Reports | September 05, 2012 8:54

Russia takes the lead at Istanbul Olympiad (Update: VIDEO)

After beating Azerbaijan 2.5-1.5, Russia is the sole leader after seven rounds at the Olympiad in Istanbul. China, who beat Armenia with the same score, is in second place together with Ukraine. In the women's section Russia and Poland played 2-2 and are sharing the lead with China, who won against Georgia.

The first move made in the Azerbaijan-Russia match | All photos by David Llada, Arman Karakhayan and Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of FIDE & the official website

Event Olympiad | PGN: Open & Women via TWIC
Dates August 28-September 9, 2012
Location Istanbul, Turkey
System Team Swiss, 11 rounds
Players Open, top 10: Aronian, Kramnik, Radjabov, Karjakin, Nakamura, Caruana, Ivanchuk, Grischuk, Topalov, Kamsky
Women, top 10: A.Muzychuk, Hou Yifan, Zhao Xue, Dzagnidze, Lahno, T.Kosintseva, Ju Wenjun, N.Kosintseva, Cmilyte, Zatonskih
Rate of play

90 minutes for 40 moves + 30 minutes to finish the game + 30 seconds increment from move 1

Tie-break 1) Match points 2) Sonneborn-Berger without lowest result 3) Game points
Extra No draw offers before move 30

After yesterday's intro some readers might be interested in what happened with the author. Well, the organizers indeed fixed me a new hotel, where I arrived with all my luggage on Tuesday night. There, the first thing I was told was: "I'm sorry sir, but we have a problem. You have to share a room with someone." Amazing coincidence, sloppy organizing or somewhere in between? In any case, eventually I was brought to a third hotel where I slept like a baby.

Round 7

The presence of Garry Kasparov, who was in the playing hall for the second day in a row, might be an inspiration for the Russian supergrandmasters. We're not sure if this goes for Vladimir Kramnik, but the long chat between Kasparov and Dmitry Jakovenko must have been inspiring! After seven rounds the team that so desperately tries to win their first gold in ten years, finds itself in sole first place. In their match with Azerbaijan three games ended in a draw which gave Alexander Grischuk the opportunity to make up for his loss the day before:

PGN string

Alexander Grischuk, man of the match for Russia

Armenia lost to expensive match points in their match with China. Also here three games were drawn but Sergey Movsesian, who beat Alexander Grischuk the day before, lost to Wang Yue:

PGN string

Wang Yue (r.) decided the match in China's favour

Ukraine climbed towards medal positions again by beating Spain 2.5-1.5. Also in this match there were three draws and one win:

PGN string

Hungary gave Judit Polgar a rest day and played 2-2 against the Philippines. Wesley So's list is really becoming impressive as he also drew with Peter Leko. Zoltan Almasi beat Oliver Barbosa but Eugenio Torre, who is playing a record 21st Olympiad, defeated Ferenc Berkes:

PGN string

21 Olympiads for Pinoy Eugenio Torre

The top matches in round 8, with board one pairings, are: Russia-Ukraine (Kramnik-Ivanchuk), China-Azerbaijan (Wang Hao-Radjabov), Armenia-Uzbekistan (Aronian-Kasimdzhanov), FYROM-USA (V.Georgiev-Nakamura), Germany-Hungary (Naiditsch-Leko) and England-Philippines (Adams-So).

In the women's section the Russian ladies drew their second match, this time with Poland, but if could have been worse. Valentina Gunina and Nadezhda Kosintseva drew with Monika Socko and Iweta Rajlich respectively, and Alexandra Kosteniuk lost to Jolanta Zawadzka. Reigning Russian champion Natalija Pogonina avoided a big disappointment by pressing so long in a drawish ending that Karina Szczepkowska eventually cracked:

PGN string

This result on the top boards allowed China to catch the two countries in first place. They won 2.5-1.5 against Georgia and this was one of the games:

PGN string

China beats Georgia to reach shared first

The Women's top matches in round 8 are Poland-China (Socko-Hou Yifan), Russia-Ukraine (T.Kosintseva-Lahno) and France-Spain (Skripchenko-Matnadze).

Olympiad 2012 | Round 7 standings (top 30)

Rk. SNo Team Rounds + = - TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4
1 1 Russia 7 6 1 0 13 165 19 64
2 6 China 7 6 0 1 12 165 20,5 61
3 2 Ukraine 7 6 0 1 12 144,5 19,5 57
4 3 Armenia 7 5 1 1 11 154,5 18 65
5 5 United States Of America 7 4 3 0 11 147,5 20,5 54
6 4 Hungary 7 5 1 1 11 147 18 61
7 7 Azerbaijan 7 5 1 1 11 141,5 21 54
8 14 Germany 7 4 3 0 11 141 18,5 57
9 33 Uzbekistan 7 5 1 1 11 137 20 50
10 35 Philippines 7 5 1 1 11 134 19,5 54
11 11 England 7 4 3 0 11 133 17,5 57
12 49 FYROM 7 5 1 1 11 123 18,5 53
13 15 Cuba 7 5 0 2 10 144,5 21 52
14 13 India 7 3 4 0 10 141 18 61
15 18 Spain 7 5 0 2 10 131,5 19 55
16 30 Latvia 7 5 0 2 10 125 18 55
17 8 France 7 4 2 1 10 125 18 54
18 25 Romania 7 5 0 2 10 123 19,5 51
19 20 Serbia 7 4 2 1 10 123 19,5 48
20 19 Croatia 7 4 2 1 10 123 16 57
21 16 Poland 7 5 0 2 10 120 18,5 55
22 29 Argentina 7 4 2 1 10 119,5 17 52
23 9 Netherlands 7 5 0 2 10 116,5 19 47
24 12 Israel 7 4 2 1 10 113 16,5 54
25 28 Slovenia 7 5 0 2 10 112 16 52
26 23 Moldova 7 4 1 2 9 156,5 20 55
27 17 Czech Republic 7 3 3 1 9 136,5 17,5 59
28 26 Georgia 7 4 1 2 9 128 18 55
29 21 Greece 7 4 1 2 9 121 20 51
30 38 Mexico 7 4 1 2 9 114,5 17 51

Women's Olympiad 2012 | Round 7 standings (top 20)

Rk. SNo Team Rounds + = - TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4
1 1 China 7 5 2 0 12 168,5 21 61
2 2 Russia 7 5 2 0 12 165,5 20,5 61
3 7 Poland 7 5 2 0 12 160,5 21 58
4 4 Ukraine 7 4 3 0 11 160,5 19,5 60
5 14 France 7 5 1 1 11 146 21 55
6 12 Hungary 7 5 1 1 11 144 19,5 57
7 28 Vietnam 7 5 1 1 11 133,5 18,5 57
8 6 India 7 5 1 1 11 133 18,5 58
9 11 Spain 7 5 1 1 11 130 18,5 53
10 35 Uzbekistan 7 5 1 1 11 124,5 18 54
11 3 Georgia 7 4 2 1 10 144,5 20 57
12 5 United States of America 7 4 2 1 10 142,5 20 55
13 19 Serbia 7 4 2 1 10 137,5 18,5 61
14 10 Romania 7 5 0 2 10 130 19 52
15 8 Armenia 7 5 0 2 10 129 17,5 53
16 13 Bulgaria 7 4 2 1 10 128,5 19 52
17 26 Iran 7 5 0 2 10 124,5 21 49
18 23 Czech Republic 7 5 0 2 10 124 18 57
19 22 Kazakhstan 7 4 2 1 10 119,5 19,5 48
20 57 Philippines 7 5 0 2 10 114,5 18,5 50

 

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.

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Comments

redivivo's picture

Jakovenko is playing great on reserve board and maybe it was lucky for the Russians that Morozevich withdrew. Otherwise the four regular boards have played so-so for a tournament leader, Grischuk being the exception with a 2850 performance, the remaining regular boards:

1. Kramnik 2787 (just below his rating)

3. Karjakin 2679 (more than 100 points below his rating)

4. Tomashevsky 2506 (more than 200 points below his rating)

S3's picture

It's a team event. So your tpr's mean very little. Those three players haven't lost a single game and that's also the reason why Russia is in first place atm.

Such team tournaments often result in top players scoring below their rating. Especially in teams like that of Russia because is strong on all boards. There is no need to take risks or win all your games and a draw is the best result when it secures a match victory.

redivivo's picture

"Those three players haven't lost a single game and that's also the reason why Russia is in first place"

Grischuk's winning five games while the three mentioned players have won in all two games also has something to do with it.

S3's picture

That's why I said "also". When Grischuk (or Jako) is winning, there is no need for the others to do so. Not losing is most important. Strange that you couldn't figure that out yourself.

redivivo's picture

"When Grischuk (or Jako) is winning, there is no need for the others to do so"

Yes, that must be the reason that Karjakin played five quick draws in a row against much weaker opponents, there just was no need for him to win when another player would win a game later :-)

Thomas's picture

Jakovenko was on the team even before Morozevich withdrew, so Tomashevsky - while officially board 4 - is the reserve player (indeed just three games so far). Strange to call Grischuk's TPR 2850 "so-so", and for Kramnik and Karjakin it's partly a matter of a team event with match point scoring: In any given match, everything is fine if noone loses and someone wins - so it's OK to play it safe and draw against weaker players even if it costs rating points. The objective is team gold, not board prizes ... .

Actually at earlier occasions some players from the winning teams also had "so-so" results: In 2010, Ukraine had "just" two overperformers (Ivanchuk and Efimenko). In 2008, Aronian did no more than 'holding' board 1 with a 5.5/10 score.
Germany winning the European Team Championship last year may be a rare exception: all five players overperformed, that's the (only) way an outsider can win.

redivivo's picture

"Strange to call Grischuk's TPR 2850 "so-so""

Yes, if someone did that it would be strange. As for Karjakin and Kramnik, I don't think their draws have come "on purpose", they couldn't know that Grischuk would grind out wins after their games were finished.

S3's picture

With such a strong team chances are someone in the team will win. Kramnik won against Aronian when it was needed by the way.

redivivo's picture

Yes, Russia is just so much stronger than the other teams that they can win an event like this even if their players aren't at their best. Especially when neither Ukraine nor Armenia impress, the other teams are just much too weak to have a chance.

S3's picture

So according to you Russia, Armenia and Ukraine all don't impress. Pretty high standard.

Thomas's picture

I wonder if you got my point: If all four players take "controlled risks", it's rather likely that one of them will win and (given that Russia is the strongest team) noone loses. From a team perspective, it doesn't matter who is scoring and 2.5-1.5 is enough in any given match. If they took bigger risks they might score more board points - but this doesn't help if such a strategy backfires in a single match.
And while Grischuk and Jakovenko are the heroes, Kramnik and now Karjakin played their role in the Russian success. Kramnik was "match-saver" against Armenia (on a day that saw the dark side of Grischuk), and today Karjakin was match-winner against Ukraine. As of today, Karjakin loses 2 rating points and Kramnik 1 - hardly a disappointing result.

redivivo's picture

"If all four players take "controlled risks", it's rather likely that one of them will win and (given that Russia is the strongest team) noone loses"

Yes, but it's also taking a risk when for example Karjakin draws in 15 moves hoping that someone else will win later. It's only four games after all and only two of them with white. It has worked this far for Russia since it hasn't been like the four latest Olympiads that one of the other top team overperforms (Armenia and Ukraine twice each).

Interestingly it is the today very impressive Grischuk that has been the big match loser for Russia in the past. In 2010 Grischuk lost Russia the match against Hungary (losing to Leko). In 2008 he lost against Sargissian and it was 1.5-2.5 against gold winners Armenia. In 2006 he lost Russia the match against USA by losing to Nakamura. In 2004 he lost Russia the matches against Georgia and Bulgaria (Jobava and Cheparinov).

This time Kramnik and Karjakin are doing OK, only playing slightly below their rating, but it is instead Grischuk that has been the match winner.

Thomas's picture

You single out one game by Karjakin where he actually had black - and against Greece it was fairly safe to predict that Russia would convert at least one of their games with white (in the end, both).

Karjakin is far stronger with the white pieces. Maybe the initial idea of putting him on board 3 was to give him a maximum of whites - i.e. Grischuk would sit out a couple of matches. If there was such a plan it became obsolete because Tomashevsky disappointed and Grischuk showed excellent form. Still, and despite all of his wins Grischuk could have been the scapegoat if Kramnik hadn't repaired Grischuk's loss against Movsesian.

In any case, now that Russia is well underway to - finally - win an Olympiad you are still looking for hairs in the soup ... .

redivivo's picture

Russia as a team actually doesn't perform better Elo wise than they did last time, it's just that Ukraine are back to "normal" compared to last time when Ivanchuk won 7 of 10 games on top board and Efimenko scored +6 on fourth.

Maybe Russia was a bit too harshly criticized last time, especially the four players on the regular boards. Then Karjakin performed much better than this time (2859 vs 2736), Svidler much better than Tomashevsky who replaced him (2669 vs 2556), and Kramnik very slightly better than now (2794 vs 2785). Grischuk is 2828 vs 2776 then. What matters is winning the title though, and with Armenia and Ukraine back to normal performances after the four latest Olympiads this will be an easy win for Russia without playing better than last time.

Thomas's picture

But Russia does perform better matchpoint-wise. Two years ago, standings after round 8 were Ukraine 14, Russia 1 and 5 other teams 13. Now it's Russia 15, 5 teams 13, (Ukraine and others 12).
The difference lies in two matches:
Russia-Hungary (now 2.5-1.5, then 1.5-2.5)
Russia-Ukraine (now 2.5-1.5, then 2-2).

Maybe Russia doesn't play better overall, but they did play better (and/or the other team played worse) in these key matches.

Anonymous's picture

GM Torre - You still got it, baby!

redivivo's picture

The Azeris really suffer from Gashimov's withdrawal. They have the two highest performing players in the whole Olympiad in Radjabov and Mamedyarov. They have gone +10 -0 =4 in their 14 games, but the remaining players are much too weak.

Aditya's picture

35th ranked Phillippines with 2nd highest Match points. Wesley So and Eugene Torre, way to go!!

dimradil's picture

Great video report.
Nice to see Aronian in a Sonic Youth T-shirt !
Seems he likes other fine music besides jazz :)

Tom Servo's picture

redivivo is unimpressed with everyone's play except for Grischuk, Jakovenko, Radjabov and Mamedyarov. Apparently everyone else is being lazy! LOL It takes a lot to impress a patzer these days!

redivivo's picture

Saying that a player has been impressive doesn't mean that all those not mentioned are unimpressive and lazy.

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