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Tromsø Olympiad: Round 4

Tromsø Olympiad: Round 4:It could be a clear wash

Yes indeed, The Men’s team, facing the Malta one, missed the opportunity to put the full 4 points into their pocket. Faisal Khairallah, playing Black against the CM David Vincenti, adopted the Leningrad variation of the Dutch defense. An imprecise move from David in the opening was brilliantly refuted by Faisal, gaining a clear advantage, translated by creating a lot of open lines towards the white king, especially Faisal’s dark squares bishop, which was transformed into a dragon.  Faisal finished off his opponent with a smashing attack. A nice game to open the personal score in the Olympiad.

On board two, Antoine Kassis, playing White against CM Robert Zerafa, adopted a clam variation of the Italian game. A somewhat balanced middle game resulted, where black has a solid position. Antoine shacked it a bit, and his strategy was successful, as the black king was exposed. With equal heavy materials of each side, Antoine’s technique in withdrawing the king to the middle of the board is remarkable. As the black queen is going to be lost, not to mention the rook and the king, the maltese player saw no solution but to stop the clock.

Board three saw Ibrahim Chahrour adopting the King’s Indian against the CM Patrick Zerafa. Ibrahim offered his opponent h-pawn, a well-known trap against the Saemish variation, which Patrick fell into it! The resulting middle game position was very advantageous for Ibrahim, where White was finding great difficulties coordinating his pieces. Suddenly, instead of consolidating his advantage, the former started playing a series week moves, resulting in freeing white’s bad bishop, centralizing the white knight, and the most important, safeguarding his king, which Ibrahim tried to attack, but in vain. With 2 pawns less, and a trapped rook, Ibrahim called it a day.

Bassel Charaf, playing for the first time in the Olympiad, proved up to the responsibilities required from an Olympic player. A cool opening, the English, against his CM opponent, Duncan Vella, was on his agenda. A tactical stroke (13. Ncb5!!) in the opening, a minority attack in the middle game, a refutation of an opponent’s trap, switching the attack to the king side, returning or/and sacrificing materials in order to nude the black king, and a final touch (33. Bxh6), a bag of strategic and tactical motives, all in one game! No one can ask for more. And a point for the Men’s team.

Malta: 1 – Lebanon: 3.

In the Women section, the Lebanese ladies had to face the strong Estonian ones. On board one, Knarik Mouradian, playing Black against the WGM Mai Narva, emerged from the opening with a solid position. Narva tried to construct an initiative on the king side, to be faced by a counter play from the Lebanese WIM on the same side. Fantastic strokes were hammered by Kanarik on her opponent’s king, resulting in a winning endgame. A strong Dragon bishop (again!) coupled with a free rook and 2-3 pawns were more than enough for Knarik’s cool technique. The rook sacrifice for the white knight was a nice touch to give her opponent a rest day.

On board two, Elena Nekrasova was facing with the white pieces WIM Monika Tsiganova. The Najdorf Sicilian middle game was on the menu. Elena played superbly the middle game, refuting her opponent’s counter play, and even got a big advantage, then turned her attention to the Black king. Just one miscalculation was enough to throw away all the accumulated advantages. Not only that, the resulting endgame was also winning for Black L What can I say? Hard luck.

On board three, Maya Jalloul, playing with the black pieces, faced WCM Triin Narva. From a solid position, Instead of consolidating her position, Maya started playing some dubious moves, allowing some exchanges that gave White a strong knight in the center. In order to extinguish her opponent’s initiative on the king side, she was forced to weaken her king’s protection. A small combination executed by her opponent resulted in a lost endgame for the Lebanese player.

I don’t know what is happening to Danielle. After obtaining a solid endgame against her opponent WIM Tatyana Fomina, she even obtained a small advantage. Just after the first threat from her opponent, Danielle panicked and opened lines for the black rooks, resulting in losing the king side white pawn. Blundering at least a rook was enough to stop the clocks.

Estonia: 3 – Lebanon: 1

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