Rounds 3-5

Round 3

We were paired against Uruguay in round 3. Uruguay is led by GM Rodriguez on top board, rated around 2530 and some substantially lower rated players on lower boards. We were expecting to win the match. I was to play black against GM Rodriguez. Here is my game.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2010.09.23”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Rodriguez”]
[Black “Bluvshtein”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “A47”]
[PlyCount “70”]
[EventDate “2010.09.21”]
[SourceDate “2010.09.23”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. e3 c5 4. b3 b6 5. Bd3 Bb7 6. O-O Be7 7. dxc5 bxc5 8. c4
O-O 9. Nc3 d5 10. cxd5 exd5 11. Bb2 Nbd7 12. Qe2 a6 13. e4 d4 14. Na4 Bd6 15.
Rac1 Re8 16. Nd2 Qe7 17. Rfe1 Ne5 18. Bb1 Bc6 19. f4 Ng6 20. g3 Nd5 21. Nc4
Bxf4 22. gxf4 Ndxf4 23. Qg4 f5 24. Qg3 fxe4 25. Ba3 Qf6 26. Nxc5 e3 27. Nd3 Nh5
28. Qg4 Bf3 29. Qh3 Qg5+ 30. Kf1 Rf8 31. Bxf8 Rxf8 32. Qe6+ Kh8 33. Rxe3 Bd5+
34. Ke1 Bxe6 35. Rxe6 Nhf4 0-1

It was a pretty uneventful opening. I was hoping to spice it up by getting the hanging pawns. We were both playing pretty creatively and aggressively until the critical point in the game.

With black to move, I played 21…Bxf4! 22.gxf4 Ndxf4 23.Qg4 f5! and continued to win the game quickly and convincingly. This is one of the more appealing wins I have had against GMs in recent times.

The other guys appeared to have more trouble. Thomas and Artiom drew, while Leonid lost. The luck on the bottom two boards did not go in our favour. We could have easily won the match with a very convincing score. It happens.

The girls beat Albania 4-0 in very convincing fashion. It’s amazing when people say that a team “must win” 4-0. They simply don’t understand how much can go wrong on each of the four boards. Good showing by the ladies!

Round 4

We were paired against Thailand in the fourth round. We needed a blow out to gain some confidence after a poor showing against Uruguay. I was to play against FM Pitirotjirathon, rated just under 2300. Playing with white, this was supposed to be “easy”. It didn’t work out that way. Here is the game.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2010.09.24”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Bluvshtein”]
[Black “Pitirotjirat”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “D21”]
[PlyCount “114”]
[EventDate “2010.09.21”]
[SourceDate “2010.09.24”]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 c5 4. e3 cxd4 5. exd4 Be6 6. Na3 Nf6 7. Nxc4 Bd5 8.
Nce5 Nc6 9. Be2 e6 10. O-O Be7 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Be3 Qb6 13. Qc2 O-O 14. Ne5
Rfc8 15. Rfc1 Rab8 16. b3 Ba3 17. Rd1 Be4 18. Bd3 Bxd3 19. Rxd3 Qa6 20. Bg5 Nd5
21. Rh3 f5 22. Nc4 Re8 23. g4 Be7 24. Bxe7 Rxe7 25. gxf5 exf5 26. Ne5 Rf8 27.
Qxc6 Qxc6 28. Nxc6 Rc7 29. Ne5 Rc2 30. Nc4 Re8 31. Ne3 Nxe3 32. fxe3 Re2 33.
Rf1 g6 34. Rc1 Rxa2 35. Rc7 f4 36. Rcxh7 Rxe3 37. Rh8+ Kg7 38. Rxe3 fxe3 39.
Re8 Rd2 40. Rxe3 Rxd4 41. Re7+ Kf6 42. Rxa7 Rb4 43. Ra6+ Kf5 44. Ra5+ Kf6 45.
Ra3 Kf5 46. Kf1 Rb8 47. Ke1 Kg4 48. Kf2 Kh3 49. Kg1 Rb4 50. Kh1 g5 51. Kg1 Rg4+
52. Kh1 Rb4 53. Ra5 Rxb3 54. Rxg5 Rb1+ 55. Rg1 Rxg1+ 56. Kxg1 Kg4 57. h3+ Kxh3

I got absolutely nothing in the opening. That happens. The plan afterwards was to outplay my opponent gradually. I was doing just that. Then came the critical point of the game, where I missed a win.

I played the ugly looking 22.Nc4? after calculating for a very long time. There were a lot of moves to consider. Winning was 22.Qd1 g6 23.Nxg6! hxg6 24.Qe1! Threatening both Qe5 and Qxe6, with a mating attack on the spot. It’s a very hard thing to find. Nonetheless, I expect to find it.

After that, I tried to keep playing for the win, unsuccessfully. Miscalculated at a critical point and then just kept going. The fight to the bitter end might look like desperation. But can playing until bare kings also be seen as a good fighting spirit!?

All three other guys won, for a total tally of 3.5-0.5. Great result! My own result is a bit disappointing, but what’s really important is that the team won.

The girls had a very tough pairing against Latvia. Yuanling played very well to draw against WGM Reizniece with black. The other girls lost. A tough result, but against a very strong opponent, ranked 22nd overall.

Round 5

This round presented a good challenge for us in Denmark, ranked 44th. We were outrated on every board. Not by a lot, but still outrated. I had the challenge of playing GM Hansen, rated just under 2600, with white.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2010.09.25”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Bluvshtein”]
[Black “Hansen”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “D46”]
[PlyCount “112”]
[EventDate “2010.09.21”]
[SourceDate “2010.09.25”]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Be2 O-O 8. O-O
dxc4 9. Bxc4 a6 10. Rd1 b5 11. Be2 Qc7 12. e4 e5 13. g3 Re8 14. a3 Bb7 15. Be3
c5 16. d5 c4 17. a4 Ng4 18. axb5 Nxe3 19. fxe3 Qc5 20. bxa6 Qxe3+ 21. Kg2 Bxa6
22. Ra2 Nb6 23. Rda1 Bb7 24. Rxa8 Rxa8 25. Rxa8+ Bxa8 26. Nb5 Bc5 27. Nxe5 Nxd5
28. Bf3 Qg1+ 29. Kh3 Ne3 30. Qe2 Bb7 31. Nxc4 Bc8+ 32. g4 h5 33. Nxe3 Bxe3 34.
Nd6 Be6 35. Nf5 Bg5 36. gxh5 Kh7 37. Bg4 Bf4 38. Ng3 Bxg3 39. Bxe6 Be5 40. Bxf7
Qc1 41. b3 Qf4 42. Bg6+ Kh6 43. Bf5 Bd6 44. Bg4 Kh7 45. Bf3 Kh8 46. Bg4 Kh7 47.
Qg2 Kh8 48. Qc2 Bc7 49. Qe2 Qe5 50. Qf2 Bd6 51. Bf5 Qc3+ 52. Kg2 Qxb3 53. h6
Qc3 54. h7 Qf6 55. Qd2 g6 56. Bg4 Kxh7 1/2-1/2

A very interesting draw. This was a real roller coaster. I played the opening very well, but then made some bad moves with 26.Nb5? and 27.Nxe5?. I got into some serious trouble with the king, but was able to outplay my opponent in a mutual time scramble. We came out of time trouble with me being up 3 pawns, yet still unable to win!

I can’t say that I was playing the endgame well. I should have been able to present some more problems for my opponent, even though the endgame might actually be drawn! That’s the power of opposite colored bishops! Disappointing result for me in the end, but I was definitely in some trouble earlier on. Fair result in hindsight.

The other guys did great. Thomas drew GM Rasmussen, rated 2530, with a very solid Berlin wall. Thomas never appeared to be in any trouble. Artiom got into some very serious trouble against IM Glud, but was able to hold his ground in a tough endgame where he had to get resourceful.

The hero of the day was Nikolay. On the bottom board, Nikolay completely outplayed his IM opponent, rated about 2470, with black, to give us the overall win. He came big for us here. This gave us a great win over a strong team.

The girls continued on their roller coaster tournament and beat Syria 4-0. Convincing all around. Results appear to be extremely dependent on their opposition. But then again, whose results are not?

Free Day

Today is our free day. Below are some pictures. Highlight of the day so far: we ran into Kasparov and took a few pictures.

Thomas in our room. Surprisingly clean by Olympiad standards.

Members of the team with Kasparov.

Team members looking tough.

Girls in front of a shopping mall, which they would later invade.

Thomas and I looking tough/cold.

Signs advertising the Olympiad all over the city.

Yuanling stole my hat. Thomas stole Dina’s.

Girls being girls.

“The Church of Resurrection”.

Guys being guys. Yuri trying to avoid pictures by covering his face. Iulia coming as my back-up.

Tomorrow is going to be a tough day. The men are playing a solid Croatian team filled with GMs on all boards. The girls are playing a strong team from Belarus. The lineup is… secret.


12 Responses to Rounds 3-5

  1. al fichaud says:

    Mark, Congrats on great blog and great performance so far:) Just wondering whether you have heard the latest update on the condition of Boris Spaasky? Perhaps the Russian teams know something to let us all know how Boris is doing? Thx alot:)

  2. Diana Golts says:

    Mark, I have to say your writing skills are great! I was hoping you would need my help 🙂 The Women’s Team is doing amazing, makes me want to play again! Keep up the good work and blogging. Good luck!

    Say hello to everyone!

  3. FM Seth H says:

    Good luck tomorrow! Looks like Topalov time!

  4. Janet MacKenzie-Cohen says:

    Well, I was just having a wee sip of the beverages with my Buddy Mr. Bill, when he happened to mention that you are over there doing this amazing (to me) stuff for us up to and including this blog –
    Now, you have to understand that I barely know how to figure out where the knights go next (they are the tricky ones I do know that) –
    You simply have no idea how delighted we are that you are playing right now – himself said that he is going to stay up all night to watch you play the live game – (but then I do believe he has some clue as to how to play and the rules and all that –
    Anyway, toasts were toasted – congrats to you – may all the forces be with you in this round and all the games to come –

  5. hylen says:

    Topalov who??? Wow!

  6. FM Seth H says:


    No more need be said.

  7. Greg says:

    Congrats to Mark for a great win over a giant. To beat a 2800 GM can be no small feat.

  8. Denton Cockburn says:

    Now it’s fair to say you’ve arrived!

    When you’re beating a FIDE World Champion, and a (real) World Championship Contender, you can definitely say you know what you’re doing.

    I know it’s just one game, but speaking on behalf of all your Canadian (and blog) fans, we are really proud of you! Keep it up!

  9. I daresay the Nxd6! shot will make Kevin Spraggett’s next tactical roundup…congratulations on also building a position where it was there…

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hi Mark,

    There is an quite enjoyable two-part audio program about chess at the BBC Worldservice:

    Part 1
    Part 2

    P.S. Congrats on beating Topalov.

  11. Congratulations on your nice win!

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