From Baku to Bermuda: US Teams Score in Round Five

FullSizeRender (7) GM Hikaru Nakamura had a sizzling win today at the Olympiad in Baku.

GM Alejandro Ramirez is reporting for US Chess in Baku. He also just wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal, America's Young Chess Champs.  The round before the rest day is an important ones emotionally. It marks the halfway of the tournament, but also no one wants to have the whole day sulking over a loss. The US Chess teams went in guns blazing, hoping to score victories in round five, and they achieved it. The Open section saw incredibly powerful wins by boards two and three. First to finish was Hikaru Nakamura, who won in scintillating fashion:

[pgn] [Event "Baku Chess Olympiad | Open"] [Date "2016.09.06"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Markus, Robert"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2789"] [BlackElo "2662"] [PlyCount "43"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] [WhiteTeam "United States"] [BlackTeam "Serbia"] [WhiteTeamCountry "USA"] [BlackTeamCountry "SER"] [WhiteClock "0:49:31"] [BlackClock "0:31:50"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Bc5 6. Nb3 Be7 7. O-O d6 8. Qg4 g6 9. Qe2 Nd7 10. Nc3 Qc7 11. Be3 b6 12. a4 h5 13. f4 Ngf6 14. Bd4 O-O 15. f5 Ne5 16. fxg6 fxg6 17. h3 Nfd7 18. Rxf8+ Bxf8 19. Qe3 Bb7 20. Ne2 Re8 21. Nf4 { An extremely complicated Sicilian, precisely the old Hikaru's point of expertise! Black is doing alright with several moves, but he blunders horribly} Qd8 $2 (21... Kh7 $13) 22. Nxg6 $1 {Black's kingside collapses and the resignation is not premature.} (22. Nxg6 Nxg6 23. Qg3 {and the knight cannot be defended} Kh7 24. e5 {is just trouble.}) 1-0 [/pgn]
Wesley So was not far behind. He sacrificed a pawn in an excellent manner with his move …b5! And White saw himself defending against the furious threats. Black's pressure mounted, despite the continuous sacrifice of material. When So was down an exchange, it was clear that his threats on White's king were difficult to repel. A timely and unexpected h5-h4 destroyed White's position for good and crowned Wesley's attacking game.
[pgn] [Event "Baku Chess Olympiad | Open"] [Date "2016.09.06"] [White "Sedlak, Nikola"] [Black "So, Wesley"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2537"] [BlackElo "2782"] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] [WhiteTeam "Serbia"] [BlackTeam "United States"] [WhiteTeamCountry "SER"] [BlackTeamCountry "USA"] [WhiteClock "0:28:08"] [BlackClock "0:08:22"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Bf4 c5 4. e3 Nc6 5. Nbd2 e6 6. c3 Bd6 7. Bg3 O-O 8. Bd3 b6 9. Qe2 Bb7 10. Rd1 Re8 11. e4 Be7 12. e5 Nh5 13. a3 g6 14. Nf1 f5 15. exf6 Bxf6 16. Ne3 e5 17. dxe5 Nxe5 18. Nxe5 Nxg3 19. hxg3 Rxe5 20. Bc4 b5 21. Bxb5 Qb6 22. O-O Kg7 23. Bd3 Bg5 24. c4 Rae8 25. cxd5 Rxe3 26. fxe3 Bxe3+ 27. Rf2 c4 28. Bxc4 Rf8 29. Rdf1 Qd4 30. b3 h5 31. d6 h4 32. Kh1 Rxf2 33. Rxf2 hxg3 34. Rf7+ Kh6 0-1 [/pgn]
Ray Robson sealed the deal. He had the better position from the opening, but Indjic held on tight. In the final position Robson could even push for a win, but the draw at that point gave America the match victory.
[pgn] [Event "Baku Chess Olympiad | Open"] [Date "2016.09.06"] [White "Robson, Ray"] [Black "Indjic, Aleksandar"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2674"] [BlackElo "2548"] [PlyCount "98"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] [WhiteTeam "United States"] [BlackTeam "Serbia"] [WhiteTeamCountry "USA"] [BlackTeamCountry "SER"] [WhiteClock "0:02:57"] [BlackClock "0:31:50"] 1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Nf3 g6 5. Bc4 c6 6. O-O Bg7 7. exd6 Qxd6 8. Nbd2 O-O 9. Re1 Bg4 10. Bb3 Bxf3 11. Nxf3 e6 12. c4 Ne7 13. g3 Nf5 14. Bf4 Qd8 15. Bg5 Bf6 16. Bxf6 Qxf6 17. Bc2 Nd7 18. Qe2 Rad8 19. Rad1 Nb6 20. Bxf5 exf5 21. b3 Kg7 22. Qd2 Rfe8 23. Qb4 Re4 24. a4 Rd7 25. Rxe4 fxe4 26. Ne5 Re7 27. Re1 Nc8 28. Rxe4 Qf5 29. Re1 a5 30. Qd2 f6 31. Nd3 Rxe1+ 32. Nxe1 Nd6 33. Nd3 Qf3 34. Qe3 Qd1+ 35. Kg2 Nf5 36. Qe4 Qxb3 37. d5 Qxa4 38. d6 Nxd6 39. Qe7+ Nf7 40. Nc5 Qxc4 41. Ne6+ Kh6 42. h3 Qe4+ 43. Kh2 Qf3 44. Qf8+ Kh5 45. Ng7+ Kh6 46. Ne6+ Kh5 47. Nf4+ Kg5 48. Ne6+ Kh5 49. Nf4+ Kg5 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]
Fabiano Caruana had a worse day. His blunder in the late endgame cost him a key pawn, giving White a passed h6 pawn. Ivanisevic's technique in the endgame was good enough, and obtained a winning endgame. However, just as White was about to give the killing blow, he dropped the ball. Instead of breaking on e4 and creating another powerful passed pawn, Ivanisevic allowed Black to regroup and blockade the advance of the h-pawn. White had no longer any way of making progress and the game finished in a lucky draw for our board one.
[pgn] [Event "Baku Chess Olympiad | Open"] [Date "2016.09.06"] [White "Ivanisevic, Ivan"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2650"] [BlackElo "2808"] [PlyCount "146"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] [WhiteTeam "Serbia"] [BlackTeam "United States"] [WhiteTeamCountry "SER"] [BlackTeamCountry "USA"] [WhiteClock "0:02:52"] [BlackClock "0:03:00"] 1. d4 e6 2. c4 Bb4+ 3. Bd2 a5 4. g3 Nc6 5. Bg2 d6 6. e3 e5 7. d5 Bxd2+ 8. Qxd2 Nb8 9. Nc3 Na6 10. Nge2 Nf6 11. h3 Nc5 12. g4 Ng8 13. Ng3 Qh4 14. O-O-O Bd7 15. Nce4 Nxe4 16. Bxe4 g6 17. Bc2 Ne7 18. Rdg1 f5 19. f4 e4 20. Qc3 Rf8 21. Ne2 Qf6 22. Nd4 Kf7 23. g5 Qg7 24. h4 a4 25. h5 c5 26. dxc6 bxc6 27. Rd1 c5 28. Ne2 Ra6 29. Qxg7+ Kxg7 30. Nc3 Rb8 31. Rd2 Be6 32. h6+ Kf7 33. Rhd1 Nc8 34. Bxa4 Bxc4 35. Bd7 Ke7 36. Bxc8 Rxc8 37. b3 Bd3 38. Kb2 Ke6 39. Rxd3 exd3 40. Rxd3 c4 41. Rd4 cxb3 42. axb3 Rca8 43. Rc4 Ra1 44. Rc7 R8a7 45. Rxh7 Rxh7 46. Kxa1 Rb7 47. Kb2 Rb8 48. Kc2 Rb7 49. Nb1 Kd5 50. Nd2 Rc7+ 51. Kd3 Rb7 52. Kc3 Rc7+ 53. Nc4 Rb7 54. Nd2 Rc7+ 55. Kd3 Rc1 56. b4 Rd1 57. Ke2 Rh1 58. Nf1 Kc4 59. Kf2 Kxb4 60. Kg2 Rh5 61. Nh2 Kc5 62. Nf3 Kd5 63. Kg3 Ke6 64. Nd4+ Kf7 65. Nb5 Ke7 66. Kg2 Rh4 67. Nc7 Kf7 68. Nd5 Rg4+ 69. Kf3 Rg1 70. Ke2 Ra1 71. Nc3 Ra5 72. Kd3 Rc5 73. Kd4 Ra5 1/2-1/2[/pgn]

FullSizeRender (8) Boards 2 and 3 Anna Zatonskih and Nazi Paikidze, with Captain GM Yasser Seirawan watching

In the Women's section, things started very badly. Deimante Daulyte absolutely annihilated our first board, Irina Krush. With the black pieces, Lithuania's top female player obtained a strategically superior position, with a strong presence on the kingside. Krush's moves were careless, and an insurmountable attack crashed through her position. She lost before the two hour mark.

[pgn] [Event "Women's Baku Chess Olympiad"] [Date "2016.09.06"] [White "Krush, Irina"] [Black "Daulyte, Deimante"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2444"] [BlackElo "2421"] [PlyCount "52"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] [WhiteTeam "United States"] [BlackTeam "Lithuania"] [WhiteTeamCountry "USA"] [BlackTeamCountry "LTU"] [WhiteClock "0:25:03"] [BlackClock "0:27:49"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. b3 Bg7 4. Bb2 d6 5. c4 e5 6. d3 O-O 7. Bg2 Nc6 8. O-O Bf5 9. Nc3 Qd7 10. Re1 Rae8 11. Nd2 Bh3 12. Nde4 Bxg2 13. Nxf6+ Bxf6 14. Kxg2 Bg7 15. Nd5 f5 16. e4 Nd8 17. Qd2 c6 18. Nc3 f4 19. f3 fxg3 20. hxg3 Rxf3 21. Kxf3 Qh3 22. Ke2 Bh6 23. Qc2 Ne6 24. Kd1 Nd4 25. Qf2 Rf8 26. Qg1 Rf3 0-1[/pgn]
The other ladies more than made up for it, however! Anna played the equalizer, outplaying her opponent convincingly from start to finish.
[pgn] [Event "Women's Baku Chess Olympiad"] [Date "2016.09.06"] [White "Zatonskih, Anna"] [Black "Batyte, Daiva"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2449"] [BlackElo "2189"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] [WhiteTeam "United States"] [BlackTeam "Lithuania"] [WhiteTeamCountry "USA"] [BlackTeamCountry "LTU"] [WhiteClock "0:02:02"] [BlackClock "0:19:40"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. Ngf3 Nc6 5. exd5 exd5 6. Bb5 Bd6 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. O-O Nge7 9. Nb3 Bb6 10. c3 O-O 11. Be2 Nf5 12. Bf4 f6 13. h3 Re8 14. Qc2 Be6 15. Bd3 g6 16. Rfe1 Rc8 17. Qd2 Qd7 18. Rad1 Rcd8 19. Qc2 Qf7 20. Bb5 a6 21. Ba4 Ba7 22. Nbd4 Ncxd4 23. Nxd4 Nxd4 24. cxd4 b5 25. Bb3 Rc8 26. Qd3 Bf5 27. Rxe8+ Rxe8 28. Qc3 g5 29. Bd6 Kh8 30. Qc6 Rd8 31. Qxa6 Qd7 32. Bc5 Bb8 33. Qxf6+ Kg8 34. Qxg5+ Kf7 35. Re1 Be6 36. Re3 Qc7 37. Qh5+ Kg8 38. Qg5+ 1-0[/pgn]
Nazi Paikidze's draw was relatively unexpected as she was up against a lower rated player, but the half point was good for the USA.
[pgn] [Event "Women's Baku Chess Olympiad"] [Date "2016.09.06"] [White "Zaksaite, Salomeja"] [Black "Paikidze, Nazi"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2298"] [BlackElo "2366"] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] [WhiteTeam "Lithuania"] [BlackTeam "United States"] [WhiteTeamCountry "LTU"] [BlackTeamCountry "USA"] [WhiteClock "0:02:45"] [BlackClock "0:14:38"] 1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 Bg4 4. h3 Bxf3 5. Qxf3 e6 6. Be2 Nd7 7. d4 dxe4 8. Nxe4 Ngf6 9. O-O Be7 10. Be3 Nxe4 11. Qxe4 Nf6 12. Qd3 Qc7 13. c4 O-O 14. Bf3 Rad8 15. Rad1 Rd7 16. Qc3 Rfd8 17. Rd2 a5 18. a3 b5 19. Rfd1 b4 20. Qb3 c5 21. dxc5 Rxd2 22. Rxd2 Rxd2 23. Bxd2 Bxc5 24. axb4 axb4 25. Qa4 Qd6 26. Qa8+ Qf8 27. Kf1 Nd7 28. Qxf8+ Kxf8 29. Ke2 Ke7 30. Bc6 Ne5 31. Bb5 f6 32. Be3 Kd6 33. Bf4 Bd4 34. b3 Kc5 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
It was the last board, Sabina Foisor, who was the tiebreaker this time. A nice preparation between her and coach Robert Hess led to a superior position for Sabina almost from the opening, and she outplayed her opponent winning a key game.
[pgn] [Event "Women's Baku Chess Olympiad"] [Date "2016.09.06"] [White "Domarkaite, Laima"] [Black "Foisor, Sabina-Francesca"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2161"] [BlackElo "2279"] [PlyCount "110"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] [WhiteTeam "Lithuania"] [BlackTeam "United States"] [WhiteTeamCountry "LTU"] [BlackTeamCountry "USA"] [WhiteClock "0:00:50"] [BlackClock "0:16:31"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 a6 6. c3 Ba7 7. Bb3 d6 8. Nbd2 O-O 9. h3 h6 10. Re1 Nh5 11. Nf1 Qf6 12. Be3 Kh8 13. N3h2 Nf4 14. Bxa7 Rxa7 15. Qf3 Qg6 16. Ng3 f5 17. d4 fxe4 18. Qxe4 Qxe4 19. Rxe4 d5 20. Ree1 exd4 21. Rad1 d3 22. Nhf1 Na5 23. Re7 c5 24. Rde1 Ra8 25. Bd1 Nc6 26. R7e3 Bd7 27. Nh5 c4 28. Nxf4 Rxf4 29. g3 Rf6 30. Kg2 Raf8 31. f3 b5 32. Nd2 a5 33. h4 g5 34. hxg5 hxg5 35. a3 Kg7 36. Rh1 R6f7 37. Ree1 Re7 38. Rxe7+ Nxe7 39. Kf2 Nf5 40. g4 Nh4 41. Ke3 Rh8 42. Kf2 b4 43. axb4 axb4 44. Nf1 Ra8 45. Ke3 Ra1 46. Kd2 Rb1 47. cxb4 d4 48. f4 Rxb2+ 49. Kc1 c3 50. Rh2 Rxb4 51. fxg5 Ng6 52. Ra2 Nf4 53. Ng3 d2+ 54. Kc2 Ba4+ 55. Rxa4 Rb2# 0-1 [/pgn]
The USA won 2.5-1.5 in a match they desperately needed to win to keep their chances afloat, specially considering how favorite they were according to ratings. Tonight is the Bermuda Party, probably biggest congregation of chess players in a dance club every two years. It is a spectacular sight, indeed. That marks the start of the rest time, which is much needed for many teams. Currently, India, Netherlands and Ukraine are leading the tournament with a perfect 10.0/10, as they defeated Azerbaijan, Belarus and China respectively. In the Women's section, Ukraine and Russia maintain a commanding lead, and they will go for a key round against each other on the sixth battle here in Baku. Follow live games, results and find more photos at the tournament site. Thanks to the Chess Club & Scholastic Center of St. Louis and to the Kasparov Chess Foundation for their continued generous support.

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