Olympiad: Round 2, Surov and Norway
Slovakia is leading the Olympiad on tie-break as the only team that started with two 4-0 sweeps. There are 33 teams with 4 match points. In the women's section six countries started with two 4-0 wins. Meanwhile, Evgeny Surov still hasn't been allowed to enter the playing hall and an article in a Norwegian newspaper has more about the line-up of their team.
The playing hall during the second round | All photos by David Llada, Arman Karakhayan and Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of FIDE & the official website
Before we'll go to the games, let's return one more time to the Surov case. Peter Zhdanov, the husband of Russian Women's Champion Natalija Pogonina, gave his full support to the Russian journalist who isn't allowed in the playing hall. On Pogonina.com he writes:
I have known Evgeny Surov for quite a few years. He is a passionate chess lover, an esteemed professional and a very liberal and critical-minded person. While many websites are posting glossy reports and praises, Evgeny is always looking into the essence of things and interviewing people about the most urgent and unspoken matters. In my opinion, it is unacceptable to prevent one of the leading chess journalists from working just on the basis of some personal feuds. Injustice done to one is injustice to all. I strongly believe in freedom of speech and want to support my friend and colleague.
Surov himself has now written an open letter to officials of the Russian Chess Federation, which we've added to Tuesday's article.
The Norwegian team
As we mentioned before, Norway came to Istanbul without Magnus Carlsen and in fact without any of its other nine grandmasters. This led to some discussion in the comments section, so we'd like to draw your attention to this article, posted yesterday at the website of Nettavisen, one of Norway's biggest newspapers. Carlsen's manager Espen Agdestein was quoted:
Magnus has pretty much played all the Olympics and wants to play in 2014. It looked fine to him with a break this time.
GM Leif Erlend Johannessen said to Nettavisen:
It was criticized that Norway is playing without their supposedly strongest cards in the Open section, just two years before the Tromsø Olympiad. That the team does not contain grandmasters this time is most probably due to chance. Kjetil Lie became a father right before the Olympiad, and I've just changed jobs.
Update 12:40 CET:
In a Twitter conversation yesterday with Mark Crowther, Norway's second highest rated player Jon Ludvig Hammer tweeted:
My economics professor explained to me the cost-benefit of studying. I decided the cost of skipping school was higher than fee.
After the second round eight countries are sharing the lead: Slovakia, USA, Azerbaijan, France, Cuba, Ukraine, Armenia and India. We tried in vain to find the tie-break rules on the official website. All it says on the 'regulation' page is:
Each teams place in the order of classification shall be decided by the number of match points it has scored. Ties shall be resolved by the procedures in D.II.07, Annex D, paragraph G.
However, "D.II.07, Annex D, paragraph G" isn't there. We did find it in the FIDE Handbook, where the tie-breaks are given for teams that finish on the same amount of match points:
a) the sum of Sonneborn-Berger points, which are calculated as follows: match points of each opponent, excluding the opponent who scored the lowest number of match points, multiplied by the number of game points achieved against this opponent;
b) by the number of the game points scored;
c) by the sum of the match points of all the teams opponents, excluding the lowest one.
The four federations mentioned above are all on four match points and four SB points. Slovakia would win the gold medal after two rounds as the only team that won both its matches 4-0.
Again, the second round saw a lot of big scores with many strong teams facing clearly weaker teams. This time there were not many upsets. In Qatar-Ukraine Mohamad Al-Modiahki defeated Vassily Ivanchuk, who lost on time in the following position:
White is winning with 54.Qf8 Qh5+ 55. Kg3 Qg5+ 56. Kf2 Ne4+ 57. Ke3 +-.
After losing on time Ivanchuk stayed at the board for a while, analyzing the position
The biggest upset was the overall team score in the match Netherlands-Venezuela: 1.5-2.5. With draws on the other three boards, the following game decided the match:
As you might have noticed, Anish Giri hasn't played for the Netherlands yet and he is not in the line-up for round 3 either. Due to unexpected issues with his passport, Holland's number one grandmaster still hasn't arrived in Istanbul, but the Dutch team is hoping to welcome him soon.
Hikaru Nakamura played his first game for the USA in the match againt Lithuania. He needed 107 moves to beat his opponent, who threw away the draw in a queen ending.
At move 100 Malisauskas made the decisive error
Vladimir Kramnik made his first appearance for Russia and started with a draw. His opponent offered a "Greek gift" in the opening and the pawn sac yielded good compensation:
Sergey Karjakin already repeated moves with Hristos Banikas at move 13, but Alexander Grischuk and Dmitry Jakovenko won to set the score at 3-1.
Vladimir Kramnik (l.) and Alexander Grischuk, top boards for top seed Russia
The first absolute top encounter of the Olympiad occurred in the China-Italy match and it was an excellent game by the Chinese board one.
Levon Aronian also played his first game on Wednesday. His opponent was rated 2516, a normal GM rating you'd say, but Aronian was still rated exactly 300 points higher!
Levon Aronian, the highest rated player in Istanbul
Nigel Short decided the match England-Brazil. The final phase of his game was sheer torture:
Also in Germany-Georgia only one game ended decisively. We've heard that Baadur Jobava had to withdraw at the last minute due to illness. Naiditsch was too strong for Mchedlishvili:
For the Turkish team four draws against the Czech Republic was a fine result. Sweden managed to reach the same score against Serbia, with in this match a nice pawn ending on board one:
The third round will see some interesting individual board pairings. To name a few: Vachier-Lagrave vs Topalov (France-Bulgaria), Ivanchuk-Gelfand (Ukraine-Israel), Aronian-Vallejo (Armenia-Spain) and Kramnik-Shirov (Russia-Latvia).
In the women's section no less than six countries started with two 4-0 wins: China, Georgia, Poland, France, Serbia and Kazakhstan. In the first two rounds the strongest players didn't really face serious opposition, but round three will have the following clashes: Hou Yifan-Lahno (China-Ukraine), Dzagnidze-Pähtz (Georgia-Germany), Socko-Hoang Thanh Trang (Poland-Hungary), T.Kosintseva-Munguntuul (Russia-Mongolia) and Danielian-Dronavalli (Armenia-India).
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