News & Reports Aug 12, 2014 | 8:59 PMby Tromso Olympiad 2014

Round 10: Dragon gold?

Magnus Carlsen second Laurent Fressinet fell to a crucial defeat against Yu Yangyi | photo: David Llada

China's Open team will have the final rest day to mull over how best to bring home gold after Yu Yangyi's win over Laurent Fressinet gave them a vital win over France in Round 9. Now the only undefeated team in the Open event, 7th seeded China have only lost one individual game over ten rounds. Despite having a clear lead, China can still be caught, and if they want to avoid the trauma of calculating infinite tiebreak variations, they really need one more team victory.

by GMs Jonathan Tisdall (text) and Einar Gausel (chess analysis)

What makes China's result even more remarkable - their team line-up in Tromsø omits three players with ratings over the 2700 mark - Hao Wang, Xiangzhi Bu, and Chao Li.

Match of the tournament? Natalia Zhukova (left) scored the only win, gifting China a gilt-edged chance to catch Russia | photo: David Llada 

Round ten offered a chance for the top seeded women's team - from China - to resurrect their dreams of gold. The Ukrainian women continued a storming comeback with a win over Russia, in what had to be the grudge match of the entire event, after their acrimonious pre-Olympiad battle over who would get to field Kateryna Lagno in Tromsø. The match ended 2.5-1.5 after three draws and GM Natalia Zhukova's win on fourth board against WGM Olga Girya.

32... ♗b6+ 33. ♔h1 ♗e3 34. ♕c2 ♗f4 There goes the d-pawn. Black is now in complete control.

35. ♗xf4 gxf4 36. ♖f1 ♕xd6 37. h3 ♖e3 38. ♗g4 ♕e5 39. ♗f3

39. ♕b1 ♖e1 40. ♖xe1 ♕xe1+ 41. ♕xe1 ♘xe1 and Black's c-pawn decides the game.

39... ♖e1 40. ♖xe1 ♕xe1+ 41. ♔h2 ♘f2 42. g3 fxg3+ 43. ♔xg3 ♘e4+ 44. ♔f4 ♕g3+! 45. ♔e3

45. ♔xe4 ♕g6+ 46. ♔e3 ♕xc2−+

45... ♘g5 White resigned.

46. ♕g2 ♕xf3+ 47. ♕xf3 ♘xf3 48. ♔xf3 f5 And Black wins the pawn ending.


Golden chance

Ana Matnadze helped Spain pull off a fantastic result against the tournament favourites | photo: David Llada

But could the favorites seize their opportunity? Although their world champion, Yifan Hou, steadily outplayed IM Sabrina Vega Gutierrez on top board, Spain hung tough. First drawing both of their games with White, and then with IM Ana Matnadze grinding down WGM Zhongyi Tan on board three, Spain saved part of the day for Russia. 

Despite the misstep against Ukraine, Russia enter the final round with a one match-point lead over the field, with 18/20, and Ukraine has caught China on 17. Germany is the sole team on 16 points.

Rk.SNo TeamTeamGames  +   =   -  TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 

In the final round Ukraine meets China, while Russia faces Bulgaria and Georgia plays Germany in the matches most likely to decide the medals. Full team pairings here.

Two clear

In the Open event, 5th seeds Hungary found themselves alone in second place, a point behind China. They did this by puncturing the incredible Romanians, who started the day fighting for silver position despite being seeded only 32nd. Another overperformer bit the dust today - the high-flying Bulgarians were edged out 2.5-1.5 by the 15th seeds, Poland. Former World Champion Topalov kept his hot streak going, beating Wojtaszek on first board, but his teammates could not maintain the pace. Poland struck back on the middle boards, Gajewski and Duda beating Cheparinov and man-in-form Iotov, respectively.

Despite two crushing consecutive losses to Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Paco Vallejo, Vladimir Kramnik is now back in the Top 10 and more or less performing at his rating for the tournament | photo: David Llada

Top seeds Russia returned to the chasing pack with a 2.5-1.5 win over Serbia, Kramnik winning after a horrendous opening from Ivanisevic, and with the teams trading wins with White on the bottom two boards. The 6th seeds USA also made a late reappearance, edging out Argentina 2.5-1.5 thanks to wins by anchor Nakamura and the unstoppable Sam Shankland, who now has 8.5/9.

India handed Germany their first team defeat of the event, winning 2.5-1.5 on the strength of GM Krishnan Sasikiran’s victory with the black pieces over Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu. Uzbekistan are the clear positive surprise after ten rounds, thanks to another upset, this time 2.5-1.5 over 11th ranked Netherlands, with IM Jahongir Vakhidov supplying the only decisive result, beating GM Robin van Kampen on board four. 

The round's battles produced a log-jam of teams on 15 points, and since Hungary has already faced - and lost - to China, one of these must float up to first board. If the Chinese can be vanquished at the final hurdle, the destination of the medals will be an incredibly exciting and complicated affair. The protagonists with an uphill battle in the potentially wild final round are, all on 15 points: USA, Russia, Ukraine, France, Azerbaijan, Poland, rising India, and the latest high-fliers, 33rd seeded Uzbekistan.

Rk.SNoTeamTeamGamesTB1 TB2 TB3 TB4 
66United States of AmericaUSA1063115297.526.5116.00

The final showdowns: Poland-China, Hungary-Ukraine, Russia-France, Azerbaijan-USA, and India-Uzbekistan – these heavyweight matches will decide the medals. Full pairings are here

Announcement: Today's Qatar Masters Open golden ticket winners are GM Aleksandar Indjic (Serbia, 2539) and WGM Sabina Foisor (USA, 2252)

Local news

Norway 1's Open match against Croatia was exciting, eventful and ultimately unfortunate. The world champion summed up his loss on board one:

Today I deserved to be punished.

We included a mini-interview which his conqueror Ivan Saric in our interim report, while GM Einar Gausel has now annotated the game:

1. e4 e5 2. ♘f3 ♘c6 3. ♗b5 ♘d4 4. ♘xd4 exd4 5. ♗c4 ♘f6 6. 0-0 d5 The most common continuation is

6... c6 7. ♖e1 d6 , but Carlsen wants something more dynamic.

7. exd5 ♗e7

7... ♘xd5 8. ♕h5 c6 9. ♕e5+ ♗e6 10. ♕xd4 b5 looks more active for Black than the text move.

8. ♕f3 ♗g4 Forcing White's queen towards the weak pawn on d4 doesn't look like a good idea.

9. ♕f4 0-0 10. h3 ♗d6 11. ♕xd4 c5? Black doesn't have much to show for the missing pawn after

11... ♗e6 12. ♘c3 c6 13. d3 ♘xd5 14. ♘xd5 cxd5 15. ♗b3 , but this still looks better than the game continuation.

12. ♕d3 ♗h5 13. ♘c3 ♖e8 After the game Carlsen said he had thought he had reasonable compensation for the pawns at this stage. Carlsen added that he had underestimated White's next move.

14. f4 a6 15. a4 ♕d7 16. ♕g3 ♘e4 17. ♘xe4 ♖xe4 18. b3 ♕c7 19. d3 ♖e2

19... ♖ee8 20. ♗b2 ♗g6 21. ♕g4 f5 was preferable, but it's clear that Black does not have enough play for the sacrificed material.

20. ♕g5 g6 21. ♗b2 ♗e7 22. ♗f6 h6 23. ♗e5 ♕d8 24. ♕xh6 White is simply winning. He manages to make a meal of it, but the final outcome is never in doubt.

24... ♖xe5 25. d6! ♖e2 26. dxe7 ♕xe7 27. f5 ♕h4 28. ♕f4 g5 The alternatives were equally hopeless for Black.

29. ♕xh4 gxh4 30. ♖f4 ♖xc2 31. ♖xh4 ♗e2 32. ♖e4 ♖d2 33. ♖e7 ♗xd3 34. ♗xf7+ ♔f8 35. f6 ♖d8 36. ♗h5 ♔g8 37. ♖e8+ Magnus resigned, since

37... ♖xe8 38. f7+ ♔g7 39. fxe8Q leaves White a queen up.


Not a day to remember for Norway | photo: David Llada

GMs Hammer and Lie seemed to have attractive positions, but both eventually went astray in radically different ways - Hammer being methodically rolled back, while Lie's sacrificial melee with Kozul was arguably the most spectacular and interesting game of the tournament, but in one of the oddest resulting material imbalances I have ever seen in my life, the Norwegian's king turned out to be frighteningly exposed and impossible to defend in time trouble.

1. e4 c5 2. ♘f3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. ♘xd4 a6 5. c4 ♘f6 6. ♘c3 d6 7. ♗d3 ♕b6 8. ♗e3 ♕c7 9. 0-0 ♘bd7 10. f4 b6 11. ♖c1 ♗e7 12. ♕f3 0-0 13. g4 g6 14. g5 ♘h5 15. b4 White has staked claims in the center and on both wings. Black either needs to counter with a pawn break or remain passive and hope White overextends.

15... ♖e8? This sets the stage for later tactics on f7. Continuing development with

15... ♗b7 seemed more logical.

16. e5! White grabs his chance to strike before Black has managed to mobilize his forces.

16... dxe5 17. f5! ♗b7 18. ♘d5! White goes all-in.

18... exd5 19. fxg6 fxg6 20. ♕f7+ ♔h8 21. ♗xg6 It was already too late to start caring about material.

21... hxg6 22. ♕xg6 ♘df6 23. ♕h6+ ♔g8 24. ♕g6+ ♔h8 25. ♘e6? This natural looking move turns out to be a mistake. The computer gives White a clear edge after

25. ♕h6+ ♔g8 26. ♘e6 ♗c5 27. ♘xc5 ♕h7 28. gxf6 ♕xh6 29. f7+ ♔h7 30. ♗xh6 ♖g8+ 31. fxg8Q+ ♖xg8+ 32. ♔f2 bxc5 33. ♗d2 White will probably be able to make his extra exchange count in this ending.

25... ♗c5 26. ♘xc7 ♗xe3+ 27. ♔g2 ♗xg5 28. ♘xe8 ♖xe8 This is an incredibly difficult position to evaluate. Black has four pieces for queen and rook, and both kings are vulnerable.

29. ♕f7 ♗a8 30. c5 bxc5 31. bxc5 ♗c6 32. ♕c7 ♗b5 33. c6 ♖g8 34. ♔h3? White commits a fatal error in time trouble. A draw seems likely after

34. ♔h1 ♗xc1 35. ♖xc1 ♗d3 36. ♖e1 ♗e4+ 37. ♖xe4 ♘xe4 38. ♕xe5+ ♘hf6 39. ♕f5 ♖g7 40. ♕f4 ♘e8 41. h3 ♘c7 Black has a slight material advantage, but he needs to keep White's c-pawn at bay. And should his rook stray from the kingside, then White will probably be able to obtain perpetual check.

34... ♗xc1 35. ♕xe5 ♗xf1+ White resigned due to

36. ♔h4 ♖g4#


Norway 2 drew with Colombia 2-2, and though this was a very slightly disappointing result, they have now tied Norway 1 in match points. Norway 2 has 23 game points – Norway 1 only 21.5.

Trivia interlude

@nvmea posted an interesting question on Twitter, wondering

Our @TarjeiJS came up with the answer:

Karjakin also won an individual gold, scoring 6.5/7.

Round 10 bulletin

You can download and enjoy our free PDF bulletin, including GM Einar Gausel's "Blunders, upsets and knockouts" section and now the interim as well as the final report, by clicking the link below:

Tomorrow is another rest day before Thursday's final round, when the games start ‌three hours earlier at 11am EST. We'll of course be covering the action live, but you may want to use the rest day to catch up on some of today's commentary - for instance, the segment when Australian GM David Smerdon joined the show:

More videos here.

Useful links:

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