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Tromsø Olympiad: Round 6

Tromsø Olympiad: Round 6:

A good day for the Ladies, a bad one for the Gentlemen

Yesterday’s rest day is usually an occasion for the players to recharge their brains’ batteries. Some did, some recharged them partially, and others preferred to recharge other parts of their body’s batteries.

In the Women section, Knarik Mouradian, playing Black on the board one, adopted the King’s Indian defense against her Irish opponent WFM Poornima Jayadev. A classical middle game arose, where every side showed the corresponding plan. A nice stroke (26..Nxe4!!) showed how much Knarik was on alert for the nuances of the position. Although at a later moments she let her opponent some chances to escape, her fighting will was on its high. The endgame phase with rooks and opposite colored bishops was played nicely by Knarik. The appearance of a new black queen forced Poornima to stop the clock.

On board two, Elena Nekrasova was facing with the white pieces Diana Mirza. Some cool play in the Scandinavian defense resulted in exchanges of queens, rooks and several minor pieces. In the resulting simplified endgame, Elena emerged with an extra pawn. But in the presence of opposite color bishop she couldn’t capitalized it. The peace signature was a fair result.

On board three, Maya Jalloul, playing Black against WCM Gearoidin Laighleis, adopted the Pirc defense. Some modest moves by White enabled Maya to play freely a typical Pirc counter-play in the center and on the queen side where the white king tried to seek refuge. The attacking plan constructed by Maya was very instructive. As always, some tactical strokes are the results of good strategy, and this game is not an exception. Gearoidin had to stop the clock before materials loss would be fatal.

On board four, Danielle Bedrossian adopted with white pieces the English opening against WCM Karina Kruk. A couple of imprecise moves by Danielle enabled Karina to launch an attack against Danielle’s king. The later tried to seek salvation in a series of exchanges that only improved the scoop of the former’s pieces. Danielle tried to muddle the water, but the loss of the piece was unavoidable. Blundering a rook was enough reason to stop the game progress.

So, Ireland: 1.5 – Lebanon: 2.5 .Not bad.

It seems that the Ladies batteries were better changed than the Men’s ones, as the formers were paired to face the Slovakian team. Everyone who sit on board one knows how much heavy the pressure on his shoulders is. And playing against the famous Lubomir Ftacnik is not an easy task, at least with White you can avoid playing 1.e4 against his encyclopedic Sicilian knowledge. Faisal adopted the trendy 3.f3 against Ftacnik’s King’s Indian defense. Faisal emerged from the opening with a slight advantage. But a couple of preparatory moves allowed his famous opponent to start a counter-play in the center. I don’t know what Faisal missed in his calculations of the issuing tactical exchanges, was it 25..Bb3 or 27..Bb2, but Ftacnik won the exchange for a pawn. After the exchange of the dark square bishops, a zugzwang position could hardly be avoided. After a couple of moves Faisal stopped the clocks.

On board two, Antoine Kassis, playing Black against GM Peter Michalik, adopted the solid Slav defense. He played it in a nearly perfect way that his opponent couldn’t find any instructive plan. Entering into the endgame phase was even better for Antoine. Keep the tension and never exchange anything till the right moment was the motto of his strategy, a strategy that enabled him to reach a very advantageous endgame. Alas, at this critical moment, the offer of the draw, which was accepted, meant that Antoine’s battery was in a drain status.

On board three, Amr ElJawish adopted the English opening against GM Tomas Petrik. An early exchange of queens and the Torre system adopted by Tomas gave him a solid position against Amr’ static advantage. After a long maneuvering of minor pieces, and in a balanced position, Amr blundered a piece, and a half point.

On board four, Bassel Charaf played his first Olympic game with the black pieces against IM Tamas Petenyi. Adopting the closed variation of the Lopez was a nice choice that suits very well his style of maneuvering play. Although Tamas got the normal advantage in a King’s Indian middle game (a common theme between the Ruy Lopez and the KID), Bassel’s position was solid enough. Till suddenly, he let his opponent exchange his dark square bishop for one of  his knight, fixing the center, and enabling the white knights to dominate the gaps on the white squares. A black knight on a8 (what it is doing there?), a bishop on h6 attacking the air, an only open-file, the d one, occupied by white’s heavy pieces were more than enough for Tamas to transform his positional advantage into a material one. A knight fork on d6 forced Bassel to stop the clock.

Lebanon: 0.5 – Slovakia: 3.5

Don’t forget to recharge your batteries to the full.

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