Armenia crushes France… USA women beats Russia!
France ½-3½ Armenia
Israel 2½-1½ Germany 1
USA 1½-2½ Russia
China 2-2 Vietnam
Ukraine 4-0 New Zealand
Azerbaijan 2½-1½ Croatia
Bulgaria 2-2 Belarus
England 2½-1½ Georgia
Slovakia 3-1 Greece
Turkey 1½-2½ Poland
Rround #8 Analysis: If Armenia did not make a statement by beating Russia in round #7, then they certainly made a statement by thoroughly crushing France. Armenia won on every board in which they were outrated and have not lost a single game during this tournament. Levon Aronian is solid as a rock on board #1.The chemistry remains a key factor for Armenia and Gabriel Sargissian is the star player as he was in 2006. Perhaps playing in the memory of GM Karen Asrian is a source of motivation.
Armenia’s Levon Aronian facing Etienne Bacrot of France.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.
Israel has quietly snuck into medal contention with its 4th win in a row. Boris Gelfand is proving reliable on board #1. USA-Russia is always a historic battle in any sport and chess is no exception. While the Fischer-Spassky days are long gone, the USA is a hodge-podge of players from different traditions and have improved with the addition of Hikaru Nakamura and Varuzhan Akobian on the team.
Unfortunately both players lost in their games to Russia… Nakamura to Grischuk and Akobian to Jakovenko. However these two players will be key down the stretch to salvage a medal. FM Sunil Weeramantry stated one of the problems the USA is running into is their lack heavy hitters who can go out and push for a point from the outset. Kamsky, Onischuk, Shulman and Akobian all have games where provactive risk-taking is kept at a minimum.
The future of chess seems to be centered in Asia. Two of the noted chess nations is Asia squared off in a contentious battle with the lower boards trading wins. This in a minor upset giving the 100+ rating different on all of the boards, but Vietnamese players are actually a bit under-rated. The Ukraine crushed New Zealand, an overachieving team with one Grandmaster.
In the women’s competition, the big story had to be USA’s win over Russia. IM Irina Krush led the charge against perhaps Russia’s strongest lineup and is now in a position to snatch a medal. China was held by the Ukraine and it marks the second match in a row that they have ceded a point. China, still undefeated remains ahead of the USA and the Ukraine in the medal race. Russia tumbles down to #10 and three points out, it seems their medal hopes have been dashed. Poland climbed back into the race with a win over Hungary and will face the USA in perhaps the most pivotal match of the round.
African-Caribbean scores (by board #): Germany 2 ½-3½ Cuba; Egypt 3-1 Costa Rica; Canada 3½-½ Trinidad & Tobago; Bolivia 2-2 Libya; Syria 3½-½ Netherlands Antilles; Algeria 2-2 Albania; Mozambique 1-3 Dominican Republic; Panama 2-2 Tunisia; Botswana 4-0 Fiji; Mauritius ½-3½ Sri Lanka; Jamaica 4-0 Macau; Zambia ½-3½ Hong Kong; Barbados 2-2 Andorra; Nigeria 2-2 IBCA; Malawi 1-3 Luxembourg; ICSC 1½-2½ Puerto Rico; Yemen 4-0 Ghana; San Marino 3½-½ Gabon; Guernsey 2-2 Angola; Aruba 1-3 Liechtenstein; Namibia 1½-2½ Kenya; Ethiopia 4-0 Rwanda; British Virgin Islands 2-2 Uganda; Bermuda 1½-2½ Papua New Guinea; Suriname 3½-½ U.S. Virgin Islands; Seychelles 2-2 Madagascar
Video by Europe-Echecs.com
All photos by Daaim Shabazz.
Ibis Hotels… Bastei, Lilienstein, Lonigstein.
McDonalds… there’s one everywhere!
Seems like a bargain store!
IM Watu Kobese (South Africa)
Edward Nii Lamptey Thompson and John Hasford (Ghana)
Wong Kit, one of the youngest participants. (Macau)
Libyan women’s team. Looking nice in their royal green!
Photo shoot at the beginning of the round.
Israel vs. Germany (Gelfand facing camera).
Rwanda vs. Ethiopia (men)
10-year old Javanna Smith (Trinidad & Tobago)
Legendary Maia Chiburdanidze (The Republic of Georgia)
Belarus vs. Bulgaria. Veselin Topalov (right) battles Sergei Zhigalko.
Costa Rica vs. Egypt (men).
Egyptian GM Bassem Amin catches a glimpse of camera.
Overhead screen has rotating game display
covering the top matches on the stage.