Long live Armenia! (3-9 September, №36)


In the last round’s deciding match, Armenia – Hungary, Sergei Movsesian brought his team victory. After he offered a queen exchange with the move 31.Qb6! it became clear: his opponent couldn’t defend all his weaknesses!

Read on

Author: Alexey Kuzmin

Deciding match

Armenia – Hungary

Movsesian,S (2698) - Almasi,Z (2713)

40th Olympiad Women Istanbul TUR (11), 09.09.2012

31.Qb6! Qd3 32.Qc6 Qe4 33.Be3 Ng6 34.Qxa6 The rest was already a matter of technique… 1-0

Armenia had won the Olympiad!

The women’s tournament was won by Russia. In their final match they crushed the Kazakhstan team 4:0. Here’s one of the wins.

Russia – Kazakhstan

Kosintseva,N (2524) - Saduakassova,D (2216) [C63]

40th Olympiad Women Istanbul TUR (11), 09.09.2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 f5 4.d3 fxe4 5.dxe4 Nf6 6.0–0 Bc5 7.Qd3 Nd4 8.Nxd4 Bxd4 9.Nd2 a6 10.Ba4 Qe7 11.Nf3 Bb6 12.Nh4

Nisipeanu against Radjabov (Bazna Kings 2011) played 12.Bg5. I still wouldn't call the move 12.Nh4 a novelty, as a similar manoeuvre was played by Nadezhda’s sister Tatiana: 11...Ba7 12.Nh4 g6 13.Bg5 b5 14.Bb3 Bb7 15.Rae1± Kosintseva,T - Harika/Mardin TUR 2011.

12...g6 13.Bg5 0–0 14.Bb3+ Kh8 15.Kh1 Qg7? A mistake, but in any case White had a dangerous initiative.

16.f4 d5 17.Bxf6 Rxf6 18.fxe5 Rxf1+ 19.Rxf1 Qxe5 20.exd5 Bg4

21.Qxg6! The decisive blow.

21...Qxh2+ 22.Kxh2 hxg6 23.Nxg6+ Kg7 24.Ne5 and the conversion of the two extra pawns didn’t represent any problems... 1–0. At the Olympiad Nadezhda Kosintseva won seven games and posted the best result on the Russian team – 8 out of 9!

Ex-World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk played interesting chess.


Russia – India

Kosteniuk,A (2489) - Soumya,S (2271) [B12]

40th Olympiad Women Istanbul TUR (9), 06.09.2012

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.0–0 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Nxd4 9.cxd4 Ne7 10.Nc3 Nc6

11.g4!? White didn’t display so much aggression in the game Adams-Ragger/Deutschland 2010 and didn’t achieve much: 11.Be3 Bg6 12.Qb3 Qd7 13.Rac1 Be7=.

11...Bg6 12.f4 Qd7 13.f5 exf5

14.h4! An unexpected attacking resource! This was the point of the pawn sacrifice on the previous move.

14...fxg4? [14...f6!?] 15.Bxg4 Qd8 16.h5! Black’s position is no longer defendable, but the open position of her king also forces Kosteniuk to play extremely carefully and energetically.

16...Qh4 17.Kg2 Be4+ 18.Nxe4 dxe4 19.Bf4 Rd8 20.Bg3 Qg5

21.Qb3! The start of the decisive attack on the king.

21...Rxd4 22.Qxf7+ Kd8 23.Qe6+- Kc7 24.Rad1 Bc5 25.Rf7+ Kb8 26.Rxd4 Bxd4 27.Qd7 Qd2+ 28.Kh3 Qxb2 29.Qc7+ Ka8

30.Bc8! - the final touch! 1–0

The Ukrainian chess players won bronze medals in both the men’s and the women’s tournaments. If Ukraine’s leader Vassily Ivanchuk suffered some failures in the first half of the Olympiad in the second he alternated wins only with draws! The following two attacks are from his games.

Ukraine – France

Ivanchuk,V (2769) - Vachier-Lagrave,M (2686)

40th Olympiad Open Istanbul TUR (9), 06.09.2012

16.Nd5! A typically intuitive piece sacrifice! 16...exd5 17.exd5 Na7 18.Nd4 Bxd5 19.Nf5 Nc6 20.Be4 Bxe4 21.Rxe4 Kf8 22.Rfe1 Re8 23.Qe2 Rh7 24.Qg4 d5 25.R4e2 Qb6 Of course Black’s defence wasn’t flawless, but to hold a passive defence under such an assault from his opponent was oh, so tough!

26.g3! Brilliant! Ivanchuk opens the g-file. If White can construct a queen+rook battery mate will become inevitable!

26...Nd4 27.Nxe7 Nxe2 28.Qg8+ Kxe7 29.Rxe2+ Kd6 30.Rxe8 hxg3 31.Qf8+ Kc6

32.Rc8+ Kd7 33.Qe8+ Kd6 34.Rd8+ Kc5 35.Qe3+ Kc6 36.Rd6+ 1–0

The final round match took the Ukrainian team into third place. Ivanchuk was the first to claim a win.

Ukraine – China

Ivanchuk,V (2769) - Wang,Hao (2726)

40th Olympiad Open Istanbul TUR (11), 09.09.2012

21.f5! f6? The best chance was 21...exf5, but after 22.Rxf5 White’s initiative develops smoothly.

22.fxg6! fxe5 23.Rf7 Qc6 Also losing was 23...Re7 24.Raf1 h6 25.Qf2!

And now a spectacular rook sacrifice decides matters: 24.gxh7+! Kxf7 25.Rf1+ Ke7 26.h8Q! Rxh8 27.Qg7+ Kd6 28.dxe5+ Kd5 1–0

Mating finish

“The goal of a game of chess is to mate your opponent’s king.” But at the professional level you rarely get to implement it at the board, or even to come close…

Switzerland – Ecuador

Pelletier,Y (2595) - Matamoros Franco,C (2548)

40th Olympiad Open Istanbul TUR (9), 06.09.2012

A pair of new queens had only just appeared on the board - 46.a8Q d1Q. It’s not so often in grandmaster games that you see positions with four queens!

47.Qh8+ Kg5 48.Qf5+! gxf5 49.Qh5# 1–0

Sweden – Mongolia

Tikkanen,H (2570) - Sharavdorj,D (2446)

40th Olympiad Open Istanbul TUR (9.2), 06.09.2012

31.Qg8+! and, without waiting for the mate 31...Qxg8 32.Ng6#, Black resigned.

Two miniatures

The “hero” of the first of them was ACP President Emil Sutovsky. I have to say Emil is doing a huge amount of work in that very troublesome but important post. And at times he lacks the energy to concentrate fully during a game…

Israel – Netherlands

Sutovsky,E (2687) - Van Wely,L (2691)

40th Olympiad Open Istanbul TUR (9), 06.09.2012

11...Rxd2! 12.exf6 On 12.Kxd2 there would follow 12...Bd5 with a win.

12...Rxc2 13.Bd3 Rxb2 14.Rc1 exf6 15.0–0 h5! 16.g5 fxg5 17.Nd1 Bc5+ 18.Kh1 g4 0–1

In the second miniature it was ex-World Champion Veselin Topalov who suffered a collapse. It’s curious that the game saw a very calm variation with an early exchange of queens.

Uzbekistan – Bulgaria

Kasimdzhanov,R (2684) - Topalov,V (2752) [D37]

40th Olympiad Open Istanbul TUR (10), 07.09.2012

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0–0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Be2 dxc4 8.0–0 c5 9.dxc5 Nxc5 10.Bxc4

10...Bd7N 11.Ne5 Be8 Switching the bishop to e8 looks a bit contrived, but the “safety margin” in Black’s position is still quite large.

12.Be2 Rc8 13.Rc1 h6?! 14.h3

It’s interesting that the inclusion of the moves h3 and h6 has noticeably altered the situation in White’s favour. Now if 14...Nce4 there would follow 15.Qxd8 Rxd8 16.Nxe4 Nxe4 17.Rc7 winning a pawn, and if Black played 13...Nce4 on the previous move 14.Qxd8 Rxd8 15.Nxe4 Nxe4 the invasion 16.Rc7? would be a mistake 16... Bd6 17.Rxb7 g5! And the knight on e5 loses its defender.

14...Qxd1 15.Rfxd1 g5 16.Bg3 Kg7 17.Bf3 White already has a clear advantage.

17...b6 18.Ne2 Rd8 19.Nd4 a5?! 20.Nc4 Nfe4 21.Be5+ Bf6. And now the decisive blow follows.

22.Bxe4 Nxe4 23.Nxe6+! 1–0

Olympic endgames

The lost match to the Americans in round nine again prevented the Russians from climbing to the top step of the Olympic pedestal. It turned into a very tough encounter for Russia. On the first board Kramnik lost to Nakamura, while on the second Grischuk conducted a long and tough defence in his game against Kamsky.

Russia – USA

Grischuk,A (2763) - Kamsky,G (2746)

40th Olympiad Open Istanbul TUR (9), 06.09.2012

55.Be3!? Grischuk decided to take the game into the endgame of rook against rook and bishop, but with only seconds remaining on his clock he proved unable to save it. 55...Bxe3 56.Rxf5+ Kxg3 57.Re5 Rf2+ 58.Ke1 Kf4 59.Re8 Ra2 60.Kd1 Kf3

61.Re7?? It was essential to control the d-file - 61.Rd8!

61...Rd2+ 62.Ke1 Rd8 63.Rf7+ Bf4 64.Rf6 Rc8. Now mate’s inevitable. 0–1

Kamsky won another instructive “elementary” ending in the previous round.

Macedonia – USA

Georgiev,V (2566) - Kamsky,G (2746)

40th Olympiad Open Istanbul TUR (8), 05.09.2012

The draw could be achieved with 68.g5 fxg5+ 69.Kxg5, or 68.Rb8+ Kc2 69.Ra8, but Georgiev recklessly played 68.Kh5?? It’s hard to believe, but that was the decisive mistake!

There followed 68...Rd4! 69.Rxa2 Kxa2 70.f5 Kb3 71.g5 fxg5 72.Kxg5 Kc4 73.f6 Rd8 74.Kg6 Kd5 0–1

An unexpected loss for Onischuk in the match against China deprived the US team of medal chances a round before the end of the tournament.

China – USA

Ding,Liren (2695) - Onischuk,A (2666)

40th Olympiad Open Istanbul TUR (10), 07.09.2012

It looks incredible, but it’s possible to lose even such an apparently absolutely drawn ending.

54.g4 Ra1?! The first inaccuracy.

55.g5! It seems this move turned out to be such a surprise for Onischuk that he totally lost control of the situation and, despite having plenty of time, he thought a little and played 55...Rh1?? He could still have drawn with 55...fxg5 56.Rd6+ Kf5 57.Rd5+ Kg6 58.hxg5 h4 59.f4 h3.

56.Rd6! Rxh4 57.f4 Rh1 58.Rxf6+ Promoting two connected passed pawns didn’t represent any difficulty... 1–0

A somewhat more complicated rook ending occurred in the game Karjakin – Volokitin, although both players had only a single pawn on the board.

Russia – Ukraine

Karjakin,S (2785) - Volokitin,A (2709)

40th Olympiad Open Istanbul TUR (8), 05.09.2012

46.Re4! I’m not going to delve into variations here, but I’ll just say that in a quick analysis I wasn’t able to discover a draw…

46...Rh8 47.Rd4 Kc5 48.Rd3 Ra8 49.f4 Ra4 50.Rd7 Kc6 51.Rf7 Kd6 52.Rxf6+ Ke7 53.Kg6 Ra1 54.Rf7+ Ke8 55.f5

55...Rg1+ 56.Kf6 Rf1 If 56...Ra1 there would follow 57.Rb7 and White manages to drive away his opponent’s king.

57.Ra7 Rf2 58.Ra8+ Kd7 59.Rf8 Rh2 60.Kg7 Rg2+ 61.Kf7 Ra2 62.f6 Ra7 63.Re8 Ra6 64.Re1 1–0


And another unexpected finish, this time in a queen ending.

Armenia – Germany

Akopian,V (2687) - Meier,G (2648)

40th Olympiad Open Istanbul TUR (9), 06.09.2012

43.Qb2+ Ke6? He should have played 43...Kf5 when Akopian would have played 44.Qc2 and the struggle would have gone on...

44.Qd4 exf3?? A crude blunder, but it was probably already impossible to save the game. 1–0

The fierce sporting struggle for results and Olympic medals overshadowed creative finds in the opening stages. Nevertheless, I’ll say a few words about Olympiad novelties.

New in the opening

Poland – Azerbaijan

Wojtaszek,R (2717) - Radjabov,T (2788) [E97]

40th Olympiad Open Istanbul TUR (9), 06.09.2012

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.Be2 e5 7.0–0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.b4 Nh5 10.Re1 f5 11.Ng5 Nf6 12.Bf3 c6

The Bayonet Attack - Kramnik’s favourite weapon and the most topical variation of the King’s Indian Defence nowadays.

13.dxc6!? Formally the next move is the novelty, but Wojtaszek’s idea connected to exchange operations in the centre starts with this move.

13...bxc6 14.exf5N [14.Bb2] 14...gxf5 15.b5!

The strategic plan of the Polish grandmaster: to provoke exchanges or the advance of Black’s c-pawn. In either case the abandoned d6-pawn ends up “backward”, and may well become a target.

15...e4 16.Be2 c5 17.a4 The clearly better pawn structure ensures White an edge.

China – Philippines

Li,Chao (2665) - Paragua,M (2508) [D85]

40th Olympiad Open Istanbul TUR (9), 06.09.2012

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Be3 0–0 8.Qd2 c5 9.d5 Qa5 10.Rc1 e6

This position has been seen dozens of times. White usually either offers an exchange of queens - 11.c4, or continues with 11.Nf3. Li Chao demonstrates a new double-edged plan. 11.d6!?N Nd7 12.h4 Qa4 13.f3 h5 14.Nh3 b6 15.Be2 Ba6 16.0–0 Both sides have chances.

And finally, two opening ideas from Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

Azerbaijan – China

Mamedyarov,S (2729) - Wang,Yue (2685) [D23]

40th Olympiad Open Istanbul TUR (8), 05.09.2012

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Qb3 dxc4 5.Qxc4 Bf5 6.g3 e6 7.Bg2 Nbd7 8.0–0 Be7 9.Nc3 0–0 10.Re1 Ne4 11.Qb3 Qb6 12.Nh4 Qxb3 13.axb3 Bb4 14.Nxf5 exf5

15.Nxe4!?N It’s unlikely this move can fundamentally alter the evaluation of the variation, but I simply couldn’t skip such an unexpected exchange sacrifice in a well-known position!

15...Bxe1 Refusing to accept the sacrifice - 15...fxe4 allows White to count on a certain initiative. 16.Rd1 f5 17.d5.

16.Nd6 Bb4 17.Nxb7 Rfc8 18.Na5 Bxa5 19.Rxa5 Rab8 20.Rxa7 A double-edged position. In the ensuing complex struggle Mamedyarov managed to outplay his opponent.

Azerbaijan – Poland

Mamedyarov,S (2729) - Socko,B (2635) [D41]

40th Olympiad Open Istanbul TUR (9), 06.09.2012

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Bb4+ 9.Bd2 Bxd2+ 10.Qxd2 0–0 11.Bc4 Nd7 12.0–0 b6 13.Rfe1 Bb7 14.Rad1 Rc8 15.Bd3 Re8

16.h4N This move had actually already occurred once, but the only person who could accuse Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of plagiarism is Shakhriyar Mamedyarov himself. In the game Mamedyarov-Marcelin/Istanbul 2003 Black reacted with the immediate 16...h6.

16... Nf8 17.h5 h6 18.a4 Nh7 19.Qf4 Rc3 20.Bb5 Rf8 21.d5!? Not everyone would decide to give up a central pawn!

21...exd5 22.exd5 Bxd5 23.Ne5 The dynamic energy of the white pieces has dramatically increased, but for the moment Black has no weaknesses. 23...Nf6 24.Bc4 Qa8 25.Bxd5 Nxd5 26.Qd2 Rd8 27.Re4 Qb8? One inaccuracy and Black’s position collapses!

28.Ng4! The game can no longer be saved. Black’s problem is that if 28...Rc7 29.Rd4 Rcd7 things are decided by 30.Nxh6+!

28...f5 29.Rd4 fxg4 30.Qxc3 Nxc3 31.Rxd8+ Qxd8 32.Rxd8+ Mamedyarov had no problem converting being an exchange up…

And that, it seems, is all…