14th IBCA Olympiad, Chennai 2012

Round 1.
UK 4 – 0 Netherlands
An excellent start today. Four excellent wins by the team.
Colin crushed his opponent in very convincing style on top board. An emphatic refutation of a strange variation of the Grunfeld defence. Black got into trouble in the opening and some clever tactics by white saw him win two pieces for a rook and the rest was sheer technique.
Myself, I opened up with the King’s Indian Defence, not a defence I play often, but did not want to show my hand in the tournament to future opponents preparing for me. Got a clear advantage out of the opening and struck gold with the correct pawn-break plan of f7-f5. All others gave white chances. A flurry of tactics allowed me to gain the bishop pair and the ending was simple enough, two bishops VS two knights.
Steve Hilton once again had the superior opening theory knowledge, got a clear advantage and proceeded to power-play his opponent off the board. A crushing and destructive display by Steve.
David had a strange old game, having clearly got the better out of the opening (the Sniper!). Some obscure tactics occurred, with David leaving a bishop en prise, his opponent refusing it, defending his own attacked bishop, but allowing a mate-in-one, which David missed! An end-game occurred and white just blundered a pawn away for no clear reason. The king-pawn ending was simple for David to convert.
so, a nice neat first-round victory for us.
Tomorrow, in round 2, we face Iran, who drew today. A perplexing float-down, but we’ll take it.

More later.

Chris (captain)

Round 2.
Iran 1.5 – 2.5 UK
A tough day but we came through due to my persistence!
Colin wiped out his opponent on top board with a neat exchange sacrifice.
John Gallagher was slowly ground u on bottom board, after having played slightly inaccurately in the early middle-game.
David Hodgkins had a horrible opening and lost a lot of time with his queen. He rallied though, clung on, managed to win a pawn and was even winning probably at some stage. The game wound out to a draw, giving the match level at 1.5 each.
I, having sacrificed a knight for two pawns, was reaching the time control, where I somewhat lost the initiative. I had constant pressure and compensation for the sacrificed material and was attempting to push my passed pawns through.
Things got complicated indeed just after the time control and I Had to scramble to convert a very challenging end-game, but the pawns eventually told.
So, after 6 hours play, I claimed victory and the match was ours!
Round 3 sees us against Poland. A very tough round indeed, as their team is full of 2200’s.
More later.

Round 3. 
UK 2.5 - 1.5 Poland
What a performance today. We have taken out 2ND seed with no difficulty at all. Top board performances from Colin Crouch and myself built the platform for the victory and John Gallagher on bottom board outplayed a better opponent, with black, and was able to offer a draw in a much better
position, clinching an astonishing conquering of Poland.
Dukaczewski is a very experienced player and Colin planned accordingly and took on the Queen's Gambit accepted variation. He achieved a very
comfortable position, and once his opponent gave himself an isolated queen's pawn, it all fell apart for him very rapidly.
I prepared the Sicilian Kan for my opponent and he entered into a variation
that he was not quite sure about. I have also had many a game in this type
of position and my exploitation of the dark squares and white's vulnerable king on g1 proved his downfall.
I give the game below. Note my 21St move, the very clever retreat, 21...
Qd8! A trick I learnt from the British Championships a couple of years ago, when I could have won a game by this quiet retreat. My pawn sacrifice on the queen-side is justified due to the loose nature of the white pieces on b3, d3 and the dark-squared bishop on e3 is going to be snaffled up.
A lovely game, beating a 2260 player with black in 26 moves!
Steve Hilton played well on board 3 against another very strong opponent,
who has beaten me before. A queen's Gambit Exchange Variation, minority attack was seen. Steve had much the better of it, but unfortunately, was ground out in a very difficult ending, with black forcing down a passed B-pawn.
John Gallagher played out of his skin and took on an English setup with the aggressive Botvinnik system. He did not quite get f5 in, but he did not have too. He broke with b7-b5 and achieved easy equality. Once a rook penetrated onto the 7th rank on b2, he was able to offer a draw in a much better position. An incredible result.
Even better is that Russia has messed up too!
When I left, Russia lost on top board, and the bottom boards drew. The
remaining game, Russia was a pawn down.
This signals a clash then between us and Spain tomorrow for outright first place. How exciting!
Keep tuned for a very interesting day tomorrow...
Chris "the very proud UK captain" Ross
[Event "TATA 14th IBCA World Chess Olympiad for "]
[Site "Le Royal Meridian, Chennai, In"]
[Date "2012.08.12"]
[Round "3.2"]
[White "Stachanczyk, Jacek"]
[Black "Ross, Chris N"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E61"]
[WhiteElo "2260"]
[BlackElo "2231"]
[PlyCount "52"]
[EventDate "2012.08.12"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Bd3 Nf6 7. O-O Nc6 8. Be3 b5 9. Nxc6 Qxc6 10. f3 Bb7 11. Qe1 Qc7 12. Bd4 e5 13. Be3 Be7 14. a4 b4 15. Na2 a5 16. c3 b3 17. Nc1 d5 18. Nxb3 dxe4 19. fxe4 O-O 20. Nd2 Ng4 21. Kh1 Qd8 22. Bb5 Nxe3 23. Qxe3 Bg5 24. Qg3 Bxd2 25. Qxe5 Qh4 26. Rad1 Rad8 0-1

Round 4

India A 1.5 – 2.5 UK

A surprising draw for us in round 4. We expected to be playing Spain, but
for some inexplicable reason, we were once again given a down-float and
given India A. Spain and Germany face off and as I write, Spain are a point
ahead with one game to go, looking very drawish.
India A had on paper a weaker team than us, although they stand higher in
the rankings.
Frankly speaking, Colin and I won our games very convincingly. My opponent blundered a pawn on move 8 and the game was rather uninteresting for the remainder, where I had to just exchange everything off into a simple ending.
Steve Hilton took black in a King's Indian defence, but did not get any real
activity on the king-side. He blundered a piece towards the end, but his
position was much worse by then in any case. Unfortunately, he suffered his second loss, but I have every confidence in him. He'll storm back when we face the big boys. We have faith in our lad!
David Hodgkins was once again, a bottom board star! Holding a draw in a very difficult position, but as stated, the resilience of our bottom boards prove to be the match winners. All according to our master plan and to date, it's working a treat!
OK, hopefully, tomorrow, we'll have the big match. Spain awaits, we hope!
More then.


Round 5.
UK 1.5 – 2.5 Spain
  A disappointing 5TH round saw the UK go down to Spain, when our bottom boards failed to scramble to a draw to obtain a match-draw of 2-2. A very saddening thing, but it just was not to be.
International Master Colin crouch tried his best on top board to convert a slight advantage, but just could not quite do it.
I wiped out my opponent very rapidly in 19 moves, but principally due to the amazing preparation work Grandmaster Neil McDonald is doing with me. His pre-match industry is providing me with the tools, knowledge and awareness to just build a massive platform to take these guys out.
I am currently on a 100% score, with 5/5 and no other board 2 in the
tournament has achieved that feat. This means, currently I am in the running for the individual board 2 gold meddle.
UK are to play Ukraine in round 6 on Thursday 16TH August. A tough pairing, but one we can certainly deal with.
The top board sees Spain, currently leaders with 10 match points, against India A. Russia will play Germany and we can only hope that results go our
Today is a rest day and the squad intend to use this as such. A swim in the
hotel pool, a potter around and hopefully, we can return after our
disappointment with all guns blazing. Although we have lost top spot, we are only two match points behind and in the chasing pack. Anything can happen...

round 6.

Ukraine 3.5 – 0.5 UK


  An extremely frustrating and sad day for UK yesterday. Apologies for the
delay in writing, but I did not finish my game until very late and I had to
grab some food and then work out with Grandmaster Neil McDonald on how in the world I lost my position. Some team confidence needed boosting last evening and this was conducted in the bar.
As it turned out, Steve Hilton once again lost very convincingly on board 3.
I thought he had a very dodgy position and then he broke with d5, which
collapsed his position very rapidly. The poor guy is trying though, but is
simply being beaten by stronger players.
David Hodgkins, amazingly, lost on time, in a winning position!
This gave us two losses.
At that time, my opponent offered me a draw and Colin was attempting to
grind out something from his position.
I was clearly better and my opponent was very passive. I declined the draw, naturally, for the interest of the team.
Colin's opponent then claimed a three-fold repetition, just as I declined a
second draw offer.
Basically put, I just tried too hard. I had an advantage, but it was not
enough to win. I pushed and pushed, and tried too hard to win. I would like
to believe it was for the sakes of the team, which it was, but it was also
selfishly wanting to win and maintain my 100% score. After the rejection of
the second draw offer, I pushed a bit too hard and ended up in a worse queen and pawn ending. I had to spend a lot of time then digging in and attempting to salvage the position. Credit has to be given to my opponent, who played the queen-pawn ending well, despite him having sat for over 4 hours in an utterly miserable position, on the black side f a QGD Minority attack, squatting defending a backward c6 pawn all that time.
Oh well, a very saddening day in total. We just could not do it.
Incredibly, Spain also lost. We have no idea how, but this really opens
things up. Russia has reclaimed top spot and we currently lie 6TH, I think.
So, in the chasing pack, but we must beat Germany today to have any chances.
More later.

Round 7.
UK 1.5 – 2.5 Germany
A close-run thing, but once again, our bottom boards were out-gunned. David put up an amazing fight though and clearly had the advantage for the
majority of the game.
Colin had a small edge but could do nothing with it.
Chris Beaumont recommended to me a strange system against the c3-Sicilian. I
thought it may have been OK for a surprise weapon, instead of the usual d5/e6 systems I play. My opponent would have booked up on that. Simply put, I got a rubbish position, and I hated every moment of it. I struggled to
cling and it was only with some good tactics, miss-played positional moves on my opponent, which allowed me to scramble out with a draw.
Sad, but there you go.
OK, more later. Off for dinner now.

round 8.
Slovenia 0.5 – 3.5 UK
A very professional job done today. I won very quickly as white in 24 moves, following a line devised by David Bronstein. My opponent got a passive position and I exploited this with some neat tactics.
First to win was David Hodgkins on bottom board though. A storming performance and excellent to see him rack up the victory so rapidly. Giving us 2-0 up in short order, Steve Hilton was able to offer a draw to clinch the match for us, despite him being a queen for rook & bishop up. A technical win, but difficult in practice. Colin also ground out his opponent on board one and a very crushing victory accomplished.
Tomorrow will be tough. We need to finish with a flourish. I, and Colin are in excellent positions for meddles, with me leading board 2 by a clear margin.

Till tomorrow.

round 9.

UK 1 – 3 Russia

As you see, we lost to Russia. An incredibly tough draw in the final round.
We all battled really hard.
Colin won excellently on top board, grinding out a terrific win.
This gives him 7.5/9 and certainly in the shout for a meddle.
I also got ground out, in a very complicated King’s Indian Defence. I just could not hold the ending.
I should also be in a meddle place, but it goes on tie-break now, I think.
Steve gave good old Krylov a run for his money and even whipped up an attack against him. He just did not have enough tempi to get his last pieces into the attack.
Gally on bottom board was once again out-gunned and in true Russian style, his opponent ground him out in a laborious end-game.
So, we go to the closing ceremony in an hour or so. I’ll report late this evening, if possible.
Keep tuned and hopefully, we’ve gotten in the top 10 and Colin and I have managed to pick something up.

Final notes
As you are all aware, we had to face Russia in the last round of the Olympiad here and it proved to be a very difficult test. We went down eventually 3-1.
UK finish in 7TH place, qualifying therefore for the World Cup, to take
place in Spain next year (top 10 qualify).
Crouch and I came joint 1ST on our respective boards.
However, we both lost the tie-breaks
Colin scored 7.5/9 alongside IM Pulvett Daniel from Venezuela.
I scored 6.5/9 alongside Shepelev Igor from Ukraine. Sergei Smirnov is
Russia's board 3 and hence received a meddle in that category.
I lost the tie-break, due to the team's placing. UK finished 7TH, where as
Ukraine finished 2ND. That slight difference meant I did not get the gold.
Utterly sickening.
Colin just lost out on the gold due to IM Pulvett Daniel from Venezuela
having scored 6/7 and Colin played 9 games. A slight difference in
percentages, and once again, sickening for us.
So, so close, but two silver meddles, we bring home.
OK, 2 hours now here to pack and then off to the airport for a 10-hours
See you all back in the UK!
Well done lads!!!
Chris "the proud" captain




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