Round #4

Ukraine beats Russia in showdown!

Top Matches

Ukraine 2˝-1˝ Russia
Israel 3˝-˝ Bulgaria
Azerbaijan 2˝-1˝ Scotland
Armenia 2-2 Bosnia & Herzegovina
India 2˝-1˝ India

Morozevich (RUS) adjusting the pieces against Ivanchuk (UKR) while Ponomariov (near left) and  Grischuk look on. Photo by Paul Truong.

Morozevich (RUS) adjusting the pieces against Ivanchuk (UKR) while Ponomariov (near left) and  Grischuk look on. Photo by Paul Truong.

Russia and the Ukraine…

This round had the marquee matchup everyone had been waiting for. It was inevitable. The only question was who would win the "Battle of the Guns."  The Russia-Ukraine match feature the top two teams and it would be Ukraine to win the point with a 2˝-1˝ victory. Much was made of the depth of the Russian team, but it would turn out that Alexander Morozevich couldn't hold down board #1 honors against a wily veteran such as Vassily Ivanchuk. This game will be studied for many years to come and may be one of the most exciting games yet.

When Ivanchuk played 1…c6, it appeared as if the game would be quiet, but leave it to Morozevich to change the script. After the first several moves of the Advance Caro Kann, the game was already in mind-boggling complications brought on by Ivanchuk's  10…g5!? Spectators at the ICC wondered if Moro would be "crazy" enough to play 11.g4!? As if on cue, the Russian played the move! At that point everyone knew the game would be decisive one way or the other.

After Ivanchuk sacrificed a piece for a formidable pawn center, Morozevich tried to return the piece. Taking it would mean that Ivanchuk would risk an onslaught with his king in the center of the board. After second thoughts, the piece was accepted with 17.Qe2 Qxf5, but after
18.Bxd5, Moro's queen begin roaming about the board harassing the black king. It would soon become clear that Ivanchuk was the one doing the attacking. Threats rained down on white's king and Morozevich saw no other recourse but to resign (see diagram).

Morozevich-Ivanchuk, 0-1 The final position is worth a diagram.

Morozevich-Ivanchuk, 0-1

The final position
is worth a diagram.

… and the rest!

There were some highly anticipated match in round four. While Russia-Ukraine was the major fight, the undercards were also interesting. Spain defended their home turf royally by smashing the surprising Macedonian team 3˝-˝.  Israel touts three highly-respected GMs and went to battle against a "Topalov-less" Bulgarian team.  The quartet of Gelfand, Sutovsky, Smirin, Huzman blitzed the Bulgarians 3˝-˝ to move within ˝-point of front-runner, Ukraine. The two teams will meet in an interesting showdown.The question is whether Ivanchuk will need to be rested at some point in the first half… but probably not tomorrow. (Note: Bulgaria dropped out of  the tournament after losing to Israel.)

India is expected to do well with the world's #2 player at the helm. Viswanathan Anand was in the lineup against the USA, Krishnan Sasikiran resting.  For the 3rd Olympiad in a row, the Indians beat the USA… this time by the score of 2˝-1˝. The key match was the Shabalov-Harikrishna due to the contrasting styles. Strangely enough, when one sees the game, they would swear Shabalov was playing the white pieces! Brilliant attacking game by Harikrishna. Apparently Abhiji Kunte also had some curry the previous meal and threw his own heat against Alexander Goldin's battered king. 

What Sasikiran, Harikrishna, Ganguly and Kunte proved was that they can hold their own without hiding behind Anand. Confidence will be brimming tomorrow when they face a tough
Armenian team who made a 2-2 draw with Bosnia. Cuba is also rising after beating a tough Dutch team. The USA is in trouble and face Uzbekistan the next round… a team they lost to in Bled. In the Cuba-Netherlands encounter, Lenier Dominguez toppled Loek van Wely for the only decisive contest. Very interesting matchups tomorrow!

Report by Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum

Round #4 Information Center

Team Results

Selected Games

GM Alexander Morozevich (RUS) - GM Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR), 0-1
GM Francisco Vallejo-Pons (ESP-A) - GM Vladimir Georgiev (MKD), 1-0
GM Lenier Dominguez (CUB) - GM Loek  van Wely (NED), 1-0
GM Pentala Harikrishna (IND) - GM Alexander Shabalov (USA), 1-0
GM Alexander Goldin (USA) - GM Abhijit Kunte (IND), 0-1
GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS) - GM Zsuzsa Polgar (HUN), ˝-˝   


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