Turbulent Battles in Baku as US Draws vs. Czech & Defeats Bosnian Teams

FabiR4 Navara vs. Caruana
The City of Winds is how Baku is known, a nickname that is well deserved; the harsh winds that go through the city can make walking around town quite uncomfortable! We've had the fortune that weather has been very mild, and only a few gusts of strong wind current have been seen, or rather, heard and felt. Round four of the Olympiad started with the usual: mostly good organization, but with the press being more and more restricted.  The battles on the board,however, are becoming more and more turbulent. There were several transmission problems during today's round, and without access to the tournament hall most of the time the press was left waiting for information on the games. Here is the recap on what happened in U.S. Team's matches: In the Open section USA faced the strong team of Czech Republic. On board four Shankland utilized the black side of the Marshall Gambit (the triangle set-up one, not the Spanish Marshall) to quickly be up a pawn, but giving his opponent plenty of compensation due to his pair of bishops and superior development. These factors seemed to balance themselves out, and White exchanged his advantages to obtain his pawn back. The resulting rook endgame was a solid draw with Black for Shankland.
[pgn]

[Event "Baku Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2016.09.05"]
[White "Plat, Vojtech"]
[Black "Shankland, Samuel L"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2519"]
[BlackElo "2679"]
[PlyCount "73"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2015.02.07"]
[WhiteTeam "Czech Republic"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "CZE"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]
[WhiteClock "0:50:15"]
[BlackClock "0:11:43"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c6 4. e4 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Qxd4 7. Bxb4 Qxe4+
8. Ne2 Nd7 9. Qd6 a5 10. Ba3 Qe5 11. O-O-O Qxd6 12. Bxd6 Ngf6 13. f3 b6 14. Nd4
Bb7 15. Bd3 O-O-O 16. Bc2 c5 17. Nb5 Ba6 18. Ba4 Bxb5 19. Bxb5 Nb8 20. Be5 Kb7
21. g4 Nc6 22. Bxc6+ Kxc6 23. h4 Rhg8 24. h5 Rxd1+ 25. Rxd1 Nd7 26. Rd6+ Kc7
27. Rxe6+ Nxe5 28. Rxe5 Kd6 29. Rd5+ Ke6 30. Kd2 g6 31. Ke3 Rb8 32. a4 Rc8 33.
Ke4 Rc6 34. f4 Ke7 35. Re5+ Kd7 36. Rd5+ Ke7 37. Re5+ 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
Hikaru Nakamura used the black side of a Catalan to neutralize Viktor Laznicka. Despite losing a pawn basically out of the openings, the many trades in the position resulted in a drawn rook endgame that Nakamura knew inside and out, and had no problems at all in holding.
[pgn]

[Event "Baku Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2016.09.05"]
[White "Laznicka, Viktor"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2651"]
[BlackElo "2789"]
[PlyCount "79"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2015.02.07"]
[WhiteTeam "Czech Republic"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "CZE"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]
[WhiteClock "0:30:35"]
[BlackClock "0:20:45"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O Be7 5. c4 O-O 6. d4 dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. a4
Bd7 9. Rd1 Bc6 10. Nc3 Bxf3 11. Bxf3 Nc6 12. Bxc6 bxc6 13. a5 Rb8 14. Ra4 Rb4
15. Na2 Rxa4 16. Qxa4 Qb8 17. Qxc4 Qb7 18. Rd3 Rb8 19. b4 Qb5 20. Qxb5 Rxb5 21.
Rc3 Nd5 22. Rxc6 Nxb4 23. Rxc7 Nxa2 24. Rxe7 h6 25. Bd2 Rb2 26. Be1 Rxe2 27.
Kf1 Rc2 28. Rd7 Rc4 29. d5 exd5 30. Rxd5 Nb4 31. Bxb4 Rxb4 32. Rd6 Ra4 33. Rxa6
Ra2 34. Kg2 g5 35. Kf3 h5 36. h3 Kg7 37. Ra8 Ra4 38. a6 h4 39. gxh4 gxh4 40. a7
1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
hikarur4 Hikaru Nakamura
With both Blacks headed for a draw, the responsibility was left on the White pieces. Fabiano Caruana faced the strong 2700 David Navara, and the Czech's Caro-Kann was simply impregnable. Caruana tried for a very long time, and the game went down to the most simplified endgame, in chess, alas, the Czech held the draw.
[pgn]

[Event "Baku Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2016.09.05"]
[White "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Black "Navara, David"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2808"]
[BlackElo "2742"]
[PlyCount "80"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2015.02.07"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Czech Republic"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "CZE"]
[WhiteClock "0:36:45"]
[BlackClock "0:49:54"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 c5 6. Be3 cxd4 7. Nxd4 Ne7 8. O-O
Nbc6 9. Bb5 a6 10. Bxc6+ bxc6 11. c4 Qd7 12. Nc3 dxc4 13. Na4 Nd5 14. Nxf5 exf5
15. Rc1 c3 16. Nxc3 Nxe3 17. fxe3 g6 18. Qf3 Bh6 19. Na4 O-O 20. Nb6 Qa7 21.
Rxc6 Rae8 22. Nc4 f4 23. Kh1 fxe3 24. b3 Bg7 25. Qxe3 Qxe3 26. Nxe3 Rxe5 27.
Nc4 Re6 28. Rxe6 fxe6 29. Rxf8+ Kxf8 30. Kg1 Ke7 31. Kf2 Kd7 32. Ke3 Kc6 33.
Ke4 Kb5 34. a3 a5 35. Ne5 Bf8 36. Nd3 Bxa3 37. Ke5 Kc6 38. Kxe6 Bd6 39. g3 Bc7
40. Ne1 h5 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
wesleyr4 Wesley So
It all boiled down to Wesley So. He had a slight edge against Hracek thanks to his successful minority attack, but his opponent kept defending his weakness on c6 and making progress difficult. Wesley eventually won a pawn, but it simply was not enough. Hracek held down a pawn in a rook endgame and America drew their match, 2-2 with four draws. Certainly a disappointing result, but not a disaster by any means.’’
[pgn]

[Event "Baku Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2016.09.05"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Hracek, Zbynek"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2782"]
[BlackElo "2591"]
[PlyCount "120"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2015.02.07"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Czech Republic"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "CZE"]
[WhiteClock "0:09:35"]
[BlackClock "0:21:41"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. e3 Nbd7 7. Bd3 Be7 8. h3
O-O 9. Qc2 Re8 10. Nf3 Nf8 11. O-O g6 12. Bf4 Ne6 13. Bh2 Ng7 14. Rab1 a5 15.
a3 Bf5 16. b4 axb4 17. axb4 Bxd3 18. Qxd3 Ra3 19. Qc2 Bd6 20. Bxd6 Qxd6 21. b5
Ne6 22. bxc6 bxc6 23. Rb6 Qc7 24. Rfb1 Ra1 25. Rxa1 Qxb6 26. Na4 Qa6 27. Rc1
Ra8 28. Nc5 Nxc5 29. Qxc5 Ne4 30. Qc2 Rc8 31. Qb2 Qa7 32. Qb3 Rb8 33. Qc2 Rc8
34. Ne5 c5 35. f3 Nd6 36. dxc5 Nc4 37. Ng4 Qxc5 38. Qc3 Rc6 39. Ra1 d4 40. exd4
Qd5 41. Kh1 h5 42. Ne3 Nxe3 43. Qxe3 Kg7 44. Kg1 Rc2 45. Rd1 Qe6 46. Qxe6 fxe6
47. Kh2 h4 48. Re1 Kf6 49. Re4 g5 50. Kg1 Rd2 51. Kf1 Kf5 52. Rg4 Ra2 53. Kg1
Rd2 54. Kf1 Ra2 55. Re4 Rd2 56. Kg1 Kf6 57. Kh1 Kf5 58. Kh2 Kf6 59. Kg1 Kf5 60.
Kf1 Kf6 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
sabinar4 Sabina Foisor
Things seemed a little murky for America in the Women's section. The first game to finish was outright strange. Sabina Foisor made her debut with the white pieces, and she played a normal opening to which her opponent played a strategically incorrect c5 break. When the pawns were traded on d4, almost incomprehensibly, Sabina took back with the e-pawn, validating Black's strategy. The Bosnian girl certainly outplayed the American, and Black achieved a strategically winning position by move 20. However, on move 22 she simply moved away a queen that was defending a knight, to which Sabina gobbled up the knight and her opponent resigned.
[pgn]

[Event "Women's Baku Chess Olympiad"]
[Site "chess24.com"]
[Date "2016.09.05"]
[Round "4.4"]
[White "Foisor, Sabina-Francesca"]
[Black "Mahmutbegovic, Nadina"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2279"]
[BlackElo "1908"]
[PlyCount "45"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2015.02.07"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Bosnia & Herzegovina"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "BIH"]
[WhiteClock "0:08:31"]
[BlackClock "0:19:11"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 Be7 6. e3 c6 7. Qc2 O-O 8. Bd3
Nbd7 9. Nge2 Re8 10. O-O h6 11. Bh4 a6 12. Rab1 c5 13. Bf5 cxd4 14. exd4 Nb6
15. Bd3 Bd7 16. Qb3 Bc6 17. f3 Nh5 18. Bf2 Bd6 19. a4 Qc7 20. g3 Rac8 21. f4
Nf6 22. Rbe1 Qd7 23. Qxb6 1-0

[/pgn]
Symmetrical pawn structures are always rather tricky, but Irina Krush was never really able to make anything out of her position. The draw between her and Aleksandra Dimitrijevic was very solid.
[pgn]

[Event "Women's Baku Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2016.09.05"]
[White "Dimitrijevic, Aleksandra"]
[Black "Krush, Irina"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2254"]
[BlackElo "2444"]
[PlyCount "70"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2015.02.07"]
[WhiteTeam "Bosnia & Herzegovina"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "BIH"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]
[WhiteClock "0:07:32"]
[BlackClock "0:02:06"]

1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 Nf6 3. e3 c5 4. c3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Nbd2 a6 7. Bd3 b5 8. Qe2
Bb7 9. e4 c4 10. Bc2 dxe4 11. Nxe4 Nxe4 12. Bxe4 Bxe4 13. Qxe4 Be7 14. Ne5 O-O
15. Qb7 Nxe5 16. Bxe5 Re8 17. O-O Qd5 18. Qxd5 exd5 19. Rfe1 f6 20. Bf4 Kf7 21.
Kf1 h5 22. h4 Rec8 23. Re2 Rc6 24. Rae1 Bf8 25. f3 a5 26. g4 g6 27. Kg2 b4 28.
g5 f5 29. Bd2 Rb6 30. Re5 Rd8 31. R5e2 Ra6 32. Kf2 Bd6 33. Kg2 Bf8 34. Kf2 Rda8
35. Re5 Rd8 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
A true tragedy was the game between Nazi Paikidze and Dijana Dengler. The U.S. Champion has been a solid rock for the American team so far, but her game today was disastrous. Her moves were overall rather strange, achieving an exchange Slav type pawn structure but never fighting for the c-file. Black simply doubled up her rooks and penetrated on c2, causing all kinds of harm. Under pressure, Nazi blundered a piece and lost easily.
[pgn]

[Event "Women's Baku Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2016.09.05"]
[White "Paikidze, Nazi"]
[Black "Dengler, Dijana"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2366"]
[BlackElo "2047"]
[PlyCount "69"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2015.02.07"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Bosnia & Herzegovina"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "BIH"]
[WhiteClock "0:05:14"]
[BlackClock "0:06:07"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 c6 4. Bg2 g6 5. O-O Bg7 6. c4 O-O 7. Nc3 a6 8. b3
Nbd7 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. Bb2 b5 11. Ne5 Bb7 12. e3 e6 13. Nxd7 Qxd7 14. Ne2 Rfc8
15. Nf4 Qd8 16. Nd3 Nd7 17. h4 h5 18. Ne5 Rc7 19. a4 b4 20. a5 Rac8 21. Nd3 Bf8
22. Bf3 Bc6 23. Re1 Bb5 24. e4 dxe4 25. Bxe4 Nf6 26. Bf3 Rc2 27. Rb1 Bxd3 28.
Qxd3 Qxa5 29. Bb7 R8c7 30. d5 Nxd5 31. Bxa6 Qa2 32. Bd4 Rd2 33. Qe4 Qxa6 34.
Ra1 Qd3 35. Ra8 0-1

[/pgn]
With the match tied 1.5-1.5 it was down to Anna Zatonskih. Her opponent's play was simply baffling and Black obtained a huge advantage. However, Anna allowed herself to get down on the clock significantly.
[pgn]

[Event "Women's Baku Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2016.09.05"]
[White "Jacimovic, Sara"]
[Black "Zatonskih, Anna"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1992"]
[BlackElo "2449"]
[PlyCount "90"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2015.02.07"]
[WhiteTeam "Bosnia & Herzegovina"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "BIH"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]
[WhiteClock "0:25:45"]
[BlackClock "0:24:31"]

1. f4 d5 2. Nf3 g6 3. e3 Bg7 4. Be2 Nf6 5. O-O O-O 6. d3 b6 7. Nbd2 Bb7 8. Ne5
c5 9. Qe1 e6 10. Qg3 Nc6 11. Ndf3 Nd7 12. Nxc6 Bxc6 13. Qh3 Qe7 14. Ng5 h6 15.
Nf3 e5 16. f5 e4 17. dxe4 dxe4 18. Nd2 Kh7 19. Rb1 Nf6 20. g4 Nd5 21. c3 Rad8
22. Rf2 Bf6 23. Nf1 Bh4 24. Ng3 Bg5 25. Nf1 Bh4 26. Ng3 Bg5 27. Nf1 Nf6 28. c4
Nd7 29. Bd2 Ne5 30. Bc3 Nf3+ 31. Kh1 gxf5 32. gxf5 Rg8 33. Rg2 Bh4 34. Ng3 Rg5
35. f6 Qd7 36. Qxd7 Rxd7 37. Rd1 Rxd1+ 38. Bxd1 Kg6 39. Bc2 Bxg3 40. Rxg3 Rxg3
41. hxg3 Kf5 42. Bd1 Ne5 43. Bh5 Be8 44. Kg2 Nxc4 45. Bd1 Nxe3+ 0-1

[/pgn]
In time pressure she squandered some of her edge away, but still got the more pleasant side of an endgame. Her opponent made it very easy on Anna, first blundering a pawn, and then a whole piece. USA took the match 2.5-1.5. 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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