Friday, October 1, 2010

Mixed fortunes at Chess Olympiad


Highs and lows at this year’s Chess Olympiad.

IT IS at times like this, with the Chess Olympiad in full swing, that I yearn to own the biggest computer monitor so that I can open multiple windows with my web browser and view several chess games simultaneously.

In any given round of this Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, there are 524 games being played at the same time. Of course, many games are not worth the time to follow but certainly, it is always useful to keep an eye out for those match-ups between the top countries. And there are plenty.

Tan Khai Boon (white) vs Vladimir Klasan (black).

Then there are the games of the Malaysian teams. Regardless of who they play against, as a Malaysian I follow their progress closely. I cheer when the team wins and despair when they miss winning chances and lose. So far in this Chess Olympiad, I’ve had my fair share of highs and lows.

Take, for example, the seventh round on Tuesday. The men were playing a team from the International Committee for Silent Chess (ICSC). The ICSC is one of three non-country teams in the event, the other two being the International Braille Chess Association (IBCA) and the International Physically Disabled Chess Association (IPCA).

The match between Malaysia and the ICSC started off well enough and our players – Mas Hafizulhelmi, Mok Tze Meng, Tan Khai Boon and Peter Long – were pressing their opponents hard. There were good chances of them winning the match.

But suddenly, the tables turned. Mok came under heavy pressure, could not defend his position adequately and had to resign his game. Long’s defence unravelled and he had to resign also. Mas Hafizul suddenly found his king being encircled by enemy pieces and he, too, had to give up. These frustrations aside, the consolation came when Tan rounded off the evening with a decisive attack on his opponent. That game cheered me up. Here it is.

White: Tan Khai Boon (Malaysia)

Black: Vladimir Klasan (ICSC)

Eduardas Rozentalis (white) vs Mas Hafizulhelmi (black).

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 Nbd7 7. Nxc4 Nb6 8. Ne5 a5 9. f3 Nfd7 10. Nxd7 Nxd7 11. e4 Bg6 12. Be2 Qb6 13. h4 h5 14. f4 e6 15. O-O e5 16. f5 exd4 17. fxg6 dxc3+ 18. Kh1 O-O-O 19. bxc3 Ne5 20. Qc2 f6 21. Rb1 Qa7 22. Bf4 Nxg6 23. e5 Nxf4 24. Rxf4 Be7 25. Qf5+ Kc7 26. Qg6 Qc5 27. Rc4 Qa3 28. Qe4 Bc5 29. Bf3 Rc8 30. Qg6 Rhe8 31. Qxg7+ Re7 32. Qxf6 Rce8 (see Diagram 1) 33. Rxb7+ Kxb7 34. Qxc6+ Ka7 35. Rxc5 Qc1+ 36. Kh2 Qf4+ 37. g3 Qd2+ 38. Bg2 Qd8 39. Rb5 Qc7 40. Qd5 Ka6 41. Rc5 1-0

Until the seventh round of this Chess Olympiad, the most memorable round for the Malaysians must be the third. Our men were playing against a strong Lithuanian team that comprised three grandmasters and one international master.

Like many others watching through the Internet, we were expecting the worst but on the contrary, our players rose to the occasion and at one point, there were real chances of our team winning the match. Unfortunately, that was not to be and all they got away with was a tied match.

This, here, is Mas Hafizul’s Herculean effort on the first board. In my opinion, a masterful game in which he gave up a pawn but completely tied down his grandmaster opponent. A good strategical decision.

White: Eduardas Rozentalis (Lithuania)

Black: Mas Hafizulhelmi (Malaysia)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nc6 4. O-O Bd7 5. Re1 Nf6 6. h3 a6 7. Bf1 Ne5 8. Nxe5 dxe5 9. a4 e6 10. b3 Bc6 11. d3 Bd6 12. a5 Bc7 13. Bd2 O-O 14. Bc3 Nd7 15. Nd2 Bb5 16. Qb1 Rc8 17. Nc4 f6 18. g3 Rf7 19. Bg2 Nb8 20. Qd1 Nc6 21. Qd2 Bxc4 22. bxc4 Nb4 23. Bxb4 cxb4 24. Qxb4 Bd6 25. Qd2 Bf8 26. Red1 Rd7 27. Qe1 Bc5 28. Rdb1 Rf7 29. Qd2 Qd6 30. Kh1 Ba7 31. Ra4 Rcc7 32. Rf1 Rfd7 (see Diagram2) 33. f4 Qd4 34. Qe2 exf4 35. gxf4 Rc5 36. Ra3 g6 37. Qf3 Qb2 38. Rfa1 Qxc2 39. Rf1 Qb2 40. Rfa1 Rh5 41. R3a2 Qc3 42. Ra3 Qb4 43. Ra4 Qd6 44. Rf1 Bb8 45. c5 Rxc5 46. d4 Qc6 47. dxc5 Qxa4 48. e5 Qc2 49. exf6 Qxc5 50. Qb3 Kf7 51. Bxb7 Qxa5 52. Bc8 Qd5+ 53. Qxd5 Rxd5 54. Re1 Rd6 55. Ra1 Rc6 56. Bb7 Rb6 57. Bc8 Rc6 58. Bb7 Rc3 59. Bxa6 Rxh3+ 60. Kg2 Rc3 61. Ra4 Kxf6 62. Bb7 Kf5 63. Be4+ Kf6 64. Bf3 Rc2+ 65. Kh3 Rf2 66. Kg3 Rb2 67. Kh3 Bd6 68. Rd4 Rb6 69. Kg2 Kf5 70. Be4+ Kf6 71. Bf3 Bb8 72. Bg4 Rb2+ 73. Kf3 h5 74. Bh3 Rb3+ 75. Kg2 e5 76. fxe5+ Bxe5 77. Rd7 g5 78. Rh7 Rg3+ 79. Kh2 Re3+ 80. Kg2 Kg6 0-1

And below is Mok’s game in the same Malaysia-Lithuania match. Our player had very good chances to win but he missed the best continuation and allowed his grandmaster opponent to wriggle out with a draw.

White: Mok Tze Meng (Malaysia)

Mok Tze Meng (white) vs Sarunas Sulskis (black).

Black: Sarunas Sulskis (Lithuania)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bc4 Be6 4. d3 Nf6 5. Nc3 c5 6. Bg5 Be7 7. Bxf6 Bxf6 8. Nd5 Nd7 9. h3 Nb6 10. Nxb6 Qxb6 11. b3 Qc6 12. a4 O-O 13. O-O d5 14. exd5 Bxd5 15. Bxd5 Qxd5 16. Qe2 g6 17. Qe4 Qxe4 18. dxe4 c4 19. Rfd1 Rfd8 20. Kf1 Rac8 21. Rxd8+ Rxd8 22. Ke2 Be7 23. Rd1 Rxd1 24. Kxd1 f6 25. Nd2 cxb3 26. cxb3 Kf7 27. Ke2 Ke6 28. Kd3 Bc5 29. f3 h5 30. Kc4 Be3 31. Nb1 Bd4 32. Na3 f5 33. Nb5 Bf2 34. Nc7+ Kd6 35. exf5 gxf5 36. Ne8+ Ke7 37. Ng7 h4 38. Nxf5+ Ke6 39. Nh6 Be3 40. Ng4 Bb6 41. b4 Bg1 42. Kd3 Kf5 43. Ke2 a6 44. Nf2 b6 45. Kf1 Bh2 46. Ne4 Bf4 47. Ke2 Bh2 48. Kd3 (see Diagram 3) 48…Kf4 49. Ke2 Bg1 50. Nc3 Bd4 51. Nd5+ Kg3 52. Kf1 a5 53. bxa5 bxa5 54. Nf6 Kf4 55. Nd5+ Kg3 56. Ne7 Kf4 57. Ke2 Kg3 58. Nf5+ Kxg2 59. Nxh4+ Kxh3 60. Nf5 Bb6 61. Kd3 Kg2 62. Ke4 Kf2 63. Nh6 Ke2 64. Nf5 Bc7 65. Ne7 Bd6 66. Nc6 Bc7 67. Na7 Kf2 68. Nb5 Bb8 69. Na3 Ke2 70. Nc4 Bc7 71. Nb2 Bb8 72. Nd3 Bd6 73. Nc1+ Kf2 74. Nb3 Bb4 75. Na1 Ke2 76. Nc2 Kd2 77. Ne3 Kc3 78. Kxe5 Kb3 79. Kd5 Kxa4 80. Nc4 ½-½

Visit to watch the Chess Olympiad games on the Internet. Today’s penultimate round starts at 5pm local time. Tomorrow is a rest day and the final round will be contested on Sunday at 1pm.

--- The Star Online

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