It was not Yu Yangyi's day as his loss to Yuri Kryvoruchko led to his team's defeat.
Ukraine’s victory over China was by the slimmest of margins, 2.5 points to 1.5. Three of the games were hard-fought draws, but on Board 3, Yuriy Kryvoruchko beat Yu Yangyi, who is higher rated, using an unusual opening idea. In the English Attack in the Najdorf Sicilian, both sides typically castle on opposite sides of the board. But instead of castling queenside, Kryvoruchko played a4 and started playing for a strategic edge on the queenside.
b50-0 is a slightly more common move order for Black. But I don't
think Yu Yangyi expected White to play: 11. a4!?While unusual, this move has been played in a number of previous games 11... bxa412. Rxa4O-O13. Na5!Nb814. g5Ne815. Nd5White is dominating the position on both sides of the board! 15... Bxd516. exd5Qd717. b3Bd818. Bd3f519. f4Keeping Black's counterplay to a minimum. 19... exf420. Bxf4Qf721. O-ONd722. Be3Bxa523. Rxa5Qh524. Rxa6Rxa625. Bxa6White is simply up a pawn. Black has a small amount of compensation, but he wasn't able to put up much resistance: 25... Ne526. Be2Qg627. Kh1h628. gxh6Nf629. Bf4Ne430. Qd4Re831. Rg1Ng432. Bxg4fxg433. Qxg7+Qxg734. hxg7Rc835. Rg2Ra836. Re2Nc337. Re1Nxd538. Bxd6Rd839. Be5Nb440. Bf6Rb841. c3Nd542. Bd4Nf443. Re4
Azerbaijan and India waiting for Round 5 to begin.
The host team from Azerbaijan had been another one of the undefeated teams before Round 5, but it was beaten rather convincingly by India by a score of 3-1. The crucial game was the matchup on the top board between Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Pentala Harikrishna. Mamedyarov played an interesting new opening idea, but Harikrishna was up to the task in the complicated position that emerged on the board. The turning poing was Harikrishna’s visually pleasing exchange sacrifice:
18. Qf3It had been a very complicated game up to this point. White had played a new move in this position and gained a tangible initiative so I think that Mamedyarov probably felt quite confident about his prospects. 18... Rd5!A great practical idea! White can win the exchange, but giving up the light-square bishop doesn't seem like a good idea. However, if White does not take the rook, he has a problem as Black is threatening Rxe5. The other virtue of Black's move is that he has also stopped Whites attack against the pawn on c6. 19. Qg4Kf820. Bxd5This was probably a very tough decision for Mamedyarov. Objectively White's probably doing well, but his position suddenly seems a lot riskier.
( 20. Bf4Would have been a reasonable move when the position would have been quite complicated. )
20... exd521. Ra4!?This move might look completely useless, but Mamedyarov wants to open the a-file. If he is successful, that looks like it could be very dangerous for Black as the rook on h8 would be too far away to aid in the defense. But is it really that far? 21... c522. Ba3Rh6!!The rook lift allows Black to shore up his defenses. 23. Bxb4axb424. Rfa1Qe825. Ra7Qc626. Qg5Re6The Black rook is just in time to help. 27. Qd8+Re828. Qd6+Kg8The computer thinks that White is better here, but practically, Black's constant threats because of his passed pawns give him the initiative. 29. Rxb7An attempt to simplify the position and salvage a draw.
( 29. f4d4!30. Qxc6Bxc631. Rc7c4!is probably what Mamedyarov overlooked. The Black pawns roll down the board quickly! 32. bxc4b3 )
( 29. Qxc6Bxc6now Black's threat of playing c4 make White's life miserable. )
29... Qxb730. Qxc5Rxe531. Ra7d4!Mamedyarov probably missed this move in his calculations. 32. Qxd4Rd5!Now it is all over. 33. Rxb7Rxd434. Kg2Rd1
( 34... Rd135. Rc7Rb1and after Black wins the White b-pawn, his b- and c-pawns would be too strong. )
Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, right, has won all his games in the Olympiad so far.
On Board 3, Vidit Gujrathi completely controled the game to score his fifth win of the competition, this time against the latest addition to the Azeri team, Arkadij Naiditsch. (Naiditsch played for Germany until the previous Olympiad.)
Belarus, with Sergei Zhigalko, left, on Board 1, vs. the Netherlands and Anish Giri, just before the start of Round 5.
On paper, the Netherlands had an easier path to join the ranks of the unbeatens as it played Belarus, the No. 23 seed. But this turned out to be a crazy match that could have gone either way. On the top board, Anish Giri of the Netherlands, got into serious trouble against Sergei Zhigalko. But Zhigalko missed the best continuation and Giri was able to survive.
The match was decided by a completely insane, but hugely entertaining, tactical fight on Board 4 between Kirill Stupak of Belarus and Benjamin Bok of the Netherlands. White played an absolutely strange opening – voluntarily moving his king to e3. He soon had a terrible position, but his bravery almost paid off when Bok sacrificed a bit too much to get at White’s king. Then the game turned around once more at the end:
There was also a curious study-like position in the match between England and Vietnam. According to the engine assessments, in the following game, the top Vietnamese player, Le Quang Liem, appeared to miss an elementary win against Michael Adams. But upon deeper inspection, Black actually has an amazing draw that even the computer missed at first:
( 57. Qc6+appears to win instantly, and the computer thinks so, too, but these players aren't so bad. They saw something the computer did not: 57... Qxc6+58. Kxc6Kxg359. a4Kf2!!If g5, then hxg5, and the White pawn will promote to a queen on g8 with check. 60. a5g561. a6hxg5 leads to a queen and pawn vs queen endgame which is a theoretical draw, although it is not so easy to prove in practice. 61... gxh462. a7h363. a8=Qh264. Kd6Kg1Without the pawn on h5, this is a theoretical draw. But even with the pawn there, it doesn't
seem like White has any way to force a win. )
Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine, left, beat Jovana Rapport of Serbia, to lead her team to victory.
Ukraine won a tough match against Serbia to join Russia in the lead. Ukraine was led by the strong Muzychuk sisters. The younger sister, Anna, won on Board 1 with a beautiful tactical idea against Jovana Rapport (the wife of Hungary’s top player, Richard Rapport):
Rapport, Jovana vs. Muzychuk, Anna
42nd Olympiad Women 2016 |Tromso NOR |Round 5.1 |06 Sep 2016 |ECO: B38 |0-1
19. b3White seems to have things under control, especially if she can play hxg6 and Bh6. But Muzychuk finds a way to make White's King feel
uncomfortable as well. 19... f5!20. h6fxg4!21. hxg7gxh322. gxf8=Q+Rxf8White is up a piece, but dealing with the h3-pawn isn't easy. 23. f4Jovana probably thought that she could play Bf3 next and then she could keep the h-pawn in check. 23... Nxe4!!24. fxe5h2!An unexpected intermediate move! 25. Qd4
( 25. Bf3Nxd2!26. Kxd2Bxf3 )
25... h1=Q+26. Bg1Rf2It is all but over; White cannot safe herself. 27. Nxe4Qxg1+28. Kd2Rxe2+
On Board 2, Mariya, the former World Champion, won a more positional game against Irina Chelushkina to seal Ukraine’s victory.
Ukraine has clearly emerged as a team to beat in both sections. Their men’s team has already beaten two of the most feared teams in the Olympiad – Russia and China. In Round 6 on Thursday, Ukraine will be put to test again as it faces the star-studded American team, which features three of the top 10 players in the world.
A strong kibitzer looking at the game of Fabiano Caruana, the top board for the United States, in Round 5.
India has also been amazingly consistent. Every player on the team appears to be in excellent form, which is what a team needs if it is to win the Olympiad. In Round 6, India will face the surprising joint leaders, the Netherlands, in a match that could decide which team takes sole possession of first.
In the women’s section, Russia has been dominating its opponents. In Round 6, the women will have a chance to avenge the loss of the men’s team when they take on Ukraine, with the possibility of becoming the sole leader of the tournament at stake.
Parimarjan Negi is an Indian grandmaster who is the second-youngest ever to earn the title (at 13 years 4 months and 22 days). Ranked No. 80 in the world, he is about to start his junior year at Stanford University. He can be found on Twitter at @parimarjan.
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