Few Surprises after Two Rounds in Chennai

The second round of the 2022 FIDE Olympiad produced few surprises in the team results in either the Open or Women’s sections. In the Open section, the first upset came on Board 17, where Croatia lost to Bulgaria ½-3½, in spite of outrating their opponents by a large margin. GM Peter Svidler pointed out on the Chess24 stream that Bulgaria has traditionally been a strong team and difficult opponent for everyone. On the Women’s side, the top boards all went according to form, and the first upset was way down on Board 26, where Ecuador beat Slovenia.

In spite of the predictable match results, there were a lot of interesting games, and I recommend listening to the broadcasts listed in the Links below if you want to enjoy the action on a daily basis. 


So versus Delgado
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So versus Delgado (courtesy FIDE / Stev Bonhage)


The top-seeded American men’s team faced a tough opponent in Paraguay and had a more difficult time than the other elite teams. In fact, GM Wesley So needed to offer a draw in the last game, in spite of standing much better, to ensure the U.S. a tight 2½-1½ victory.


2022 Open Oly Rd 2 standings


It’s characteristic of the Olympiad that the best players sometimes need to sacrifice rating points against much weaker opponents to secure the full point for their teams, and Wesley did the right thing. GM Fabiano Caruana played unambitiously in the opening (it was his birthday) and never had any positive chances, while GM Sam Shankland was forced to acquiese to a draw to a player rated more than 500 points below him.


GM Leinier Dominguez Perez
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GM Leinier Dominguez Perez (courtesy FIDE / Mark Livshitz)


GM Leinier Dominguez Perez provided the margin of victory by winning the following game. Despite facing a notoriously solid opening, he makes it look way too easy:



The game between GM Magnus Carlsen and GM Georg Meier of Uruguay would have attracted attention anyway, but became the story of the round when Meier came out of the opening (his favorite French Defense) in good shape and at time control found himself in a pawn-down but drawish ending. Eventually he got to the following theoretically drawn position:



A tough loss for the former German Olympian and now Uruguayan number one, but of course this is not the first time that Carlsen has spun gold out of straw like this.


2022 Women's Oly Rd 2 results


GM Irina Krush
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GM Irina Krush (courtesy FIDE / Ootes)


The U.S. Women’s team won 3-1 versus Uzbekistan with victories by IM Anna Zatonskih, WGM Tatev Abrahamyan, and GM Irina Krush. The latter played the most exciting attacking game:



Looking ahead to Sunday’s third round, team USA meets Georgia in the Open section, and takes on Mongolia in the Women’s Section. Play begins at 3pm local time, and 5:30am Eastern.

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