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42nd Chess Olympiad – Baku – 2016 Round 3: A bitter defeat

42nd Chess Olympiad – Baku – 2016

Round 3: A bitter defeat


Playing against a motivated team is not easy, especially if the opponent is playing on his own ground land. This must put the Lebanese players, and their coach in a critical situation: what strategy to adopt in this type of situation.

When I was following the games live, I got a bad feeling: My friends are not playing their type of chess. Is it new preparation? New approach in their training? As the games are in progress, I started to see the bad end, and hoped that the trend will be broken, but 4-0 was a hard stroke.

After few minutes, by curiosity, I fetched the games of the Azeri players in the ChessBase, and noticed that all of them played not their first preferred move, but their second one! Not a bad strategy in saving a lot of time in preparation against the Lebanese players.

Fadi Eid faced the English opening which was adopted by FM Asadli (2406). Fadi knows how to beat the Sicilian, but playing on the other side of the board and manipulating a Sicilain type structure is not easy. Even when his opponent pushed e4, reaching a pure Sicilian pawn structure, he could make something, but he didn’t play the Hedgehog setup in its pure form. His opponent continues his domination, and even after exchange of queens, a pawn less and an annoying pin on his knight forced Fadi to stop the clocks.

On board 2, Amr El Jawich faced the Alekhine defense of his Azeri FM Bashirli (2387). After his opponent 12th move (12..d5) Amr played 13 Ne5. I was expecting 13 c5 from his part, as the resulting pawn structure is common to him from the Caro-Kann defense. An isolated d4-pawn, a king in the center, his opponent’s raging bishops and a severe lack of time, all this lead to a loss of a piece, and the game.

Following the board 3 game of Elie Asmar, as Black, against his FM opponent Gadimbayli (2294), I expected at least a draw, as Elie played a la perfection his opening entering a promising middle game phase. A series of exchanges, somewhat linear from Black point of view led to an equal endgame with  Rook + Knight on each side. I don’t know if Elie noticed 13..Re8, instead of the played 13..Nd5, which could give him a certain initiative due to the alignment of the White queen with her king. Anyway, when the game was heading toward a peaceful result, Elie proposed the exchange of the remaining rooks before centralizing his king. The pawn ending was easily winning for White. Pity. Just one mistake and all the efforts were thrown away.

On board 4, AbdelAziz Mahmoud played his favorite opening, the English, against FM Gasimov (2323). After a long theoretical line, the middle game is reached with chances for both side, although theoretically White retains more practical chances, on condition to continue in a prepare way. But, on move 18, instead of the played 18 Rc1 (?!), it was better to play 18 Qd2! With a strong play. After this imprecise move, the Azeri player took the initiative. AbdelAziz defended well, and a chance to equalize arose on move 27. Instead of playing 27 Qe2, he mistakenly played 27 f5?, followed after a couple of moves by another blunder.

This defeat must be forgotten tonight, as a lot of fighting rounds are awaited the players.

Click here to download the games of the Lebanese team.

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