2008 Chess Olympiad: Round #5

Top Boards

Germany 2-1 Russia
Armenia 2½-1½ Netherlands
Hungary 1½-2½ Ukraine
Norway 1-3 Azerbaijan
England 2½-1½ Italy

Pregame Analysis: Host Germany is finally on board #1 after being riveted on board #2 as the host country. They will get a stiff test today when they face the powerful Russia squad. Russia barely escaped India after Kramnik was able to draw from an inferior position. Krishnan Sasikiran allowed three-fold repetition instead of pressing despite Ganguly being in trouble on board #3. Kramnik will man the top table against Arkadij Naiditsch.

Defending Olympiad champion Armenia will pawn off against the overachieving Dutchmen from the Netherlands. Hungary gets the Ukraine while Norway gets Azerbaijan… Teimour Radjabov resting. The African Diaspora will have two interesting matches… Jamaica-Nigeria and Zambia-Barbados.

Game of the Day! Before getting into the main coverage, here is a nice game from the Jamaica-Nigeria match. On board #1 was FM Warren Elliott vs. IM Oladapo Adu. Adu played a line has recently employed… 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3 a6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Qb6!? He won a game against WGM Aarthie Ramaswamy at the 2008 World Open. Apparently, Elliott didn’t know that game. Lesson… know your opponent! The 13…h5 is a common move to stop g4, but black can allow it. For example, 13… Rc8 14. g4 g5! The game exploded when Adu uncorked a stock exchange sacrifice with 23…Rxc3! and 24…d5. These are all theoretical ideas and white’s position was hit from all sides. Nigeria went on to crush Jamaica 3½-½.

Round #5 Analysis: Frontrunner Germany and Russia played to a 2-2 draw. Kramnik unfurled his pet Petroff against Arkadij Naiditsch and held equal after the German tried to gain the initiative. Grishchuk-Khenkin was a wild affair with pieces zipping about the board. However, after massive trades the position was dead equal. Speaking of dead equal Morozevich played a book draw before stalemating Gustafsson after 102 moves. Fridman-Jakovenko was uneventful.

Lev Aronian checking the report before his game with Loek van Wely. Photo by ChessBase.

Armenia’s Lev Aronian checking the report before his game
with Loek van Wely of the Netherlands. Photo by ChessBase.

Defending Olympiad champion Armenia beat the Netherlands and the 2004 Olympiad champion Ukraine beat Hungary in a slugfest with three decisive results. It took in 127 moves for Ivanchuk to beat Peter Leko. The game ended in a R+B vs. R ending and Ivanchuk showed good technique to finish swiftly. So the Ukraine is back on the winning pace.

Another pre-tournament favorite Azerbaijan crushed Norway without their top ace, Radjabov. England beat Italy and will get Russia next. England is getting off to their best start in several Olympiad and the addition of two young talent David Howell and Gwain Jones have made the difference.

Six teams have nine match points while ten teams are on eight match points. Interesting matches in round six and many of them have political overtones… Not to mention Cuba-USA!

Round #6 Pairings
Russia – England
Ukraine – Germany 1
Azerbaijan – Armenia
France – Poland
Bosnia & Herzegovina – India
Sweden – Israel
Georgia – China
Romania – Bulgaria

In the women’s competition, China continues to cruise through the field with another trashing over a resurgent Poland. China is being led by untitled Tan Zhongyi who is 4-0. The 17-year old is yet another Chinese phenom coming from the massive talent pool. The classic Russia-Georgia match ended in a 2-2 draw with two World Champions on board#1. Past World Champion Maia Chiburdanidze beat current World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk with a game ending in a rout. When Georgia was part of the Soviet Union, Chiburdanidze was the ultimate star and one of the first women to be bestowed the GM title.

It is interesting that the pairings in the women’s competition look like the pairings in the men’s competition… same teams near the top with a few exceptions. Unfortunately, the same teams are near the bottom. It is obvious where the balance of power lies, but with the rise of China and India, future Olympiad tournaments will be quite different. China will play Hungary and Russia will face Austria in what seems like an eventual matchup between Russia and China.

China’s Great Wall: Hou Yifan and Zhao Xue.
Video by Europe-Echecs.com

African Diaspora: Both South Africa and Egypt won convincingly today and may be facing each other in future rounds. South Africa will get Italy and Fabiano Caruana while Egypt will get Austria. Kobese will be a tough matchup for Caruana and could pull off an upset here. In other action, Libya got crushed 4-0 by the country of powerful names, Mongolia. With names such as Bayarsaihan Gundavaa, Bazar Hatanbaatar, Tumendemberel Oyunbaatar, Namhai Battulga, how is it possible to lose?

Trinidad and Tobago got beat by Qatar, a team still reeling from a second-round loss Japan. Qatar’s Mohamed Al-Modiahki is probably wondering how he dropped a clear piece in his game against Japan’s Kojima Shinya, but he is on 4/5 after beating FM Ryan Harper. One match that had great anticipation was Jamaica-Nigeria. These two friendly nations have had football friendlies in the past, but now they would take matters over the chessboard. Nigeria is yet to play full strength with IM Odion Aikhoje still in England, but expecting to travel to Dresden. As seen above, the Elliott-Adu was one of those textbook Sicilians where black executes common manuevers. Nice victory by Adu!

Zambia drew with Barbados despite forfeiting two boards. There is no word as to why this has happened. The most common rationale would be visa problems. Uganda also forfeit two boards since two of their players are stuck without visas in Uganda. Ethiopia is another nation experiencing visa problems, but they seem to have adjusted. They beat a hapless Malawi team 4-nil. Below two players were interviewed by ChessBase. It is unclear if they mentioned their visa experiences.

African-Caribbean scores (by board #): Vietnam 2-2 Cuba; South Africa 3½-½ Luxembourg; Mongolia 4-0 Libya; Qatar 3-1 Trinidad & Tobago; Puerto Rico 2-2 Krygyzstan; Algeria 3-1 El Salvador; Malaysia 2½-1½ Dominican Republic; Tunisia 0-4 Portugal; Jamaica ½-3½ Nigeria; Botswana 1½-2½ Netherlands Antilles; Bermuda 1-3 Jersey; Ghana 1½-2½ Monaco; Guatamala 3-1 Suriname; Macau 3-1 Mozambique; Cyprus 3-1 Uganda; Guernsey 2½-1½ Namibia; Panama 3-1 Kenya; Honduras 2½-1½ Mauritius; Zambia 2-2 Barbados; Malawi 1½-2½ Ethiopia; Angola 4-0 Aruba; Madagascar 0-4 Afghanistan; Papua New Guinea 2½-1½ British Virgin Islands; Gabon 1-3 Fiji; Chinese Taipei 2-2 Rwanda; U.S. Virgin Islands 2½-1½ Seychelles

André Schulz of ChessBase TV interviewing two Ethiopian players.

André Schulz of ChessBase TV interviewing two Ethiopian players.
Photo by ChessBase.


  1. My predictions for round 5 match goes thus:
    Germany 1.5 – Russia 2.5 (Kramnik wins a game)
    Armenia – Netherlands (2-2)
    Hungary – Ukraine (2.5 -1.5)
    Norway – Azerbaijan (1.5 – 2.5)
    England – Italy (2,5 -1.5)
    Lets see how it turns out.
    Oh, I almost forgot:
    Nigeria – Jamaica (3-1)

  2. Not bad! 🙂 Nigeria really handled Jamaica. Adu’s game with Elliott was very nice… Sicilian. Adu had played the same line against Ramaswamy at the World Open. Elliott probably hadn’t paid attention and missed the gamecast video of Adu on The Chess Drum

  3. Thanks for posting Dapo’s game here, coincidentally I just went through his game (where he analyzes on video) with the WGM last week on Chessdrum, fun game to go through…keep ’em coming, I think am getting back my love for the game. I was very active in Nigeria a couple of years back but lost interest when there was no tournament to play. Am in graduate school in New Mexico Tech right now and played a couple of tourneys in the US and just got my USCF provisional rating (think I was a bit overrated tho my performance was awesome)!!!
    I checked Simotowe’s games in Dresden now, why is he still an IM?

  4. Amon needs about 30 more points to fulfill all the GM requirements. Unfortunately, Zambia only has two players so it means he will be playing weak teams the entire tournament and not many chances to gain ELO points.

  5. I didn’t do so bad in the round 5 predictions (Kramnik is still letting me down), so I would give round 6 a shot!
    Russia – England (2.5 -1.5)
    Ukraine – Germany 1 (3-1)
    Azerbaijan – Armenia (2-2)
    France – Poland (3-1)
    Bosnia & Herzegovina – India (0.5 -3.5)
    Sweden – Israel (1-3)
    Georgia – China (1-3)
    Romania – Bulgaria (0.5-3.5)
    Hmmm, I guess am gonna be way off on this, giving evreyone 2.5-1.5 would ve been easier… 😆

  6. Elliott played with no plan the whole game .He was shuffling pieces waiting to die and utterly got punished .

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