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Diary from the Tromso Olympiad – Round 7

August 9th, 2014 1 comment

Finally I got a rest day! Which also means (thinking of the playing hall) that I did not go there. But I did follow the games a bit on the Internet.

Davor Palo got a slightly worse position and was ground down. Chess is hard sometimes.

Allan Stig Rasmussen got what he had prepared and a big advantage. He also played really well and won a good game.

Jakob Vang Glud’s position early on looked risky as far as we could tell, but apparently it was preparation and Jakob got out of the opening with a nice position with lots of options. His opponent could not contain all the tactical threats and was torn to pieces.

Mads Andersen got an advantage – I think he was following Negi actually. But at an important moment he realised that a draw was a good outcome and forced it.

A great match for us. Tomorrow we will play Norway3, which has not performed greatly (unlike Norway2!).

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Diary from the Tromso Olympiad – Round 6

August 8th, 2014 1 comment

Round 6

After suffering from bad luck and knights galloping in from hell to shock-change the evaluations, we were now relegated to board 48! Actually, with 4 points we had one point less than Palestine, whom we beat in round 1 with a 4-0 non-contest score; and which failed to show up on time in round two, thus defaulting the match 4-0 as well!

Our opponents Puerto Rico is most here to learn. They were extremely pleasant people, but it is not a country with great chess traditions. So we decided to rest our top man, Davor, to keep him in shape for (hopefully) tougher matches to come. It was a clear match where we just had to play reasonably in order to win. Most resistance was offered to Allan on board one, I think, though I did feel I had to play a few good moves after my opponent made a positional blunder in the opening:

Jacob Aagaard – Edgardo Almedina Ortiz

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Nf3 0–0 5.Bg5 d6 6.e3

The harmless Smyslov System.

6…Nc6 7.Be2 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 Nh5 10.d5 Nxg3

10…Nb4 is the most natural move. White is probably a bit better.

10…Na5? amusingly loses material at once due to 11.Qc2! (threatening b4) 11…c5 12.Nxg5! , which is the favourite trap in this opening.

11.hxg3 Ne5?

This is just bad positional judgement.

12.Nxe5 dxe5 13.g4

White secures the light squares. Other moves were good too.

13…e4!?

Trying to create some counterplay and to get the bishop out. But also an admission that the opening has failed.

14.Nxe4 e6

14…Bxb2 15.Rxh6! is just a pawn up and a weak kingside. 15…Bxa1 16.Qxa1 f6 and I had not finally decided what I would play. 17.Qb1!? came to mind, but 17.Nxg5 fxg5 18.Qb1 was my main intention, as White wins without problems after 18…Bf5 and against 18…Rf7 comes 19.Qg6+ Rg7 20.Qh5 Kf8 21.Rh8+ Rg8 22.Qh7 as I had seen.

15.Nc3 exd5 16.cxd5 c6

16…f5 17.gxf5 Bxf5 18.Qb3 Kh8 looked like the way to keep the game going.

17.dxc6

I was happy to exchange pieces and get a great structure.

17…bxc6 18.Qxd8 Rxd8 19.Rc1 Be6 20.b3 Bf8 21.f3!?

I did not like weakening e3, but I need the king on e2 and the bishop is not correctply placed on f3. 21.Bf3 Bb4 22.Ke2 Kg7 and Black can try …c6-c5-c4 with good drawing chances.

21…Kg7

After the game we looked at 21…a5 22.Rc2 Bb4 23.Kf2 Kg7 24.Na4 Rd6 25.Rd1 Rad8 26.Rxd6 Rxd6 as being Black’s best chances. White does not win automatically; at least I did not do so when we shuffled the pieces around. Black’s best chance does seem to be to exchange all rooks.

22.Ba6!

My best move of the game, preventing the a-pawn from moving forwards.

22…Rd7 23.Ke2 Rad8 24.Rhd1 Rxd1 25.Nxd1!

Black has more weaknesses; let’s keep a set of rooks on. Two sets would give counterplay against the king, so I would not like that.

25…Bb4 26.Rc2 h5?

A bit desperate. 26…f5 and the game goes on with a big white advantage.

27.gxh5 g4 28.Nf2 gxf3+ 29.gxf3 Ba5 30.Nd3 Bd7

30…Rh8 31.Nf4 Bd7 32.Rc1 and the rook comes to h1.

31.Ne5 Be8 32.Nd3!?

Keeping calm. I had planned 32.Nxc6 Bxc6 33.Rxc6 Rd2+ 34.Kf1 but now realised Black has 34…Rh2! I think White is winning after 35.h6+ Rxh6 36.Rxh6 Kxh6 37.Bd3 but I did not want to take any risks. It would have been stupid.

32…Rd5 33.Nf4 Re5?!

33…Rg5 34.Bc8 Bc7 35.Bg4 was my plan. It seems that nothing has been spoiled.

34.Bb7!

This time the exchanges are pleasant for me.

34…Bb6 35.e4 f5 36.Bxc6 fxe4 37.Bxe8 Rxe8 38.Rc6 exf3+ 39.Kxf3 Kh7 40.Nd5 Rf8+ 41.Rf6 Rb8 42.Nxb6 axb6 43.Ke4 1–0

 

4-0. Tomorrow someone good might await. There are a lot of strong teams here!

 

 

 

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Diary from the Tromso Olympiad – Rest Day

August 7th, 2014 14 comments

Zero tolerance for stupid arbiters

As anyone will know, when you play an international tournament and a mobile phone rings, it is at least 90% certain that it belongs to an arbiter. They also frequently hush on people loudly, not so much because they think it disturbs the players, just because they cannot hear what each other are saying. I am of course being unfair, but to be honest, at times arbiters don’t understand what they have signed up for – which is to make sure the game is decided on the board and the game of chess is held in high regard.

At times our governing body also does not understand this. Actually, it is no coincidence that when I visited a friend who lives in the hotel where all the delegates are staying, we could not find a chess board. Read more…

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Diary from the Tromso Olympiad – Day 5

August 6th, 2014 6 comments

Round 5

 

Our opponents in round 5, Latvia, are much stronger than Ecuador. Still it did not have to end badly.

 

Davor Palo drew Shirov, when he did not manage to create any real pressure with White. HERE

 

Allan Stig Rasmussen did not escape the opening before he was dead lost. White did not perform the best possible kill, but it was good enough, as Allan was also an hour down on the clock after the opening, with only 20-30 minutes left to make another 15 moves. See the game here.

 

I got a good opening and things just kept getting better. Then I played a bit ineffective. In the end (move 22-23) I decided on a tactical operation I believed to be winning. But instead it lost immediately. I never saw it coming. Very sad. Actually, I should have been thinking prophylactively, but just didn’t. Not for one second did I consider what his idea was. I was threatening his pawn! This is what happens when you are not playing very often. It is called “being out of practice.”

 

Jakob Vang Glud was in big trouble on board 4, but his opponent blundered his extra pawn, letting Jakob away with a draw.

 

3-1. Very disappointing.

 

Elsewhere Andrew Greet made us proud.

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Scotland in Tromso – Rounds 1 to 4

August 6th, 2014 1 comment

Greetings from the Olympiad in Tromso. As I write, Round 5 is underway, but since I am resting today, I can give a quick update on Rounds 1 to 4 for Scotland.

Tromso is beautiful, the weather is sunny and hot, the food and drink is great, and we are also winning a few games of chess. We have played Tanzania, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe – three match wins and one defeat. You can probably guess which team got us.

Our team (in board order) is GM Colin McNab, IM Andrew Greet, GM me, FM Alan Tate and IM Roddy McKay. Highlights so far include Colin drawing with 2743-rated Mamedyarov and Roddy being on 3/3. I am on a middling 2½/4 – a loss to the Azerbaijani GM Safarli and 2½/3 against less fearsome opposition. My chess highlight so far is my game against Perera of Sri Lanka – see it on ChessBomb . Notable because I spotted a tactic – this great event is on move 37.

The photo below is taken from the house the Scottish Open team is staying in.

Read more…

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Diary from the Tromso Olympiad – Day 4

August 5th, 2014 2 comments

Round 4

Disaster strikes!

Davor Palo held a slightly worse position on board one, while Mads Andersen got little from his slightly better position on board four.

I played the opening very conservatively. Basically I was surprised and then decided to bluff a bit, but was called and had nothing up my sleeve. I had to do something and decided to go for an old-fashion QGD in a passive version. My opponent played really well and instead of Qc5, I think I was quite a bit worse after g3. Instead I managed to solve my problems with a nice tactic. I am actually quite happy with my play in this game; but less so with my opening choice. See the link here.

The match was decided on board 2. Allan Stig Rasmussen decided to avoid a repetition of moves on move 16 only to lose a pawn and the right to castle – immediately. It looks like insanity struck or that the disappearance of his winning position made the game hard to play in practice.. Look also at move 19 here. Finally, move 9. Bc4 had some nice ideas, but I think the computer overestimates White’s advantage. On the other hand, 9.Qg4 seems lethal. I was wondering why he did not play this. Black does not have any decent way to meet it.

A big disappointment. But we are back tomorrow.

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Diary from the Tromso Olympiad – Day 3

August 4th, 2014 1 comment

Round 3

A solid victory against Tunisia.

Davor Palo played fabulously one board one. His opponent very quickly got into a worse position and Davor then crunched the variations with something that looked like perfection. Positionally and tactically superb.

Read more…

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Diary from the Tromsø Chess Olympiad 2014 – Day 2

August 3rd, 2014 6 comments

Round 2

Davor Palo was super solid against Kasimdzhanov. A great draw.

Allan Stig Rasmussen was doing well against their other strong GM, Anton Filippov. Allan was supposed to rest today, but a technical error meant that he got to play. In a position where he was somewhat better he decided “to go all in” with a poor move (f2-f4), when he was briefly after lost. The reasoning was that things were not clear on the last two boards. Tomorrow Allan will get his rest. One should not forget that he played Politiken Cup just before this event and did great. A bit of rest will bring back the best in him, I am sure.

I lost in 92 moves. The game was wildly complicated and in move 21 I believed I had found a really nice defence, but a weird blindness meant that I overlooked gxf3 in response to …Rxf3. It will probably end up in one of my books, as the right move was fantastic! Instead I went into an opposite coloured bishop ending with a pawn down. It was holdable towards the end at least, but he circled the pieces well and suddenly I was lost. A good game, even though I lost.

Jakob Vang Glud was sailing in his game until he played too complacently. Instead of a big advantage, he was suddenly struggling a bit. He found a lot of good resources and outplayed his opponent a second time. Well done.

A sad loss of 2.5-1.5. Also a stupid loss. I missed a few things too many, but I guess this is why I am only 2525. I am old and I don’t do the work needed to be better than this (nor do I intend to!).

Otherwise we are enjoying ourselves here. Nikos and I are watching True Detective, which is very weird and I am reading I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes, which is rather violent, but in a nice conventional laid back manner. Very enjoyable so far.

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