After the Rest Day: Men Score Big, Women Draw India

Rest day with a View: Fabiano Caruana, Tatev Abrahamyan and Alejandro Ramirez, Photo David Llada
Round Six is always a tough one in the Olympiad. The rest day is used for recharging energies, and for many of the teams – especially the ones traveling with one or multiple coaches – it is time to specifically prepare for the opponents. During the rest day, team USA had a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant, taking a break from the typical routine of waking up, eating breakfast, preparing, eating lunch, going to the round, eating dinner at the hotel, and wait for the next round. Georgian food is absolutely great, with traditional dishes that have been around for thousands of years! Whether it is Khachapuri or Khinkali, we have been surprised at the quality of food everywhere in this city. Both of our teams had very different calibers of opponents. The Women’s section emerged after five rounds as the only team with perfect match points, and had the extremely strong team of India as their opponents. Coached by renowned author GM Jacob Aagaard, it was obvious that this was going to be a tough one.
USA vs. India match, Photo Alejandro Ramirez
This tournament marks the return of Indian superstar Grandmaster Koneru Humpy to chess. She has had a superb tournament so far, 3.5/4 against fairly strong opposition. Today she played another great game, playing a heavily theoretical duel against Anna Zatonskih.
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Women's Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2018.09.30"]
[Round "6.1"]
[White "Koneru, Humpy"]
[Black "Zatonskih, Anna"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2557"]
[BlackElo "2431"]
[PlyCount "69"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "India"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "IND"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. a3 c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. e3
Nc6 9. Qc2 Qa5 10. Rd1 Re8 11. Nd2 e5 12. Bg5 Nd4 13. Qb1 Bf5 14. Bd3 Bxd3 15.
Qxd3 Ne4 16. Nxd5 Nxg5 17. exd4 Bxd4 18. b4 Qd8 19. Qb3 Ne6 20. O-O Qd7 21. Nf3
Rad8 22. a4 f6 23. a5 Qf7 24. Qa2 Rd7 25. Nxd4 Nxd4 26. f4 Nf5 27. fxe5 Rxe5
28. Qf2 Nd6 29. Qxa7 Nxc4 30. a6 Nd6 31. Nb6 Rd8 32. Rxd6 Rxd6 33. axb7 Re8 34.
b8=Q Qe6 35. Qbc7 1-0

[/pgn]
Despite this, both players used a heavy amount of time to reach a position which Mamedyarov has already essayed twice with White, both ending in draws. Zatonskih's f6 push was ill-timed (never play f6!), and her position became somewhat uncomfortable. Koneru put pressure on her opponent, and in the key moment Anna missed an only move to keep the game going, and collapsed under time pressure.
IM Tania Sachdev, Photo Alejandro Ramirez
Next to finish was Tatev Abrahamyan’s game on board three. It is always difficult to play against a friend, but Tania Sachdev was definitely playing her best today against Tatev.
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Women's Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2018.09.30"]
[White "Tania, Sachdev"]
[Black "Abrahamyan, Tatev"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E32"]
[WhiteElo "2400"]
[BlackElo "2361"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "India"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "IND"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]

1. d4 e6 2. c4 b6 3. Nf3 Bb7 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Qb3 Qe7 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. Qxc3 Nf6 8.
g3 O-O 9. Bg2 d6 10. O-O Nbd7 11. b4 Rac8 12. Bb2 Rfd8 13. Rfd1 c5 14. dxc5
bxc5 15. b5 d5 16. Qa5 a6 17. bxa6 Ra8 18. a7 Qd6 19. cxd5 exd5 20. Nh4 Qa6 21.
Qxa6 Bxa6 22. Bxd5 Nxd5 23. Rxd5 Rxa7 24. Nf5 Rb7 25. Rd2 g6 26. Nd6 Nb6 27.
Rad1 Rbd7 28. Bf6 Rb8 29. Rb1 Rc7 30. Nc4 Bxc4 31. Be5 1-0

[/pgn]
The game was a complex Nimzo Indian/Queen’s Indian type of position, but it was clear the Sachdev had a slight upper hand. With the game opening up, Black must have underestimated how powerful (instead of weak) the pawn on a7 was. After some inaccuracies, Tatev had to resign. 2-0 India.
Irina Krush and Sabina Foisor on the rest day, Photo David Llada
Things, however, looked extremely good for team USA in the other two boards. Irina Krush continues an excellent performance on board two. Her opponent, Grandmaster Harika Dronavalli is a three-time bronze medalist at the Women’s World Championship. As soon as black got a position with an isolated pawn, in which she was going to suffer the entire game, coach Robert Hess exclaimed: “This is such an Irina position!”
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Women's Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2018.09.30"]
[White "Krush, Irina"]
[Black "Harika, Dronavalli"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D61"]
[WhiteElo "2423"]
[BlackElo "2500"]
[PlyCount "113"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "India"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "IND"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. Nc3 h6 6. Bh4 Be7 7. e3 O-O 8. Qc2
c5 9. dxc5 Nxc5 10. cxd5 Nxd5 11. Bxe7 Qxe7 12. Nxd5 exd5 13. Be2 Bg4 14. O-O
Rac8 15. Nd4 Ne6 16. Qd2 Bxe2 17. Nxe2 Rfd8 18. Rac1 Rc4 19. Rfd1 Qg5 20. Rc3
Rxc3 21. Qxc3 Qg4 22. Qd2 Qc4 23. a3 Qb3 24. h3 a6 25. Qc1 Rd6 26. Rd2 Rd8 27.
Nd4 Qb6 28. Qc3 Qc7 29. Qxc7 Nxc7 30. Rc2 Rd7 31. Kf1 Kf8 32. Ke2 g6 33. Nb3
Ne6 34. Nc5 Nxc5 35. Rxc5 Ke7 36. Kd3 h5 37. h4 Ke6 38. Kd4 b6 39. Rc6+ Rd6 40.
Rc7 a5 41. b4 axb4 42. axb4 Rd8 43. b5 Rd6 44. Rb7 Kf6 45. f3 Ke6 46. g4 Kf6
47. g5+ Ke6 48. f4 Kf5 49. Rxf7+ Kg4 50. Rf6 Rd8 51. Rxg6 Kxh4 52. Rxb6 Kg4 53.
Rh6 h4 54. b6 h3 55. b7 Rb8 56. Rh7 Kf5 57. Kxd5 1-0

[/pgn]
As Irina herself explains: “I got the kind of game I was looking for: White is slightly better and can play for a win without any risk.” Asked when her opponent totally lost the game, she said that it was difficult to pinpoint, as things got gradually worst for her opponent. Once White’s king got to d4, it could have been Capablanca that took over the game: it was simply immaculate. Jennifer Yu on board four faced strong Eesha Karavade, an International Master and outrating our board four by about a hundred points.
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Women's Chess Olympiad"]
[Date "2018.09.30"]
[White "Yu, Jennifer"]
[Black "Karavade, Eesha"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E20"]
[WhiteElo "2268"]
[BlackElo "2374"]
[PlyCount "109"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "India"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "IND"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d5 6. Nf3 c5 7. O-O dxc4 8. dxc5
Nc6 9. Qa4 Qe7 10. Bg5 h6 11. Bxf6 Qxf6 12. Rac1 Qe7 13. Nd4 Qxc5 14. Nxc6 bxc6
15. Ne4 Qa5 16. Qxa5 Bxa5 17. Rxc4 Rb8 18. b3 Rd8 19. Rxc6 Bb7 20. Rc2 Bxe4 21.
Bxe4 Rbc8 22. Rfc1 Rxc2 23. Rxc2 Kf8 24. Bd3 Rd7 25. Rc8+ Ke7 26. Kg2 Rc7 27.
Rb8 Bb6 28. a4 Rd7 29. Bb5 Rd4 30. Rb7+ Kf8 31. Bc4 Rd2 32. f4 g6 33. h3 h5 34.
g4 hxg4 35. hxg4 Rd4 36. Kf3 Rd1 37. Ke4 Rd4+ 38. Ke5 Rd1 39. f5 Bd4+ 40. Kf4
gxf5 41. gxf5 exf5 42. Rxf7+ Ke8 43. Kxf5 a5 44. Ke6 Bc5 45. Rc7 Rd6+ 46. Ke5
Ba3 47. Ra7 Bb4 48. Rb7 Rh6 49. Rxb4 axb4 50. Kd5 Kd7 51. Kc5 Rh5+ 52. Bd5 Kc7
53. e4 Rg5 54. a5 Rg6 55. Kxb4 1-0

[/pgn]
If someone showed me this game, and told me that Vladimir Kramnik played it with White, it would not shock me. Jennifer playing a game worthy of an endgame book, masterfully converting a rook and opposite colored bishop endgame up a pawn. The systematic advantage that White obtained straight from the opening was converted into a clean win, and USA gets a nice result: with all the games won by white, India and USA split the point. USA remains at the top of the standings, now joined by Armenia after defeating Russia in a big upset, and Georgia 1 that beat Georgia 2 in what was a very close match! The open section was a whitewash. On paper, Bosnia and Herzegovina didn’t have much of a chance against team USA, and they didn’t in any of the boards except for the one draw they salvaged. Things started off well with So’s destruction of our opponent’s board three:
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2018.09.30"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Stojanovic, Dalibor"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D31"]
[WhiteElo "2776"]
[BlackElo "2492"]
[Annotator "Alejandro"]
[PlyCount "67"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[SourceVersionDate "2018.07.08"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Bosnia Herzegovina"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "BIH"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bf4 c6 6. e3 Bd6 7. Bxd6 Qxd6 8.
Bd3 Ne7 9. Qc2 g6 10. Nf3 Bf5 11. Bxf5 Nxf5 12. O-O O-O 13. e4 {This is known
theory... Wesley himself has reached this position before! In 2013 he played
it against Tolentino, in a game he won. Black seemingly had some preparation
up his sleeve: after all, he had a full extra day to prepare! Black did spend
10 minutes on this move, however.} Ne7 14. Qb3 {Without the bishops, the
slight weakness on the kingside is not felt as strongly as it usually is, but
White still has pressure on both the queenside and the center. Black is close
to equality, but he will first need to solve the problems with the pawn on b7
and the pressure on d5.} b6 $6 {The 17 minutes spent on this move do not
inspire confidence. Black permanently weakens his queenside structure.} (14...
Nd7 {was necessary} 15. Qxb7 Rfb8 16. Qa6 Rxb2 17. Rfe1 $36 {but even here
white retains obvious pressure. Perhaps the Bosnian preparation was lacking.})
15. Rfe1 Nd7 16. Rac1 Rfc8 17. e5 Qe6 {White has a pleasant advantage: more
space and importantly a way to tie down black to defend his weakness on the
c-file. If the pawn was on b7, this position would be much easier to play for
Black.} 18. Ne2 Nf8 19. Nf4 Qf5 20. Qe3 Ne6 21. Nxe6 Qxe6 $2 {An almost
inexplicable move from Stojanovic. White's initiative is just brutal after the
release of the blockade.} (21... fxe6 22. h3 $1 $16 {still is very good for So,
but it is far from over.}) 22. Ng5 Qf5 23. e6 fxe6 (23... f6 24. Nf7 {has way
too many tactical threats.}) 24. Nxe6 {Wesley understood this position perfect.
Black cannot play Nf5 right now, which means that soon the kinght will run out
of defenders.} Qf6 25. g4 {The point: as soon as the queen gives the knight
room, g4 is played. Now Qh6 and a rook transfer to the third is a big threat,
and there is nothing Black can really do about it.} a5 26. Qh6 Re8 27. Rc3 Nc8
28. Rxc6 {The rest is a cakewalk for So.} Ra7 29. Re5 Qf3 30. h3 Rf7 31. Qe3
Qd1+ 32. Kg2 Qa4 33. Ng5 (33. Nd8 $1 {Is a pretty way to win, but in team
tournaments the easy win is sometimes the best way to go: never make your
teammates worry!}) 33... Ref8 34. Rxc8 1-0

[/pgn]
Ray Robson was able to very briefly consult Fabiano Caruana during the team’s photo sessions (pictures of that coming soon!) into which line to play against the Winawer French with b6! White’s attack on the kingside always was dangerous, but Black was playing a strong defensive game, also taking care of White’s queenside. Black’s 21st move was a mistake that allowed Ray to steamroll his opponent.
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2018.09.30"]
[White "Robson, Ray"]
[Black "Burovic, Rijad"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C16"]
[WhiteElo "2682"]
[BlackElo "2380"]
[PlyCount "57"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Bosnia Herzegovina"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "BIH"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 Ne7 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 b6 7. Qg4 Kf8 8. Nh3
Ba6 9. Bxa6 Nxa6 10. Nf4 h6 11. O-O Nb8 12. c4 Nbc6 13. cxd5 Nxd5 14. Ne2 Na5
15. Ng3 Qd7 16. a4 Qc6 17. Ra3 Qxc2 18. Rf3 Kg8 19. Nh5 g6 20. Nf6+ Nxf6 21.
Rxf6 Nc6 22. d5 Nxe5 23. Qf4 Nd3 24. Qe4 Kg7 25. Rf3 f5 26. Qxd3 Qxd3 27. Rxd3
Rhd8 28. Rc3 Rxd5 29. Rxc7+ 1-0

[/pgn]
Fabiano Caruana played Dennis Kadric, a player well known in Texas as he attends University of Texas at Dallas!
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2018.09.30"]
[White "Kadric, Denis"]
[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B43"]
[WhiteElo "2543"]
[BlackElo "2827"]
[PlyCount "68"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "Bosnia Herzegovina"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "BIH"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 a6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Qc7 6. Bd3 Nf6 7. O-O Bc5 8.
Nb3 Ba7 9. Kh1 Nc6 10. f4 d6 11. Qe2 h5 12. Be3 Bxe3 13. Qxe3 Bd7 14. Rae1
O-O-O 15. Na4 Kb8 16. Nb6 Be8 17. c4 h4 18. Rc1 h3 19. g3 Ng4 20. Qg1 f5 21.
Be2 Ne7 22. Na5 Qc5 23. Qxc5 dxc5 24. Bxg4 fxg4 25. Rfd1 Bg6 26. Rd7 Bxe4+ 27.
Kg1 Nf5 28. Re1 Bf3 29. Rxe6 Ka7 30. Rc7 Rd1+ 31. Kf2 Rd2+ 32. Ke1 Rxh2 33. b4
Rxa2 34. Nd5 Rxa5 0-1[/pgn]
Dennis played quite quickly in a murky position against an extremely well prepared World Championship Contender. When that happens, the result of the game is rarely in question. Black was quickly better after the opening, in which White’s king on h1 was simply weaker than Black’s king on b8 (!) in a Sicilian Kan. American 3-0 Bosnia. You can’t win every game, and much less every game with black. Hikaru Nakamura tried for 75 moves to do so against Dejan Marjanovic, an opponent that our player outrated by nearly 400 points.
[pgn]

[Event "Batumi Chess Olympiad | Open"]
[Date "2018.09.30"]
[White "Marjanovic, Dejan"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A81"]
[WhiteElo "2382"]
[BlackElo "2763"]
[PlyCount "149"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "Bosnia Herzegovina"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "BIH"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]

1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. Nbd2 Nc6 7. Re1 d5 8. c4
e6 9. b3 Ne4 10. Bb2 b6 11. a3 Bb7 12. e3 g5 13. Nxe4 dxe4 14. Nd2 g4 15. b4
Qd7 16. b5 Nd8 17. a4 a6 18. Bf1 Nf7 19. bxa6 Bxa6 20. a5 Rfb8 21. axb6 Rxb6
22. Bc3 Rbb8 23. Qa4 Qd8 24. Reb1 Bb7 25. Qc2 Rxa1 26. Rxa1 Ng5 27. Rb1 Bc6 28.
Rxb8 Qxb8 29. Qa2 h5 30. Qa6 Qb7 31. Qxb7 Bxb7 32. Ba5 c5 33. Bb6 cxd4 34. Bxd4
Bxd4 35. exd4 Kf7 36. c5 Bd5 37. h4 gxh3 38. Kh2 Kf6 39. Bb5 e5 40. dxe5+ Kxe5
41. Be8 h4 42. gxh4 Ne6 43. Kxh3 f4 44. Bb5 e3 45. fxe3 fxe3 46. Nf1 Bc6 47.
Bc4 e2 48. Bxe2 Nf4+ 49. Kg4 Nxe2 50. h5 Kf6 51. Nd2 Nd4 52. h6 Bd7+ 53. Kf4
Ne6+ 54. Ke3 Bc6 55. Nf3 Nxc5 56. h7 Kg7 57. Ng5 Nd7 58. Kf4 Nf8 59. Ke5 Ng6+
60. Kd6 Ba4 61. Kc5 Bb3 62. Kb4 Ba2 63. Kc3 Nh8 64. Kd4 Kg6 65. Ne4 Kxh7 66.
Ke5 Kg6 67. Nc3 Bb3 68. Kd4 Kf5 69. Nd5 Ng6 70. Ne3+ Ke6 71. Nc4 Ne7 72. Ne3
Nc6+ 73. Kc5 Kd7 74. Nd5 Bxd5 75. Kxd5 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
Kudos to Dejan, there simply wasn’t a moment in which Hikaru had a real edge, and the draw was a natural conclusion to the game. With Poland and Azerbaijan winning their matches, USA is now on clear third. 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.  Watch"> Grandmaster Maurice Ashley's latest vlog from Batumi here. 

Comments

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] When I asked Irina about her best games at the Olympiad, she picked out two: her victory over GM Harika Dronavalli, which she called “technically speaking the cleanest (win.)” This game was also described in Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez’s report. […]

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