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10 September 2016

9:00 AM

10 September 2016

9:00 AM

The 42nd Chess Olympiad is now underway in Baku, Azerbaijan, and English grandmasters are making their best efforts to recapture the glory days of world team chess when England regularly finished in silver medal position to the mighty Soviets. After the early rounds Russia leads, with Kramnik as top board. The incumbent Chinese gold medallists are of course in contention, while the USA, already with Nakamura but strengthened by Caruana and So, is definitely among the favourites. Here are some choice positions from the opening rounds, where weaker teams face the giants.
 
Carlsen (Norway)-Hossain (Bangladesh)
Baku Olympiad 2016
(see diagram 1)
 
This arose from a Nimzo-Indian Defence where Black failed to make any headway against White’s weakened pawn structure while Carlsen built up an overwhelming attack on the kingside. 28 f5 Ne5 29 Nxe5 Rxe5 30 Bf4 Nd7 31 f6 Of course 31 Bxe5 will win easily but smashing open the kingside is a more thematic conclusion. 31 … g6 32 hxg6 fxg6 33 Bxg6 Black resigns After 33 … hxg6 34 Qh4+ Kg8 35 Rh2 mates.
 
Adams (England)-Bareev (Canada)
Baku Olympiad 2016
(see diagram 2)
 
In this position Adams skilfully demonstrates how to manoeuvre the major pieces in an opposite-coloured bishop’s position. 25 Qh3 Rd4 26 Rfc1 Rfd8 27 g3 Qf7 28 Rxd4 exd4 29 Rd1 b6 30 Rd3 Adams now plans to reorganise his forces with Rf3, Bd3 and Qf5, possibly followed by Rf4 and Rh4 when it will be extremely difficult for Black to maintain a defence. 30 … Bb4 31 Rf3 Rf8 32 Rf4 Black resigns Black’s 31st was a blunder as now he has no good to defence to the threatened 33 Bxh7 Qxh7 34 Rh4.
 
Jones (England)-Lesiege (Canada)
Baku Olympiad 2016
(see diagram 3)
 
Gawain Jones tears into his opponent’s position with a series of powerful blows. 18 Nd6 Bxd3 19 Qxf7+ Kh8 20 Nxe8 Rxe8 21 Ng4 Qd8 22 Nxf6 Bxf6 23 Qxf6+ Kg8 24 Qxg5+ Ng6 25 Rxe8+ Qxe8 26 Qxd5+ Kh8 27 Qxb7 Bb5 28 Qf3 Qe7 29 a4 Black resigns


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