Round #7

Ukraine edges India pads lead

Top Matches

Ukraine 2-1 India
Spain (A) 2-1 Azerbaijan
Bulgaria 2-1 Russia
Armenia 3-1 Israel
Georgia 2-2 Cuba

Surprise! Surprise! The past two rounds have been a bane to odd-makers.  After Russia rolled to a 3- victory over the highly-fancied Israel, they lose to #20 Bulgaria (without Topalov) while touting their strongest possible lineup. It is these type of inconsistencies that will bring Russia to ruin if adjustments are not made.

Grischuk was beaten by  Ivan Cheparinov who unleashed a furious attack on the white king. Morozevich was the last to finish and attempted to squeeze out a win from a book draw to no avail. Bulgaria has certainly surprised many analysts who thought that Russia would dish out a serious beating, but Bulgaria has certainly been the surprise of the tournament.They will now play front-runner Ukraine. Will Ivanchuk get a rest?

The Ukraine-India match was about as even as can get despite Ukraine playing their two reserves. On the top board, was Vassily Ivanchuk vs. Viswanathan Anand. Ivanchuk eliminated Anand in the 2002 FIDE Knockout semifinals giving this match added importance. However, nothing would come from this encounter which was roughly equal throughout.  (Note: A controversy occurred when Anand wanted to watch his teammates after drawing with Ivanchuk, but was  told he could not. Anand left the area upset.) On the other top board, Ponomariov-Sasikiran ended in an uneventful draw.

Ukraine broke out on top after Sergey Karjakin positionally dominated Abhijit Kunte. The 14-year old phenom is providing assurance that Ukraine can rest Ivanchuk without sacrificing a point. A point behind, Pentala Harikrishna had to keep playing in a  drawn ending in an attempt to save the match. Unfortunately for India,  Pavel Eljanov held and Ukraine would widen their lead to two points over Russia (19). Bulgaria and
Armenia are also on 19 points.

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

Karjakin has certainly grown up!

With Akopian in the lineup, Armenia appeared energized as they handed the shell-shocked  Israel a 3-1 drubbing. With his intense board demeanor, Akopian sacrificed a bishop for three pawns and an attack. After a few checks, he and Gelfand decided to split the point before testing the waters further.

Lev Aronian won brilliantly over Emil Sutovsky with a nice queen sacrifice. In the diagram on the left, black had played 25h6 threatening 26Bxe2. After 26.Rd7 attacking the black queen, Aronian played
26Bxe2!! and overran white's position.

In Vaganian-Smirin, the Israeli sacrificed a piece for three pawns and an attack, but got no return on his investment. Roiz-Lputian earlier ended in a quick draw, thus the 3-1 verdict.

Sutovsky played 26.Rd2-d7, but then faced the shocking 26Bxe2!! After 27.Rxf7 Rxf7, black initiated a direct attack on the king. Nice!

Sutovsky played 26.Rd2-d7, but then faced the shocking 26Bxe2!! After 27.Rxf7 Rxf7, black initiated a direct attack on the king. Nice!

Spain defeated upstart Azerbaijan on the strength of their #2 Francisco Vallejo Pons who is on 5- and a performance of 2990! The hometown favorites will face India in what will be a very exciting match. This is the point in the tournament where Spain has to make an impression as a potential medal contender. Can their bottom boards hold up?

Moroccans are Rockin'!

Despite not playing the first round, the Moroccans have tallied 15 points after a 3- crush of IPCA to move squarely in the second tier of nations. Hichem Hamdouchi has led the charge followed by the ambitious Mohammad Tisser. Hamdouchi has played well as of late and will play the legend Viktor Korchnoi in their match with Switzerland. The team has also gotten good production from Ali Sebbar (2116) who is on 4-1 with a performance of 2550! South Africa has fallen behind both Morocco and Tunisia in the race for Africa's crown. South Africa suffered a  2-1 loss against Tajikistan Watu Kobese (4-1, 2595 TPR) scoring the lone victory.

Cuba, Caribbean teams are still trying to find their respective rhythms. Barbados rebounded from a 4-0 pasting from Portugal to return the favor on Uganda. Kevin Denny led the "Bajans" with a win over Grace Nsubuga while Warner, Farley and Corbin also registered wins.  Trinidad and Tobago  beat Papua New Guinea 3- and face Puerto Rico in the next round. Jamaica stumbled against Guatamala 3-1.

Report by Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum

Round #7 Information Center

Team Results

Selected Games

GM Sergey Karjakin (UKR) - GM Abhijit Kunte (IND), 1-0
GM Emil Sutovsky (ISR) - GM Levon Aronian (ARM), 0-1
GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (ESP-A) - GM Shakhriyar Mamedyrov  (AZE), 1-0
GM Alonso Romero Holmes (ESP-A) - GM Gadir Guseinov (AZE), 0-1
GM Alexander Grischuk (RUS) - IM Ivan Cherparinov (BUL), 0-1
IM Yuniesky Quezada (CUB) - GM Merab Gagunashvili (GEO), 1-0


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See Report from Ian Wilkinson (Jamaica)
See Report from Allan Herbert (Barbados)

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