Three-way tie after six rounds at Istanbul Olympiad
On Monday the Olympiad's top clash between Armenia and Russia ended in 2-2. The two countries were caught in the lead by Azerbaijan, who defeated Croatia 3-1. In the women's section Russia, who played 2-2 against China, is now sharing the lead with Poland.
Participants of the Youth U-16 event that's held alongside the Olympiad | All photos by David Llada, Arman Karakhayan and Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of FIDE & the official website
Insomnia is not even the right word for describing the author's current state of mind. I am typing away in a dark, Istanbul hotel room where an unexpected roommate is snoring like a Siberian tiger. Needless to say, he keeps me awake, and I have resigned this unequal match at an early stage.
Earlier today, when I arrived in my hotel room, it wasn't empty but instead occupied by this friendly Russian interpreter named Mikhail. The organizers have confirmed that a mistake had been made, but since the hotel is full (according to the reception) the solution will only be available the next day. Until then there's not much to do except for producing a round 6 report. Meanwhile I'm trying to avoid too many bites of a silent mosquito that adds to the horror...
I actually arrived more or less at the end of the round, so unfortunately I was too late to witness the big clashes Russia was involved in, against Armenia in the Open section and China in the Women's.
I also missed Garry Kasparov who visited the playing hall today - here he's speaking with
his former second Yuri Dokhoian who is now coach of the Russian men's team
I did get to see some of the little things that go on behind the scenes at an Olympiad. To start with, the area is not great. It's industrial, which was to be expected because it's very close to the Atatürk airport. At the same time the players find it quite convenient. All the hotels are pretty close, and especially if you're in the WOW hotel (I'm not, but hopefully tomorrow!) the distance to the venue is walkable.
The WOW is also the place where the top teams are staying, and as I did have dinner there, I met with a few big names, such as Levon Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik and Wang Hao. The (quite decent) food is served in a huge room with round tables, so it's easy to recognize many teams sitting together and this actually adds to the specialy Olympiad atmosphere a lot.
Biel winner Wang Hao, left to coach Li Wenliang and also on the cover of the latest New in Chess magazine!
I also bumped into Evgeny Surov, the Russian journalist who still isn't allowed to enter the playing hall. He is wearing a T-shirt with the URL of his website and a text that goes along the lines of "Let us work!" Emil Sutovsky, the President of the ACP and member of the FIDE World Championship and Olympiad Committe (and team member of Israel) told me that already before the start of the Olympiad he has written a letter to Georgios Makropoulos, but the FIDE Deputy President hasn't replied yet...
So, on to the chess, where the board one encounter between Vladimir Kramnik and Levon Aronian was obviously the game of the day. In an Exchange Slav, Aronian as Black played an original (but not completely new) setup that included an early exchange of the light-squared bishops and a kingside fianchetto. Kramnik doubled rooks on the c-file and Aronian decided to do the same, but this failed tactically, as the former World Champion demonstrated in great style.
The match Russia-Armenia under way
At a press conference after the game, Kramnik said:
As for my game it was really surprising. It went for me quite smoothly. Levon is absolutely a great player in a fantastic shape. Of course playing white my task was to try to press him and win. But somehow it went easier for me. Levon had an uncomfortable position out of the opening. Then he missed tactics with Nxb7 or maybe he missed Qb6. I don’t know exactly. But after that it was over and I just had to calculate the variations accurately. To my surprise I manage to do it.
Vladimir Kramnik giving a press conference
Armenia levelled the score on board 2 where Sergei Movsesian played a great game. In a sharp King's Indian (the Petrosian variation with opposite castling!) his opponent Alexander Grischuk made one mistake and then basically the engine approves of Movsesian's last twenty powerful moves.
Sergey Movsesian talking to his opponent after the game
With draws on the other two boards this big match ended without a winner or loser. The same result was seen in Germany-USA, a match of four draws that was played on Alexander Onischuk's birthday. I found out about this because in the evening the Americans were celebrating by bowling at the already infamous cafe/restaurant/club Choppers next to WOW. For a while they were playing right next to the Russian men's team! The only players who didn't join the bowling were Kamsky, Nakamura and Kramnik.
Azerbaijan finds itself in shared first place thanks to a 3-1 victory over Croatia. On one, Teimour Radjabov's opponent Ivan Saric played an old exchange sacrifice in the Botvinnik Semi-Slav.
Ivan Saric (l.) against Teimour Radjabov
Shakhryiar Mamedyarov played an also theoretical positional queen sacrifice:
The Philippines managed to beat Bulgaria 2.5-1.5. Wesley So, who drew with Aronian earlier in the tournament, split the point with Veselin Topalov. There were two more draws and so Oliver Barbosa was the Pinoy hero:
There's many more matches and games to describe, but we'll leave it here. You can find the full results here. Tomorrow the top matches are Azerbaijan-Russia, China-Armenia, Philippines-Hungary, Ukraine-Spain, Moldova-Germany, Argentina-India, USA-Turkey and Israel-France.
The top match of the Women's section had the exact same scenario as in Armenia-Russia: two decisive games on board 1 and 2, two draws on 3 and 4 and a score of 2-2. Hou Yifan defeated Tatiana Kosintseva in a Ruy Lopez, Marshall Gambit:
China was actually leading 2-1 for a long time, until the other sister managed to save a match point:
China-Russia in round 6
Poland is now in shared first place with Russia after crushing Serbia 3.5-0.5. China, Ukraine, Georgia, France and Vietnam follow, with one match point less. The 7th round has Russia-Poland, Georgia-China, Ukraine-France and Serbia-Vietnam.
Olympiad 2012 | Round 6 standings (top 30)
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Women's Olympiad 2012 | Round 6 standings (top 20)
|18||5||United States of America||6||3||2||1||8||96,5||16||42|
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