Round 1

We were all waiting to play some chess. Sure we all wanted to play a strong team. But this match could be seen as a warm up for both the National and Women’s team. With so many new faces on the team it was important to get everybody’s confidence up.

The National team was paired with Mozambique, which had 2 rated players. My opponent was rated approximately 2160. Here is the game.

(1) Bluvshtein – Paiva [E90]


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.h3 0–0 6.Be3 c5 7.Nf3 Qa5 8.Bd3 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Nc6 10.Nb3 Qd8 11.f4 e5 12.0–0 exf4 13.Bxf4 Nh5 14.Bh2 Ne5 15.Be2 Be6 16.c5 Qg5 17.Qc1 Qxc1 18.Raxc1 Bh6 19.Rcd1 Nc4 20.g4 Ng7 21.Bxd6 Rfd8 22.Bxc4 Bxc4 23.Rf3 Ne6 24.Na5 Ba6 25.b4 Bg7 26.e5 b6 27.Nc6 Ng5 28.Re3 Re8 29.Ne7+ Kh8 30.b5 Bc8 31.c6 a6 32.Ncd5 1–0

The opening looked like a normal King’s Indian. I decided to get a bit overly aggressive early on.

I decided to play 11.f4?! to not allow Ne5. My opponent replied well with 11…e5 and soon got very good play. 11.0-0 was more accurate than the game. 14…Be5 was better than 14…Ne5, where it is unclear as to how I play without my dark squared bishop.

In this position my opponent needed to play 16…dxc5 17.Qxd8 Raxd8 18.g4 Nc6 with the strong idea of 19…c4!, leading to a very unclear position. In the game I got a good position.

The position above was a critical one. It feels like black’s pieces are loose on the board. They need to be pushed back for me to get my way. 20.g4 was strong. Getting rid of the annoying knight on h5 makes life much easier for me.

When I got to this position I knew I was doing well. My opponent is just getting squeezed. He tried some tricks but to no avail. It’s impossible to stop b5 or the knight coming in. It’s important to note of how many important squares my c3 knight holds.

This is the final position. There are a lot of threats that black simply can’t stop. White fully dominates the position.

Overall, not the best of games. This is mainly due to the opening. With some more precise play from black, I could be struggling in a fight to fish for an advantage. On a positive note, I started calculating well somewhere in the early middle game. My calculations seemed pretty accurate. It’s always hard to focus against weaker opposition. I was able to do just that after the opening.

The rest of the National Team had relatively smooth wins. They all included gradually outplaying the opponents. The philosophy looked simple: make better moves than your opponents. Little by little, the advantage built up. Nothing fancy.

I didn’t get much of a chance to look at the girls’ games. The girls were playing Uganda. Yuanling, Dina and Liza won in a convincing fashion. Iulia got a winning position in the middle game but then seemed to get nervous and give away half a point. It happens. Olympiads are big events and nerves often get in the way. Got to just get back on the horse. Nothing to be nervous or worried about.

Tomorrow presents a much tougher challenge for both teams. The men are playing Uzbekistan. The women are playing Kazakhstan. Both opponents are higher rated than us. Let’s see what we are made out of.


2 Responses to Round 1

  1. Denton Cockburn says:

    What’s the strongest teams you are expecting to play?

    I figure most of your games will be against weaker opposition. Stay focused and bring Canada something 🙂

  2. Alejandro says:

    Got to just get back on the KNIGHT, you mean…har har har.

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