-3) and, surprisingly, Serbia. They upset Azerbaijan by drawing on the first three boards, and Bojan Vuckovic managed to beat Rauf Mammadov.

And in the women's section, Serbia is doing even better! Yesterday they surprised everyone by winning against China. Alisa Maric's 3...Nc6 French couldn't to it against a patient Hou Yifan, but an even more patient Natasa Bojkovic, who went for an unambitious approach of the Ruy Lopez Exchange, simply outplayed Zhao Xue. She actually missed a quicker win (40.Qg5 is curtains).

Andjelija Stojanovic drew with Shen Yang and then Chinese hopes rested on Tan Zhongyi, who had started in Dresden with five out of five but lost her sixth game. But no, she lost again. She was better after the opening but Cheluskinja's active play forced her to sacrifice her queen, which should have been enough for at least draw. However, after the blunder 38...Rff2 (Black is still better after 38...d4!) it was suddenly over.

For the second day in a row, the German ladies played 2-2, and again didn't draw a single game! This time the fight was with Luxembourg, for whom this result was just great. Their first two boards Elvira Berend (2328) and Anna Waganer (2246) both won, against Elisabeth P?ɬ§htz (2471) and Ketino Kachiani-Gersinska (2371) respectively!

Both Poland and Ukraine profited from the surprising result on the top boards and share first place with Serbia now, one point ahead of China, Armenia and Georgia.

Today's top pairings in the open section: Ukraine-Israel, Serbia-Armenia and England-China. In the women's there's Serbia-Ukraine, Armenia-Poland and China-Georgia. We'll be witnessing a very exciting last two rounds of the Olympiad!

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

[TABLE=496] [TABLE=497] [TABLE=498] [TABLE=499] [TABLE=500] [TABLE=501]

Here's a selection of round 9 games for replay:


Even more spectators turned up for round 9...


...and they could witness former world champion Anatoli Karpov...


...shaking hands with players...

First move

...and making the first move in the game Khenkin-Wojtaszek...

Aronian-Gelfand not at the top board which was of course Aronian-Gelfand in Armenia-Israel


Before we forget: all the players received a cup saying We support your succes today...


But Gelfand seemed to be wondering......


...I don't really need this, do I?

Svidler and Kramnik

Peter Svidler and Vladimir Kramnik, concentrating for Russia

Wang Yue

Wang Yue, virtually the world's no. 9


Radoslaw Wojtaszek, after his job in Bonn now on a 2721 performance


Gabriel Sargissian, on an amazing 8/9 and 2950 performance

Tan Zhongyi and Shen Yang

Tan Zhongyi and Shen Yang looking at the big screen


Peter Leko's 5.5/8 is good for a 2796 performance


Serbia's WGM Andjelija Stojanovic


IM Carolina Lujan, board one of Argentina


Petra Kortchnoi, always by her husband's side

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