Barring a total collapse in the last two rounds, Armenia virtually clinched the Olympiad gold with a 3-1 decision over the Czech Republic. Aronian played a nice salvo in 11.Nf7! wreaking havoc in the black camp. Under serious pressure with his king stuck in the center black donated the exchange to stave off the attack, but Aronian turned up the heat a launched a brutal mating attack. Karen Asrian got on the board with a positional crush over Vlastmil Babula.
France improved their chances of a medal with a 2˝-1˝ decision over second-place China. Joel Lautier literally pushed Zhang Zhong off the board for the margin of victory. One highly-anticipated match was that of USA-Russia. USA slipped past Israel on the strength of Hikaru Nakamura's nice win over Alexander Grischuk. In this game Nakamura sacrificed a pawn to weaken the black kingside and control the light squares. This plan paid dividends and white launched a virulent kingside attack on the light squares.
Is Armenia's Lev Aronian the leader of the New Revolution?
(Photo by Daaim Shabazz)
With the black king on the run,Grischuk may have not played the best defense under pressure and ultimately tossed a rook. This win will again silence fans who were criticizing Nakamura's failure to win a game. The USA is in a good position for a medal. In other news, Azerbaijan's run was stopped by the Ukraine as the lower boards Pavel Elyanov and Alexander Moissenko mopped up Gadir Guseinov and Rauf Mamedov, respectively. Perhaps the most disappointing result was India's 3-1 loss to Israel. There have been many complaints about Viswanathan Anand's inability to be forceful in games with lesser opposition. Anand has yielded several draws but one may argue that these are players he routinely beats. However, his rigorous schedule at M-Tel Masters may have prevented him from playing his typical energetic chess.
Algeria 2˝-1˝ Bolivia; Angola 2˝-1˝ El Salvador; Aruba 3-1 US Virgin Islands; Bermuda 3-1 British Virgin Islands; Yemen 2˝-1˝ Barbados; Botswana 2-2 Uganda; British Virgin Islands 1-3 Bermuda; Cuba 2˝-1˝ Uzbekistan; Dominican Republic Egypt 2˝-1˝ Belgium; Ethiopia 2-2 Sudan; Haiti 2-2 Uganda; Jamaica 3˝-˝ Hong Kong; Kenya 2˝-1˝ Monaco;Libya 3-1 Trinidad & Tobago; Malawi 2-2 South Korea; Mauritius 2-2 Afghanistan; Bulgaria 4-0 Morocco; Mozambique 2˝-1˝ Brunei Darussalam; Namibia 2˝-1˝ Liechtenstein; ; Netherlands Antilles Nigeria 2-2 Singapore; Puerto Rico 3˝-˝ Nepal; Macau 3-1 Rwanda; Seychelles 3-1 Bermuda; South Africa 3˝-˝ ICBA; Sudan 2-2 Ethiopia; Trinidad & Tobago 1-3 Libya; Tunisia 2-2 Pakistan; Uganda 2-2 Botswana; US Virgin Islands; Italy "C" 2˝-1˝ Zambia
Reporting from Cape Town, South Africa - Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum