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42nd Chess Olympiad – Baku – 2016 Round 5: Lebanon lost 0.5 – 3.5 to Jordan A lot of missed Opportunities

42nd Chess Olympiad – Baku – 2016

Round 5: Lebanon lost 0.5 – 3.5 to Jordan

A lot of missed Opportunities

When Fadi Eid is playing White, everyone is expecting a sparkle play. The Modern Defense adopted by his board 1 Jordanian opponent FM Samir Mansour (2253) transformed quickly to the endgame phase, but not a dull one. The thunderbolt that Fadi sent to the e6 square proves the creativity of the board 1 Lebanese player, and how much it let the other team players feel secure when Fadi is leading them. A sacrifice of a knight for 2 pawns and a lasting initiative forced his opponent to play the only moves just to stay in the game. A critical moment arises on move 22 when Fadi had the chance to push the attacked passed a-pawn, but he preferred to swith the rook to the other side of the board. Samir snatched the pawn, and defended well. Some imprecise moves from Fadi’ side at the start of the second time control enabled his opponent to liquidate into a pure R+B vs R ending. Fadi defended very well, and the peace was signed on move 110 after five and half hours of play.

I don’t know what kind of ideas (or ghosts) passed by Amr El Jawich’s mind. Facing the closed Sicilian of his IM opponent Ahamd ElKahtib (2253), he played the opening and the early stage of the middle game in an impeccable fashion. He even profited from his opponent’s inaccurate moves to win the exchange with a considerable advantage. When he got to opportunity to get rid of his undeveloped c8-bishop (by playing BxNa6), he didn’t seize that change. May be he was planning for a brighter future for his white squared bishop. On move 27, instead of playing his King’s Indian favorite move, Nh5, he retreated the knight to d7, then to c5, and even let it go for an illusionary counter play on the f-file.

Meanwhile, his opponent started constructing the only plan available to him on the dark squares diagonal a1-h8. The threat of mating or losing having material forced Amr to stop the clocks.

On board 3, Antoine Kassis faced the French Defense of FM Mohannad Farhan (2294). A mixed of Winnawer and Nimzowich variations didn’t bring the desired result for the Jordanian player. Antoine seized the initiative and constructed a very nice position in the forthcoming middle game stage. On move 20, he got his chance to increase significantly his advantage by opening the g-file for his artillery, but instead he played modestly, allowing Mohannad to open the h-file for his king’s rook. After a few moves, when the situation stabilized, and having an annoying rook on h7, Antoine give up the b-pawn in order to create an attack. His opponent reacted well, forcing White’s king in a somewhat open position. The result of a small combination resulted in a 3 extra pawns net for Black. To finish his agony, Antoine let his king be mated.

On board 4, Abdulaziz Mahmoud was facing with the black pieces the dangerous IM Sami Khoder (2373). Sami’s intentions with his 4th move were very clear: attack as early as possible. Abdulaziz reacted very well, found the correct antidote to Sami’s aggressive mood, and even got an advantage in the late stage of the opening. But, instead of freezing White’s initiative in the center, by playing the thematic e5 (on move 15 or 16), he gave Sami the chance to do it. After that, the initiative passed to White, which Sami increased with each move. The break through on the queen side put the black pieces in a nearly zugzwang position, where a heavy loss couldn’t be avoided.

My impression is that the Lebanese players are getting a nice advantage in the opening and the middle game stages. But they need to work harder to consolidate that advantage. Sometimes they throw it away by miscalculating a certain line, sometimes by going to the extreme choice of finishing the game quickly when a simple and normal move could let them conserve that advantage. Also I noticed that when they are short of time, instead of maneuvering and preparing their game for the next endgame phase, they start rushing their moves, may be to get released from that annoying time pressure that dominated their feeling and mind. Being cool and transferring the pressure to the opponent may be a good hint.

Tomorrow is a rest day.

Click here to download the games of the Lebanese team.

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