American Teams Defeat India and Azerbaijan; Maintain Perfect Match Scores

Fabiano Caruana, the hero of the US-India match, Photo David Llada
Round four of the Olympiad in Batumi was an extremely exciting and ultimately triumphant day. https://twitter.com/ChessMike/status/1045399912890986498 Besides the strong pairings for our teams, top-level matches in the Open included Russia vs. Poland, Azerbaijan vs. England, and China vs. Croatia. In the women’s: China vs. Uzbekistan, Italy vs. Armenia, India vs. Poland. The women’s match against Azerbaijan was as close as it gets on rating average. USA fielded a 2371 team, facing off against Azerbaijan’s 2369. Team USA brought experience in their first three boards with Zatonskih, Krush, Abrahamyan and youth with Yu on board four. The games were extremely hard fought. The first game to finish was the close encounter of Jennifer Yu vs. Gulnar Mammadova.
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Women's Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2018.09.27"]
[White "Yu, Jennifer"]
[Black "Mammadova, Gulnar"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A10"]
[WhiteElo "2268"]
[BlackElo "2355"]
[PlyCount "73"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Azerbaijan"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "AZE"]

1. c4 f5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. Rb1 O-O 7. e3 e5 8. Nge2 c6
9. O-O Be6 10. b4 d5 11. cxd5 Nxd5 12. Nxd5 Bxd5 13. Bxd5+ Qxd5 14. Qb3 Qxb3
15. Rxb3 Nd7 16. Ba3 Rfd8 17. Rc1 Rac8 18. Bb2 Nb6 19. d4 exd4 20. Bxd4 Bxd4
21. Nxd4 Kf7 22. Kf1 Rd5 23. Ke2 Re8 24. Nf3 Red8 25. Rc2 Kf6 26. h4 h6 27. Rd2
Rxd2+ 28. Nxd2 g5 29. hxg5+ hxg5 30. Rd3 Nd5 31. a3 a6 32. Nb3 Re8 33. Nc5 Re7
34. Kd2 Rh7 35. Ke2 Re7 36. Kd2 Rh7 37. Ke2 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
Preparation expected a Dutch set-up from the Azerbaijani, but not exactly the move-order or structure that she chose. Jennifer tried to adapt, but was unable to gain something tangible. After more than three hours of play, in the resulting endgame, her opponent consulted with her team captain to offer a draw, which she did, and Jennifer consulted her own team captain as to whether accept or decline. A vigorously shake of hands by captain Melikset Khachiyan indicated her to play on, despite the drawish tendency of the position and Jennifer’s low time. The reason was that while at this moment Irina was winning on board two, Tatev’s position was extremely unclear and could go either way. As soon as Tatev was headed towards a draw, the draw was now a favorable result on board four and Yu’s offer was accepted. Second to finish was Irina Krush, who played a superb game.
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Women's Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2018.09.27"]
[White "Krush, Irina"]
[Black "Mamedjarova, Zeinab"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D35"]
[WhiteElo "2423"]
[BlackElo "2358"]
[PlyCount "91"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Azerbaijan"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "AZE"]

1. c4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. e3 Bf5 7. Qf3 Bg6 8.
Bxf6 gxf6 9. h4 h5 10. Nh3 Bb4 11. Qd1 Nd7 12. Nf4 Qa5 13. Qc1 Bd6 14. Be2 Nf8
15. Qd1 Qb6 16. Qd2 Ne6 17. g3 Nxf4 18. exf4 O-O-O 19. O-O Kb8 20. a3 Qc7 21.
b4 Ka8 22. Rfc1 Qd7 23. b5 Bf5 24. bxc6 bxc6 25. Na4 Rb8 26. Nc5 Qe7 27. Rc3
Qd8 28. Na6 Rb6 29. Rac1 Qc8 30. Nb4 Bxb4 31. axb4 Qd8 32. Rxc6 Rxc6 33. Rxc6
Qe7 34. b5 Qe4 35. Bf1 Rc8 36. Qc3 Kb8 37. Qc5 Rxc6 38. bxc6 Kc7 39. Bg2 Qe1+
40. Kh2 Be4 41. Qe7+ Kxc6 42. f3 Kb5 43. fxe4 Kc4 44. Qc5+ Kd3 45. exd5 Qb1 46.
d6 1-0

[/pgn]
Her opponent, Zeinab Mamedjarova, the oldest of the Mamedyarov siblings, played a dubious opening line of the Queen’s Gambit Declined, exchange variation, and was duly punished. These are the type of positions that our six-time U.S. Women’s Champion thrives in! Her opponent never found counterplay, and was nothing but a collection of weaknesses. Mamedjarova’s position collapsed eventually. USA 1.5-0.5 Azerbaijan. Tatev Abrahamyan had an absolutely crazy game against Khanim Bajalyeva. Such is the nature of the poisoned pawn variation of the Winawer French!
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Women's Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2018.09.27"]
[White "Balajayeva, Khanim"]
[Black "Abrahamyan, Tatev"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C18"]
[WhiteElo "2326"]
[BlackElo "2361"]
[PlyCount "113"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "Azerbaijan"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "AZE"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 Ne7 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. Qg4 cxd4 8.
Qxg7 Rg8 9. Qxh7 Qc7 10. Ne2 Nbc6 11. h4 dxc3 12. Bf4 Bd7 13. h5 O-O-O 14. Qd3
d4 15. Nxd4 Nxd4 16. Qxd4 Bc6 17. Qxa7 Rg4 18. Be3 Nd5 19. f4 Nxf4 20. Bxf4
Rxf4 21. Qa8+ Kd7 22. O-O-O+ Bd5 23. Qa7 Qc6 24. Rd4 Rxd4 25. Qxd4 Kc7 26. h6
Bxg2 27. Bxg2 Qxg2 28. Qxc3+ Kb8 29. Re1 Qh2 30. Qe3 Rh8 31. Kb2 Qxh6 32. Qd4
Rc8 33. Qd6+ Ka7 34. Re4 Rc6 35. Ra4+ Ra6 36. Rxa6+ bxa6 37. Qc7+ Ka8 38. Qxf7
Qh3 39. Qc7 Qf5 40. a4 Qg4 41. Qc8+ Ka7 42. Qc5+ Ka8 43. a5 Qe2 44. Ka3 Qe1 45.
Qc6+ Kb8 46. Qb6+ Ka8 47. Qxa6+ Kb8 48. Qb5+ Ka8 49. Kb2 Qe4 50. a6 Qd4+ 51.
Ka2 Qb6 52. Qe8+ Ka7 53. Qd7+ Kxa6 54. Qd6 Kb7 55. Qxb6+ Kxb6 56. Kb3 Kc5 57.
c4 1-0

[/pgn]
White had no development, but the h-pawn was always a threat, and she had the material advantage. Tatev missed a computer-like win right after the opening, but in the complications White also missed a strong move after the complications simplified into a dangerous endgame for black. Tatev seemed to have the draw in hand (it was at this point that Jennifer herself drew), but a big blunder closing in on move 40 and in strong time pressure gave away the full point. Perhaps underestimating her opponent’s attack, she was forced into a terrible queen endgame down a pawn, which was not only objectively winning, but also practically impossible to defend even if it wasn’t: White had a safe king and black always had to be worried about potential queen trades.
The US Women's team in round four, Photo David Llada
The match came down to the duel of the first board: experienced Anna Zatonskih with black against the rising star of Azerbaijan: Gunay Mammadzada, only 18 years old. What a titanic struggle this game was! Their bright star played a great game at the beginning, simplifying into a very slightly better endgame. However, Anna’s experience shone through, slowly outplaying her opponent. Things move by move became better and better for Anna, until she got an advantage which turned into a pawn. The game was still very far from over, her opponent playing great defense and the amount of pawns was so reduced that the possibility of reaching a rook and knight vs rook endgame, which is theoretically drawn, was extremely high. Anna kept fighting like a lion, both players coming down to below a minute plus increment for many, many moves. Despite the tenacious defense by the teenager, almost achieving a draw, she cracked, blundered and Anna had a forced win. However in deep time trouble Anna missed it, finally being forced to play rook and knight vs. rook. Of course, you always play this position on, until the very end, especially in a team tournament! The end of the game was incredibly tense; almost the entire room was clear of players by this point, and it was one of the few games still standing. It was enough to gather a bit of a crowd, and the tension was simply palpable. Anna played calm and collected, gracefully playing every move. Her opponent also played with peace, but the shake in her hands gave away her nervousness. And then, she cracked again. Not far after going into the R + N vs R endgame, the Azeri player went to the wrong side of the board and checkmated herself, giving Anna and American the round victory.
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Women's Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2018.09.27"]
[White "Mammadzada, Gunay"]
[Black "Zatonskih, Anna"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C07"]
[WhiteElo "2438"]
[BlackElo "2431"]
[PlyCount "211"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "Azerbaijan"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "AZE"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. Ngf3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. exd5 Nxd5 7. N2f3 Bb4+
8. Bd2 O-O 9. Bc4 Bxd2+ 10. Qxd2 Nb6 11. Be2 Qf6 12. Qg5 N8d7 13. Qxf6 Nxf6 14.
c4 Rd8 15. b3 Bd7 16. Ne5 Be8 17. Rd1 Nbd7 18. Nxd7 Rxd7 19. f3 Rad8 20. Nc2
Kf8 21. Kf2 Ke7 22. Ke3 Rxd1 23. Bxd1 Nd7 24. f4 a5 25. a3 f6 26. Bf3 Bg6 27.
Nd4 e5 28. fxe5 fxe5 29. Nb5 Nc5 30. b4 Rd3+ 31. Ke2 axb4 32. axb4 Ne6 33. Bxb7
Rb3 34. Rc1 Nf4+ 35. Kd2 Rd3+ 36. Ke1 Rb3 37. Rc3 Rxb4 38. Re3 Kf6 39. Nd6 Ke6
40. Nb5 Rxc4 41. Nc3 Rb4 42. Bf3 Rb2 43. Kf1 Bd3+ 44. Kg1 Rc2 45. Ne4 h6 46. h4
Be2 47. Nc5+ Rxc5 48. Bxe2 Kf5 49. Bf3 Rc4 50. g4+ Kf6 51. Kf2 Ne6 52. Ra3 Rb4
53. Ke3 Nc5 54. Ra5 Rb3+ 55. Ke2 Rc3 56. Kf2 e4 57. Be2 Ke5 58. Ra7 Ne6 59.
Ra5+ Rc5 60. Ra7 Rc7 61. Ra5+ Rc5 62. Ra7 g6 63. Re7 Rc2 64. Ke3 Rc3+ 65. Kd2
Rc8 66. g5 Rd8+ 67. Ke3 Kd6 68. Rh7 hxg5 69. Kxe4 Re8 70. Bb5 Rb8 71. Rd7+ Kc5
72. Rd5+ Kb4 73. Be2 gxh4 74. Bg4 Nc5+ 75. Kf4 Kc4 76. Rd6 Rf8+ 77. Ke3 Re8+
78. Kf4 Rf8+ 79. Ke3 Re8+ 80. Kf4 g5+ 81. Kf5 Ne4 82. Rd7 Rf8+ 83. Ke5 Re8+ 84.
Kf5 Nf2 85. Bh5 Re1 86. Kxg5 h3 87. Bf3 h2 88. Kf4 Nd3+ 89. Kg3 Ne5 90. Rc7+
Kd4 91. Bg2 h1=Q 92. Bxh1 Rxh1 93. Rc2 Ke3 94. Rc3+ Ke4 95. Kg2 Rh8 96. Rh3
Rg8+ 97. Rg3 Ra8 98. Rb3 Nd3 99. Rb7 Nf4+ 100. Kf2 Ra2+ 101. Ke1 Nd5 102. Rf7
Ke3 103. Kf1 Ra1+ 104. Kg2 Nf4+ 105. Kg3 Rg1+ 106. Kh4 0-1

[/pgn]
A simply amazing display by Anna! The women face Mongolia tomorrow. In the open section, all eyes were on our matchup against India. Even though we weren’t playing board one, it was quite easy to take a picture and observe the board one pairing of Vietnam vs. France, but between spectators and photographers it was difficult to approach our match! America’s players with the black pieces both essayed the Berlin defense. Shankland’s opponent on board four, Krishnan Sasikiran, went for the known Berlin endgame. Using a relatively rare line of b3, he got Shankland seemingly out of prep early, but the knowledge of the structures by the U.S. Champion allowed him to equalize easily, and White repeated moves before his position turned south.
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2018.09.27"]
[White "Sasikiran, Krishnan"]
[Black "Shankland, Samuel"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C67"]
[WhiteElo "2672"]
[BlackElo "2722"]
[PlyCount "42"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "India"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "IND"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5
8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Rd1+ Ke8 10. b3 h6 11. h3 Be6 12. Bb2 a5 13. c4 Bb4 14. Na3
Bxa3 15. Bxa3 b6 16. g4 Ne7 17. Nd4 c5 18. Nb5 Rc8 19. Na7 Ra8 20. Nb5 Rc8 21.
Na7 Ra8 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
Wesley So faced against Pentala Harikrishna, but the Indian player simply had no opportunity for an advantage in the anti-Berlin.
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2018.09.27"]
[White "Harikrishna, Pentala"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C67"]
[WhiteElo "2743"]
[BlackElo "2776"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "India"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "IND"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Be7 7. Bf1 Nxe5
8. Rxe5 O-O 9. d4 Bf6 10. Re1 Re8 11. Rxe8+ Nxe8 12. d5 d6 13. Nd2 c6 14. Nc4
cxd5 15. Qxd5 Qc7 16. Qd3 Be6 17. Ne3 Rd8 18. c3 d5 19. Nc2 Nd6 20. Nd4 Qb6 21.
Nxe6 fxe6 22. Qe3 Qxe3 23. Bxe3 a6 24. Re1 Kf7 25. g3 b5 26. Kg2 Nc4 27. Bc1 a5
28. a3 Rb8 29. Be2 b4 30. axb4 axb4 31. Bxc4 dxc4 32. cxb4 Rxb4 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
Playing an extremely solid and precise game, both players reached an endgame in which nothing could really be done. The draw was a natural result and the 1-1 favored USA as both of our white boards were pressing against their opponents. Hikaru Nakamura’s Ragozin put Vidit Gujrathi under some pressure, but the Indian defended with tenacity.
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2018.09.27"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D38"]
[WhiteElo "2763"]
[BlackElo "2711"]
[PlyCount "69"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "India"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "IND"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. Qa4+ Nc6 8.
e3 O-O 9. Be2 dxc4 10. O-O Bd7 11. Bxc4 Bxc3 12. bxc3 Rfd8 13. Be2 Be8 14. Qa3
Qe7 15. Qb2 b6 16. e4 Na5 17. c4 c5 18. d5 exd5 19. exd5 b5 20. Rfe1 bxc4 21.
Qc3 Qc7 22. Rad1 Nb7 23. Bxc4 Qa5 24. Rc1 Qxc3 25. Rxc3 Na5 26. Bd3 c4 27. Be4
Rac8 28. Nd4 Kf8 29. Rf3 Rd6 30. Ra3 Rc5 31. Ne2 Rb6 32. Nc3 a6 33. Bc2 Nb7 34.
Ba4 Rc8 35. Bxe8 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
Nakamura kept posing problems with his slightly better position, but perhaps his 32nd move was a slight inaccuracy that allowed Black to equalize. This was relevant to tiebreaks, but not for the match result, since by this time Caruana had already finished his game. The game of the day, without a doubt, was Fabiano Caruana’s destruction of 5-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand:
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2018.09.27"]
[White "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E03"]
[WhiteElo "2827"]
[BlackElo "2771"]
[Annotator "Alejandro"]
[PlyCount "51"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[SourceVersionDate "2018.07.08"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "India"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "IND"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 {The Catalan has been serving Fabi very well recently.
His wins against Karjakin and Nakamura in the Sinquefield Cup and the
tiebreaker againts So for the GCT spot in London indicate that this is a sharp
opening, and Carlsen will have to prepare against it very seriously.} d5 4. Bg2
dxc4 5. Qa4+ {5.Nf3 is more common, but this is of course popular also.} Nbd7
6. Qxc4 a6 7. Be3 $5 {A weird but interesting novelty! The move is obviously
aimed against c5, but it does seem a bit awkward.} (7. Qc2 {was Giri-Anand
earlier this year.}) 7... Bd6 8. Qc2 O-O 9. Nh3 $5 {Most unusual for a
Catalan! The knight is well placed on h3 because it doesn't interrupt the
bishop's influence on the queenside, preventing certain breaks or expansions.
Also, f4 is a natural spot for the knight.} e5 10. O-O h6 11. dxe5 Nxe5 12. Nc3
{This kind of structures are slightly better for White, and although Black has
good chances to equalize, the clearly better development that white enjoys
gives black headaches.} Qe7 13. Rad1 Re8 14. Nf4 c6 15. Bd4 g5 $5 {Claiming
some much needed space, but of course at the cost of his kingside structure.} (
15... Bd7 16. Ne4 Nxe4 17. Bxe4 $14 {keeps some pressure}) 16. Nd3 Nxd3 $6 {
The true start of black's problems.} (16... Bf5 17. e4 $1 Bh7 {remains unclear.
}) 17. Rxd3 $1 {Even more accurate than Qxd3.} Be5 (17... Bf5 18. Bxf6 Qxf6 19.
Rxd6 {does not work for Anand.}) 18. Qd2 Bf5 19. e4 Bg6 20. f4 {grabbing space,
fearlessly!} gxf4 $2 {An unfortunate move order.} (20... Bxd4+ 21. Rxd4 gxf4
22. gxf4 Rad8 {in this position white's central pawns give him excellent
chances for an advantage, but Black is holding on.}) 21. Bxe5 Qxe5 22. gxf4
Qc5+ (22... Qe7 {doesn't lose tactically, but} 23. f5 Bh7 24. Qxh6 {looks
pretty lost}) 23. Kh1 {The e4 pawn is taboo, and both e5 and f5 are threats
depending on the position.} Nxe4 (23... Kh7 24. Rd4 $18) (23... Bxe4 24. Nxe4
Nxe4 25. Bxe4 Rxe4 26. Qg2+) 24. Nxe4 Rxe4 25. Rg3 $1 {creating the threat of
taking on e4 and pushing f5.} Rd4 26. Qe3 $1 {The point. f5 cannot be avoided,
with deadly consequences. Black is losing a piece in every variation, so Anand
capitulated.} 1-0[/pgn]
USA remains perfect. The team will surely going to face 2700+ teams in the coming rounds, but they have at least taken out one of their competitors! Tomorrow the USA will face Israel in the Open section. Grandmaster Maurice Ashley started vlogging for US Chess! Check out his vlogs on our social media networks, instagram and twitter. https://twitter.com/USChess/status/1045114264715972609 The Olympiad takes place from September 24-October 5 in Batumi, Georgia with rounds everyday at 7 a.m. ET (except for September 29, the rest day). Find more photos and information on the official website, as well as live games in the Open and Women’s sections. 

Comments

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

In the IM Gunay Mammadzada – IM Anna Zatonskih game, although 106…Kf3 was not displayed on the official site’s digital board, after 106. Kh4? (Kh2! holds) the live video clearly shows the last move actually played on the board was 106…Kf3, after which Zatonskih’s opponent used much of her remaining seconds before stopping the clock and extending her hand (If White tries a last stalemate trick 107. Rg7! Rh1+!, 108. Kg5 Ne6+ forks the king & rook).

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

US 2.5 vs Israel 1.5 It is very likely US will score 3 points. Good luck NM Maldonado

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