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42nd Chess Olympiad – Baku – 2016 Round 4: Lebanon beat Syria 2.5 – 1.5

42nd Chess Olympiad – Baku – 2016

Round 4: Lebanon beat Syria 2.5 – 1.5

Watching the game on board 1 between Fadi Eid (Black) against AbdulKader Rayes (2254), I felt that the game was going to finish quickly, as Fadi profited from the weak play of his opponent in the opening who adopted the Fianchetto variation in the Pirc defense. A creative and imaginative play netted Fadi a pawn with a better active pieces. It was enough for him to propose, on move 28, to exchange the queens, then netting an exchange and the game. Even what he subsequently played was also winning. Till move 33 (Nf6+), when he played the automatic R xf6 (??) [After Kh8 he was still winning], he was shocked by the thunder Bxd5+, attacking his king AND his g7 bishop along the g-file, with a mating threat, forcing him to resign. A vexing feeling after a well and beautifully conducted game.

On board 2, Amr El Jawich, playing White, faced the Accelerated Dragon from Gassan Bello (2096). The accelerated variation then slowed down to normal Dragon without Bc4. After a series of theoretical moves, Gassan innovates with 15..Qa5 (?). After some thought, Amr found the refutation, and after a serious of forced moves, he encircled the black queen, forcing the Syrian player to dispose his arms. A well calculated game by Amr.

Board 3 game was the last one to finish in this match. Antoine Kassis adopted the Benoni defense against Sohib Okla (2153). An imprecise move order by Antoine in the opening (9..a6 and 10..Nbd7 should be switched) enabled Sohib to acquire a slight initiative, which he increased slowly. Antoine tried to initiate something on the queen side, but barely succeeded. In order to reduce White’s initiative, Antoine was somewhat forced to sacrifice the exchange. The game entered the technical phase, where the white rooks tried to find a certain role on the queen side against Black’s pawns, while the black rook and knight started to worry the white king. As time pressure was taking effect on the game progress, Sohib returned the exchange in the hope that the issuing pawn endgame is winning for him, to be surprised by Antoine precise play, as having a pawn on the c-file led to theoretical draw. Sohib tested Antoine’s knowledge but has to admit to split the point. A great saving by Antoine that tipped the score for Lebanon favor.

On board 4 Elie Asmar, playing White, faced the experienced Talal AlZaim (2259). A French Tarrasch appeared quickly on the board. Entering the middle game phase, underestimating his opponent, Talal initiated a certain attack on the king side, without taking care of his king. After winning a central e-pawn, the Syrian player thought that the game was in his hand, to be awakened by the splendid reaction from Elie: a counter attack on the same flank, recovering his pawn, netting him a pawn and a furious attack with the presence of 2 rooks and bishop on each side, but opposite color ones. The technique of queening the f-pawn was masterly played by Elie. Just to finish the game with a smile, Talal let his king be mated by Elie’s queen.

With this win, Elie Asmar opened his account in his first Olympiad. His stability, calculation and time management are improving with every game. More points please.

Click here to download the games of the Lebanese team.

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