Olympiad: Ukraine draws with Russia, maintains lead

0 | Chess Event Coverage
OlympiadUkraine remains the sole leader at the Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk after drawing the top match with Russia 2-2. Sergey Karjakin won against his former compatriot Pavel Eljanov, while Zahar Efimenko scored a point for Ukraine, against Vladimir Malakhov.

General info

The 39th Chess Olympiad takes place September 20th – October 3rd at the Tennis Sport Development Center in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. 148 teams (735 players) in the Open section and 114 teams (559 players) in the Women section participate in the biannual event.

Each team consists four players and one reserve. The rate of play is 90 minutes for 40 moves and then 30 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment from move one.

Results round 8 | Open section | top 20 boards

Olympiad 2010 | Open section | Round 8 Standings (top 20)
Olympiad 2010 | Open section | Round 8 Standings

Results round 8 | Women section | top 10 boards

Olympiad 2010 | Women section | Round 8 Standings (top 20)
Olympiad 2010 | Open section | Round 8 Standings

Complete results and standings can be found here

Round 8 report

With the FIDE and ECU presidential elections yesterday we would almost forget that there was quite a big chess event going on in Khanty-Mansiysk. In the open section Russia 1 had excellent chances to surpass Ukraine in the standings. Ivanchuk dropped his first half point against Kramnik, but still has a performance rating of 3033.


The top encounter between Russia and Ukraine


Team captain Vladimir Tukmakov sees Ivanchuk drawing his first game.

The local heros took the lead after Sergey Karjakin defeated Pavel Eljanov. (Karjakin now has an even higher TPR than Ivanchuk: 3040.) Two other games ended in a draw, but Zahar Efimenko managed to win in an ending against Vladimir Malakhov to tie the score.

Efimenko-Malakhov Khanty-Mansiysk OL 2010 Olympiad "Patzer sees a check, patzer gives a check" is a well-known saying. We surely don't want to call Mr Malakhov a patzer, but this position is a good example that giving a check can be a big mistake. 33... Bh5+? Black can win the d-pawn but might start with activating the king: 33... Ke5! and then after for example 34. h4 Be6 35. f3 Rxd7 36. Rxd7 Bxd7 37. Kd2 it looks like a positional draw. 34. f3 Ke6 35. Ke1! Preparing Ne2. 35... Bf7 35... Rxd7 36. Rxd7 Kxd7 37. Ne2. 36. Ne2 Ke5 37. Nc1! Easy to miss; the f-pawn is doomed. 37... Be6 38. Nd3+ Kf6 39. Nxf4 Bxd7 40. Kf2 and White won.

Update: as Colin points out in the comments, a grandmaster's eye is often much more useful than an engine. An updated version of this game in the game viewer shows that White can win the f-pawn even after 33...Ke5 and so 31...Kf6 seems to be the decisive mistake.

Hungary drew against Azerbaijan. Radjabov nicely outplayed Almasi after starting with 1.Nf3 and 2.g3 but Csaba Balogh beat Gadir Guseinov with Black. Armenia kept chances for their third gold medal in a row thanks to Gabriel Sargissian, who was the man of the match against Poland.

Macieja-Sargissian Khanty-Mansiysk OL 2010 Olympiad White has had some success on the queenside but his d-pawn is weak. Here Macieja misses a cunning trick that disrupts his nice pawn duo. 29. Nc3? A good prophylactic move is 29. Rb1!. 29... Nc4 30. Qa1 a6! 31. bxa6 31. Qxa6? Ra7; 31. Re1!? Qf8! 32. bxa6 Rxc6 33. a7 Rc7. 31... Rxc6 32. a7 Ra8 and now both d4 and a7 are weak. White burnt all his bridges with 33. Nxd5 but after 33... exd5 34. Bxd5 Rxa7 35. Qc1 Olympiad 35... Ra2! 36. Bxc4 Qe2 37. R1d2 Rxc4! it was over.


Board one of this Poland-Armenia match: Wojtaszek vs Aronian

USA drew against China with a win for Shulman on four against Li Chao, but the second loss in a row for Nakamura, versus Wang Hao. Besides Ukraine, there's one more team still undefeated: France. They beat Russia 2 thanks to Sebastien Feller on board four, who outplayed Artyom Timofeev right from the start.

After hanging around at the top for long, The Netherlands is now going down with another loss, this time against Israel. Sutovsky won against l'Ami on board two and Boris Gelfand beat Loek van Wely on one.

Gelfand-Van Wely Khanty-Mansiysk OL 2010 Olympiad 35... Ng4? After 35... Qd6! it's not clear if White can win, e.g. 36. Qb6 Ng4 37. Qxa6 Re8! 38. Rd1 Qh2+ 39. Kf1 Qh1+ 40. Ke2 Qxg2 and White cannot prevent perpetual check. 36. Qc5+! Ke8 37. Qh5! Qf4 Or 37... Nf6 38. Qg5 Ne4 39. Qe3 Nd6 40. Bxe6! fxe6 41. Qxe6+ Kf8 42. Rd1+-. Olympiad

38. Rd1! A great move, just allowing Black to take on f2. 38... Qxf2+ The main idea is 38... Rxc6 39. Qh8+ Ke7 40. Qd8 mate. 39. Kh1 Now White threatens 40. Qh8+ Ke7 41. Rd7 mate it's basically a double attack on g4 and h8, and there's actually a third threat. 39... Qb2 40. Bxe6! Nf2+ 41. Kg1 1-0

The last game we look at is an encounter between two highly creative players: Alexei Shirov and Emanuel Berg. The Swedish GM came close to beating the Spaniard.

Shirov-Berg Khanty-Mansiysk OL 2010 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Nbd7 8. Qe2 Qc7 9. O-O-O b5 10. a3 Bb7 11. g4 Be7 12. Bh4 Nb6 13. g5 Nfd7 14. f5 e5 15. Nf3 Nc4 16. Bh3 f6 17. gxf6 gxf6 18. Nd5 Bxd5 19. Rxd5 Ndb6 20. Rd3 Olympiad 20... b4! 21. a4 The idea was 21. axb4 a5! 22. b5 a4! and the attack is rolling. 21... Nxb2! 22. Kxb2 Nxa4+ 23. Kc1 Nc3 24. Qe3 Rc8 25. Kd2 Olympiad 25... d5! Also interesting were 25... Nxe4+ and 25... Na4. 26. exd5 e4 27. Bxf6 Bxf6?! This gives White counterchances. A serious alternative was 27... Nxd5. 28. d6! Olympiad 28... Qd7? Black should have gone for either 28... Nb1+ 29. Ke1 Qxc2 30. d7+ Kf7 or 28... Qc6 29. d7+ Kf7 30. dxc8=Q Rxc8 31. Nd4 Qd5. 29. Ne5! Bxe5 30. f6! Suddenly it's White who is winning. See more in the game viewer.

And so after 8 rounds Ukraine leads with 14 points, while Russia 1, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Armenia, and France all have 13 points. The 9th round pairings include Azerbaijan-Ukraine, Armenia-Russia 1, Georgia-France, Israel-Hungary, Cuba-China and Bulgaria-USA.

In the women section Russia 1 once again increased their lead, beating India convincingly with the score 3.5-0.5 – only Karawade managed to take half a point from Alexandra Kosteniuk.


Gold in sight for the Kosintseva sisters

The defending champions Georgia lost their second match, this time against Serbia. Russia 2 defeated USA with surprisingly large margin – 3-1. Russia 1 has 16 points, and the nearest competitors are 3 points behind.

Selection of games

Game viewer by ChessTempo


Polish GM Michal Krasenkow is one of many Magnus Carlsen fans


Australia's GMs Zhao Zong-Yuan (L) and David Smerdon (R) with team captain FM Manuel Weeks

Photos courtesy of FIDE, more at the official site

Chess Olympiad & FIDE Congress 2010 | Schedule
Chess Olympiad & FIDE Congress 2010 | Schedule


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