Olympiad wrap-up

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Bobby Ang

Chess Piece

Last Tuesday I discussed the good coaching for the Philippine Women’s Olympiad team. For these team events this is very important. You will recall the Bersamina vs Pichot game from the previous Olympiad.

Bersamina, Paulo (2408) — Pichot, A (2536) [E81]
42nd Olympiad 2016 Baku AZE (9.26), 11.09.2016

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0–0 6.Be3 c5 7.Nge2 Nc6 8.d5 Ne5 9.Ng3 h5 10.Be2 h4 11.Nf1 e6 12.f4 Nxc4 13.Bxc4 b5 14.Bxb5 exd5 15.exd5 Rb8 16.h3 Nh5 17.Be2 Rxb2 18.Rc1 Re8 19.Kf2 Ng3 20.Nxg3 hxg3+ 21.Kf3 Qh4 22.Qg1 Bf5 23.Bb5 Re7 24.Bxc5 dxc5 25.d6 g5 26.fxg5 Be4+ 27.Nxe4 Qxe4+ 28.Kxg3 Be5#


After the game Paulo’s teammate GM (Grandmaster) Rogelio Barcenilla asked him why he entered that line with 12…Nxc4 without anything prepared. Bersamina was very surprised and it turned out that he did not know the theory.

Apart from the fact that he was very irresponsible for entering a sharp line without studying it beforehand (for example, before the game started a simple position search in Chessbase would have shown him the critical moves), his coach should have alerted him to the fact that after 1.d4 Pichot almost always goes for the King’s Indian, and in answer to the Saemisch Variation (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc4 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3) he invariably plays the sharp line starting with 5…0-0 6.Be3 c5!? In short the complicated line which occurred in the game was a distinct possibility from the beginning.

Let me show you how good coaching affected the result of two more of our women’s games in Batumi.

WIM(Woman International Master) Catherine Perena-Secopito was the veteran of the Philippine Women’s team to the 2018 Batumi Olympiad. Born August 31, 1985 she has been a member of all our Olympiad teams since 2006 Turin.

Hincu, Olga (2124) — Secopito, Catherine (2157) [E12]
Olympiad Women (10.2), 04.10.2018
[WIM Catherine Secopito]

This was my last game in the 43rd Batumi Chess Olympiad. It was the penultimate round and we are paired against 46th seed Moldova. I had just lost three straight games so I needed a win to regain my confidence.

Right before the match I checked my opponent’s games and decided to use Queen’s Indian since I saw that she only uses the Petrosian variation (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.a3) and it would be easier to prepare given the time constraint. I added a twist though, instead of 4…Ba6 which I used in my game against Hanzelj Lara of Slovenia which ended in draw, this time I opted for 4….Bb7. I watched the video of Sergei Tiviakov on Queen’s Indian (“No Fear of 1.d4, vol 1”) for my preparation. The video was handed out by coach Jayson so as to help us with the opening preparations.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.a3 Bb7 5.Nc3 d5 6.cxd5

The main move.


[6…exd5 is also possible but as what Tiviakov says he wants to keep the diagonal of the white bishop open so as me]


White intends to follow up with e4 to gain control of the center.

7…Nxc3 8.bxc3 c5

To counter-attack in the center.

9.e4 Nd7 10.Bd3

According to Tiviakov the strongest move here is 10.Bf4 as it prevents 10…Qc7 to exchange the pawns and queens and have an equal position. After 10.Bf4 cxd4 11.cxd4 Rc8 12.Qb3 (12.Qa4 is met by 12…a6 with the intention of pushing his b-pawn to b5. 13.Bxa6 cannot be played because of 13…Ra8) 12…Be7 13.Bd3 Nf6 keeping an eye on e4. Black has no problems. Greenfeld, A (2551)-Tiviakov, S (2668) Dieren 2006 1/2 21.


Just like Tiviakov suggested I now intend to trade Queens by exchanging pawn on d4. The main play of white in this position is to launch a kingside attack and the queen exchange will douse cold water on this plan.


Better is 11. Qe2 to avoid the exchange. Another option is Qb1.

11…cxd4 12.cxd4 Qxc2 13.Bxc2 Rc8 14.Ba4

The same game/variation was played by Cmilyte, Victorija (2508) against Hou, Yifan (2623) in 2012 Porto Vecchio Rapid Event, only that Hou Yifan played 14…Bd6. The game ended in draw.

14…a6 15.d5 exd5

I decided on capturing the pawn though it exposes my King in the center. My idea is to exchange the pieces, go for the endgame and the pawn on d5 would be vulnerable. But according to the engine, 15…b5 is better. There might follow 16.dxe6 fxe6 17.Bb3 Nc5 18.Ba2 Bxe4 and the advantage has shifted to black.

16.exd5 b5 17.Re1+ Kd8 18.Bg5+ f6 19.Bd2

Intending to check on a5.


[19…bxa4? 20.Ba5+ Rc7 21.Rad1 Bd6 22.Re6 White is clearly better]

20.Bb3 Re8

I am trying to exchange pieces and convert to endgame.

21.Ba5+ Bb6 22.Rxe8+ Kxe8 23.Re1+ Kd8 24.Bb4 Nc5 25.Bc2 g6 26.d6 a5 27.Bd2 Bd5

My plan is to convert this to endgame by possibly playing Nb3 and remove another piece. Then target the weak a3 pawn and support my pawns for promotion.


She blundered! Correct is 28.Rb1 Bc4 29.Be3.


I believe my opponent completely overlooked this possibility. Now Black is attacking the d4–knight and the c2–bishop at the same time.


The only move to save the piece.

29…Bxb3 30.Nxb3 a4 31.Nc1 Rc2

I quickly played this move because of the principle that rook is stronger on the 7th/2nd rank and then together with my bishop I can target the f2 pawn. But it appears that Bc5 is much better, directly attacking the pawn on d6 and a3 which is blockading the path of my passed pawn.

32.Rd1 Bc5 33.Nd3 Bxa3 34.Bb4 Bxb4 35.Nxb4 Rc4 36.Nd5 a3 37.d7 a2 38.Ra1

[38.Nb6 is met by 38…Rd4! 39.Ra1 Rb4 followed by …Rb1+]

38…b4 39.f4 b3 40.Re1 Rc6

[40…b2 quickest way to victory.]

41.Nb4 Kxd7 42.Nd3 Ra6 43.Ra1 Rd6 44.Nb2 Rd2 45.Nc4 b2 0–1

She resigned. At last I was back on track.

Recalling the Bersamina game, here is Shania Mae Mendoza out-preparing her opponent. Everything looked really complicated, but she had done her homework and brought home the full point efficiently. This game is from our 2-2 tie with England in the 5th round.

Head, Louise (2161) — Mendoza, Shania M. (2113) [D44]
Olympiad 2018 (5), 28.09.2018
[WFM Shania Mae Mendoza]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5

My opponent usually plays 5.e3, but I was not surprised when she went 5.Bg5, the Botvinnik Semi-Slav — This very sharp line was part of my preparation against Team Venezuela.

5…dxc4 6.e4

This is the best for White! It occupies the center, attacks the c4–pawn and creates the threat e4–e5 in the process.

6…b5 7.e5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Nxg5

[9.exf6 gxh4 10.Ne5 Qxf6 does not promise much for White].

9…hxg5 10.Bxg5 Nbd7 11.exf6 Bb7

If 11…Nxf6? 12.Qf3 (Please do not mix up the moves. If 12.Nxb5? first then 12…cxb5 13.Qf3 Bb4+ 14.Kd1 (14.Bd2 Bxd2+ 15.Kxd2 Qxd4+ The second player is a clear piece up) 14…Qxd4+ 15.Kc2 Nd5 Black is already winning) 12…Be7 13.Nxb5! White is doing fine.

12.g3 Qb6 13.Bg2 0–0–0 14.0–0 c5 15.d5 b4

There are two mainlines in this position that white may consider 16.Rb1 or Na4. I believe the text is not the most accurate.

16.dxe6 Bxg2 17.Kxg2?

Another mistake. The only way to continue fighting is 17.e7 Bxf1 18.Nd5 Qe6 when it is still anybody’s game. Lan,Z (2361)-Li,D (2485) Shenzhen 2017 0–1 39.

17…Qxe6 <D>


Now I am on my own, but I was not worried because my pieces are about to take control of the game.

18.Qd5 bxc3 19.Qa8+ Nb8 20.Bf4 Bd6 21.Bxd6 Rxd6 22.h4 cxb2 23.Rab1 c3 24.Qxa7 Rb6 25.Qa3 Qxf6 26.Qxc5+ Qc6+ 27.Qxc6+ Nxc6 28.Rfc1 bxc1Q 29.Rxc1 Rb2 30.Rxc3 Kc7 31.a3 Rh6 32.Rf3 Ne5 33.Rf5 Kd6 34.Kh3 Ke6 35.Rg5 Rxf2 0–1

Wow. Our women players have got serious writing skills.


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 for 25 years and is currently Chief Audit Executive of the Equicom Group of Companies.