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
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.
Of course not 10...axb5? 11.Nxb5 Qb8 12.Nd6+ Kd8 13.Nxf7+ etc..
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.
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.