2012 Chess Olympiad: Round #2

Top Boards (Open)

Qatar 1-3 Ukraine
USA 3½-½ Lithuania
Azerbaijan 3½-½ Ireland
Peru ½-3½ France
India 3-1 Turkey 2016
Cuba 3½-½ ICSC
Costa Rica 0-4 Poland
Greece 1-3 Russia
China 3½-½ Italy
England 2½-1½ Brazil

Full Results

Modiakhi had just played 53.Qc8 attacking the rook. Perhaps with time running low, Ivanchuk blundered with 53…Rc6?? and resigned before the Qatari could play 54.Qf8 winning at least a piece.

Things are heating up in the ongoing Chess Olympiad with many teams setting the pace early. The Ukraine beat Qatar 3-1, but Vassily Ivanchuk faltered against the resiliency of Mohamed Al-Modiahki.

When it appeared that only black had winning chances, Ivanchuk blundered with 53…Rc6?? (better was 53…Qh5+) and was being mated or suffering massive losses after the winning 54.Qc8! This may be a crucial point lost, but many of the top teams have also lost points. Only Slovakia remains perfect with a whitewash of Ecuador.

The USA crushed Lithuania 3½-½ while Azerbaijan and France throttled Ireland and Peru (respectively) by the same score. Other contenders won including India (3-1 Turkey 2016), Cuba (3½-½ ICSC) and Poland (4-0 Costa Rica). Russia won 3-1 over Greece, but gave up another point as both Vladimir Kramnik and Sergey Karjakin were held.

China, another medal favorite, beat Italy with Wang Hao taking the point from Fabiano Caruana on top board. England nipped Brazil on the strength of Nigel Short’s win against 19-year old Brazilian star, Alexander Fier.

Top Boards (Women)

Sweden 0-4 China
Russia 3½-½ Brazil
Belgium 0-4 Georgia
Estonia ½-3½ USA
India 3½-½ Australia
Venezuela 0-4 Poland
Indonesia 2-2 Bulgaria
France 4-0 Chile
Slovenia 2½-1½ Philippines

Full Results

Amina Al-Ali of the UAE displays Gulf fashion. Photo by David Llada.

In the women’s competition, China rolled up another 4-0 romp. This time the victim was Sweden who is playing without Pia Cramling this tournament. Hou Yifan sat out for the second stright match and appears to be saving her strength for the crucial rounds.

Georgia kept pace with a 4-0 flogging of Belgium. Since the legendary Maia Chiburdanidze has “retired”, the country still remains a powerhouse in women’s chess and seek to improve on 2010’s bronze medal. Russia dropped a half-point to Brazil with Valentina Guinina on board one and Tatiana Kosintseva sitting.

The USA kept the front runners in their sights with a 3½-½ verdict over Estonia. India, who is playing with Humpy Koneru, also won 3½-½ over Australia. The loss of Humpy is huge and it is doubtful that India will be able to contend without her. In a report by The Hindu,

According to the AICF secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan, Humpy had posed a pre-condition to her participation. “She insisted that the expense of her father-coach K. Ashok in Istanbul be paid by the Federation. That was too much for us.” (see story)

Of course there are other top boards missing such as GM Marie Sebag of France and the aforementioned Cramling and Chiburdanidze. These absence will become crucial as top teams begin to meet… and tomorrow we will see. Tomorrow it is China-Ukraine, Georgia-Germany and Poland-Hungary in the top matches.

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  1. 2012 Chess Olympiad (Istanbul, Turkey)

    Barbados posted its first points in the 40th World Chess Olympiad, currently being played in Istanbul, Turkey, when the Men’s Team drew 2-2 with the team from the International Braille Chess Association (IBCA) and the Women’s Team lost 3-1 to Bolivia.

    One of the unique features of the World Chess Olympiad is the presence of teams from the Blind, the Deaf and the Physically Disabled International Chess Associations. While all other teams represent a country these teams comprise members from different countries who are the top disabled players in the world.

    In their match against the IBCA Team, Barbados had a disastrous start when International Master Kevin Denny loss to International Master Pjotr Dukaczewski on Board 2. International Master Terry Farley brought things back on an even keel with a fine tactical win on Board 3 against Sergey Grigorchuk.

    With National Champion FIDE Master Martyn Del Castilho a rook up on Board 1 against Yuri Meshkov and FIDE Master Delisle Warner holding at bay FIDE Master Oliver Mueller on Board 4, it looked like the Bajan men were on their way to winning their first match.

    Del Castilho’s piece advantage unfortunately turned out to be more of a hindrance than an advantage and what appeared to be a won game became a fight for life. A missed opportunity to convert to a draw allowed Meshkov to force a win and turn the match back into IBCA’s favour.

    Fortunately for the Bajans, Warner’s opponent handled his endgame poorly allowing Warner to force a win and tie the match.

    For the rest of the Caribbean there were wins for Cuba, Puerto Rico and Aruba. Cuba continued their fine start with a 3 ½ – ½ win over one of the other disability teams, the team from the International Committee for Silent Chess (ICSC). Puerto Rico dismissed Guernsey 4-0 and Aruba took out new comers Sao Tome Principe 3-1.

    Trinidad & Tobago drew 2-2 with Mauritius as did Suriname, in what would be considered a minor upset, against Dominican Republic. For Jamaica it was a disappointing round losing 3-1 to Algeria while US Virgin Islands, Haiti and Curacao lost 2 ½ – 1 ½ to Honduras, Syria and Namibia respectively.

    For the Bajan Women, National Woman Champion and CARIFTA Girls Under-20 Gold Medalist, Katrina Blackman of the UWI Cave Sports Programme was the only member of the team to win her game. Her opponent, Woman Candidate Master Carla Borda Rivera of Bolivia over stepped the time control on Board 2 to give Barbados its only point of the match.

    Also playing for Barbados was Corinne Howard on Board 1, a member of the UWI Cave Sports Programme, Donna Murray on Board 3 and debutant O’shara Mason from The Lodge School on Board 4.

    Like their Men’s Team, the Cuban Women found themselves paired against the ICSC but being held to a 2-2 tie with draws on all four boards. Dominican Republic and Jamaica were the only Caribbean Women Teams to post victories in Round 2 with a 4-0 drubbing of Fiji and 2 ½ – 1 ½ win over Aruba respectively.

    Trinidad & Tobago lost 4-0 against Bangladesh, Curacao 3 ½ – ½ against New Zealand, Puerto Rico 3-1 against Jordan and Suriname 2 ½ – 1 ½ against Panama.

    Round 3 sees the Barbados Men paired against Afghanistan and the Women against Japan. Live coverage of the next round including the games can be viewed at https://www.chessolympiadistanbul.com, starting at 8:00 a.m. Barbados time.

    Allan Herbert
    With the Barbados Chess Team at the 40th World Chess Olympaid, Istanbul, Turkey

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