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Tromsø Olympiad: Round 9

Tromsø Olympiad: Round 9

Not properly a cool round

The Fide presidency election was the hot spot of today’s news. His Excellency Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was reelected as President of FIDE, with 110 votes against 61 for Garry Kasparov.

Back to earth now.

Although Lebanese Men team made a tie with their New Zealander opponent, the games weren’t calm. The big difference of more than 180 points between the teams ELO averages could suggest that the Lebanese guys could face hard time. Just take a look at the top seeded teams, especially Russia. You will surprised where he is playing, I mean his matches numbers during the course of the previous rounds. The ELO difference is not so important in certain types of events, especially the Olympiad.

On board one, Antoine Kassis faced with the black pieces IM Puchen Wang. Antoine adopted the hyper-solid Schlechter variation of the Slav defense. Instead of forming the triangle setup in the center, he preferred to adopt a freeing strategy, liquidating the central pawns. The forced theoretical variation gave him the desired clearance of the center. Most probably the 17..Qc7 (instead of the theoretical and the better 17..Qb6 – pressurizing immediately the b2 pawn) was the start of Antoine’s problems. Puchen dominated quickly the central open files and the 7th rank, forcing Antoine to enter a defensive stup (exchanging his queen for a rook and bishop). The unavoidable loss of the a-pawn without any counter-play were enough reasons for Antoine to stop the clocks.

On board two, Amr El-Jawich was playing White against IM R. J. Dive. Dive adopted the Philidor defense. The change of move order by Amr (4. Bc4 instead of Nc3) was a clever way to set up a trap in the opening as early as move 4, a well-known trap that could be avoided with the nearly only-move (4..c6). And Dive felt into it! Amr’s play netted him a pawn with a space advantage. Entering the endgame phase, in order to seek salvation, was what Amr counted on. He played in incapable way. The beautiful tactical conversion of an advantage into another more valuable was nice played. The threats of winning a piece, appearance of a white queen (with check) on the board, may be more than one, not to mention the miserable position of the black king forced Dive to call it a day. An instructive technical game by Amr.

On board three, Ibrahim Chahrour adopted with the black pieces the Pirc defense against IM Anthony Ker (too much IMs to face during this round). Ker tried to initiate an attack on Ibrahim’s king, who extinguished in a nice way and even took the initiative. The exchange of rooks on the d-file decreased a little bit the pressure that Ibrahim exerted on the white king. Take a look at the position: Space advantage for Black, a better pawn structure, a fantastic knight on f4 that dominating his both counterparts, a better bishop. Just remains to recycle the h6-knight and centralizing the king. Ker understood that his position is not to be enviable and tried to exchange the f4-knight. I think it was here that Ibrahim made the imprecise move, of exchanging his f4-knight for the g2 one (instead of let it be exchanged on f4, vacating the e5-square for the other knight). Exchanging the queens followed by 3-moves repetition resulted in peace signature.

On board four, Bassel Charaf was playing White against FM Ben Hague. His 1.e3 move came as a surprise for his opponent.By transposition of moves, they entered the exchange variation of the French defense, which has the reputation of draw tendency. The accurate play by Bassel kept his opponent’s very slight initiative at bay. After mass of exchanges, they reach a stable drawn endgame. Splitting the point was the normal result.

New Zealand: 2 – Lebanon: 2

In the Women section, the Lebanese ladies team was to face the Canada one. On board one, Knarik Mouradian, playing White, adopted the Alapin-Shveshnikov variation against the Sicilian defense of WIM Yuanling Yuan. A typical middle game with isolated d-pawn resulted, where both players played solidly. The static positions of both parties forced them to sign the peace.

On board two, Elena Nekrasova, playing Black against WFM Alexandra Botez, adopted the Queen’s Gambit Accepted. Also a typical middle game with isolated d-pawn was reached. Elena got some initiative in surrounding this weak pawn. Some imprecise liquidation let her advantage vanished. The offer of the peace that accompanied her 31st move (31..g5?) was accepted by Alexandra, who missed a nice opportunity at that critical moment to get a strong initiative if she noticed the variation (32.Qc8+ Kg7 33BxNd5!) that could yield to a very annoying passed c-pawn.

On board three, Maya Jalloul played with the white pieces against WCM Qiyu Zhou. The English opening was again on the schedule, an easy prediction. In somewhat balanced position issued from the opening, some dubious moves and exchanges started to appear on the board. The attack initiated by Qiyu was too strong, especially after opening the long diagonal for the black Italian bishop. The sacrifice of exchange enabled Qiyu to dominate the black squares around Maya’s king, not to mention the mass of black pawns that formed a cloud around it. Stopping the clock was the only solution to stop Maya’ suffering.

On board four, Youmna Makhlouf adopted with the black pieces the French against WIM Nava Starr. The queen’s fianchetto setup adopted by Nava wasn’t too much menacing. Youmna countered it with a nice initiative on the queen side where Nava’s king was seeking refuge. In a somewhat balanced position with dynamic play, the repetition of moves forced the peace signature.

Lebanon: 1.5 – Canada: 2.5


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