2016 Chess Olympiad: Round #3

2016 Chess Olympiad: Round #3
Sunday, 4 September 2016

Open Section

Moldova 1-3 Russia
Cuba 2½-1½ Poland
Azerbaijan 2 1-3 India
Azerbaijan 1 3-1 Hungary
Netherlands 2½-1½ Vietnam

Full Results

Cuba beats Poland… joins Russia and others on 3/3

The Chess Drum picked the following top five team to finish Olympiad: USA, China, Azerbaijan, Russia, Cuba. So far, so good. After the third round today the order is: Russia, Azerbaijan, Cuba, USA and China. There are 15 teams with 3/3 and no team has a perfect amount of board points. That is because Grandmasters were facing their equals.

There was someone who was playing like a GM, but…

That game occurred between Tang Tang (Japan) vs. Handszar Odeev (Turkmenistan) where white, three hundred points lower had delivered checkmate, but was forfeited after officials found a cell phone on his person. Meanwhile, one of the draconian rules to prevent possible cheating was met with harsh criticism by team captains.

The Azeri teams had mixed results. Azerbaijan 2 was actually on a higher board than Azerbaijan 1, but lost against a young team from India. Santosh Vidit is a young star most have never heard of. He is poised to have a breakout result.

China beat Brazil 3-1 to remain on pace with Wang Yue and Yu Yangyi scoring the wins. The USA got a scare from Argentina as Hikaru Nakamura seemed to be in a bit of trouble against Sandro Mareco.

A miracle save by Nakamura, but Caruana and So had won, so a match loss was never in question. Robson bailed out with forcing a perpetual check to clinch the match which left Nakamura fighting for half a point. This save avoids falling behind on the crucial board points in the event of the a tiebreaker. There are now 16 teams at 3-0.

Women’s Section

China 2-2 Vietnam
Russia 1½-2½ Uzbekistan
Cuba 1-3 Lithuania
Poland 1½-2½ Azerbaijan 1
Argentina 2½-1½ Italy

Full Results

Russia out front while China falls off pace.

Nguyen Thi Mai Hung is all smiles after beating Zhao Xue.
Photo by chess.com (Mike Klein).

China had a setback today and was held to a 2-2 draw by the always tenacious Vietnam team. While Hou Yifan beat Le Thao Nguyen Pham, it was Zhao Xue who was checkmated by Thi Mai Hung Nguyen (37…Bxd3!). (Note: Nguyen is a common surname in Vietnam and is pronounced as “win”.) Vietnam has always had strong players on the open team, but the women are also a good standard and they proved it today with their competitive spirit.

This is a big setback for China, but not as tragic as Georgia’s last round loss to the Philippines. However, it is a long tournament and they have yet to play the other contenders. Zhao has been somewhat volatile in recent years and she may be the key if China is to win gold. However, she will have to stop playing her eccentric opening. Here is how she lost to a beautiful combination…

Russia coasted once again with an impressive 3-1 count over Uzbekistan. Lithuania held Cuba despite being outrated on the lower boards. Gold medalist Oleiny Napoles was held by Daiva Batyte. Azerbaijan 1 upset Poland 2½-1½ while France stayed on pace by beating Columbia 3½-½. The Ukraine beat the USA today who does not have one of their star players Tatev Abrahamyan, a Armenian native. It’s unfortunate that politics has to sway the event in such a way.

Thirteen teams are on a perfect score and the next round will feature some of the heavyweight clashes.

WFM Lorita Mwango

Zambia’s WFM Lorita Mwango
Zambia Zambia Zambia

Video by GM Daniel King.

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