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Tromsø Olympiad: Round 10

Tromsø Olympiad: Round 10

A tense penultimate round


That the least what we can say about today’s round games. In the Women section, Lebanon faced Costa Rica. On board one, Knarik Mouradian played with the black pieces the King’s Indian Defense against WFM Olga Gamboa. Kanarik reacted very well to the ambitious Averbakh variation executed by her opponent. But some exchanges in the center, and especially the grabbing of the queen side pawns by Knarik enabled Olga to gain the necessary time required to construct a strong attack against the black king. Knarik had to defend too hard in order to protect her king, even was somewhat forced to lock in her free queen on h8. I got the feeling that it was like a punishment for eating too much poisoned pawns. In the end, that same queen perished due to the sans-faute attack by Olga’s heavy artilleries. Stopping the clocks by Knarik was the logical reaction.

On board two, Elena Nekrasova, playing White against WFM Arrieta Elena Rodriguez, played the Spanish Opening. (Yes, no mistake in typing: WFM Elena vs WFM Elena). The closed variation by Arrieta gave the normal slight edge for the White player. Closing the center and initiating play on the queen side gave the Lebanese Elena a nice advantage. As everyone knows Tarrasch’ s (When one of your pieces is badly placed, your game position is bad), and the black knight on b7 is a proof, not only in this game and in all typical Spanish games (just take a look at Karpov’ s games when he used to play 1.e4). Winning the black queen for a white rook was a result of a nice strategy by the Lebanese player. The invasion of the white queen deeply into black’s queen side, with several threats on her schedule forced the Costa Rican Elena to resign.

On board three, Maya Jalloul played with Black the Sicilian Defense against Lisseth Mendez. The later adopted the double-fianchetto variation, transposing to a non-ambitioned variation of the King’s Indian Attack. Maya played well the opening, and at the early stage of the middle game, she even took the initiative. A small slip from her part enabled Mendez to push the e4 pawn to e5. But that wasn’t too important, as on move 18, instead of delving more deeply into the position and calculating the critical and dangerous Nd3 variation, she panicked and played BxNe4? May be she was afraid of a certain Nf6+ or similar aggression on f6. Anyway, from this turning point moment, her opponent didn’t let the advantage escape from her. Weakening the king side enabled Mendez to enter the endgame with an extra pawn, then another pawn was added to the pocket. In a desperate rook endgame position, resigning was the best choice for Maya.

On board 4, Youmna Makhlouf played with White the Center Game against Maria Gonzalez. It seems that both players were in a fighting mood as each one was trying to get to her opponent’s king. But Youmna profited from some lazy moves from her opponent side, to accelerate her attack. With a fantastic night on d5 and open lines against the black king, collecting the black queen for a white rook crowned Youmna’ strategy.  When the black queen side pawns were on the verge to disappear, Maria resigned.

Costa Rica: 2 – Lebanon: 2.

In the Open Section, Lebanon beat Ethiopia 2.5 – 1.5. On board one, Faisal Khairallah played White gainst Leykun Mesfin. The symmetrical variation of the English opening led to interesting middle game play. Suddenly, Mesfin decided to sacrifice a piece for 2 pawns with a potential (or illusory) attack against Faisal’s king. The later played some precise moves to repulse his opponent’s attack, then started his counter play, forcing the exchange of queens to enter a favorable endgame with extra piece. One piece and three pawns down were enough reasons for the Ethiopian player to stop the clocks.

On board two, Amr ElJawish, playing Black against Estube Tadese, adopted his favorite King’s Indian Defense. Estube played solidly, and even at a certain stage got an advantage. A smart maneuvering of pieces from Amr’s part enabled him to seize the initiative. Then in order to create chance to win in a queen less position, Amr took the risk to open the position on the king side. And the adventure was re-launched. Both sides obtained passed pawns, and a new queen for each side was incarcerated. After some thrilling moves, Estube was a knight up, but Amr succeeded in exchanging all pawns on the board, and with the threat of exchanging the new-born queens, both players signed the peace.

Did you take your medicine when watching Amr’s game? No? Then fasten your seatbelt and take them now as Ibrahim Chahrour’s game is now on the schedule. Just as an appetizer, he played the Belgrade Gambit of the Scotch Opening against FM Yimam Belachew. As a result of his aggressive opening moves, he obtained a very promising advantage, especially that his opponent’s king was forfeited from castling. I don’t know, when his opponent exchanged the queens, he didn’t recapture with the bishop and conserving his big advantage, but instead he did it with the a-pawn, creating double isolated b-pawns in his camp. In the issuing endgame, the Ethiopian player got some initiative, but didn’t know how convert it into something more tangible. The creativity of Ibrahim entered the fray, and the sacrifice of the exchange for central pawns turned the table. Yimam tried some tricked but Ibrahim was on alert. The threat of the appearance of a new white queen forced Yimam to stop the clocks.

On board four, Bassel Charaf played Black against Aydaghnuhem Abera. The Scotch game was on the menu. On move 8, White played the inferior 8.e5?!, enabling Bassel to take the advantage, an advantage that could be increased by 10..f6!, instead of the normal 10..Re8. After some attack and defense and adventure play from both sides, they reach a rook endgame, where Bassel could cause problems for his opponent on move 35 if he played Re8+, followed by Re2. Instead, he defended his passed pawn, which was blockaded, enabling his opponent to get a chance to play actively. He tried to defend creatively, but White passed b-pawn was too strong, forcing him to stop the clocks.

Click here to download the games.

NB: Carlsen lost with Black today, using the Bird defense. It seems that he didn’t read my last year’s articles about that opening :)

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