Home Page arrow Chess Life Online arrow 2008 arrow November arrow USA Stumbles in Round Two
USA Stumbles in Round Two Print E-mail
By FM Mike Klein   
November 15, 2008
Hikaru Nakamura, in his round two Dresden Olympic debut

Neither the men nor the women could sustain their early success Friday at the Chess Olympiad in Dresden. The women’s team fell 2.5-1.5 to a determined Israeli quartet while the men split their games against the closely-grouped grandmasters from Greece.

The women’s team faced an uphill battle all afternoon as WFM Tatev Abrahamyan missed a tactic.

Position after 19. Bb1

After 19…Bxh2+, she decided not to recapture, as after 20. Kxh2 Qh5+ 21. Kg1 Ne2+ 22. Kf2 fxe4+ 23. Ke1 Rxf1+ 24. Kxf1 Rf8+ 25. Ke1 (or 25. Bf2 Ng3+ and 26…Qh1+) 25…Qh1+ 26. Kxe2 Qf1#. Unfortunately, her counter 20. Kh1 Qh5 21. g4 did not work either after 21…Qh3.

WGM Rusudan Goletiani remained perfect, however, increasing her personal score to two out of two. She formed “Alekhine’s Gun” on the b-file against her higher-rated opponent. In a pawn structure resembling a King’s Indian Defense, her opponent had no counterplay on the kingside and Goletiani duly converted the point and the U.S. moved even.

Next to finish was WGM Katerina Rohonyan, whose Benko Gambit led to a worse endgame. Her opponent’s rook landed on the 7th rank and cramped her position.

Her loss meant top board IM Irina Krush needed to convert her rook endgame for the Americans to salvage a tie. She pushed and pushed, trying to checkmate her opponent, but saw no alternative and settled for a perpetual. Her inexorable clock relentlessly prevented perfection as she missed a couple of wins.

Black to Move

According to Team Coach GM Gregory Kaidanov, Rh8 followed by g2 on either move 49 (in the position above) or 51 would have been the first winning variation for Krush, as after 49...Rh8 50. Rg7 Ra8 wins.


The Greek men, all rated between 2570 and 2590, formed a similarly big challenge for the U.S. The star performer for the men’s team remained GM Alexander Onischuk, who had another convincing win and has used his two Whites to score 2-0.

GM Gata Kamsky did everything he could to attack with the IQP, at one point eschewing a possible repetition with 20. Ne5! The game petered out into a rook endgame with an extra pawn, but the winning chances were negligible.


Ditto for GM Hikaru Nakamura, who courageously took his opponent’s e-pawn and defended ably but the resulting ending could not be won.


For the second match in a row, fourth board GM Varuzhan Akobian’s queen and pawn endgame would decide the fate of the team.


Unlike Thursday, all he had to do was draw, but also unlike Thursday, his position was much worse. Dressed in all black and straining relentlessly in the fourth and fifth hours to find a defense, there was none to be found. Team Captain IM John Donaldson stayed at Akobian’s side until the end, but as is usually the case, the person with the most advanced pawn usually wins these endings. Akobian capitulated on move 61 and the match ended in a 2-2 tie.

Against South Africa, the U.S.A. sat Gata Kamsky for the first time, while the women played their top four for the first time against Turkmenistan.

The South African team in their third round match against the American men.

The Turkmenistan women's team in their round three match against USA.

Mike Klein is reporting for CLO and Chess Life Magazine from Dresden. He's also using his sabbatical from his Charlotte chess coaching business to travel the world-and blog about it.


November - Chess Life Online 2008

UTD Invitational Update Hilton Blogs from Dresden, Part II Julio Becerra Wins Turkey Bowl Norm Tournaments Kick off in DallasU.S. Teams Celebrate Bronze MedalsU.S. Men Win Bronze Too!! Women Take Bronze!! Medal Chances for AmericaLeaders Falter in Dresden USCF Statement on Susan PolgarBiennial Border BattleU.S. Women Beat Russia!Onischuk and Rohonyan Score Big Wins Kinks in Kamsky Match Resolved Big Tests for Americans in Round SevenVictory in Round Six for USA Sarkar Takes Northern Virginia Open Rested Squads Resume ActionU.S. Chess League SemiFinals TonightKamsky-Topalov Negotiated on Rest DayHilton Blogs From Dresden Three-Way Tie in King's Island USA Cruises in Round 5 44th American Open Coming UpGM Rogers on Hits and Misses at the Olympiad Josh on Getting Close at the ContinentalUSA Almost Perfect in Round 3King's Island Kicks OffUSA Stumbles in Round TwoRound 1 Wraps; Round 2 DelayIrina's Dresden Gallery Let the Games Begin in Dresden California Dreamin' in Texas Response from Bulgaria on Kamsky TopalovBoston, Carolina, Miami and Dallas Make USCL Semis William Addison, 1933-2008Gata Speaks on Topalov MatchLarry Kaufman World Senior Champion! Ehlvest Wins Continental and World Cup Spot Larry in Clear Lead at World SeniorOpen Letter on Topalov Kamsky from USCF Ehlvest pulls away at the Continental Action Set for BrownsvilleNew Jersey Knocked OutLarry Kaufman Tied for Lead at World SeniorFour GMs Lead Four Rounds into the Continental Dallas Stomps Belgrade in Intercollegiate MatchIM Kaufman Reports from the World Senior