US Defeats Georgia 3, Women Sweep Luxembourg

The 2018 Women's Olympiad Team (left to right): Tatev Abrahamyan, Irina Krush, Captain Melikset Khachiyan, Jennifer Yu, and Anna Zatonskih. Photo: David Llada
The second round saw a great improvement in the organization. Despite still having some chaos in the security lines, it moved much faster, and none of the teams were late to the round, which started only a couple of minutes late. Team USA went into the games as clear favorites in both sections, but neither match up proved easy. Luxembourg was our lady’s rivals, and they prepared for a strong match. Things became, at least on paper, much easier when the board line-ups were announced, as Luxembourg did not play their strong 2300 first board, instead allowing their 1600 reserve to play. It is possible that their board one had not yet arrived or was unwell, because this was a big drop in strength for them.
Photo: Alejandro Ramirez
After two hours of play the USA women’s team was having unclear position in boards one and three, but it was Jennifer Yu who demolished her opponent straight from the opening that gave the team their first victory and a boost of confidence. She textbook destroyed her opponent as she had development, and her rival simply did not. This game was clear as crystal from the very beginning.
[pgn][Event "Batumi Women's Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2018.09.25"]
[White "Yu, Jennifer"]
[Black "Blond Hanten, Elsa"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D85"]
[WhiteElo "2268"]
[BlackElo "1635"]
[PlyCount "45"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Luxembourg"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "LUX"]1. c4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Qa4+ c6 6. Nxd5 Qxd5 7. e4 Qd8 8.
d4 Bg7 9. Be3 Nd7 10. Be2 O-O 11. O-O e5 12. Rfd1 Qe7 13. d5 cxd5 14. Rxd5 Qe6
15. Qb4 Nb8 16. Bc5 Re8 17. Rd6 Qg4 18. h3 Qh5 19. Qd2 Bf8 20. Rd8 Rxd8 21.
Qxd8 Nd7 22. Bxf8 Nxf8 23. Rc1 1-0[/pgn]
Photo: Alejandro Ramirez
Another game that left no doubts was Irina Krush’s victory over streamer and commentator Fiona Steil-Antoni. Black’s passive play in the dutch was exploited by Irina, who steam rolled her opponent. She grabbed space on the kingside, on the center, on the queenside, just about everywhere! The lack of space was simply too much for Black to handle, and she allowed a decisive attack on her exposed king.
[pgn][Event "Batumi Women's Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2018.09.25"]
[White "Krush, Irina"]
[Black "Steil-Antoni, Fiona"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A91"]
[WhiteElo "2423"]
[BlackElo "2143"]
[PlyCount "85"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Luxembourg"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "LUX"]1. d4 e6 2. c4 f5 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 Be7 5. Nd2 O-O 6. e4 fxe4 7. Nxe4 Nxe4 8.
Bxe4 Bb4+ 9. Bd2 Bxd2+ 10. Qxd2 Qf6 11. f4 Nc6 12. Nf3 d6 13. O-O Bd7 14. Rae1
Rae8 15. b4 a6 16. a3 Nd8 17. Ng5 g6 18. h4 h6 19. Nf3 Bc6 20. Kg2 Kg7 21. Bxc6
Nxc6 22. Rf2 Re7 23. Re3 Rfe8 24. Rfe2 Nd8 25. Qe1 Nc6 26. Qc3 Kf7 27. a4 b6
28. b5 axb5 29. cxb5 Na5 30. Qc1 Qf5 31. Rc3 Rc8 32. Rec2 c5 33. bxc6 Rec7 34.
d5 exd5 35. Kh2 Qe4 36. f5 Kg7 37. Re3 Qxf5 38. Nd4 Qg4 39. Ne6+ Kh7 40. Nxc7
Rxc7 41. Qe1 Qxa4 42. Re7+ Kh8 43. Rf2 1-0[/pgn]
Tatev Abrahamyan saw her second black game in a row, as she went down to her natural third board after replacing Irina yesterday in second. She played a solid line of the Nimzo-Indian, ending in an equal position. Slowly but surely, Tatev showed her positional prowess and continuously improved her position, exploiting the weaknesses left by White’s expansion. After Tatev won a pawn, things were still a bit unclear, but a couple of mistakes by her opponent was all the leverage that was needed.
[pgn][Event "Batumi Women's Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2018.09.25"]
[White "Bakalarz, Grazyna"]
[Black "Abrahamyan, Tatev"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E32"]
[WhiteElo "1849"]
[BlackElo "2361"]
[PlyCount "84"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "Luxembourg"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "LUX"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Qc2 Bb7 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. Qxc3 O-O 8.
g3 d6 9. Bg2 Nbd7 10. O-O Qe7 11. b4 c5 12. Bb2 cxd4 13. Qxd4 Rfd8 14. Qh4 Rac8
15. Rac1 Rc7 16. Nd4 Bxg2 17. Kxg2 a6 18. b5 Nb8 19. bxa6 Nxa6 20. Nb5 Rc6 21.
Rfd1 e5 22. f3 Nc5 23. Qg5 Nb3 24. Rc2 Na5 25. c5 bxc5 26. Qe3 h6 27. Qc3 Nb7
28. e4 Ra8 29. Rcd2 Rb6 30. Qc4 Qe6 31. Qe2 Qb3 32. Nc7 Rc8 33. Nd5 Nxd5 34.
exd5 Na5 35. Bc1 Qb5 36. Qe1 Nb3 37. Rb2 Qa6 38. Be3 Qxa3 39. Rdb1 Rb5 40. Qd1
c4 41. Bc1 Qc5 42. Qc2 Rcb8 0-1[/pgn]
Anna Zatonskih played a great tactical combination against her opponent, giving her a clearly winning position. The problem is that she consumed a lot of time in the opening, and had to play with mere seconds for a large portion of the game!
[pgn][Event "Batumi Women's Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2018.09.25"]
[White "Aghabekian, Liana"]
[Black "Zatonskih, Anna"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C00"]
[WhiteElo "2188"]
[BlackElo "2431"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "Luxembourg"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "LUX"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. Ngf3 Nc6 5. c3 e5 6. g3 Be7 7. Bg2 O-O 8. O-O
Re8 9. Qc2 a5 10. Re1 Bd6 11. Nh4 Be6 12. Nf1 h6 13. Ne3 Bf8 14. exd5 Nxd5 15.
Nc4 Qf6 16. a4 Rad8 17. Nf3 Ndb4 18. cxb4 Nxb4 19. Qe2 Nxd3 20. Ncxe5 Bf5 21.
Bf4 g5 22. Bd2 g4 23. Nxg4 Bxg4 24. Qxe8 Rxe8 25. Rxe8 Bxf3 26. Bxf3 Qxf3 27.
Rf1 Qc6 28. Re3 Nxf2 29. Rxf2 Bc5 30. Rf4 Qb6 31. Rfe4 Qxb2 32. Bxa5 Qe2 0-1[/pgn]
Captain Melikset Khachiyan described today as “today… excelento!” Coach Robert Hess was very pleased with his team’s performance. With this 4-0 the team climbs considerably in the standings, and will now face our neighbors of Canada in round three, a match-up in which America is still a clear favorite. Despite these reports focusing on the American squads, a very noteworthy event in today’s women’s section was Russia, the top seed, falling to Uzbekistan in a major upset! The open section team had a relatively close call today, as they barely edged out Georgia 3. Since Georgia is the host country, they are allowed more than one team, up to three if it makes the amount of teams in the Olympiad an even number, so no one has to take a bye at any point. Georgia 3 is a young and talented squad, which was certainly not afraid of our super stars!
Sam Shankland, Fabiano Caruana, and Maria Emelianova. Photo: Paul Truong
Board one saw the debut of World Championship contender Fabiano Caruana. Playing a not-so-common variation of the Ruy Lopez, Fabi saw himself in trouble after White played many accurate moves. Black’s pawns seemed to be collapsing, and the pressure was certainly on the American throughout the game. Fabi defended tenaciously and was able to hold the draw against an opponent much lower rated than himself.
[pgn][Event "Batumi Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2018.09.25"]
[White "Tutisani, Noe"]
[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C79"]
[WhiteElo "2471"]
[BlackElo "2827"]
[PlyCount "97"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "Georgia"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "GEO"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 g6 5. c3 d6 6. d4 Bd7 7. O-O Bg7 8. Re1
Nf6 9. Nbd2 O-O 10. Nf1 Nh5 11. Ng3 Nxg3 12. hxg3 exd4 13. cxd4 Bg4 14. Be3 b5
15. Bb3 Na5 16. Qc2 Rc8 17. Qd2 c5 18. Bd5 Nc4 19. Bxc4 bxc4 20. Rac1 d5 21.
dxc5 dxe4 22. Qxd8 Rfxd8 23. Nd2 c3 24. bxc3 Be6 25. Nxe4 Bxa2 26. Ra1 Bd5 27.
Bg5 Re8 28. Nf6+ Bxf6 29. Bxf6 Rxe1+ 30. Rxe1 a5 31. Ra1 Ra8 32. c4 Bxc4 33. c6
Be6 34. c7 h6 35. Ra4 Rc8 36. Be5 f6 37. Bd6 Ra8 38. Bb4 Kf7 39. Rxa5 Rxa5 40.
Bxa5 Bc8 41. f3 h5 42. Kf2 g5 43. Bc3 g4 44. Ke3 Ke6 45. Kf2 f5 46. Bd2 Kd7 47.
Bf4 Ba6 48. Ke3 Bf1 49. Kf2 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
Board three was the biggest of scares, as Sam Shankland was at some point down a pawn with a very slightly worse position, without any real counterplay. Through clever play and resourceful piece positioning, Sam was able to create counterplay with just a queen and a knight, making life difficult for his opponent. At the end, Sam was able to hold an important draw.
[pgn][Event "Batumi Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2018.09.25"]
[White "Petriashvili, Nikoloz"]
[Black "Shankland, Samuel"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A36"]
[WhiteElo "2343"]
[BlackElo "2722"]
[PlyCount "75"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "Georgia"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "GEO"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]1. c4 c5 2. Nc3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 Nc6 5. e3 Nh6 6. Nge2 Nf5 7. b3 b6 8. Bb2
Bb7 9. O-O h5 10. h3 O-O 11. Qb1 e6 12. Rd1 Rb8 13. Nb5 d5 14. Bxg7 Kxg7 15.
cxd5 exd5 16. d4 Qf6 17. Nbc3 Nce7 18. dxc5 bxc5 19. Nxd5 Nxd5 20. Bxd5 Bxd5
21. Rxd5 Rfd8 22. Rxd8 Rxd8 23. Qe1 h4 24. g4 Nd6 25. Rd1 Ne4 26. Rxd8 Qxd8 27.
f3 Nd2 28. Kg2 Qd3 29. Kf2 Qc2 30. Qa1+ Kg8 31. e4 a5 32. g5 c4 33. bxc4 Nxc4
34. Qd4 Qxa2 35. Qd8+ Kh7 36. Qd5 Kg8 37. Qd8+ Kh7 38. Qd5 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
Nikolozi Kacharava vs. Ray Robson. Photo: Paul Truong
Ray Robson’s game on board four was a high intensity game! From the get-go it was clear that the opposite castled positions in the Petroff were going to provide a big and dynamic fight. Ray went for checkmate, his opponent took pawns. Black was up a pawn, though his king was extremely weak. Ray’s bishop, queen, and rook just couldn’t find the angle to create real threats. The eventual queen endgame was double-edged, but the draw certainly a fair result.
[pgn][Event "Batumi Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2018.09.25"]
[White "Robson, Ray"]
[Black "Kacharava, Nikolozi"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C42"]
[WhiteElo "2682"]
[BlackElo "2373"]
[PlyCount "165"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Georgia"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "GEO"]1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be7 7. Be3 O-O
8. Qd2 Nd7 9. O-O-O c6 10. Bd3 d5 11. h4 Nc5 12. Ng5 Nxd3+ 13. Qxd3 g6 14. Rde1
Bf5 15. Qe2 Bf6 16. g4 Bd7 17. f4 Re8 18. h5 Bxg5 19. fxg5 Re4 20. Qf2 Qe7 21.
Bxa7 Bxg4 22. hxg6 Rxe1+ 23. Rxe1 Qxg5+ 24. Kb1 Qxg6 25. Bd4 h5 26. Qf4 Kh7 27.
Re7 Bf5 28. Qf2 b5 29. Re5 Bg4 30. b3 Rf8 31. Re7 Be6 32. Kb2 Qf5 33. Qh2 Rg8
34. Rc7 Rc8 35. Qg3 Rg8 36. Qh2 Rc8 37. Rxc8 Bxc8 38. Qg3 f6 39. a4 bxa4 40.
bxa4 Qg4 41. Qd6 Qe6 42. Qf8 Kg6 43. Bxf6 Qxf6 44. Qxc8 d4 45. Qe8+ Kg5 46. a5
c5 47. Qb5 dxc3+ 48. Kb3 h4 49. a6 Qe7 50. Qb7 Qe6+ 51. Kxc3 Qe3+ 52. Kb2 Qd4+
53. Ka2 Qc4+ 54. Kb1 Qf1+ 55. Kb2 Qf6+ 56. Ka2 Qe6+ 57. Ka3 Qe3+ 58. Qb3 Qe5
59. Ka2 c4 60. Qa4 c3 61. a7 Qe6+ 62. Ka3 Qb6 63. Qd7 Qb2+ 64. Ka4 Qxc2+ 65.
Kb4 Qb2+ 66. Kc4 c2 67. Qd2+ Kg4 68. Qe2+ Kf4 69. Qf2+ Ke5 70. Qe3+ Kd6 71.
Qh6+ Kc7 72. Qh7+ Kd6 73. Qh6+ Kc7 74. Qf4+ Kd7 75. Qd2+ Ke6 76. Qe2+ Kf6 77.
Qf2+ Kg6 78. Qg2+ Kh6 79. Qd2+ Kg6 80. Qg2+ Kf6 81. Qf2+ Ke6 82. Qe2+ Kd7 83.
Qd2+ 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
Wesley So came in huge as he was the person that won a clean game. His positional advantage of having a better structure allowed him a technical and effortless conversion.
[pgn][Event "Batumi Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2018.09.25"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Oboladze, Luka"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B80"]
[WhiteElo "2776"]
[BlackElo "2340"]
[PlyCount "103"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Georgia"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "GEO"]1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. g3 Nc6 6. Bg2 Qc7 7. Nc3 Nf6 8. O-O
d6 9. Re1 Bd7 10. Nxc6 bxc6 11. Na4 Be7 12. c4 O-O 13. c5 dxc5 14. Be3 c4 15.
Nb6 Rab8 16. Nxc4 e5 17. h3 Be6 18. Qc2 Nd7 19. Red1 Rfd8 20. Bf1 Nf6 21. Rxd8+
Bxd8 22. Bc5 Ne8 23. Rd1 a5 24. b3 Bf6 25. h4 h6 26. Qc3 Rb5 27. Ne3 Rb8 28.
Ba3 a4 29. bxa4 Ra8 30. Bc4 Rxa4 31. Bxe6 fxe6 32. Qb3 Ra8 33. Qxe6+ Qf7 34.
Qxf7+ Kxf7 35. Nc4 Ra4 36. Rc1 Ke6 37. Rc2 Bd8 38. Bf8 Kf7 39. Bc5 Bc7 40. f3
Ke6 41. Kf1 Nf6 42. Ne3 h5 43. Bb6 Bxb6 44. Rxc6+ Kf7 45. Rxb6 Rxa2 46. Rb7+
Kf8 47. Nc4 Ra1+ 48. Kg2 Ra2+ 49. Kh3 Rf2 50. Nxe5 Kg8 51. Rb3 Re2 52. Ng6 1-0[/pgn]
Tomorrow will be a real test for the reigning Olympic champions, as team USA faces against The Netherlands, led by super-GM Anish Giri on board one. This is one match you certainly don’t want to miss! On a slightly different note, something very unusual happened just before the start of the Colombia vs. China women’s match. Angela Franco, Colombia’s reserve board, was proposed to by Niklesh Jain from ChessBase India just before the round started, and, as far as I know, it is the first proposal to happen on a chess Olympic venue! Angela cheerfully said “Si”! https://twitter.com/chesscom/status/1044580055538683904 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)

Love this, thanks for the updates! Russia women's loss is definitely huge. That close call with Georgia 3...

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Tatev interview was fun. So much personality! U-S-A! U-S-A!! U-S-A!!!

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