In the first round the strongest teams played with the opponents that were objectively lower in class, so there was no sportive intrigue initially. Another thing was interesting. Infamous players from chess province played with the world starts for the first and maybe even for the last time in their lives – for them it was a big Event. This is what Olympiad is great for – it allows 'simple mortals' to become the opponents of the famous players, although it can be just for a short time.
Spectators and commentators were looking for sensations in individual games, and they happened.
Sometimes the favorites lost.
Zambrana,Osvaldo R (2471) - Movsesian,Sergei (2698)
Bolivia - Armenia
Not the strongest, but for sure the brightest continuation. It seems to be a miscalculation...
26...Bxc6 27.Rc1 Qh5?
A temptation to punish the opponent and win immediately was too big.
Bad is 27...Kb7? 28.Ba5.
The right 27...Rxd3! leaded to the forced repetition of moves: 28.Rxc6+ Kb7 29.Ba5 Rd4 30.Rb6+ Ka7 31.Rc6 (31.Bc3? Bc5) 31...Kb7 32.Rb6+ Ka7=.
Apparently, in the very last moment Sergey figured that on the natural 28...Kb7 a combination follows: 29.Rxd6! Rh1 (or 29...Rxd6 30.Qxg7+ Kc6 31.Qc7#) 30.Rxd7+ Kc8 31.Rc7+ with the rapid mate: 31...Kd8 (31...Kb8 32.Ba7+ Ka8 33.Nb6#) 32.Rxg7+ Kc8 33.Rc7+ Kd8 34.Ra7+ Kc8 35.Ne7+ Kb8 36.Bc7#!
Letting the advantage go. White should have chosen 29.Bxc7 Rh1 30.Bxd6+ Kd7 31.Qxh1 Qxh1+ 32.Rc1 Qf3 33.Bb4 Qxd3+ 34.Ka1 and there is no 34...Qxe4? due to 35.Nb6+ Ke8 36.Rc8+ Kf7 37.Rf8#
29...Rh1 30.Bg1 Rxg1 31.Rxc7+ Bxc7 32.Qxg1 Qe2 33.Qc1 Qxd3+ 34.Ka1 Qc4 35.Qxc4 bxc4 36.Kb1 Kd7?!
Movsesian played this endgame surprisingly weak. Apparently, he was demoralized by the previous experiences. Not a difficult way to a draw was to play 36...Kb7 37.Kc2 Bb6 and the bishop goes to d4.
37.Kc2 Ba5 38.Ne3 Ke7?!
The king should have been left on the queenside: 38...Kc6 39.Nxc4 Be1 with good chances for a draw.
39.Nxc4 Bc7 40.b4 Kf7 41.Kd3 g6 42.fxg6+ Kxg6 43.Ne3 Bb6 44.Nf5 Kg5 45.a4 Kf4 46.Ne7 Bd8 47.Nd5+ Kg5 48.a5! f5 49.b5! fxe4+ 50.Kxe4 axb5 51.a6
Sutovsky,Emil (2687) - Obodchuk,Andrei (2399)
Israel - IPCA
In this known theoretical position White went for a bright attack with sacrifices and played fantastic for quite a time.
13.Nf5! exf5 14.Nd5 Qb7 15.exf5 Nc7 16.Nf6+! Kh8!
16...gxf6 leaded to a disaster: 17.gxf6 Bxf6 18.Rg1+ Kh8 19.Qd6!
An interesting novelty. 17.Nxh7 Kxh7 18.f6 was played before and leaded to a complex game, in which Black won more often.
17...Re8! Cold-blooded defense. 18.f6
In the popular variation 18.Qc3 Bf8 19.Bc5 a beautiful draw was found: 19...d6 20.Bxd6 b4 21.axb4 Nxb4 22.Bc4 Nb5 23.Bxf8 Nxc3 24.Bxg7+ Kg8 25.Bxc3 Bxf5 and here follows the only move 26.g6!! hxg6 27.Nf6+ Kf8 28.Nh7+ Kg8 29.Nf6+ with a perpetual check.
Beautifully and strongly played.
Or 19...hxg6 20.fxg7+ Bxg7 21.Nxg7 Kxg7 22.h4 with a dangerous attack for White.
20.fxg7+ Bxg7 21.Nxg7 Kxg7 22.Bh6+
22.h4! has more perspective, with h4-h5 to follow. Besides, there are again drawing motives in the lines. For instance, 22...b4 23.h5 bxa3 24.b3! Qb4
25.Qxb4 Nxb4 26.Bd4+ Kf7 27.hxg6+ hxg6 28.Rh7+ Kf8 29.Rh8+ Kf7 30.Rh7+, and perpetual check.
22...Kg8 23.Qc3 Ne6 24.Rd6
The idea to separate the forces of the opponent looks great, but Black finds a graceful answer:
There were no easy ways to get rid of the problems: 24...Qc7 25.Bh3! Qxd6? 26.Bxe6+ dxe6 27.Qg7#
Looking for something bigger, Emil is left without anything at all.
He had to be satisfied with some compensation for an exchange after 25.Rxd4 Nxd4 26.Qxd4 d5 27.Bd3.
25...Qxf3 26.Rf1 Qh3 27.Bd2 Nf5 28.Rb6 Ra7 29.Re1 d6
Black established piece coordination, secured the king and converted the material into win.
30.Qc6 Bd7 31.Qd5 Rc7 32.Bc3 Rc5 33.Qb7 Bc8 34.Qa8 Qxh2 35.Bb4 Re5 36.Rh1 Qf2 37.Qc6 Ned4 38.Qc7 Re1+ 0–1
Sometimes the favorites made draws.
Puntier,William (2312) - Tomashevsky,Evgeny (2733)
Dominican Republic - Russia
White is an exchange up, but the positional factors favors Black. Dominican player decided to sacrifice the material for the initiative -
24.Bxf5!? gxf5 25.Nxf5+ Bxf5 26.Qxf5
- and did not miscalculate. White got a long lasted pressure. Russian was stubbornly playing his worse position for a win and convincingly... escaped for a draw on the 63rd move.
Chumfwa (2347) - GM_Wang,Yue (2685)
Zambia - China
The last move for the time control – the most difficult one.
The eyes opened here. He found that on the planned 41...Nxe5 the opponent would play 42.Rxe5+! fxe5 43.Bh4+ Ke8 44.Bxd8 Kxd8 45.Kd3 Ke7 46.Ke4 Ke6 47.b4 with the won pawn ending for White.
Wang Yue sadly sat under the lights of the video cameras for a long time and made the only right decision.
41...Rd1! 42.exf6+ Kxf6 43.Bh4+ Kf7 44.b4
Objectively, White has technically won endgame, but he did not manage to win it...
Sometimes the favorites won.
And at times the serious effort was needed.
Maznitsin (2283) - GM_Polgar (2698)
Hungary - Kyrgizstan
White is an attacking side, and Black's king is vulnerable. Judith strongly alters the landscape of the position:
Except the objective strength of the move, it is also a punch on the morals of the opponent.
19.bxc5 dxc5 20.g4?!
Aspiration not to lose the initiative ruins the Kirgizstan player – he ought not to weaken his position so much. Circumspective 20.Nxb5 cxd4 21.Nbxd4, and White did not risk anything. In case of 21...Bxd4 22.Rbd1 Nc6 23.Be3 he got the piece back.
20...cxd4 [even stronger and sharper is 20...b4! ] 21.Nxb5 Nf6 22.Nbxd4?
This is a serious mistake. Although, it is difficult even for a grand to find such a series of unobvious moves at the board: 22.Ne5 Qd8 23.Bf4! Nxe4 24.Nxf7! Kxf7 25.Nc7!!
22...Nxe4 23.Be3 [23.Rbd1 Nd5 did not change the point] 23...Nd5
Black got significant advantage in the center and soon reached the goal:
24.g5 Nxe3 25.fxe3 Bd5 26.Qf4 Rxb1 27.Rxb1 Qe7 28.Nb5 e5 29.Qg4 Qc5 30.Qd7 Qxe3+ 0–1
But of course most often the more experienced players skillfully used the blunders of the opponents.
Naiditsch,Arkadij (2700) - Dive,Russell John (2334)
Germany - New Zeland
Not hard, but still beautiful.
22...cxd5 23.Bxe5 Qc5
The intrigue could be kept by 23...Bxa3! 24.Qa1 Bd6 25.Bxf6 (or 25.Bxd6 Qxd6 26.Qxf6 d4) 25...d4!
24.exd5! g4 [24...Nd7 25.Bh8!] 25.Bxf6 gxf3 26.dxe6 fxe6 27.Rd7
White attacks, already with extra material. Soon everything was over. 27...Kf7 28.Bh4 Qf5 29.Bxe7 Rg8 30.Bh4+ Kg6 31.Qb1 Raf8 32.Qxf5+ Rxf5 33.Rd8 Rg7 34.R1d7 b5 35.Rxg7+ Kxg7 36.Rd7+ Kf8 37.Bg3 bxc4 38.bxc4 Rg5 39.h4 Rg4 40.c5 Ke8 41.Rh7 1–0
Gunina,Valentina (2507) - Borda,Rivera Carla Wendy (1977)
Russia - Bolivia
The game is just about even. Black should have put the knight to b7, brought the pawn to a5 and calmly maneuvered. But Bolivian player lost alertness:
32...Qc3? 33.Qxc3 bxc3 34.Be1! Nxb3 35.Bxc3
The exchanges that seemed innocent at the first glance brought the Black knight into trap. There is no way back!
35...Ba3 36.Kf1 Nc1
Apparently, it was better to wait until the White king arrives at e1. However, I could not find a clear way for Black to escape in my analyses.
37.Nb4! Bxb4 38.Bxb4 Nb3 [or 38...f5 39.f4!] 39.Ke2 f6 40.Kd1 e5 41.Bc3! exd4 42.exd4 Kf7 43.Kc2 The knight dies. Black resigned.
Zhao,Xue (2549) - Sultana,Sharmin Shirin (2002)
China - Bangladesh
Yes, White has an advantage, but there is still a lot of game in front. Could be, if Black did not weaken the kingside:
And the whole construction collapsed like a card house. 19...Nc4 20.Bb1 Nxd2 21.Rxd2 Qa6 22.Ne5 Rc7 23.Qg3 Rac8 24.Nd3 Qa5 25.Rde2 Kh8 26.Nc5 Rxc5 27.dxc5 Qa6 28.b4 Rc6 29.Rxe6! Bf8 1–0
Zhukova,Natalia (2442) - Sanchez,Oliva Ingrid Lize (1992)
Ukraina - El Salvador
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Be7 5.Qc2 b6 6.Bf4 a6 7.cxd5 exd5 8.e3 Bb7 9.Bd3 Nbd7 10.Ne5 c5 11.0–0 0–0 12.Rad1 c4 13.Bf5 g6 14.Bh3 b5 15.a3 Re8 16.Bg3 Nf8
Natasha noticed the only drawback of Black's position – bad move g7-g6 that gives a hook for White's attack.
17.f4 Qb6 18.f5 [better was 18.Bh4] 18...a5? [much stronger was 18...g5!] 19.Bh4!
Now Black falls under the direct fire.
19...Kg7 20.Qf2 Ra6 21.fxg6 hxg6 22.g4
Pressure on "f" line is not defendable.
22...g5 23.Bxg5 N8h7 24.Qh4 Rf8 25.Bh6+ Kg8 26.Bxf8 Nxf8 27.Qg5+ 1–0
Speaking about the team results, both in men's and women's sections all of the favorites won. Generally, the first round is more of a warm up.
The main events are to follow.