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Bobby Ang

Chess Piece

43rd Chess Olympiad
Batumi, Georgia
Sept. 23 — Oct. 6, 2018

Current Standings (round 8 of 11)

Country/Points TB1 TB2

1. USA 15/16 227.0 23.0

2. POL 14/16 209.5 22.5

3. AZE 13/16 236.0 22.5

4. IND 13/16 203.0 22.5

5. FRA 13/16 195.5 22.5

6. CHN 13/16 193.0 21.0

7. ARM 13/16 191.5 21.5

8. GER 13/16 182.5 21.0

9. ENG 13/16 175.0 19.5

10. NOR 12/16 180.5 23.0

11. RUS 12/16 178.0 21.0

12. CRO 12/16 167.5 20.5

13. MDA 12/16 160.5 19.5

14. ITA 12/16 156.5 20.5

15. AUT 12/16 151.0 20.5

Total of 185 teams from 183 countries. Georgia as the host country was allowed to field three teams.

Time Control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 30 minutes play-to-finish, with 30 seconds added to your clock after every move starting move 1.

Scoring is on Match Points System (two points for team win, one point for draw, 0 for loss). First Tiebreak is on Olympiad Sonneborn-Berger System and Second Tiebreak is on Game Points (total points scored by each of their players).

Games are played at 7 p.m. Manila time every day, except for the last round which will begin at 3 p.m., also Manila time. If you want to watch the games live and for free I can recommend the following sites:

In both cases you should go to the page indicated and follow the link to the live games.

I start off by showing you this game won by Magnus Carlsen earlier this year.

Carlsen, Magnus (2843) — Wojtaszek, Radoslaw (2744) [B23]
Gashimov Memorial, Shamkir 2018 (5.3) 23.04.2018

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qd2


Nf6 6.b3 e6 7.Bb2 a6 8.0–0–0 b5 9.f3 h5 10.Nh3 Be7 11.Ng5 h4 12.f4 Bb7 13.Kb1 Rc8 14.Be2 Qc7 15.Rhe1 Nh7 16.Nxh7 Rxh7 17.g4?!

After the game Carlsen said that he felt 17.Nd5! is the winning move, but he could not see a clear-cut win. After some analysis we can say that his intuition was correct. 17…exd5 18.exd5 Nd8 19.Bd3 Rh5 (19…Rh8 20.Bxg7 Rg8 21.Bf6) 20.Rxe7+! Qxe7 (20…Kxe7 21.Qe2+) 21.Re1 Ne6 22.dxe6 White has a winning attack.

17…hxg3 18.hxg3 Bf6 19.Bd3 Rh8 20.g4 Nd4 21.Re3 Kf8 22.Ne2 Nxe2 23.Rxe2 Bc3 24.Bxc3 Qxc3 25.Qe3 Rc5?

A clear mistake, allowing White’s next move. Better is 25…Qc5 26.Qg3 Qd4 27.g5 a5 White’s position is looking good, but Black is fighting back.

26.e5! dxe5

Black has no choice. 26…d5 27.f5 is even worse for him

27.fxe5 Rh1 28.Rxh1 Bxh1 29.Rh2 Rxe5 30.Rh8+ Ke7 31.Qa7+ 1–0

Black resigns because of 31.Qa7+ Kd6 (31…Kf6 32.g5+ Rxg5 33.Rxh1 Black does not have a check on e1) 32.Rd8+ Kc6 33.Rc8+.

Many people thought that Magnus’ eccentric opening play was just an attempt to get out of the books early, but the reality is the opposite — it is a new system developed and proposed by the Greek International Master (IM) Ioannis Simeonidis.

IM Simeonidis recently wrote an article in NIC Yearbook 128 about his new discovery. According to him most Sicilian Black players would not mind going into the Najdorf System (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6). After 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 the only way to transpose to the Najdorf is 2…d6, and now Black is ready for a closed Sicilian or the Najdorf.

After a great deal of research and study he came up with 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qd2! In his own words: “The point is that the queen is perfect placed on d2. If White gets the time to develop the bishop on b2 and castle queenside, White is doing great.” He then worked together with GM (Grandmaster) Vasilios Kotronias to try to find a hole in his analysis and even organized games between computer engines starting from the position after White’s 5.Qd2 — the tests were all a huge success.

Finally, they sent their analysis to the camp of world champion Magnus Carlsen and the game shown above was the result.

This idea has since caught fire. In the first round of the Batumi Olympiad GM Arturs Neiksans won the following brilliancy.

Neiksans, Arturs (2566) — Paiva, Donaldo (2206) [B23]
43rd Olympiad 2018 Batumi GEO (1.1), 24.09.2018

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qd2 Nf6 6.b3 e6 7.Bb2 Be7 8.0–0–0 a6 9.Kb1 b5 10.f3 0–0 11.g4 Bb7 12.g5 Nd7 13.h4 Nc5 14.Nh3 b4 15.Nd5!? exd5 16.exd5 Nb8 17.Qxb4 Nbd7 18.Qd4 f6 19.h5 Bc8 20.Be2 Rf7? 21.g6!± Rf8 22.gxh7+

The thematic 22.h6! seems to be the quickest way to the win here: 22…hxg6 (22…gxh6 23.gxh7+ Kh8 (23…Kxh7 24.Ng5+ Kg7 25.Qg4 hxg5 26.Qxg5+ Kf7 27.Qh5+ Kg8 28.Qh7#) 24.Rdg1 Ne5 25.Qh4 h5 26.Nf4 White is clearly winning) 23.Qg1 Ne5 (23…Kf7 24.Nf4) 24.Bxe5 fxe5 25.Qxg6 Bf6 26.Rdg1 Black is toast.

22…Kxh7 23.Rdg1 Rf7 24.Rg6 Bf8 25.f4 Qe8 26.Bf3! Re7 27.Bc3 Nb6 28.Ng5+! fxg5

[28…Kg8 29.Qxf6 Kh8 30.Rh6+ Kg8 31.Rh8+ Kxh8 32.Qh6+ Kg8 33.Qh7#]

29.h6! Bh3

[29…Kxg6 30.Bh5+]

30.hxg7 Qxg6 31.Rxh3+ Kg8 32.Rh8+ Kf7 33.g8Q+ Qxg8 34.Bh5+ 1–0

In round 2 of the Olympiad the Philippines had a good win versus Slovakia. Ino Sadorra beat GM Christopher Repka and John Paul Gomez won over GM Tomas Petrik. The Slovakians got a small measure of revenge though when IM Martin Nayhebaver used “the line” against MJ Turqueza.

Nayhebaver, Martin (2466) — Turqueza, Mari Joseph (2360) [B23]
43rd Olympiad 2018 Batumi GEO (2.4), 25.09.2018

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qd2 g6 6.b3 Bg7 7.Bb2 Nf6 8.0–0–0 Be6 9.Kb1 Rc8 10.f3 0–0 11.Nge2 Qa5 12.g4 Rfd8 13.g5 Nh5?

As the course of this game shows this knight has no business being on h5. It should have gone to d7.

14.a3 a6 15.Nd5 Qxd2 16.Rxd2 h6 17.h4 Bxb2 18.Kxb2 Kg7 19.Ne3 a5 20.f4 Bd7 21.Bg2 b5 22.Bf3 hxg5

Otherwise White plays 23.Bxh5 gxh5 24.Ng3 and his knights take over.

23.hxg5 Rh8 24.e5! Nxf4 25.Nxf4 Nxe5

[25…dxe5 26.Nh5+! gxh5 27.Rxd7 White is threatening both 28.Bxc6 Rxc6 29.Nf5+ and the simple 28.Bxh5]

26.Rf1 Nxf3 27.Rxf3

White is a piece up and the rest is a mopping up operation.

27…Bc6 28.Rf1 Rh1 29.Rxh1 Bxh1 30.Ned5 Bxd5 31.Rxd5 Rb8 32.Ne2 f5 33.gxf6+ Kxf6 34.b4 axb4 35.axb4 g5 36.Ng3 e6 37.Ne4+ Kf7 38.Nxd6+ Ke7 39.Rxb5 Rf8 40.Ne4 g4 41.Rb7+ 1–0

So the set-up developed by IM Simeonidas is now a “thing,” and from the white wins pouring in it is a good thing. Before we leave this topic let us take a look at the following game. Could it be “Part 2” of “the thing”?

Jobava, Baadur (2634) — Sulskis, Sarunas (2525) [A01]
43rd Olympiad 2018 Batumi GEO (4.1), 27.09.2018

1.b3 a5!?

The reasoning goes that if White intends to castle queenside then Black might as well get the queenside attack going from move 1.

2.a4 e5 3.Bb2 d6 4.e3 g6 5.d4 Bg7 6.dxe5 Nd7 7.Nc3 Nxe5 8.Qd2 Nf6 9.0–0–0 0–0 10.h3 Ned7 11.g4 Nc5 12.Bg2 Be6 13.Kb1 b5!? 14.g5

Taking the rook on a8 is dangerous. After 14.Bxa8 Qxa8 15.f3 bxa4 16.bxa4 Rb8 it looks like the second player is already winning. Nor can White take the b5 pawn. After 14.Nxb5 Nfe4 15.Qe1 Bxb2 16.Kxb2 Qf6+ 17.Kb1 c6 Black’s attack is already in full swing.

14…Nfd7 15.Nxb5 Bxb2 16.Kxb2 Rb8 17.Ne2 Qxg5 18.Nf4 Nb6

There is a threatened knight fork on c4.

19.Qd4 Ncxa4+!

Precisely the move White was trying to prevent.

20.bxa4 Nxa4+ 21.Qxa4 Rxb5+ 22.Kc1 Rb4 23.Qc6 Rxf4! 24.exf4 Qxf4+ 25.Rd2 Rb8!

With the idea of …Ba2 and …Rb1 mate.

26.Qc3 Ba2! 27.Kd1 Bc4 28.Qa1

[28.Ke1? Rb1+ 29.Rd1 Rb5 30.Rd2 a4 there is now the additional threat of a queening pawn]

28…Qg5 29.f4 Qf6! 30.c3

[30.Qxf6 Rb1#]

30…Qf5! 31.Kc1 Bd3?!

Black’s only slip-up in a wonderful game. More accurate is 31…Qxf4! intending …Bd3. That would have prevented White’s next move.

32.Rb2 Qxf4+ 33.Kd1 Bb5 34.Rd2 Qf5 35.Re1 Bd3 36.Rb2 Bb5 37.Be4 Qxh3 38.Qxa5 Qg4+ 39.Kc2 Qg5 40.Ra2 d5 41.Qxc7 Re8 42.Ra7 Qf6 43.Qc5 Bc4 44.Rc7?

[44.Bd3 is correct]

44…Qh4 45.Bxd5 Qh2+ 46.Kd1 0–1

Jobava resigned when he noticed that 46…Rxe1+ 47.Kx1 Qe2 is mate.


Bobby Ang is a founding member of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and its first Executive Director. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), he taught accounting in the University of Santo Tomas (UST) for 25 years and is currently Chief Audit Executive of the Equicom Group of Companies.