Apr 26, 2001

The Chess Olympiad was held in Turkey for the first time. The hosts were very hospitable, and the whole band of chess players was well accommodated, that is more than one hundred of men teams from everywhere and almost as many women teams. The Russian men team afforded to lose two matches but still won the golden medals, having left behind the grandmaster teams of Germany, Ukraine and Hungary. Svidler and Khalifman played with very strong opponents and scored a little less than we expected. Sakaev, Morozevich, Rublevsky and Grishuk won so many games that they deprived other teams of any chance to win first place. The final result was Russia 38 points, Germany 37, Ukraine and Hungary 35.5 each.

By women the Chinese players were beyond comparison with 32 points. Georgian chess traditions are very deep and old, and this time the Georgian team won the silver medals with 31 point. The Russian team took third place, having scored 28,5. Ukraine was fourth.

By the way, in the leading teams there were plenty of players from the ex-USSR. The Russian team won even without super stars, as Kasparov and Kramnik were busy with their match for the title of the World Champion at that time. Well, the world ELO leaders refused to take part in the knock-out championship, though fans hoped for such a sensation. Well, another time, may be… So long the World Champions are not going to join the rest company. They have fine ratings each, and something like diffidence or probably a deep aversion to the lottery championship prevents them from participation in this dangerous class test. After all, it’s not at all easy to overwhelm one hundred grandmasters, one should win six micro matches at the least in India. The most renowned fighters will be admitted to the second round immediately.

But let’s revert to the Olympiad and show a game. From many victories of the Russian team we chose the struggle between grandmaster S. Rublevsky and O. Romanishin from Ukraine. The annotation is intended just for a general acquaintance wit the events of the game.

Romanishin, O. - Rublevsky, S.
Round 11

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 e6 3. g3 c5 4. Bg2 cxd4 5. O-O Nf6 6. Nxd4 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Nc3 Be7 9. Bg5 Nbd7 10. e4

White got nothing from the opening, but the position is far from losing. Black could have been a little better with a castling, but his present position is quite convenient for a professional too.

10... dxe4 11. Bxf6 Nxf6 12. Nxe4 Qc7 13. Re1

Now Black has two bishops, and Rublevsky will demonstrate his advantage in this position.

13... O-O 14. Qe2 Nd7 15. Rad1 Rac8 16. c3

White pawns are not very well… A pawn minority attack is about to begin.

16... Rfd8 17. Qe3 h6 18. h4 a5

The start! White has no counterplay.

19. Qe2 a4 20. Nc1 f5 21. Nd2

Black controls the centre of the board. White is getting squeezed.

21... Re8 22. Nf1 e4 23. Qb5 Ra8 24. Qe2

The White queen returns to e2 for the third time. There are already no helpful continuations for White.

24... Ne5 25. Ne3 Bc5 26. Nd5 Qf7 27. Nf4 Bc4

Black’s attack becomes irresistible.

28. Qc2 Ng4 29. Nh3 e3

White gains by an exchange, at the least. But Rublevsky decides to improve the positions of the rest pieces at first.

30. f3 e2+ 31. Rd4 Ne3 32. Qd2 Bxd4

Time to drop the curtain. Nevertheless, the opponents played some more moves.

33. cxd4 Rac8 34. Nd3 Bxd3 35. Qxd3 Qxa2 36. Rxe2 Nxg2 37. Rxg2 Re1+ 38. Kh2 Qb1 39. Qxb1 Rxb1 40. Nf4 Rbc1 0-1

"Chess is so interesting in itself, as not to need the view of gain to induce engaging in it;and thence it is never played for money."

Benjamin Franklin, "Chess made easy", 1802

"It is one of the insights of modern players, and especially of the best ones, that one has toplay the position itself, not some abstract idea of the position."

John Watson, "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy", 1998

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