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Robson Annotates US Victory Over India Print E-mail
By Tony Rich and Ray Robson   
January 6, 2010
BURSA TURKEY -- A strong showing by the American team coupled with a Russian loss has got the US team off to a running start in the long race for medals at the World Team Championship.

Round two begins! Photo Tony Rich of CCSCSL

The United States team, sponsored by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, had another stellar performance in round two as they beat a powerful Indian team. The same four played for the U.S. in round two with the same 3-1 result. Convincing wins from Hikaru Nakamura (2708) and Alexander Onischuk (2670) propelled the U.S. to an easy win against a powerhouse opponent. Nakamura's game was a back-and-forth affair, but his strong kingside attack proved too much for Krishnan Sasikiran (2653) of India. Draws by Yuri Shulman and Varuzhan Akobian helped solidify the win.

GMs Ray Robson and Robert Hess analyze the team's games, Photo Tony Rich of CCSCSL

Team member GM Ray Robson annotated all four games:

Nakamura,Hikaru (2708) - Sasikiran,Krishnan (2653) [B25]
World Team Championship (2), 06.01.2010
[Robson, Ray]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6
I suppose Hikaru must have prepared for Nc6, as he seemed a little surprised by this move.
3.f4 Nc6 4.g3
Now the game transposes into a Closed Sicilian. Another possibility was 4.Bb5.
 4...g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.d3 e6
The point of e6 is to develop the knight to e7, leading to a more flexible type of development. Another move, which is no worse, is 6...Nf6.
An unusual move, although Hikaru is known for his offbeat play in the openings. In fact this move is normal in setups where Black has played e5, but in this position it is somewhat rare. 
7...Nge7 8.Be3 b6 9.0-0 0-0 10.Kh1
This move is often useful due to the possibilities of checks on the g1-a7 diagonal. Also, Hikaru seemed to have a specific redeployment in mind.
10...d5 11.Bg1 was Hikaru's idea, I believe. 11...dxe4 12.dxe4 Ba6 is comfortable for Black.
11.Bg1 Bb7 12.Qd2 Rae8 13.Rae1 f5
A typical move in these positions, which challenges White's center.
14.Ng5 Nd4 15.Nf3
Finally White's knight has gotten back to it's "normal" position.
15...Nec6 16.Nxd4 cxd4
16...Nxd4 17.Nd1 is about equal as well.
17.Ne2 e5 18.c3 exf4
18...dxc3 19.Nxc3 (19.bxc3 fxe4 20.dxe4 Na5 and Black has good pressure against White's center.) 19...exf4 20.gxf4 Nd4 is pretty good for Black as he can play against White's hanging pawns.
This transposes to the above variations, so Nf4!? came into consideration.
19...dxc3 20.bxc3 Rc8
de as mentioned above was also worthy of consideration.
21.Ng3 Ne7 22.Bd4 Bxd4 23.cxd4 Qa4 24.Qe3 Rc2
Black is converging on White's a2 pawn, and also just getting his pieces more active. The problem for White is that he doesn't have much counterplay because he can't move his e-pawn.
25.Rc1 Rfc8 26.d5 fxe4?
A critical mistake. This move lets White get counterplay with f5.
27.Rxc2! Qxc2 28.f5 would have been quite dangerous for Black.
 27...Ba6 28.Rxc2 Rxc2 29.Rg1 Qxa2 30.Qd4
At this point the momentum was in Nakamura's favor as Sasikiran was low on time and Hikaru had improved his position considerably compared to ten moves before.
30...Qb2 31.Qa4 Bb5 32.Qxa7 Nc8 33.Qb7 Qg7
Sasikiran was in serious time trouble here, relying pretty much only on the increment.
34.Qa8 Qc3 35.Qa1
Possibly Sasikiran should have tried exchanging queens to reduce White's attacking potential, but the match situation (tied 1-1, but with a losing position on board 2) demanded a win from Black.
35...Bd3 36.Qd1 Ne7 37.f5 Rd2
38.Qa4 b5
Another mistake, but Black's position was hard to play in time trouble.
39.Qa7 Kf8 40.Qe3

Now White is clearly better, and on the last move of the time control Sasikiran made another mistake, leading to a lost position.
40...b4 41.Qf4!
There are too many threats for Black to defend against.
41...Kg7 42.f6++-
42.f6 Nc8 43.Bh3 Ba6?
A final mistake. Rc2 was the best chance, but it doesn't change the evaluation of the position.
44.Bxc8 Bxc8 45.f7+ Kf8 46.Rf1
At this point Sasikiran resigned. A nice comeback by Nakamura, and an important victory for the US Team. 1-0

Nakamura gets in the zone for his round two game, Photo Tony Rich of CCSCSL

Harikrishna,P (2672) - Onischuk,Alexander (2670) [D35]
World Team Championship (2), 06.01.2010
[Robson, Ray]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7
The point of playing Be7 before Nf6 is that it stops an immediate Bg5. For example, 3...Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 is considered one of White's best lines. On the downside, lines involving Bf4 may be stronger for White now, as Black's bishop is already committed to e7.
4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bf4 Nf6 6.e3 Bf5
I don't think Harikrishna was prepared for this move, as he thought a little bit and then played an extremely rare move.
More common moves are Nge2 and Qb3.
7...0-0 8.Qb3 Nc6!
A common answer to Qb3 in this variation. Taking b7 is very dangerous for White due to Nb4.
9.Qxb7? Nb4 10.Rc1 Bd6 (10...Nc2+? 11.Rxc2 Bxc2 12.Bxc7 is a good exchange for White.) 11.Be5 Rb8 12.Qxa7 Ra8 13.Qb7 Qd7 and all of a sudden White's queen is in grave danger.
9...Na5 10.Qd1 Nc4
10...c6 was another possibility, with the idea of Nc4 next move.
After 11.Qb3 Na5 is likely, but also possible is(11...b5!? because 12.Nxb5 a6 13.Nxc7 Rb8 14.Qc3 Rxb2 15.Bxc4 Rc2 leads to a good position for Black.)
11...c6 12.Nf3
At this point Harikrishna was ahead quite a bit of time.
12...Nh5 13.Bg3 h6
This move doesn't seem to do much, and in fact I'm not sure why Black played it. Most likely he simply thought that this would be a useful move for the future, and in any case White's g3 bishop isn't going anywhere, so there is no need to capture it.
An interesting decision, as this gives up another bishop and more importantly lets Black anchor his bishop on d3. On the other hand, Black's pawn on c4 is also a bit weak.
14...dxc4 15.0-0 Nxg3 16.hxg3 Bd3 17.Rd1 Bf6 18.b3 Rc8 19.Qb2 b5 20.Rac1 Qb6
Both sides have played logically the last several moves and the position is approximately equal.
21.Ne1 Bg6 22.bxc4 bxc4 23.Qe2?!
23.Qb4 looks like it keeps equality, but during a game it is not so easy to figure this out.
Finally Black has some active play, and also Harikrishna was now down almost 10 minutes on the clock.
24.e4 c5
This move looks tempting, but allows White the strong move Nd5!
25.Nd5 cxd4 26.Nxf6+ gxf6 27.Rxd4 c3 28.Qe3 Qxa3 29.Nc2 Qc5 30.Nb4
White is threatening Nd5, so Black's next move is forced.
This is a big mistake because it allows c2. Better was 31.Nd3 Qb6 32.Nb4.
31...c2 32.Ra4 Rfe8 33.Qxc5
Another mistake, as now a second pawn falls.
33...Rxc5 34.Ne3
34.Rxa7 Rb8 35.Raa1 Bxe4 36.Ne3 Rb1 wins for Black.
34...Rxe4 35.Rxe4 Bxe4 36.Kf1 Rc7 37.Ke2 Rd7!
This is a good maneuver because White's king is cut off.
38.Nxc2 just loses to 38...Rc7 39.Kd2 Rxc2+ 40.Rxc2 Bxc2 41.Kxc2 Kg6
38...h5 39.f3 Bg6 40.Ke1 a5
Black slowly advances his a-pawn up the board.
41.g4 hxg4 42.Nxg4 Rb7 43.Rc1 a4
White is completely lost here, so he resigned. This important win gave us a 2-1 lead in the match. 43...a4 44.Ne3 a3 45.Nxc2 Bxc2 46.Rxc2 Rb2 wins. 0-1

GM Ben Finegold also analyzed Onischuk's smooth victory on his blog on the CCSCSL Web site.

Shulman,Yuri (2624) - Ganguly,Surya (2654) [D27]
World Team Championship (2), 06.01.2010
[Robson, Ray]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4
This line was pretty much expected. The other main opening we prepared for was the Grunfeld.
3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.0-0 a6 7.Bb3 Nc6
7...b5 8.a4 b4 is one of the main lines, and the one which Yury and I mostly prepared for. Ganguly had recently played a game with Nc6 and Be7 but we concentrated on b5 because there are a lot more lines we had to cover.
8.Nc3 Be7 9.dxc5 Qxd1
9...Bxc5? is inaccurate, because of 10.Qxd8+ Kxd8 11.e4! with an advantage for White.
10.Rxd1 Bxc5 11.Bd2 Bd7 12.Rac1
Yury thought for a few minutes here and I realized that he was trying to remember our preparation.
12...Ba7 13.Na4
We had actually prepared Be1, but the move in the game transposes.
13...Ke7 14.Be1 Rhd8
14...Ne4 was the other logical move designed to stop Nc5.
15.Nc5 Bxc5 16.Rxc5 after16rc5.jpg

Now White has the two bishops in an almost symmetrical position. White obviously doesn't have a huge advantage, but he can pressure Black for a long time.
16...Be8 17.Rcc1
17.Rdc1 was possibly the best chance for an enduring advantage, leaving all four rooks on the board.
17...Rxd1 18.Rxd1 Rd8 19.Nd4
A nice move, the tactical point being that 19...Nxd4?! 20.Bb4+ Kd7 21.Ba5! is very good for White.
19...Kf8 20.Nxc6 Rxd1 21.Bxd1 Bxc6
Now we have reached a simple endgame where White is slightly better and can torture Black for a long time. In a team tournament, playing for two results is often a nice position to be in.
White wants to gain space by slowly advancing his pawns on the kingside.
22...Nd5 23.e4 Nf4 24.Bb4+ Ke8 25.Bc3
An interesting finesse, trying to gain a tempo. The question of whether f6 is so bad for Black is another question, however. According to Yury after the game 25.g3 was the best chance to gain an advantage. 25...Nd3 26.Bc3 f6 27.Bc2 Nc5 However, it seems that after this continuation Black has time to play e5, which is similar to the game. 28.e5 Bxf3 29.exf6 g6
25...f6 26.Kf2 e5 27.h4 h6
The point of h6 is to prevent a future f4 by playing g5!
28.g3 Ne6 29.h5
If 29.Ke3 then 29...g5! 30.hxg5 hxg5 and White will find it hard to make progress on the kingside.
29...Nc5 30.b3 Ke7 31.Ke3 Kd6 32.Bb4 b6 33.Ba3 a5

Black has defended well, closing down both sides of the board. Now White hardly has any realistic winning chances.
34.b4 axb4 35.Bxb4 Be8
Another good move forcing White to defend the h5 pawn. Now almost closes the kingside completely, whereas f4 leaves the e4 pawn weak and potentially needing to be defended.
36.f4 Bf7 37.a3 Be8 38.Be2 Bf7 39.Bg4 Be8 40.Bd1 Bf7 41.Be2
The time control had been reached, White has no advantage, so the position was agreed drawn. The second finished game of the match also resulted in a draw, so the score was 1-1 and left two tense games left. ½-½

Arun,Prasad (2567) - Akobian,Varuzhan (2628) [D58]
World Team Championship (2), 06.01.2010
[Robson, Ray]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 fter5bg5akob.jpg
This move surprised Varuzhan a little bit as he had mainly prepared for cd and Bf4.
5...0-0 6.e3 h6 7.Bh4 b6 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.0-0 Nbd7 10.cxd5
Not the most common move, but it has been played by Kramnik and Kortschnoj so it can't be that bad.
10...Nxd5 11.Bg3 c5 12.Rc1
12.Nxd5 Bxd5 13.Rc1 may have been slightly more accurate, although Black is still quite solid.
12...N7f6 13.Qe2 cxd4
Varuzhan decided that he could just simplify the position and lead to an approximately equal position, and his judgment seems correct.
14.Nxd4 Nxc3 15.Rxc3 Rc8 16.Rxc8 Qxc8 17.Nb3 Qc6
17...Ne4 18.Be5 Rd8 19.Rc1 Qd7 was a good alternative for Black.
18.f3 Qa4 19.Ra1
White was forced to play this, but it's not such a big deal as Black's queen will have to move away soon.
19...a6 20.Bc2 Rc8
Right now Black's queen doesn't have to worry as White doesn't have any promising discovered knight moves.
21.Nd4 Qa5 22.Nb3 Qa4 23.Nd4 Qa5 24.Nb3
Here the position is approximately equal and there was a three-fold repetition. This was the first result of the match, leaving the score at .5-.5. ½-½

Greece scored a surprising victory over Russia with a 2.5-1.5 result. Wins on boards two and three helped seal the victory and scored a huge upset for Greece. A loss with the White pieces by Alexander Morozevich (2732) on board two against a player rated more than 100 points lower, Ioannis Papaioannou (2625), was an unexpected turn of events.


GM Hikaru Nakamura and Captain IM John Donaldson, Photo Tony Rich of CCSCSL
Top-seeded Russia's loss is the United States' gain as the Americans face the Russians in the next round. The U.S. team enters tomorrow's match with a rating disadvantage, but it has momentum on its side.

In other tournament action Armenia topped Israel 2.5-1.5, Brazil bested Egypt 2.5-1.5 and Azerbaijan scored a convincing 3-1 victory over the host country Turkey.

Watch the games live on the tournament website (Start Time: 8 AM EST) and stay tuned for more updates on CLO and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis website.


January - Chess Life Online 2010

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