2016 Chess Olympiad: Round #4

2016 Chess Olympiad: Round #4
Monday, 5 September 2016

Open Section

Ukraine 2½-1½ Russia
India 2½-1½ Cuba
USA 2-2 Czech Republic
Romania 1-3 Azerbaijan 1
China 3-1 Italy

Full Results

Ukraine shocks Russia! The Kremlin must be scrambling for answers concerning the withering chess empire.

The biggest shock was the Ivanchuk-less Ukraine beating Russia in today’s traditional rivalry. After Vassily Ivanchuk decided to play in a draughts tournament instead of the Olympiad hear is what Ruslan Ponomoriov said about it in a chess.com report.

Vassily no doubt is a great chess player. He dedicated lots of his time to play for the national team. I think he even played once in Soviet times. We can’t blame him, if he decides to rest and not play one Olympiad.

Ponomariov also noted that Ukraine has been playing with virtually the same players for a long time now; few new strong players appear on the scene in Ukraine. “It would be nice to see some fresh blood.

This is working out well for the Ukraine as Russia took advantage of the volatility of Evgeny Tomashevsky. Here he does down against Ponomariov. Notes are by GM Elshan Morodiabadi.

So there is a major crisis within the Russian Chess Federation whose team has not won a gold medal since 2002. Perhaps it is a lack of chemistry or lack of leadership, but certainly not the result of individual talent. However, giving the apparent lack of motivation by some players, it is no wonder that Russia seems to be spinning its wheels. Alexander Grischuk, who also lost, seems to be listless at times. A player with magnificent talent, he seems to be more and more volatile as the years go by.

The readiness and the posture says it all…

All jokes aside… certainly not the posture of a championship pedigree and not befitting of a top seed!

Nice touch by Santosh Vidit…
42.f6! wins forces resignation.

In other action, defending bronze medalists India continue their onslaught with their young talent. This time they beat a tough Cuba squad with the margin of victory being (again) Santosh Vidit who beat Yuniesky Quesada in a nice endgame finesse. In the final position, the Indian GM, play 42.f6! ending the game by means of a number of instructive tactics. After four rounds, India is in fourth position and joins five other teams with 8 points (2 point for win, 1 point for draw).

The Netherlands (Bok wins), USA (Nakamura, So wins) also won their games to keep pace. Currently, the order is China, Azerbaijan 1, Netherlands and India. Will India continue their wonderful progress? Vidit sits on 4/4 along with Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia for board 3. A new star is born!

The biggest star Magnus Carlsen is in the Baku, but he is not slaying the competition as promised. He has to settle for another draw which became an Internet sensation for GM David Smerdon of Australia. In his preparation, he shared this tweet:

Here’s the result!

Women’s Section

Ukraine 2½-1½ Russia
India 2½-1½ Cuba
USA 2-2 Czech Republic
Romania 1-3 Azerbaijan 1
China 3-1 Italy

Full Results

Russia, Ukraine and China all win… Azerbaijan 1 and India held!

The biggest news in today’s women’s tournament was Hou Yifan’s loss to the sitting Minister of Finance of Latvia. In an example that chess is filled with all types of personalities, Dana Reizniece-Ozola has been Minister since February and has been instrumental in city planning and in a number of technology-related projects for the country.

Certainly one technology she may have mastered was the use of databases to study the games of Hou Yifan. She must’ve seen a chink in the champion’s armour and went for the jugular. The game was one of sheer aggression as she marched her pawns forward without fear of recrimination. Latvians can say to anyone country in the world, “My Finance Minister is stronger than yours!”

Wow… perhaps the is the only government official to beat a world champion in a competition, but there you have it! The news traveled swiftly. Anyone who discussing digital startups can’t be all bad. Very articulate and accomplished, she is a great ambassador for chess.

In other action, Russia beat Hungary on the strength Natalija Pogonina’s win. Nevertheless, Russia won by the most narrow margin, and lost ground on board points with both the Ukraine and Serbia ahead of them. Ukraine pasted France 3½-½ and Serbia beat Sweden 3-1. India stumbled trading wins on boards 2 and 3 and losing ground on the leaders.

The USA got back on the winning track after beating Bosnia & Herzegovina 2½-1½. Matches are expected to be a bit closer in the middle rounds. Toward the end, there will be the weird pairings because all the top teams have already battled. However, things are heating up as we have one more round before the rest day.

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