Round 8-11

Round 8

We were playing the underrated Mongolians in round 8. We came in higher rated on every board. I was playing a 2460 untitled (!?) player on top board with black. Here is the game.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2010.09.29”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Gundavaa, B.”]
[Black “Bluvshtein”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “A00”]
[PlyCount “18”]
[EventDate “2010.09.21”]
[SourceDate “2010.09.29”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Bd2
Nxc3 9. Bxc3 Be4 1/2-1/2

The game looks boring. I know. A GM draw. I hate it. I know. Well there was a lot more going in my head than that. I will get you through the motions.

3.Nf3 was a surprise. My opponent usually plays 3.g3, for which I prepared very indepth. I was guessing my opponent wanted to force a specific line of the benoni. I already lost 2 games with black in the tournament, because I haven’t been playing solid.

Based on those ideas, I chose the solid line I played. But then when we actually got to about move 8 I was becoming a bit upset at myself. I was not sure as to how I was planning to play the line for a win and other ideas were taking over. This was the perfect game to take a rest day. Save some fuel for the last 3 days.

I really wanted to play all 11 games. But 11 hard fought games take their toll on a chess player. I give it everything I have every single game. A draw here is not a big loss. It kills a black for the team and allows for the whites to win the match.

Based on these reasons I decided to just offer a draw and go take my day off. I saw this as better than just asking to sit out, simply because I killed a black.

There rest of the team did their thing. Sort of. The news on the team was that Thomas was in line for a GM norm. The thing about a GM norm at the Olympiad is that it counts as 2. Thomas already had 1. His live rating was at 2500 already, so a norm would clinch him the title.

Thomas needed 1 out of 2 against not very strong opposition for the title. The pressure was on. This meant that Thomas was not too pressured to go for a win today, even though a win would clinch the title even if he loses the next game. Thomas drew his game quickly, soon after me.

Leonid drew his game with black and so it was all up to Artiom to decide our fate with the white pieces. He certainly did not disappoint by winning his game convincingly against his GM opponent. Matches where a player decides the fate of the team definitely affect personal confidence, and this was great for Artiom.

2.5-1.5. It wasn’t pretty but we got the desired result.

The girls were playing Norway. Yuanling and Dalia won their games. Dina drew and Liza lost. Solid 2.5-1.5 win against the higher ranked Norwegians.

Round 9

We were paired against the 17th ranked Czech Republic, led by GMs Navara and Laznicka. Navara is rated about 2720, and Laznicka is currently at 2690. But Laznicka has been beating everybody. To see how he plays, check out his game from yesterday against Nigel Short. http://ugra-chess.com/liveboard?gameid=1001110092

Nigel Short is a great player. Laznicka has been making great players look bad in the last year, when he has skyrocketed to become an elite player.

The decision for this round was of whether to put Thomas up or not. Putting Thomas up against Navara with black didn’t look very promising, that would look like a suicide mission, which I was looking forward to taking. And I really didn’t want to sit. Playing white against Laznicka was a realistic option, but a dangerous one. Thomas would only need a draw though.

In the end, the decision was made for Thomas to sit out and take the day off. The idea of regaining energy was an important one, after which he could potentially go for it in the last 2 rounds, depending on pairings.

I was to play GM Navara. The stronger the opponent the better. Here is the game.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2010.09.30”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Navara”]
[Black “Bluvshtein”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B66”]
[PlyCount “91”]
[EventDate “2010.09.21”]
[SourceDate “2010.09.30”]

1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 c5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e4 Nc6 5. Be2 Qc7 6. O-O a6 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4
Bb4 9. Bg5 Bxc3 10. Bxf6 gxf6 11. bxc3 d6 12. Qd2 Bd7 13. Qh6 Ke7 14. f4 Qa5
15. Kh1 Rag8 16. f5 e5 17. Nc2 Nb8 18. Nb4 Bc6 19. Qe3 Nd7 20. Rfd1 Nc5 21. Bf3
h5 22. h4 Rg3 23. Kh2 Rhg8 24. Rd5 Qd8 25. Rad1 Bxd5 26. Nxd5+ Kd7 27. Qh6 Kc8
28. Qxf6 R8g7 29. Rd2 Kd7 30. Rb2 Qxf6 31. Nxf6+ Ke7 32. Nxh5 Rxf3 33. gxf3 Rh7
34. Ng3 Rxh4+ 35. Kg1 Kd7 36. Nf1 Kc6 37. Rg2 Rh7 38. Ne3 Rh3 39. Rg7 Rxf3 40.
Nd5 b5 41. Kg2 Rf4 42. Rxf7 bxc4 43. Rc7+ Kb5 44. Nxf4 exf4 45. Rxc5+ Kxc5 46.
f6 1-0

We got into an interesting position in the middlegame, where I wanted to take advantage of white’s bad pawn structure. My opponent wanted to mate me. We had our different plans. It was a very interesting game throughout.

The critical point in the game was the 40th move.

I am close to getting mated and I have seconds left on the clock. It’s time to make a move before I get 30min added. I calculated 40…b5? 41.Rxf7 bxc4 and I appear to be playing for a win due to the weakness of the e4 pawn. Right after playing my move, I see that my rook is trapped after 41.Kg2! after which I am completely lost.

40…Kd7! 41.Rxf7 Ke8 42.Re7 Kf8 leads to a completely equal endgame where the score-sheets would probably be signed after the pawns and the knights are traded off. I saw the line, but I was already playing for a win. To miss something as simple as my rook getting trapped is mind-boggling. It’s hard to explain. I was on the ropes for some time in the game and I had been struggling with the clock for a while. Deadly blunder though, which may have cost us the match.

This might sound strange, but I really enjoyed my game. Not my 40th move of course, but everything before it. To have a very tense game against a world class player and to be able to compete on an even level felt great. It was a painful loss in the end, but the process was very enjoyable.

Leonid shocked some people by beating Laznicka with white. Leonid was down a pawn in the middle game for some compensation, when his opponent blundered the exchange, and with it the house. Leonid converted without any difficulties.

Artiom lost to Hracek without much of a fight. Hracek is a world class player and Artiom does not have much experience against players of that caliber.

Nikolay had a nail-biter. There is a very real chance that he fell apart after seeing that I lost. After I lost it was clear that we are losing the match. Nikolay had a drawn endgame where he needed to play accurately to hold the draw in a rook endgame down a pawn. Soon after my loss he fell apart. I feel like with me drawing he would be able to do the same, and the match would be tied. It happens. We did get really lucky on 2nd board.

The girls were matched up against the higher rated Montenegro. Yuanling and Iulia won their games, while Dina and Dalia lost theirs. All games were won by white.

Round 10

We were paired against the higher ranked Khazakhstan. The question of the day was whether Thomas should play, and if so then on what board. I really didn’t want to sit out, as usual. It was decided that Thomas would be playing 2nd board with black. He is rock solid. Everybody knows he can manage a draw. The only question was about pressure. There would be lots on him this day.

I was to play GM Khazgaleyev with the white pieces. He is rated 2620. Here is the game.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2010.09.30”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Bluvshtein”]
[Black “Kazhgaleyev”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “A00”]
[PlyCount “107”]
[EventDate “2010.09.21”]
[SourceDate “2010.09.30”]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 5. Nf3 b5 6. cxd5 cxd5 7. Ne5 e6 8. Bd3
Be7 9. O-O Bb7 10. f4 Nbd7 11. Qf3 b4 12. Ne2 O-O 13. Ng3 a5 14. Bd2 g6 15.
Rac1 Rc8 16. Rxc8 Qxc8 17. Rc1 Qb8 18. Nc6 Bxc6 19. Rxc6 Rc8 20. Rxc8+ Qxc8 21.
Qd1 Nb6 22. b3 Qb7 23. Qc2 Nc8 24. Be1 Nd6 25. h3 Kg7 26. Kh1 Bf8 27. Ne2 Nf5
28. Bf2 h5 29. Ng1 Ne4 30. Nf3 Nfd6 31. Be1 Be7 32. Ne5 Nf5 33. Bxe4 dxe4 34.
Bf2 Bd6 35. Qc6 Qxc6 36. Nxc6 Bc7 37. g4 Nd6 38. g5 Nb5 39. Be1 Kf8 40. Kg2 Ke8
41. Kf2 Kd7 42. Ne5+ Bxe5 43. dxe5 Kc6 44. Ke2 Nc7 45. Kd1 Kb5 46. Kc2 a4 47.
Bd2 Nd5 48. Kd1 Ne7 49. Be1 Nc6 50. Kc2 Na5 51. Bd2 Nb7 52. Be1 Nc5 53. Bg3 Nd3
54. Kd2 1/2-1/2

I really didn’t get anything out of the opening, which wasn’t a great feeling. My opponent’s position was rock solid.

This was an important position in the game. I played 18.Nc6, hoping that the two bishops would somehow prevail, quite unrealistically. The alternative was 18.Bb5 Rc8! 19.Qd1 Rc7=, where 18… Rc8 works due to Qc7 tricks following the rook exchange if white takes on d7. This just shows how solid black is.

And we kept going and going. I am pretty sure my opponent was also playing for a win. The position was equal throughout.

This was the final pawn structure in the game. The position is dead drawn. My opponent’s knight can jump around, but as long as I keep my bishop on the right squares, nothing can be achieved. The kings can’t invade the opponent’s territory. We agreed to a draw soon after.

Thomas drew his game without any serious problems, to become Canada’s newest GM Elect! Congratulations to Thomas!

Leonid beat his GM opponent very convincingly with the white pieces. On last board, Nikolay ran into some serious trouble in the opening and was never quite able to wiggle his way out.

2-2 is a respectable result. We were of course hoping for more, but that’s not always achievable. This was fair. The main goal of the round was achieved: Thomas’ GM title! We were going into the free day on a high note.

The girls were up against England, led by IM Houska, rated 2426. The rest of the English team is substantially weaker. Yuanling had the tough challenge of battling with the experienced IM. Yuanling did not just prevail, but she won the game without any doubts in very convincing fashion. Great game by Yuanling, who is playing completely fearless chess. Check out the game. http://ugra-chess.com/liveboard?gameid=1000100231&tmnt=2

Iulia was able to draw on second board, but Liza and Dalia lost on bottom boards. A respectable result for the girls against an experienced team. But wow Yuanling! Just wow!

Round 11

Everybody was rested for the last round, following the free day. We were to play Montenegro, ranked just below us. All their players are in the vicinity of 2450-2480. They are led by GM Djukic, who has mainly been rated around 2500 in recent years.

We were going for the crush. I knew I had to step up on top board with the white pieces. Here is the game.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2010.10.02”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Bluvshtein”]
[Black “Djukic”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “D80”]
[PlyCount “65”]
[EventDate “2010.09.21”]
[SourceDate “2010.10.02”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. h3 O-O 6. Bg5 c6 7. Nf3 e5 8. d5 a5
9. Be2 Na6 10. O-O Bd7 11. Nd2 Kh8 12. a3 Qb8 13. f4 exf4 14. Bxf4 Nc5 15. Qe1
Re8 16. e5 Ng8 17. exd6 Nd3 18. Bxd3 Rxe1 19. Raxe1 Qa7+ 20. Kh1 Qb6 21. Nde4
h6 22. Be3 Qd8 23. Rxf7 Qe8 24. Rxg7 Kxg7 25. Bd4+ Kh7 26. Ng5+ hxg5 27. Rxe8
Rxe8 28. Ne4 Kh6 29. Nc5 cxd5 30. Nxd7 dxc4 31. Bxc4 Re4 32. Bc3 Rxc4 33. Ne5
1-0

This was one of the more beautiful games I have ever played. The opening was a King’s Indian. I felt like a guy with a bag full of tricks before the game, as I chose to play a third line against the King’s Indian in this tournament. I thought this would throw my opponent off preparation. Things did not work out that way.

My opponent blitzed his first 19 moves, after which he still had an hour and 33min. Yes, we start with an hour and 30min. I was left with about 50min. I was a bit confused, mainly because I didn’t think his moves were strong enough to be preparation. It might have just been a game strategy to play fast. Well, here are some comments.

My options include Bh2 and exd6 in this position. I started calculating 17.Bh2 in this position but my position doesn’t look too convincing due to my light squared bishop in anything that arises.

I am not supposed to play 17.exd6 because of 17…Nd3 and the captuing of my strong dark squared bishop. I had other plans and the game continued 17.exd6 Nd3 18.Bxd3! Rxe1 19.Rae1 Qa7 20.Kh1 Qb6 21.Nde4. The idea behind my last move is to counter 21…Qxb2 with 22.Rb1 Qa3 23.Bc1! trapping the queen.

I sacrificed the queen for a rook, knight and pawn. But my pawn on d6 is deadly. All of my pieces are active. How can it not be good for me? It can’t be bad. The variations I calculated told the same story.

My opponent’s 21…h6 may have been the losing move, after which 22.Be3! wins the f7 pawn. My opponent may have missed 22…Bd4 23.c5! winning the bishop while playing his 21st move.

My opponent is struggling for air. I am winning in more than one way. Nobody would be jealous of black’s position here.

I played 24.Rxg7! Kxg7 25.Bd4 Kh7 26.Ng5 hxg5 27.Rxe8 Rxe8 28.Ne4 with a completely winning endgame. None of black’s pieces can move. My pawn on d6 is still unstoppable. Added to all of this, I already have two pawns for the exchange. The position is completely winning. If black tries 25…Kf7 then 26.Rf1 Bf5 27.g4, winning material. Black’s pieces can never move. It is complete board domination throughout.

Time for a final punch. A lot of moves win here for white. I chose what I saw as the simplest one. I played 32.Bc3! Rxc4 33.Ne5. My opponent cant stop d7 and Nf7 and will have to give up his rook for the pawn. Very smooth way to finish the game off.

This game was a nice way to finish the tournament. It’s even pretty for the eyes.

I finished the game very quickly, and I was hoping this would give the team a boost. Thomas drew with the black pieces without too many difficulties. Leonid was pressing the whole game but was unable to pull out the full point.

Artiom transposed into a Dragon in the opening. His position seemed to be completely fine but he then ran into some trouble with some risky play and then lost.

2-2. We were all hoping for more, but it just didn’t happen. I am sure our opponents weren’t thrilled either.

This was a very important day for the girls, and especially Yuanling. Yuanling had won 4 games in a row. That’s exceptional! She didn’t do it against weak players either. All of them were titled players. On this day, Yuanling could make a WGM norm with a win.

She pushed hard for a win, in a position where it is just hard to play for a win. Her position started falling apart and she lost the endgame. Unfortnate way to end it for Yuanling, who had a phenomenal tournament.

Dina won a beauty, sacrificing one piece. She claims it is two pieces, but it was really just one piece that was sacrified;). A very impressive game that shows her style. Attack and kill. http://ugra-chess.com/liveboard?gameid=1000110292

Iulia and Liza lost, losing the match to Venezuela 3-1.

A summary report of the Olympiad to come…

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