American Teams Defeat Netherlands & Canada; Huge Round Four Ahead

The organizational chaos that was seen in the first two days of the Batumi Olympiad has mostly died down, and the round is now starting on time! Today our players were in high spirits before the round, looking forward to strong pairings in both sections, but much more so in the Open section. In the women’s match-up, Canada was still a weak opponent in paper, but certainly on a different class of team from the previous two rounds. Canada’s board two is a former world youth champion, one of three teenagers on the squad!
Irina Krush, Photo David Llada
The first game to finish was a very clean win by our only Grandmaster on the team, Irina Krush.
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Women's Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2018.09.26"]
[White "Zhou, Qiyu"]
[Black "Krush, Irina"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B43"]
[WhiteElo "2207"]
[BlackElo "2423"]
[PlyCount "76"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "Canada"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "CAN"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 Bb4 7. Qd2 Nf6 8.
Bd3 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nde2 Nxe3 11. Qxe3 Nc6 12. O-O O-O 13. Rad1 b6 14. Na4
Rb8 15. Be4 Be7 16. Qc3 Bb7 17. Qe3 Nb4 18. Nac3 Rfd8 19. a3 Bxe4 20. Qxe4 Nc6
21. h3 g6 22. Nf4 Bf6 23. Nfe2 Na5 24. Rxd8+ Rxd8 25. Rd1 Rc8 26. Nd4 Be5 27.
Nce2 Nc4 28. b3 Nxa3 29. Ra1 Nb5 30. Rxa6 Nxd4 31. Nxd4 Rd8 32. Ra4 b5 33. Rb4
Qc5 34. c3 Qxc3 35. Qxe5 Qxb4 36. Nc6 Rd1+ 37. Kh2 Qd6 38. Qxd6 Rxd6 0-1

[/pgn]
This game proves why the English Attack can be played against most Sicilians, but not all of them – especially not against the Kan; there is a big difference between having the knight on c6 and not. The position was unpleasant for White from move eight, and it really never got better. The three other games were much more intense. Sabina Foisor on board three saw herself in real trouble, in fact a simply losing position, after being outplayed by Maili-Jade, Ouellet. After the Canadian made a mistake, it seemed Sabina was right back into the game, but in time pressure a wrongful simplification gave her opponent a strong endgame which she converted nicely.
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Women's Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2018.09.26"]
[White "Foisor, Sabina-Francesca"]
[Black "Ouellet, Maili-Jade"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D31"]
[WhiteElo "2311"]
[BlackElo "2144"]
[PlyCount "142"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Canada"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "CAN"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bf4 c6 6. Qc2 g6 7. e3 Bf5 8. Qd2
Nf6 9. f3 h5 10. Bd3 Bxd3 11. Qxd3 Nbd7 12. Nge2 b5 13. O-O O-O 14. Rad1 b4 15.
Nb1 c5 16. b3 Qb6 17. Nd2 Rfe8 18. Bg3 Rac8 19. Bf2 cxd4 20. exd4 Nf8 21. Kh1
Bd6 22. Bh4 Bb8 23. Rc1 N8h7 24. Bg3 Bxg3 25. hxg3 Ng5 26. Nf4 Ne6 27. Nxe6
Qxe6 28. Qb5 Qd6 29. f4 Rxc1 30. Rxc1 h4 31. Nf3 Re4 32. Qc5 Qxc5 33. dxc5 hxg3
34. c6 Re8 35. Nd4 Rc8 36. Kg1 Kf8 37. Rc5 Ke7 38. Ra5 Rc7 39. Rb5 Kd6 40. Rxb4
Kc5 41. Rb7 Ne8 42. Ne2 Kxc6 43. Rxc7+ Nxc7 44. Nxg3 Kc5 45. Ne2 Kb4 46. Kf2
Ka3 47. Nd4 Kxa2 48. b4 Ne6 49. Nc6 a6 50. Ke3 Kb3 51. g4 Kc3 52. Ne5 d4+ 53.
Ke4 f6 54. Nd3 Ng7 55. f5 gxf5+ 56. gxf5 Nxf5 57. Nc5 Nd6+ 58. Kd5 Nb5 59. Nxa6
f5 60. Nc5 Kxb4 61. Nd3+ Kc3 62. Nf2 d3 63. Ke5 d2 64. Kxf5 Kc2 65. Ke5 Nc3 66.
Kd4 Ne2+ 67. Kc4 Nf4 68. Kb5 Nh3 69. Ng4 Kd3 70. Ne5+ Ke4 71. Nc4 d1=Q 0-1

[/pgn]
Anna Zatonskih faced stiff resistance by Canada’s first board, and she was unable to make any strong headway. Both positions remained very solid, and despite the mutual poking and prodding, no real progress was being made. The game ended peacefully.
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Women's Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2018.09.26"]
[White "Zatonskih, Anna"]
[Black "Matras-Clement, Agnieszka"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D10"]
[WhiteElo "2431"]
[BlackElo "2225"]
[PlyCount "94"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Canada"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "CAN"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Bf4 Nc6 5. e3 Nf6 6. Nc3 a6 7. Bd3 e6 8. Rc1
Bd6 9. Bxd6 Qxd6 10. f4 O-O 11. Nf3 b5 12. O-O Bb7 13. Ne5 Rac8 14. Qe2 Ne7 15.
Bb1 Ne4 16. Nd3 f5 17. a4 bxa4 18. Nxa4 Bc6 19. Ndc5 Bxa4 20. Bxe4 dxe4 21.
Nxa4 Rxc1 22. Rxc1 Rb8 23. Nc5 Rb6 24. Rc4 h6 25. Qd2 Nd5 26. b3 a5 27. h3 Rb4
28. Rc1 Kh7 29. Ra1 Qb6 30. Kh2 Nf6 31. Qe2 Kg8 32. Qa2 Rb5 33. Qc2 Nd5 34. Re1
Qd6 35. Qe2 Rb4 36. Kh1 Kh7 37. Qh5 Qe7 38. Qe2 Qd6 39. Ra1 Qb6 40. Qd2 Kg8 41.
Re1 Qb5 42. Qd1 Nf6 43. Qc2 Qc6 44. Qd2 Nd5 45. Rc1 Qb5 46. Re1 Kh7 47. Qd1 Nf6
1/2-1/2[/pgn]
Everything then rested on the shoulders of young Jennifer Yu. Equalizing comfortably from the opening, black always had a slight edge, though it had mostly dissipated upon entering an equal rook endgame. Using speed and applying pressure on the board, Jennifer was able to create real problems for her opponent in an equal but not yet drawn endgame. A couple of missteps later, Jennifer played with accuracy and conviction, first winning a pawn and then the game. An absolutely key win that maintains USA’s perfect match points, though they have dropped a few board points. Only 12 teams remain with a perfect 6/6 (team wins in the Olympiad are two points, draws are one).
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Women's Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2018.09.26"]
[White "Agbabishvili, Lali"]
[Black "Yu, Jennifer"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D02"]
[WhiteElo "2128"]
[BlackElo "2268"]
[PlyCount "170"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "Canada"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "CAN"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]

1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 Nf6 3. e3 e6 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. Ne5 O-O 6. Bd3 c5 7. c3 Nc6 8. Nd2
Qc7 9. Ndf3 b6 10. Nxc6 Qxc6 11. Bxd6 Qxd6 12. Ne5 Bb7 13. O-O Ne4 14. f3 f6
15. Ng4 Ng5 16. f4 Ne4 17. Qe2 Qe7 18. Rad1 Rad8 19. Rf3 Bc6 20. Qc2 Be8 21.
Rh3 Bg6 22. Nf2 Nxf2 23. Kxf2 f5 24. Be2 Rc8 25. Qd2 Rc7 26. Kg1 c4 27. Rf1 b5
28. a3 a5 29. g4 fxg4 30. Bxg4 Rf6 31. Rg3 Rb7 32. Qg2 Bd3 33. Be2 Bf5 34. Bf3
Bd3 35. Be2 Bxe2 36. Qxe2 Qd6 37. Qg2 Rbf7 38. Kh1 Kf8 39. Rg1 Qd7 40. Qh3 Rh6
41. Qg4 Qe7 42. Rh3 Qf6 43. Rxh6 Qxh6 44. Rg3 Qf6 45. h3 Qf5 46. Kh2 Ke8 47.
Qe2 h6 48. Qg2 Kf8 49. Qe2 Rb7 50. Qd2 g6 51. Rg2 Kf7 52. Re2 Qe4 53. Rg2 Kg7
54. Re2 Rf7 55. Rg2 Kh7 56. Qc2 Qxc2 57. Rxc2 g5 58. fxg5 hxg5 59. Kg2 Kg6 60.
Re2 e5 61. dxe5 Re7 62. Kf3 Rxe5 63. e4 Kh5 64. exd5 Rxd5 65. Ke4 Rd3 66. Rh2
Kh4 67. Kf5 Rf3+ 68. Kg6 Rg3 69. Kf5 Rg1 70. Ke4 Kg3 71. Re2 Kxh3 72. Kd4 Rf1
73. Re5 g4 74. Rxb5 g3 75. Rb8 g2 76. Rh8+ Kg3 77. Rg8+ Kf3 78. Kxc4 g1=Q 79.
Rxg1 Rxg1 80. b4 axb4 81. axb4 Ke4 82. b5 Ke5 83. Kc5 Ke6 84. Kc6 Rc1 85. b6
Rxc3+ 0-1[/pgn]
Jennifer Yu, Photo David Llada
Our Women will have a tough match up tomorrow, playing against the strong squad of Azerbaijan! The Caucasian country beat England today and started ranked 11th, whereas USA is ranked 10th – certainly a close encounter that will require the very best from our players.
Grandmasters Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana, Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Wesley So. Photo David Llada
Round three pitted some of the top teams in the event against each other, while other pairings gave leaders relatively easier match-ups. This is due to the fact that pairings in this tournament take in consideration the current tie-break situation, the first of which is Sonneborn-Berger and the second is board points. While France had Algeria, ranked 57, USA saw the Dutch squad, ranked 13, as their opponents. Board one in this anticipated pairing was super GM Anish Giri facing against Fabiano Caruana.
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2018.09.26"]
[White "Giri, Anish"]
[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C67"]
[WhiteElo "2780"]
[BlackElo "2827"]
[PlyCount "63"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "Netherlands"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "NED"]
[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. c3 Rxe1 12. Qxe1 Ne8 13. d5 c6 14. Nd2
cxd5 15. Nf3 d6 16. Be3 Nc7 17. Qd2 Bd7 18. g3 Bc6 19. Bg2 Ne6 20. Rd1 Qa5 21.
a3 h6 22. Nd4 Nxd4 23. Bxd4 Bxd4 24. Qxd4 Re8 25. Bxd5 Bxd5 26. Qxd5 Qxd5 27.
Rxd5 Re2 28. b4 Rc2 29. Rxd6 Rxc3 30. Rd8+ Kh7 31. Rd7 Rxa3 32. Rxb7 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
The game, unfortunately, was a bit of a dud as Giri’s idea against the Berlin was not dangerous, allowing Caruana to equalize easily and force the draw. Similarly, on board three, Loek Van Wely’s attempt against the Queen’s Gambit Accepted was less than impressive, and Hikaru Nakamura drew easily with the black pieces, always nice in a team tournament!
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2018.09.26"]
[White "Van Wely, Loek"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D27"]
[WhiteElo "2642"]
[BlackElo "2763"]
[PlyCount "123"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "Netherlands"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "NED"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 c5 6. O-O a6 7. dxc5 Qxd1 8.
Rxd1 Bxc5 9. Be2 O-O 10. Ne5 Nbd7 11. Nc4 Nd5 12. Nc3 Nxc3 13. bxc3 b5 14. Na5
Nb6 15. c4 bxc4 16. Nxc4 Nxc4 17. Bxc4 Bb7 18. Bb2 Rfc8 19. Rac1 Bf8 20. Bb3
Rxc1 21. Rxc1 Rc8 22. Rxc8 Bxc8 23. Bc3 Bd6 24. Bc4 Bb7 25. a4 Bc7 26. a5 Kf8
27. f4 h5 28. g3 g6 29. e4 h4 30. Kf2 hxg3+ 31. hxg3 Ke7 32. e5 Kd7 33. Be2 Bd8
34. Ke3 Be7 35. Kd4 Kc7 36. g4 Bh4 37. Ke3 Be7 38. Kd4 Bh4 39. Ke3 Be7 40. Bc4
Bc5+ 41. Ke2 Bc8 42. Bd2 Kb7 43. Kf3 Bd7 44. f5 gxf5 45. gxf5 Bd4 46. Kf4 Bb2
47. Bb3 Kc6 48. f6 Kb7 49. Bd1 Be8 50. Bf3+ Kc8 51. Be2 Bb5 52. Bh5 Be8 53. Be1
Kc7 54. Bd1 Kd8 55. Bh5 Kc7 56. Bb4 Kc8 57. Bc5 Bc3 58. Bb6 Bd2+ 59. Ke4 Bc3
60. Kf4 Bd2+ 61. Ke4 Bc3 62. Kf4 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
The game actually lasted a long time, but with Hikaru defending there was never any question of the result. The following blunder by Jorden van Foreest elicited the following response by the official English language commentator for the event (with Sopiko Guramashvili), GM Ivan Sokolov, who plays for the Dutch federation himself: “How can he do something so stupid?” It truly just threw away the game:
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2018.09.26"]
[Round "3.4"]
[White "Shankland, Samuel"]
[Black "Van Foreest, Jorden"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D11"]
[WhiteElo "2722"]
[BlackElo "2624"]
[Annotator "Alejandro"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "6k1/1p3p1p/1n2p1p1/pP1pP3/P2P4/2b1K1P1/2B2P1P/2B5 b - - 0 37"]
[PlyCount "19"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[SourceVersionDate "2018.07.08"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Netherlands"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "NED"]

37... Bb2 $4 {Losing immediately} (37... Bb4 {and White will keep trying, but
realistically this should end in a draw.}) 38. Bxb2 Nc4+ 39. Ke2 Nxb2 40. Bb3 {
The knight is very obviously trapped. It can never go to c4 because the pawn
endgames are lost easily.} b6 41. Kd2 h6 42. Kc3 Nxa4+ 43. Bxa4 Kf8 44. Kd3 Ke7
45. Ke3 Kf8 46. Kf4 Kg7 1-0

[/pgn]
Sam Shankland happily picks up his full point and by this point it was clear that the round was in the bag. On board two Wesley So played a masterpiece, sacrificing two pawns to open up some important squares for his knights, crippling his opponent’s coordination. Erwin l’Ami was unable to hold up the pressure, and Wesley took home the bacon.
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2018.09.26"]
[Round "3.2"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "L'Ami, Erwin"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C60"]
[WhiteElo "2776"]
[BlackElo "2639"]
[Annotator "Alejandro"]
[PlyCount "103"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[SourceVersionDate "2018.07.08"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Netherlands"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "NED"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 d6 5. O-O g6 6. d4 Bd7 7. d5 Ne7 8. Bxd7+
Nxd7 9. c4 Bg7 10. Be3 h6 {The King's Indian structure without the light
squared bishops is usually trouble for black, but he can claim that he is up a
few tempi in comparison with a regular King's Indian.} (10... O-O 11. Nc3 h6
12. Nd2 f5 13. f3 {from So-Moradiabadi, 2009. Incidentally Elshan is also here
in Batumi coaching the Olympic team of Papa New Guinea!}) 11. Nfd2 f5 12. f3 f4
13. Bf2 g5 14. Nc3 Ng6 15. c5 $5 {not losing time!} (15. b4 {is also possible.}
) 15... Nxc5 16. Bxc5 dxc5 17. Qb3 b6 18. d6 $5 {And there goes the second
pawn! Tactically black must take on d6 with the queen, which means that
White's knights will start rampaging.} Qxd6 19. Nc4 Qc6 20. Rfd1 Nf8 $6 (20...
Rd8 21. a4 {and Black has a hard time moving a piece} Rxd1+ $1 22. Rxd1 {
and now the brave} O-O $1 23. Nxe5+ c4 $11 {but this is very computer like})
21. Rd5 Ne6 22. Nxe5 Bxe5 23. Rxe5 {White regains one pawn and Black's
position is very unsafe.} c4 24. Qa3 Kf7 25. Rf5+ Kg6 26. Nd5 Qc5+ 27. Qxc5
Nxc5 28. Rf6+ Kg7 29. Rc6 Rhe8 30. Rxc7+ Kg6 31. h4 {White's positional
advantage, with the protected passed pawn, excellent knight on d5 and safer
king, is enough for So.} Rad8 32. h5+ $1 Kxh5 33. Nf6+ Kh4 34. Nxe8 Rxe8 35.
Kh2 g4 36. Rh1 g3+ 37. Kg1+ Kg5 38. Kf1 Rd8 39. Ke2 Ne6 40. Rxc4 Nd4+ 41. Ke1
h5 42. Rc7 Kg6 43. Rc3 Kg5 44. Rd3 h4 (44... Nc2+ 45. Kd2 Rxd3+ 46. Kxd3 Ne3
47. e5 $18) 45. Kd1 a5 46. a4 Rd6 47. e5 Rd8 48. Rd2 Kh5 49. Re1 h3 50. gxh3
Kh4 51. e6 Nxe6 52. Rxe6 1-0[/pgn]
Tomorrow our gold medal defense intensifies as US plays the amazingly strong team India. Led by Vishy Anand, this will be a crucial match in determining the early race for the podium, and is the first match of the tournament in which both teams will have an average of over 2700! 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. 

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[…] This report will be updated with analysis and thoughts from Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez later today. See Ramirez’s latest US Chess report here.  […]

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