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Round 9 of the 43rd Olympiad – Batumi 2018

Round 9 of the 43rd Olympiad – Batumi 2018

Giving up half points here and there

Watching the (Blitz) game on board 4 between Mahdi and his IM Nigerian opponent is a nice feeling. For several moments you forgot that the game is played in the prestigious event like an Olympiad. And Mahdi, with his French defense, succeeded in outplaying his opponent, reaching a winning endgame position. Continuing with the (Blitz) inertia, and possibly wanting to finish with grand style, Mahdi sacrificed his bishop for the remaining white pawn, thinking that, by pushing his 2 passed f and c pawns,  the position will win by itself. A cold shower was waiting him, and others, when the white knight returns in tempo , collecting the f-pawn, and waiting the appearance of the black queen on c1 to be collected with a fork, forcing the agree to point split. In this way, the first half point escaped from the Lebanese basket.

The second game to finish was Amr’s one. His IM opponent adopted the English opening against Amr’s favorite setup. Keeping the white king without castling on either side for long time had its effect on Amr’s planning decision. Instead of maneuvering, he tried to open the position with the f-trust, resulting in the exchange of light squares bishop, and enabling the long castling of the white king. All this gave the Nigerian player an easy play and a strong initiative against Amr’s king, especially as the closed center facilitated the attack development by White. As any defense is fruitless, Amr resigned. With missing a lot of chances to open early the position in the center, a half point could be saved.

The 2.a3 played by Fadi on board 1 against his FM Nigerian opponent is an indication that he is in a fighting mood for this round (and in all ones, I believe). Reaching a very complication position in the middle is the only way to compensate for the lost half points by his team mates. But his opponent was up to the task, reaching an endgame with equal chances. Even then, Fadi, again tried to play for initiative, and he succeeded to a certain extend. But the black rook and bishop were so active, and with precise moves, a simplified endgame is reached, with Black having the bishop against the wrong color of the corner square and split of the point can’t be avoided.

The last game to finish was Maroun’s. He tried as much as possible to hold his position against his IM opponent, and he succeeded in constructing a heroic defense, reaching a solid position after the first time control. An opportunity arose at move 53, to snatch the e5 pawn and reach a nearly winning position. But this move escaped his attention, but he tried to implement it on the next move but his king was a little far way. Trying to do something with his 2 connected a-and-b passed pawns was in vein as, again, his king was needed closer to his soldiers. Dropping the point was forced.

Well, the final score 1-3 to Nigeria, where it could be at least 2.5-1.5 to Lebanon’ side.

(Thanks to IA Elias Khairallah for sending to me the round 8 photos of the Lebanese team – as he is there as sector arbiter)

Round 10 opponent: ICCD (International Chess Committee of the Deaf)

Download Round 9 games


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