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42nd Chess Olympiad – Baku – 2016 Round 2: Lebanon beat Surinam 3-1

42nd Chess Olympiad – Baku – 2016

Round 2: Lebanon beat Surinam 3-1

Yesterday, when I saw the pairing that Lebanon is going to face Surinam, I thought it will be an easy task for the Lebanese players. Of course I don’t underestimate any lower rated player or team, especially in the most prestigious event like the Olympiad. The psychological status is very important for the player when there is a respectable gap in the Elo between the players and their opponents.

On board 1, Fadi Eid was playing White against Motaewi (2042), who has a FM title. Having an FM title means that the guy should have some experience. The former adopted the Grand Prix Attack, with the Bc4 line, creating chaos as early as the opening phase, with a lot of targets to hit in the Black camp. After removing of the queens, Fadi was unstoppable: Open file and rank for his rook, a jumping knight against a paralyzed black bishop, a centralized king, 2 or 3  passed pawns. Too much for Black, especially against Fadi.

On board 2, Amr El Jawich was playing Black against another FM, Giasi (1979). A closed Sicilian was on the agenda. A solid play from Amr, supported by an initiative on the queen side gave him a stable advantage. The reached endgame was played in an impeccable manner, where his opponent tried to create something, but nothing happened. Amr conducted the rest of the game to its normal conclusion.

Board three witnessed an exciting game between Antoine Kassis (White) and CM Sanches (2082). It looks like Sanches prepared well his opening, the Modern defense. But Antoine, with his f5 push, starts an attack against the black king, and obtained a promising position. When everything was ready for the final knock out, time trouble interfered, and the position starts its zigzag evaluation, from clearly winning to White to equal chances for Black, affecting my blood pressure. When, at move 37, Antoine was offered the chance to stabilize my blood pressure and collect the exchange (Ng5 x Rh3), he took the rook with the g-pawn, allowing a perpetual check.

The opening played by AbdulAziz Mahmoud on board 4 against CM Hanoeman (2012) (all those titles ????) was very interesting. I was expected the modern variation of the Benoni (with Nf3, e4 and h3), but instead of e6, AbdelAziz hits with b5?!? a Benko move, taking the game to another planet. From a pure theoretical view, White should retain an advantage on condition to play creatively the only moves (or implementing the only plan). The weak 11 Qc2(?) (instead of the stronger Bg5!) allowed AbdulAziz to play freely, somewhat, his Benko plan. But his opponent defended well. After a mass of exchanges, the queen endgame reached with a slight advantage for Black, but White defended well, and a draw was the result.

So, 3-1 for Lebanon over Surinam isn’t bad, but it could be more. At least the goal is achieved: winning the match.

Click here to download the games of the Lebanese team.

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