China was the defending champion at the Olympiad this year. But in Round 5, its defense of the title began to unravel when one of its players finally lost a game.
China was the defending champion at the 42nd Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan. It won its first four matches, with all of its players avoiding any losses. But in Round 5, one of its players, Yu Yangi, lost a game and China went down to defeat to Ukraine (which would eventually tie for first with the United States and take silver on tie-breaks). The loss was the first by a Chinese player since the 2012 Chess Olympiad and it opened the flood gates. China, which entered as the No. 3 seed, went on to lose two other matches (and draw another) as it finished a disappointing 13th on tie-breaks.
1. e4c52. Nf3d63. d4cxd44. Nxd4Nf65. Nc3a66. f3e57. Nb3Be68. Be3Nbd7A slightly unusual move in this opening.
( 8... Be7This
( 8... h5Are more common nowadays )
9. Qd2Be710. g4b511. a4!?White is looking to play on the queenside. This is a bit unusual because he has already advanced g4, but it seems to be a very interesting idea. 11... bxa4
( 11... Bxb312. cxb3b413. Ne2Nc5This is the computer's suggestion, but after 14. Bxc5dxc515. Qxd8+Followed by Ng3 and Bc4, White has a very pleasant endgame. )
( 11... b4The typical response does not work in this case: 12. Nd5Bxd513. exd5Nb6In positions similar to this one, White would have to take on b6, but in this case, he can use the misplaced bishop on e7 to his advantage by continuing: 14. a5!Nbxd515. g5!Nxe316. gxf6And two of Black's pieces are simultaneously attacked. )
12. Rxa4O-O13. Na5Black's pawn structure is in ruins, but White has a hard time with his own king. However, none of Black's pieces are in position to spring into action, so I think that White has an edge. 13... Nb8?Black was certainly not happy to have to make that move.
( 13... Qc7Was stronger. After: 14. g5Nh515. Nd5Bxd516. exd5Bd817. Kd1Nf4I still prefer White's position, but the game is far from over. )
14. g5Ne8Black's pieces are getting pushed back and his light squares are terribly weak. 15. Nd5
( 15. Bc4Looks more natural to me, but the move played in the game is also fine. )
15... Bxd516. exd5Qd717. b3Bd818. Bd3f519. f4!White did not want to let Black play f4.
( 19. O-Of420. Bf2Bxg5and Black is still very much alive. )
19... exf4!Trying to open lines for an attack, but it may already be too late.
( 19... e420. Be2Strategically, Black is losing as he has no counterplay on the kingside or in the center, while his queenside is falling apart. )
20. Bxf4Qf721. O-ONd7Didn't Black just play Nb8 not so long ago? Playing Nd7,Nb8,Nd7, in the first 21 moves is not a good sign. 22. Be3!Another strong move. White threatens to play Rxf5. 22... Bxa5
( 22... g6Is the computer's choice, but then the queen would not have access to g6 and h5, which is needed for any chance of
( 22... Qg623. Nc6Looks devastating )
desperate attempt at counterplay, but Kryvoruchko simply takes the pawns and holds on. 24. Rxa6Rxa625. Bxa6Ne5?
( 25... Qg4+26. Qg2Qb4Was a little more resilient, but I don't think it would have made a difference; Black should still lose. )
26. Be2!And the bishop returns, gaining a tempo. 26... Qg627. Kh1White's king is safe, and
he has a three pawns-to-one majority on the queenside. Black is dead lost. 27... h628. gxh6Nf629. Bf4Ne430. Qd4Re831. Rg1Ng432. Bxg4!
( 32. Qxg7+?White could not play this yet. 32... Qxg733. hxg7Nef2+!34. Kg2Rxe2And the tables would have turned. )
32... fxg433. Qxg7+!Keeping it simple. The rest requires no comment 33... Qxg734. hxg7Rc835. Rg2Ra836. Re2Nc337. Re1Nxd538. Bxd6Rd839. Be5Nb440. Bf6Rb841. c3Nd542. Bd4Nf443. Re4
Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 5 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter and is also on Facebook.
FIDE and World Chess announces today that the 2018 World Chess Championship Match will take place in London in November 2018. The world’s most prestigious chess tournament is to be the climax of a season of high-profile activity to extend the sport’s appeal among global audiences – and make 2018 the Year of Chess in the UK.
After 9 days of intense chess battles at the last leg of the World Chess Grand Prix series 2017 in Palma de Mallorca, the two winners of the series were finally determined: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, overall 340 points in the series) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia, 336,4 points). They qualified for the Candidates Tournament – the next part of the World Chess Championship cycle, which leads up to the Championship match.
The sole leader of the Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix Levon Aronian made a quick draw with Evgeny Tomashevsky today, inviting the group of rivals to join him at the top. But same as in the previous rounds all games on the top boards finished peacefully and not a single player came close to catching up with him.
After seven rounds Aronian is in the lead with 4,5 points. A group of 8 players is half a point behind, including Vachier-Lagrave. In order to qualify for the Candidates, the Frenchman needs to win at least one more game. Boris Gelfand defeated Alexander Riazantsev, Pavel Eljanov won against Jon Ludvig Hammer, while Teimour Rajabov outplayed Li Chao. After the victory the Azerbaijani Grandmaster still hopes to qualify, but in that case has to win both games.
Javier Ochoa, Honorary FIDE Vice President and President of the Spanish Chess Federation, made the first symbolic move to start the fourth round, which turned out to be the most exciting round of the tournament so far, with six decisive games out of nine.
In the Third Round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca games between the four leaders, Vachier-Lagrave-Aronian and Rajabov-Giri, finished in a draw. Peter Svidler joined the group of leaders by beating Jon-Ludvig Hammer in the third round.
The world’s best chess players and chess establishment came together in Bellver Castle to celebrate the opening of the final leg of the FIDE 2017 World Chess Grand Prix Palma de Mallorca – a prestigious qualifier for the World Chess Candidates Tournament.
Katerina Lagno, one of the strongest Russian women-grandmasters won the historic Moscow Blitz Tournament, beating her fellow Russian Olympic team members Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina and Olga Girya.
After a draw against Ian Nepomniachtchi, Teimur Rajabov won the tournament. One of the strongest players, Rajabov had not won a major tournament lately, but has shown phenomenal form in Geneva and managed to overpower some of top world’s players