Only one country at the Olympiad is keeping on going without losses in both tournaments. The country that always stays a favorite and, as a rule, misses something for the overall success... Russian men yet play very stable. Nobody loses and Grischuk and Jakovenko win. Today Dima sat at the bench, so Sasha played the role of the leader.
Grischuk,Alexander (2763) - Almasi,Zoltan (2713)
Russia - Hungary
Black knight on f4 appeared earlier, too. But now it is not tolerated.
24.Bxf4! exf4 25.Nf5
In case of 25...g6 26.N5h4 Bg7 27.e5 dxe5 28.Nxe5 the idea of piece sac on g6 is very dangerous for Black. For example, 28...c5 29.Bxg6 fxg6 30.Qxg6 и Nh4-f5.
A very interesting, not obvious decision.
26.Rxa4 seemed natural, but then Black could get a counter play by 26...c5 27.d5 g6 28.N5h4 Rc7! transferring the rook to e7. Then possible was 29.Rd1 (29.Nd2 Nxd5!) 29...Qd8! and on 30.Nd2 he planned 30...Nxd5.
26...c5 27.e5! [not fruitful is 27.d5 Nd7] 27...dxe5 28.dxe5 Nd7?
Losing the course. Good or bad, he should have fought for space by 28...c4!, for example, 29.Bf1 Nd7 30.Rab1 Qa7, and in comparison to the game Black has no problem with king's safety.
29.Rab1 Qa8 30.N5h4!
Now White's attack on the white squares is very strong.
It was possible to balance on the edge by 30...Bd5.
Better is 31.Rbd1! , but the actual game is not bad too.
31...Rb6 32.Bh7+ Kh8 33.Rxb6 Nxb6
This move is strong first of all because of its influence on opponent's psychic. 34...Bxf3
Player without nerves would reply 34...Bd5! , and probably would have saved it. 35.Nxf3 g6
There are a lot of variations, but the result is the same: 35...Rxe6 36.Rxe6 fxe6 37.Ne5 Qe8 38.Bg6 Qxa4 39.Qd3 Nd5 40.Bf7 g5 (40...Ne7 41.Qd8) 41.Qg6 Bg7 42.Bxe6+-
36.Bxg6! fxg6 37.Qxg6 Qc8
It was worth a try 37...Re7 38.Ne5 Qe8, forcing the opponent to find 39.Rb1! (39.Nf7+? Rxf7 40.exf7 Qxe1+) 39...Qxg6 (39...Nd5 40.Nf7+) 40.Nxg6+ Kg7 41.Nxe7 Bxe7 42.Rxb6 and so on.
Also bad is 38...Qxe6 39.Qxe6 Rxe6 40.Nf7+ Kg7 41.Rxe6 Kxf7 42.Rxb6.
39.Nf7+ Kg8 40.Nxh6+, and Black resigned without waiting for 40...Kh8 41.Nf5 Bxc3 42.Nd6.
Armenians did not fall behind winning the principal match against the serious rivals. Everything was decided on the first board.
Aronian,Levon (2816) - Ivanchuk,Vassily (2769)
Armenia - Ukraine
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.d4 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Nc3 Bb7 8.Bg2 0–0 9.0–0 Na6
Apparently, Black thought he has time to put the pawn on d5. I guess the variation's popularity will decrease after this game.
It is strange that such a natural move was played so seldom.
Usually White played 10.Bc1, 10.Ne5, 10.Re1 and God knows what else...
Not so convincing is 11.Nh4 Ne4 12.Nf5 Bf6 13.Rc1 Bxc3 14.Bxc3 Nxc3 15.Rxc3 Qf6 16.Nd4 c5 17.Nb5 Bc6 18.Bxd5 Nb4, and Black is ok.
A novelty, probably born at the board. 11...c6 was played before with various results, but, objectively speaking, Black should not equalize here.
12.Nc2 [simpler and not worse is 12.Bf4 ] 12...c6 13.cxd5 cxd5
Knowing what happened next, it is easy to recommend 13...Nxd5 14.Nxd5 cxd5 15.Bf4 Nc7 16.Ne3 Rc8 with a slightly worse game for Black.
14.Bg5 Nc7 15.Ne3
Inappropriate attack. Probably closer to this moment Vasily noticed that on 15...Bxe3 possible is 16.fxe3!, but the medicine appeared to be much worse than the disease. Is there a disease at all? Let's see: 16...Qe8 17.Bxf6 Qxe3+ 18.Rf2 gxf6 19.Nxd5 Nxd5 20.Bxd5 Bc6! – it seems, there is nothing too scary for Black. 16.Bxb7 Rb8 [on 16...dxe3 good is17.fxe3!] 17.Ng4!
Black's kingside is fated for destruction.
Quite sad is 17...Rxb7 18.Ne4 Nce8 19.Nexf6+ Nxf6 20.Bxf6 gxf6 21.e3!
18.Bxf6 gxf6 19.Be4
The thing is not even that Black is worse, it is that a living man is disgusted to play a position with such an ugly structure and a weak king.
19...d5 20.Bc2 f5
21.Nh6+ Kh8 22.Nxf5 Qf6 23.a3 a5 24.Qd3
Aiming on h7 pawn.
I will not mark this Black's move. It is easy for computer to recommend cold-blooded 24...Ra8 , but it is not easy for a human.
25.b4! Distraction and lure in one box. 25...axb4 26.axb4 Bxb4
The result would not be changed by 26...Bf8 27.Ra7 Ne6 28.Ne7 Rg7 29.Nxd5 Qe5 30.f4! Qd4+ 31.e3 Qxd3 32.Bxd3 with absolute advantage for White.
27.Ra7 Ne6 28.Ne7 Qg7
A piece could be lost by 28...Rg7 29.Nxd5.
29.Nxg8 Kxg8 30.Qxd5
White continues the attack with material advantage.
30...Bc5 31.e3 b5 32.Ra8 Rxa8 33.Qxa8+ Qf8 34.Qe4 Qh6 35.Ra1 b4 36.Ra5 Bf8 37.Qg4+ Qg7 38.Qh4 h6 39.Ra8 Nc7
Now he finishes the opponent off.
40.Rxf8+! Qxf8 [or 40...Kxf8 41.Qxb4+ Kg8 42.Qb8+] 41.Qg4+ Kh8 [41...Qg7 42.Qc8+] 42.Qf5!
Defending the king, Black anyway lose the knight. 1–0
A very important, iconic match Russia – Armenia is ahead. It will decide for the sole leader and the main contender for the gold.
The group of runner-ups is quite big. They wait for the slips of the leaders...
I must say that the quality of the games at the Olympiad already started to go down, although the final is yet far ahead. There are enough mistakes in the main games of the round. And often these mistakes are serious blunders.
Vallejo Pons,Francisco (2697) - Bachmann,Axel (2533)
Spain - Paraguay
Everything can happen in a time trouble. Even such a thing:
And on 40...Rxe1 White will first play 41.Nf6+, keeping the extra piece. There was nothing left but resignation.
Mareco,Sandro (2589) - Macieja,Bartlomiej (2594)
Argentina - Poland
The only way to hold Black's onset was 23.Nd2!. Instead...
Development is a good thing, but...
It is impossible to play without a piece. White soon resigned.
Sambuev,Bator (2523) - Radjabov,Teimour (2788)
Canada - Azerbaijan
Being in a worse position and in a time trouble, Teimour managed to fool the opponent with an unexpected punch.
Just a few could find computer reply 35.Bf2! And they are not in Istanbul.
e4 cracks and bends, but White has plenty of interesting continuations.
From a practical point of view repeating the moves by 36.Nc3 Rc4 37.Ne3 Rd4 38.Nf5 Rc4 39.Ne3 deserved attention, with a draw.
But even stronger is 36.Nh4 Rf6 37.Bf2!, and geometrical motives make the capture on e4 impossible. Apparently, both opponents did not see this.
36...Rxd6 37.Bxe5 Rg6 38.Nc3 Rc4 39.Qe2 Rxc3!
Almost forced and in the same time strong.
40.Bxc3 Ngxe4 41.Bd4
The bishop should have stayed: 41.Ba1! Qxd5 42.Rf1 with the chances on the positive outcome.
41...Qxd5 42.Bxc5 bxc5
Position stabilized. Black is better at every parameter, and the fight did not last.
43.Qc2 Bh4 44.Rf1 c4! 45.Rf5 Qd3 46.Rf4 Re6 47.a4
And due to 48.hxg3 Re1+ 49.Kh2 Bxg3+ White resigned.
In women's section leading Russians won the match with class.
Kosintseva,Nadezhda (2524) - Maisuradze,Nino (2284)
Russia - France
When the pieces stand ideally, it is not difficult to find a tactical solution:
28.Rxc8! Rxc8 29.Nxf5+ Kf8 [or 29...Kg8 30.Ne7+] 30.Qh6+ Ke8 31.Nd6+ Kd7 32.Nxc8 Kxc8 33.Qf8+ Qd8 34.Qxf7 Qxh4 35.e6 Qe4 36.e7 1–0
Even the humanitarian help on the second board did not help the French.
Milliet,Sophie (2411) - Gunina,Valentina (2507)
Russia - France
Stormy game has terribly exhausted the opponents. And the Russian blundered last.
In case of 56...Kxc5 57.Qxf5+ White could make a perpetual check, but Valentina was not satisfied with such an outcome.
Probably, beforehand it was thought that after 57...Kb5 Black king runs to b4 and c3, but suddenly 58.Qb6!# decides.
58.Qb6+ Kc8 59.Qc6+
Black loses the rook, and even with the check. 1–0
Chinese again played very powerful. The next game would do a honor to a strong man grandmaster.
Ju,Wenjun (2528) - Tania,Sachdev (2379)
China - India
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.Bg2 c6 6.Ne5 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Nd5 8.0–0 Nxc3 9.bxc3 Bxc3
A strong novelty. White just leaves the rook unprotected.
10.Ba3 was played before, for example, 10...Qxd4 11.Qxd4 Bxd4 12.Nxc4 Bxa1 13.Rxa1 f6 14.Nd6+ Kd7 15.Rd1 Kc7 16.Nf7 Re8 17.Bd6+ Kb6, and here in Ivanisevic,I (2664)-Meier,G (2556)/Mainz 2008 the natural draw could be made by 18.Rb1+ Ka5 19.Rb3 Na6 20.Ra3+ Kb6 21.Rb3+ and so on.
In case of 10...Bxa1 11.Ba3 White developed a strong attack.
White had a great compensation for the pawn. It is incredibly difficult to manage such a pressure when seeing the position for the first time.
Variations prove the correct game of White.
For instance, 11...Qxd4 12.Ba3! Qxc4 13.Bxf8 Kxf8 14.Qd8#. Or 11...Bxd4 12.Ba3 Re8 13.Nd6.
The underwater part of the game is more beautiful than what the whole world has seen: 12...Bb7 13.Ba3 Re8 14.e3 a5 15.Qh5! g6 16.Qh6 b4 17.Rfc1 Ba6 18.Rxc3! bxc3 19.Nxf7! Kxf7 20.Qxh7+ Kf6 21.Be4 Rg8 22.g4! Nd7 23.f4 g5 24.h4! and Black king is soon mated.
13.Qxd4 Bxd4 14.Nxc6 Nxc6 15.Bxc6 Rb8 16.Ba3 Rd8 17.Be7
White won an exchange and converted it to a win with a good technique:
17...Bb7 18.Bxd8 Bxc6 19.Bc7 Rb7 20.Rbc1 Rxc7 21.Rfd1 Bf6 22.Rd6 Kf8 23.Rdxc6 Rd7 24.Rc7 Ke7 25.R1c5 b4 26.Rxd7+ Kxd7 27.Rb5 Bc3 28.Rb7+ Kc6 29.Rxa7 f5 30.e3 Kd5 31.Kf1 h5 32.Ke2 g6 33.f3 Kc4 34.Rc7+ Kb5 35.Kd3 Bf6 36.Rf7 Bc3 37.Re7 e5 38.Kc2 g5 39.Rf7 1–0
The other Chinese won easier.
Karavade,Eesha Sanjay (2371) - Zhao,Xue (2549)
China - India
White tried to play very solid the whole game, but stumbled at the end.
More persistent is 37.Na2 , although, after 37...Qh2 White's position is not sugarsweet anyway.
37...Nxd3 38.Qxd3 b5!
The knight on a6 is trapped. 0–1
Now we wait for the central match of the whole tournament Russia – China. Chinese players have to win to overcome the leaders...