- The Washington Times - Friday, June 2, 2006

Having faced down some of its top rivals, tiny Armenia is coming up big in the 37th Olympiad, winding down in Turin, Italy.

Anchored by rising superstar GM Levon Aronian, the third-seeded Armenian team defeated the Czech Republic 3-1 in yesterday’s Round 11, giving it a 31/2-point cushion with two rounds to go.

The U.S. squad — GMs Gata Kamsky, Alexander Onischuk, Gregory Kaidanov, Ildar Ibragimov, Hikaru Nakamura and Varuzhan Akobian — has rallied in the late rounds, capped by a stunning 21/2-11/2 upset of top-seeded Russia yesterday despite the presence of classical world champ Vladimir Kramnik on Russia’s top board. The Americans are in third, a half point behind France and China and in strong contention for a medal.

On the women’s side, Ukraine’s team won its first 10 matches but clings to just a half-point lead over second-place Russia. The U.S. women — WGMs Anna Zatonskih, Camilla Baginskaite, Rusudan Goletiani and IM Irina Krush — are in eighth place.

If Armenia takes the gold, fourth board GM Gabriel Sargissian may rate as the team’s most valuable player. The unheralded Sargissian has won eight and drawn two in his matches, including a tournament-saving victory over Russian star Alexander Morozevich that halved the teams’ Round 5 match.

Aronian went down meekly to Kramnik on Board 1, and the other two games were drawn, meaning Sargissian had to win on Board 4 to salvage the half point despite a ratings deficit of nearly 120 points.

The ever-inventive Morozevich is one of the few top-line grandmasters who play openings like the Modern Defense in a money game, but Sargissian as White wins the opening battle with the alert 12. Bg5 Qa5 13. b4!, inviting 13…Nxb4 14. Bd2 Qa4 15. Nxb4 Qxd1 16. Raxd1 cxb4 17. Bxb4 Re8 18. Rc1, with the advantage. The White finesse gives him two powerful bishops and an enduring initiative.

Unhappy with his increasingly passive position, Black lashes out with 26. f4 c5?!, which only makes things worse after 27. Bxc4 dxc4 28. d5 Qf5 29. d6 Rb8 30. Rc2 g5 31. Rxc4 gxf4 32. Rxc5 Rd8 33. Qd5, when White is a pawn up with a dominating game.

Sargissian gives his higher-rated opponent no hope after 36. Rc4! (threatening to simplify with 37. Qe4 Qxe4 38. Rxe4 f6 39. d7 Rd8 40. e6, winning) Bxe5 37. d7 f3+ 38. Qxe5! Rxe5 39. d8=Q f2 40. Rxh4+ Kg6 41. Rg4+, and Morozevich resigns as 41…Kh7 (Qxg4 42. fxg4 f1=Q fails to 43. Bxe5 f6 44. Qg8+ Kh6 45. Bd6 Qf2 46. Bf8 mate) 42. Qg8+ Kh6 43. Qg7+ Kh5 44. Qh8+ Qh7 45. Qxh7 is mate.

The veteran Kaidanov has been strong for the U.S. team, scoring 41/2 points in his first six games. His intricate Round 7 win over Swedish GM Tiger Hillarp Persson gave the American team a 2-2 tie for the match.

The game features one of the sharpest lines in the Queen’s Gambit, a variation favored by Soviet world champion Mikhail Botvinnik. With 24. Qg4+ Qd7 25. Qxd7+ Kxd7 26. a5!, White is the first to clarify things, firmly establishing the weakness of Hillarp Persson’s fixed queen-side pawn mass.

But Black does a decent job of keeping things in balance until 38. Re8 Re6?! (Kd6! 39. h5 Rh6 40. g4 Na5 41. Rd8+ Kc6 42. Be2 f6 makes White’s job much harder) 39. Rxe6+ fxe6 (see diagram), where the White bishop will quickly show its superiority to the Black knight in the tricky ending.

With superb technique, Kaidanov calmly walks his king from one corner of the board to the other, picking off the Black a-pawn while preserving his connected king-side pawns. Even the presence of the two White pawns on c4 and e4 doesn’t undermine the White bishop’s effectiveness.

It’s over after 55. Kb5 Nf2 (Nb2 56. Be2 Kg6 57. Kxc5) 56. Bf3 Nd3 57. Ka6 Ne1 58. Be2 Nc2 59. Kxa7, and Hillarp Persson resigns in view of lines like 59…Nd4 (Nb4 60. Kb6) 60. Bd1 Kg7 61. Kb6, and the c-pawn can’t be saved.

The U.S. Chess Center is hosting the 17th annual D.C. Action Championship today at its 1501 M St. NW site downtown. Registration for the popular one-day Game/30 event starts at 10 a.m., and the last round begins at 8 p.m.

Call 202/857-4922 for more information or check out the tournament details at www.chessctr.org.

37th Chess Olympiad, Turin, Italy, May 2006


1. d4g622. Bxb1Rb8

2. e4Bg723. Bd3Rb5

3. Nf3d624. Nxe6Qxe6

4. c3Nd725. h3h5

5. Bd3e526. f4c5

6. 0-0Ne727. Bxc4dxc4

7. Na30-028. d5Qf5

8. Re1exd429. d6Rb8

9. cxd4d530. Rc2g5

10. e5c531. Rxc4gxf4

11. Nc2Nc632. Rxc5Rd8

12. Bg5Qa533. Qd5Kh7

13. b4cxb434. Kh2Re8

14. Rb1Nb635. Bb2h4

15. Nxb4Nc436. Rc4Bxe5

16. Nxc6bxc637. d7f3+

17. Nd2Be638. Qxe5Rxe5

18. Re2Rfb839. d8=Qf2

19. Nb3Qa340. Rxh4+Kg6

20. Bc1Qe741. Rg4+

21. Nc5Rxb1Black resigns

37th Chess Olympiad, Turin, Italy, May 2006

KaidanovHillarp Persson

1. d4d531. bxc3Nd6

2. c4c632. c4Bh6

3. Nf3Nf633. Bxh6Rxh6

4. Nc3e634. Rb1Nb7

5. Bg5dxc435. Rxb3Nxa5

6. e4b536. Rb8Rxf6

7. e5h637. h4Nb7

8. Bh4g538. Re8Re7

9. Nxg5hxg539. Rxe6+fxe6

10. Bxg5Nbd740. Kf2Kd7

11. g3Bg741. Ke3Ke7

12. Bg2Qc742. g4Nd6

13. exf6c543. Bd3Kf6

14. d5b444. Kd2Nc8

15. d6Qb645. Bc2Ne7

16. Ne4Bd546. Ba4Ng6

17. 0-00-0-047. g5+Kg7

18. a3b348. h5Nf4

19. Bf4Qc649. Bd1Nh3

20. f3Bxe450. g6Nf4

21. fxe4e551. Bg4Kh6

22. Be3Nb652. Kc3Kg7

23. a4Rxd653. Kb3Kf6

24. Qg4+Qd754. Ka4Nd3

25. Qxd7+Kxd755. Kb5Nf2

26. a5Nc856. Bf3Nd3

27. Rac1Rd357. Ka6Ne1

28. Rfd1Rxd1+58. Be2Nc2

29. Rxd1+Kc659. Kxa7

30. Bf1c3Black resigns

David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at dsands@washingtontimes.com.

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