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42nd Chess Olympiad – Baku – 2016 Round 6: Lebanon lost 1-3 to Kosovo

42nd Chess Olympiad – Baku – 2016

Round 6: Lebanon lost 1-3 to Kosovo

Too much ghosts


As Fadi Eid took a rest in this round, the first board in this 6th round was Amr El Jawich’s responsibility. The exchange variation adopted by FM Saraci (2337) against Amr’s King’s Indian Defense resulted in a queen-less middle game with mutual chances. Amr got several chances to eliminate the e4-pawn, the base of the small white pawn chain, with chances to catch the initiative, but he postponed his decision, till he made it at the wrong moment. The time pressure took his effect on Amr’s play, as his king was left alone for white rooks invasion, while the white’s king was well protected on the queen side. The threat of losing his Dragon bishop forced Amr to seek salvation in playing a desperate variation containing tactical exchanges of pieces, hoping to construct an imaginary fortress. But alone rook versus 2 pieces and 3 pawns forced was a logical reason to force him to stop the clocks.

I don’t know what happened to Antoine Kassis during the game. It is the first time I saw him switching from a nearly winning position, to a poorly passively defensive strategy. After obtaining a great advantage in the opening and in the middle game against Makolli (2289), the later was forced to exchange queens in order to reduce the huge initiative that Antoine gained with this fantastic play. Instead of the ugly 25 c4 (??), he could crown his strategy by the fantastic 25 b3!!, so that after 25..bxc3, the first knight can jump to c4, while the other one on a4 can take the c3 pawn with a tied bind around the black pieces. Instead, after a successful mass of exchanges, it was his opponent who started annoying him on the queen side, and the panic effect forced Antoine to shift all his remaining pieces to the queen side, leaving for Black a free hand on both flank. Taking the poisoned b-pawn costed Antoine a piece, and the game.

On board 3, Elie Asmar adopted the King’s Indian defense against his FM opponent Ermeni (2270). The theoretical debate in the Fianchetto variation resulted in a middle game position with equal chances. (Equal chances) doesn’t mean equality. With his aggressive style, Elie complicated the position by breaking the symmetry of the pieces when he exchanged his white-squares bishop for the white d5-knight. The adventure of the white queen on the Black queen side gave Elie the strong initiative on the king side, especially on the f and h files. When his attack was in its peak, Elie agreed to draw, after his opponent’s 43 Kg3, when he could have a smashing winning position after 43..Qh7.

On board 4, Abdulaziz Mahmoud faced with the white pieces the FM Fejzullahu (2298). An old line of Tarrasch defense appeared on the board, where Black didn’t find any difficulties in equalizing the opening stage. May be this equality led him to underestimate his opponent, so he started a certain obvious attack on Abdulaziz’ king, who defended very well and even with some counter strokes snatches the initiative from his opponent. This initiative starts growing against the Black’s king. But when the time arrived to convert this advantage into more tangible one on the queen side, as White possessed the open c-file with a classical isolated d5-pawn in the Black’s camp, Abdelaziz continued with his direct plan, enabling his opponent to keep the queens on the board and bolstering his central weakness. In a complicated position, with time trouble approaching, where anything can happen, the offer of peace by Abdelaziz was accepted by his opponent.

Well, a missed draw (may be more) on board 1, a missed win on board 2, a missed win on board 3 and also on board 4. I will let you make the calculation what the score could be.

Nerves, ghosts, or bad calculation? Bad luck? May be.

(the photo at the head of the article was taken from the First Olympiad 1927)

Click here to download the games of the Lebanese team.

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