Monday, October 4, 2010

Chess Piece: Good Show

2010 Olympiad
Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia
Sept 21-Oct 3, 2010
Final Top standings
(in tie-break order)
1. Ukraine, 19/22
2. Russia 1, 18/22
3-4. Israel, Hungary, 17/22
5-10. China, Russia 2, Armenia, Spain, United States, France, 16/22
11-19. Poland, Azerbaijan, Russia 3, Belarus, Netherlands, Slovakia, Brazil, India, Denmark, 15/22
149 teams participating

The 39th Chess Olympiad is over, and it remains for chess journalists the world over to analyze and overanalyze the failures and successes of the different competitors. The best individual rating performances during this event:
GM Emil Sutovsky (ISR) -- 2895, 6.5/8
GM Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR) -- 2890, 8/10
GM Lev Aronian (ARM) -- 2888, 7.5/10
GM Sergey Karjakin (RUS-1) -- 2859, 8/10
GM Vitaly Teterev (BLR) -- 2850, 7/8

The Olympiad had a major impact on the top 10 players’ list. The highest rated player in the world, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, lost three games and his ELO plunged by 15 points, although he still remains top of the list. Aronian gained 10.8 points and overtook Topalov for third place, while Ivanchuk, Wang Yue and Karjakin entered the top 10 list, the latter for the first time in his life. The new Top 10 list:
1. Carlsen 2810.7
2. Anand 2800
3. Aronian 2793.8
4. Topalov 2785.5
5. Kramnik 2779.6
6. Ivanchuk 2771.9
7. Grischuk 2762.3
8. Karjakin 2760.9
9. Mamedyarov 2760
10. Wang Yue 2753.3

Sutovsky was his usual brilliant attacking self. His total crush of tough-to-beat Gata Kamsky led the way to Israel’s 3-1 rout over USA in the 10th round, who until then were still gunning for Olympiad medals.
Sutovsky, Emil (2665) -- Kamsky, Gata (2705) [B43]
39th Olympiad Men Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (10), 01.10.2010
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.Nc3 a6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 b5 6.Bd3
Universally recognized as the best continuation for White. I will point out, though, that in the 2008 Baku Grand Prix Gashimov came up with a strong line: 6.Be2 Bb7 7.Bf3 Qc7 8.0-0 Bd6 9.a4! (usual continuation is 9.g3) 9...Bxh2+ 10.Kh1 Be5 (Bad is 10...b4? 11.Ncb5 axb5 12.Nxb5 Qe5 13.g3) 11.axb5 Nf6 12.Be3 0-0 White was doing well. Gashimov, V. (2679)-Svidler, P. (2746)/ Baku 2008 1-0 (31).
6...Qb6 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.0-0 Nge7 9.Be3 Qc7?
Position after 9...Qc7
A blunder, the refutation of which Sutovsky will demonstrate.
10.Bxb5! Rb8
Of course not 10...axb5? 11.Nxb5 Qb8 12.Nd6+ Kd8 13.Nxf7+ etc..
11.Bxc6 Nxc6 12.b3 Bb7 13.Nd5! exd5 14.exd5 Nd8 15.Re1 Ne6
White was threatening a discovered attack on the queen, and 15...Be7 fails to 16.Ba7 followed by d5-d6.
16.Qd2 Bb4 17.Qxb4 Bxd5 18.Qd2 Bxf3 19.Bf4! d6 20.gxf3 Rd8 21.Rad1 0-0 22.Bxd6 Qc8 23.f4
[23.c4! h6 24.c5]
23...Nc5 24.Qc3 Rfe8 25.Rxe8+ Rxe8 26.f3
[26.Qxc5?? Qg4+ it is Black who wins]
26...Rd8 27.Rd5 Qe6 28.Qxc5 Rc8 29.Qxc8+ Qxc8 30.Be7 1-0

Lev Aronian, top board of the defending champion Armenians, tried hard to bring gold to his country, but this year the magic was not there. You need at least two players to excel before you can contend, but Gabriel Sargissian, who was 10/13 in Turin 2006, and 9/11 in Dresden 2008, could not do as well in Khanty-Mansiysk and had to content himself with 6/11, losing two games (to Georgia’s Pansulaia and Peter Svidler).
Also, the very steady back-up on board 2 former world vice-champion Vladimir Akopian could only manage an even score (5.5/11) this year. In Turin he had 9/13 and Dresden 8/11.
Armenia’s seventh place finish is not too bad considering that they are such a small country, but the country has been fanatical about chess since Tigran Petrosian won the world title in 1963 and expected miracles from their players every Olympiad. Another blot on their performance this year was their 1.5-2.5 loss to their fierce rival (both in chess and politically) neighboring country Azerbaijan.
Aronian, Levon (2783) -- Jakovenko, Dmitry (2726) [E05]
39th Olympiad Khanty-Mansiysk 2010 Khanty-Mansiysk/Russia (4), 24.09.2010
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Nf3 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.a4
The main move by far is 8.Qxc4 but of course being second does not mean it is second best.
This Bc8-d7-c6 maneuver is considered the best counter for Black.
9.Qxc4 Bc6 10.Bg5 h6
Black’s 10...Bd5 is the most popular here.
11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.Nc3 Bxf3
White’s pressure on the long diagonal is real. For example after 12...a5 13.Rfd1 It is not so clear how Black can complete his development.
13.Bxf3 c6 14.Qb3 Qc7 15.Rfd1 a5 16.Rac1
With the idea of 17.d5.
16...Bg5 17.e3 Qe7 18.Be2 Qb4 19.Qxb4 axb4 20.Ne4 Be7
Why can’t Black take the pawn? Well, after 20...Rxa4 21.Ra1 Rxa1 22.Rxa1 Black’s queenside pawns will fall.
21.Ra1 Nd7 22.a5 Ra7 23.a6 bxa6 24.Rxa6 Rxa6 25.Bxa6 Rb8 26.Rc1 Rb6 27.Be2 Bf8 28.Kf1 g6 29.Ke1 Kg7 30.Kd1 Be7 31.f4 Kf8 32.Bf3 Ra6 33.Nf2 c5 34.Nd3! Ra5
Aronian’s idea is if 34...cxd4 then 35.Rc8+ Kg7 36.Rc7 Rd6 37.e4! followed by 38.e5.
35.Ke2 Kg7 36.Rc2 Bf8 37.Bc6 Nb8 38.Be8 Na6 39.Ne5 cxd4 40.exd4 g5 41.Bxf7!
Excellent! But can’t black win the two pieces for his rook with ...
41...Rxe5+ 42.fxe5 Kxf7
Well, black just did. But Aronian has seen further.
43.Rc6 Nb8 44.Rc7+ Be7 45.b3 Na6 46.Rb7 1-0
After 46.Rb7 Aronian’s king will just march up the white squares and take the black knight. If black tries 46...Ke8 then 47.Ra7 Nb8 48.Ra8 wins the knight just the same.
Russia was the host country and had the highest rated team, and so naturally hoped to win Olympiad gold medals this year. Whose fault was it that they only came away with second place? We will discuss on next Chess Piece.
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