Round #13

Battle for 2nd place in both men's and women's tournaments!


Ukraine 2-2 Georgia
Russia 2½-1½ Cuba
France 2-2 Armenia
USA 2-2 Israel
India 2½-1½ Poland

In the penultimate round of the 36th Chess Olympiad, the Ukraine-Georgia match was decided by four quick draws. Ukraine coasting with a three-point lead rested Vassily Ivanchuk for the first time. He stands at a sizzling 9½-3½ and performance rating of 2819. What has been said many time about Ivanchuk is whether he will play like a 2600 or a 2800… in this tournament, the answer is obvious. The rest is well-deserved.

Russia-Cuba will the marquee match of the round featuring Alexander Morozevich vs. Lenier Dominguez. However, the only decisive game was Peter Svidler's technical win over Lázaro Bruzón. Similar positions are seen in endgame books, but black's pawn structure allowed white a clear advantage and the win became trivial.

In Svidler-Bruzón, white won a technical rook ending from the diagrammed position… after 48…Rxf2.

In Svidler-Bruzón, white won a technical rook ending from the diagrammed position… after 48…Rxf2.

Other results: France and Armenia traded wins as Joel Lautier held a central pawn wedge for most of the game and rolled to victory. Smbat Lputian dissected Robert Fontaine's  Slav and held the balance for the surging Armenians who compiled 6½ points in the last two rounds.

USA-Israel match was drawn, but not without some fireworks.  Boris Avrukh controlling the white pieces pressed for the attack when Novikov  (who has played well), sacrificed his queen and ultimately set up an amusing ultimatum for white… either make a draw or hand over the initiative. The Israeli made  the obvious choice.

The India-Poland match had two very interesting game on the top two boards.  In the first, Viswanathan Anand sacrificed a knight with 22.Nf4+ in order to pry open white's king position and launch a vicious attack.  Bartlomiej  Macieja was forced to sacrifice his queen, but that did not stem the tide of Anand's onslaught. White two steamrolling  pawns in the center and impotent pieces, white resigned a miserable position.

Krishnan Sasikiran uncorked an amazing queen sacrifice in order to support two central pawns.  Michel Krasenkow could have later taken with 24…Qxe4, but it would have allowed several tempos on the queen. Nevertheless, black failed to neutralize and despite the heavy pieces, they were no match for the steamrolling pawns.

In Sasikiran-Krasenkow, white played 20.exd5!! allowing 20…Bg6 snaring the queen.

In Sasikiran-Krasenkow, white played 20.exd5!! allowing 20…Bg6 snaring the queen. Great intuition by the Indian!


1st: Ukraine-36½
2nd: Russia-33½
3rd: Armenia-33
4th: Israel-32½
5th-7th: India, USA, Cuba-31½

Bragging rights on the line!

In the latter rounds, teams generally look to salvage any accomplishment that is available whether it is an individual board medal, a team medal, or even a plus score. With this also  is the prospect of winning bragging rights. In the Caribbean, three nations are often competing for this right… Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados. The English-speaking trio is certainly behind Cuba and perhaps other Spanish-speaking countries (Dominican Republic), but this does not make their rivalry anyless fierce.

The handicapped Jamaicans drew with Jersey 2-2 after splitting two wins and two draws. Ian Wilkinson mentioned that fatigue may have been a factor in some of the losses. Each player in the line-up had already played 11 rounds of chess. Barbados came to Mallorca with their strongest team in years and made a bid for bragging rights with a 3-1 victory over Panama. Trinidad beat Cyprus while  resting Mario Merritt, the winner of four games in a row. and now the bragging rights of English Caribbean is apparently settled for another two years.

In Africa, there are several strong teams with arguably the strongest team staying home in Egypt. Nevertheless, the top three teams
Morocco, Tunisia and South Africa are battling it out for the continental title. After round eight, a three-way tie between the three nations during which time all three held the lead. In the 13th round, South Africa gained on both Morocco and Tunisia with a 2½-1½ win over New Zealand… George Michelakis scoring a nice win.  Uganda got a 3-1 upset win over IBCA (visually-challenged) with Steven Kawuma drawing IM Sergey Krylov on board #1; Moses Kawuma beating IM Vladimir Balinsky on board #2; Shadrack Kantinti beating FM Tadeusz Zoltek  and Fred Washaba holding Julio Mora Manez.

African-Caribbean scores

2½-1½ Japan; Barbados 3-1 Panama; Liechtenstein 3-1 Bermuda; Botswana 4-0 Jersey Fiji 2½-1½ British Virgin Islands; Russia 2½-1½ Cuba; Jamaica 4-0 Afghanistan Kenya 2-2 Macao; Libya 3½-½ Monaco; Mauritius 4-0 Rwanda; Pakistan 3-1 Morocco; Namibia 2½-1½  Aruba; Nigeria 3-1 U.S. Virgin Islands;  Malta 4-0 Seychelles; South Africa 2½-1½ New Zealand; Trinidad & Tobago 2½-1½ Cyprus; Tunisia 2-2 Dominican Republic; Uganda 3-1 IBCA; Netherlands Antilles 2-2 Suriname

Report by Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum

Duane Rowe of Jamaica - Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Duane Rowe of Jamaica
(Photo by Daaim Shabazz)

Round #13 Information Center

Team Results

Selected Games

GM Peter Svidler (RUS) - GM Lázaro Bruzón (CUB), 1-0
GM Bartlomiej  Macieja (POL) - GM Viswanathan Anand (IND), 0-1
GM Krishnan Sasikiran (IND) - GM Michel Krasenkow (POL), 1-0
GM Smbat Lputian (ARM) - IM Robert Fontaine (FRA), 1-0
GM Boris Avrukh (ISR) - GM Igor Novikov (USA), ½-½

*  *  *

GM Tiger Hillarp-Person (SWE) - GM Ivan Sokolov (NED), 0-1
GM Rahman Ziaur (BAN) - GM Hannes Stefannson (ICE), 1-0
Theocharides Constantinos (CYP) - Christo Cave (TRI), 0-1
IM George Michelakis (RSA) - IM Anthony Ker (NZL), 1-0
Ismael Karim  (MAR) - Karim Amir (PAK), 0-1


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See Report from Ian Wilkinson (Jamaica)

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