Diary from the Tromso Olympiad – Day 3

Round 3

A solid victory against Tunisia.

Davor Palo played fabulously one board one. His opponent very quickly got into a worse position and Davor then crunched the variations with something that looked like perfection. Positionally and tactically superb.

I was black against maybe their most promising player. He surprised me with the sharp 6.Be3 against the Taimanov Sicilian. I went for a sideline that (not to be knowledge) is a great speciality of the opponent’s coach, GM Miladinovic! My opponent did not act in the way I feared/knew (10.a3 instead of 10.Nde2!) and we went straight into an ending where his pawn structure was poor, but my pieces inactive. Around move 20 I believed that I had created a sort of a fortress (with only queens, two pawns and one minor piece exchanged) and was contemplating if I have been damaged from the work on Endgame Play – and what we were going to do for the next ten moves before draw offers are allowed. My opponent answered this by blundering. After this I did not play optimal according to the computer, but I am happy with my play. (The game at ChessBomb)

On board 3 Jakob Vang Glud got a sensational opening. After only 10 moves he was just straight out winning. There was some messiness about the position, but nothing he should not be able to handle. Then he played g4-g5 and things changed. Black had the advantage, but it was still very confusing. Jakob is good in such positions and took the full point. (The game at ChessBomb)

Mads Andersen got his preparation in and equalised easily. But after a few more moves he started to take some risks that I did not personally like much; probably with the intention of creating winning chances. As I have grown older I have come to realise that chances come, as long as you wait for them. Young people usually do not realise this, maybe with the exception of Magnus Carlsen! Mads lost a pawn and was dead and gone in the ending, but with some creative ideas he managed to save it. A great result! (The game at ChessBomb)

3.5-5 puts us in a good position. Tomorrow we will play Ecuador where we are clear favourites. But we know we should not underestimate them as well. South American teams are often underrated as there are fewer rated tournaments down there. Who knows, maybe because of FIDEs fees?

Outside the Danish team I want to say that I was very impressed by the way Caruana won against Negi in the 2-2 match between India and Italy. The villain was unfortunately Sabino that blew a big advantage in a rather simple way. What can I say? Chess is difficult.

Davor Palo – Amir Zaibi (Game on ChessBomb)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c6 4.Qc2 dxc4 5.Qxc4 Nf6 6.g3 b5 7.Qc2 Bb7 8.Nbd2 Nbd7 9.Nb3 Rc8
9…Qb6 looks better, but I am not sure it solves all Black’s problems. 10.Bg2 a5!?
10.Nc5 Nxc5 11.dxc5 Qa5+ 12.Bd2!N
12.Nd2? Qb4 led to a favourite win in Kim – Dao Thien Hai, Chiva ZaoZhuang 2012.
12…b4 13.Rc1 Nd7 14.Bg2!
This was of course White’s plan. A pawn is sacrificed for long term compensation.
14…Bxc5 15.0–0 Qb6?!
This looks like a loss of time.
15…0–0 would have kept Black almost ok. 16.Rfd1 Rfd8 17.Ng5 g6 18.Ne4 Be7 19.a3 and White still has some pressure.
16.Bf4! Be7
16…0–0 17.Ng5 g6 18.Ne4 Be7 19.Nd6 is a positional disaster, but Black’s choices are getting more and more limited.
17.Rfd1 Nf6 18.Ne5 0–0 19.Nd7!
19.Nc4 Qb5 20.Bd6 Rce8 is also unpleasant, but Davor plays better.
19…Nxd7 20.Rxd7 Bf6
20…Rfe8 21.Be3 Qb5 22.Be4 and Black is getting desperate. He was to play 22…Ba8 to stay in the game.
With a big threat. No, not against h7.
21…g6? 22.Be3!
22…Qa6 23.Bd3 Qxa2 24.Rxb7 c5 25.b3 Qa3 26.Bc4 a5 27.Rd1 Rfd8 28.Rxd8+ Rxd8 29.Qe4 a4 30.Bxe6!
A nice way to finish the game.
30…Qa1+ 31.Kg2 fxe6 32.Qxe6+ Kh8 33.Bg5! Rf8 34.Rf7
34.Rb8 was what I had seen from the side. It transposes.
34…Bxg5 35.Rxf8+ Kg7 36.Rg8+ 1–0

While writing this it is the closest to dark it has been since we came here. It is foggy!

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