Saturday, 13 September 2014

41st World Chess Olympiad - Rounds 6 - 8

Round 6: Bangladesh 1.5 - Singapore 2.5

In round 6, we faced a dangerous and highly ambitious all GM team from Bangladesh. In 2012, the Bangladeshi team had finished 32nd, their best ever result and this year they have engaged world class grandmaster Sergei Tiviakov to coach their Olympiad team for a month just before Tromso. However, despite being outrated on nearly every board, we felt that with a bit of luck, anything could happen and we managed to pull off, quite possibly, our best result in Tromso.

On Board 1, Zhang Zhong took the Black pieces against the very solid Ziaur Rahman. Before the game, I had predicted a solid draw, with a very slight chance that Zhang Zhong may obtain an imbalanced position and if so, would unleash a barrage of tactics onto his opponent. What happened was a demonstration of power play:

[Event "41st Olympiad Open 2014"] [Site "Tromso NOR"] [Date "2014.08.08"] [Round "6.1"] [White "Rahman, Ziaur"] [Black "Zhang, Zhong"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D11"] [WhiteElo "2523"] [BlackElo "2611"] [Annotator "Junior Tay"] [PlyCount "46"] [EventDate "2014.08.02"] [WhiteTeam "Bangladesh"] [BlackTeam "Singapore"] [WhiteTeamCountry "BAN"] [BlackTeamCountry "SIN"] 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. e3 a6 {The chief practitioners of this quaint pawn nudge at the top level are Morozevich and Aronian though Kasparov had employed it successfully in the early 2000s, beating the likes of Azmaiparashvili and Banikas. Aronian once said that the Chebanenko Slav (4... a6) is -"an invitation to battle. In recent times, both 4...Bg4 and 4...Bf5 have been popular, but the danger in both these lines is that the two players will die of boredom".} 5. Bd3 Bg4 6. Nbd2 e6 7. Qc2 dxc4 $5 (7... Nbd7 {is the typical move but the text is a favourite of Zhang Zhong's former team mate, GM Ni Hua so I guess he would be very familiar with its nuances.} 8. b3 Bd6 9. Bb2 {and here, the interesting} Qb8 {has been played by both Kasparov and Anand.}) 8. Nxc4 {With this, White trades structure for the bishop pair. This is an exchange Black would willingly accept on principal since he has erected the solid ...e6/...c6 structure and with the knowledge that the position will remained closed for quite a while. However, ZZ (and NI Hua before him) has a different interpretation.} (8. Bxc4 Nbd7 9. O-O {1/2-1/2 Lautier,J (2675) -Tkachiev,V (2645)/Besancon 2006} (9. e4 Rc8 10. O-O b5 11. Be2 c5 12. Qd1 cxd4 13. Nxd4 Bxe2 14. Qxe2 Nc5 15. N2f3 Be7 16. e5 {1/2-1/2 Stefansson,H (2585) -Iskusnyh,S (2465)/St Petersburg 2010})) 8... Bxf3 9. gxf3 c5 $1 {A central strike first initiated by Ni Hua which is a facet of modern chess. Usually, playing against the bishop pair, one would seek to keep the position closed so that the long range pieces cannot find strong diagonals to play on. American GM John Watson describes this sort of line opening best in his groundbreaking 'Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy' where he mentioned 'a careful look at modern chess reveals that, in practice, the acquisition of the bishop-pair is usually followed by a slowing down of the play, while he who takes on the knights will strive to open things up and 'mix it' . This is for a good reason. Acquisition of the two bishops in the early part of the game often comes at the cost of tempi and/or balance in one's position. If the two-bishop owner can lock things up a bit, he can reorganize and carefully engineer an opening of the position which will emphasize the bishops' natural superiority. This is precisely what the possessor of the knights wishes to avoid. Time favours the bishops, but early in the game, they are often passively placed, needing some tempi to find their best posts'. Here, ...c5 frees up the natural c6-square for the knight and if White does not want to enter the complications stemming from allowing ...cxd4, he has to allow the black bishop to develop with tempo.} (9... Nbd7 10. Bd2 Nd5 11. a3 (11. O-O-O Qh4 12. e4 Nb4 13. Qb3 Nxd3+ 14. Qxd3 Be7 15. Qb3 b5 16. Na5 O-O 17. Kb1 {1/2-1/2 Dreev,A (2666)-Ni Hua (2607)/Ergun 2006}) 11... Qh4 12. Ke2 Be7 13. Rag1 g6 14. b4 f5 15. f4 h6 16. Ne5 g5 17. Nf3 Qh5 18. e4 g4 19. exd5 gxf3+ 20. Kd1 exd5 21. Bxf5 O-O-O 22. Rg7 Bf6 23. Bg4 Qh4 24. Bxd7+ {Najer,E (2677)-Ni Hua (2607)/Ergun 2006, 1/2-1/2 (38)}) 10. dxc5 ({The first time Ni Hua brandished 9...c5 in international play, GM Mark Paragua employed a tricky line but the Chinese knew his stuff and soon a draw was agreed.} 10. Bd2 Nc6 (10... cxd4 $5 11. Ba5 (11. Na5 $5) 11... Qd5 12. Be4 Nxe4 13. fxe4 Qg5 14. h4 Qh5 15. Qb3 {is extremely tricky.}) 11. dxc5 Bxc5 12. Bc3 Rc8 13. Be4 Nb4 14. Qd1 b5 15. Qxd8+ Rxd8 16. a3 Nbd5 17. Bxf6 Nxf6 18. Nd2 Ke7 19. Rc1 Bd6 20. Ke2 Rc8 21. f4 g6 22. Bb7 Rb8 23. Bg2 Rhe8 {1/2-1/2 Paragua,M (2514)-Ni,H (2641)/Manila 2007}) 10... Bxc5 11. a3 {This is the theoretical continuation which takes the b4-square away from Black's knight and bishop.} ({The depth of Ni Hua's preparation can be seen from the following game.} 11. Be4 Nxe4 12. Qxe4 Qd5 13. Qxd5 exd5 14. Na5 Nc6 $1 15. Bd2 (15. Nxb7 Be7 16. Bd2 Rb8 17. Na5 Nxa5 18. Bxa5 Rxb2 19. Bc3 Rc2 20. Bxg7 Rg8 21. Be5 f6 22. Bg3 {and Black is not worse despite being half a pawn down.}) 15... Nxa5 16. Bxa5 Ke7 17. Ke2 Ke6 18. Rhd1 b6 19. Bc3 f6 20. Rd3 Rhd8 21. Rad1 Rd7 22. f4 Rad8 23. a3 a5 24. a4 $11 {Nguyen,N (2656)-Ni,H (2673)/Ho Chi Minh City 2012}) 11... b5 ({Black paused with} 11... Nc6 {and this allowed White to develop his bishop ideally after} 12. b4 Be7 13. Bb2 b5 14. Nd2 Rc8 15. Qb3 O-O 16. Rc1 Ne5 17. Be2 Rxc1+ 18. Bxc1 Qd6 19. f4 Ng6 20. Nf3 Nd5 21. Bb2 {though Black's lead in development ensures equal chances.} Bf6 22. Bxf6 Nxf6 23. O-O e5 $11 {1/2-1/2 Likavsky,T (2486)-Solak,D (2602)/Skopje 2012}) 12. Nd2 {White's plan is to exert more control over e4.} (12. Ne5 {has not achieved much for White} Nbd7 (12... Qd5 13. Be4 Nxe4 14. Qxe4 Qxe4 15. fxe4 Bd6 {1/2-1/2 Dreev,A (2670)-Ni,H (2710)/Reggio Emilia 2008}) 13. Nxd7 Nxd7 14. b4 Be7 15. Bb2 Rc8 16. Qb1 Bf6 17. a4 Ne5 18. Bxe5 Bxe5 19. Ra2 Rb8 20. O-O Bxh2+ {1/2-1/2 Jiménez Molina,G (2326)-Belka,W (2447)/ICCF 2012}) 12... Nbd7 13. Ne4 $6 {This move is a flagrant waste of a tempo as the knight moves 3 times to remove a Black minor piece which has just gotten out of the stable.} ( 13. b4 Bd6 14. Bb2 Rc8 15. Qb3 {1/2-1/2 Jensen,E (2501)-Sadowski,M (2501)/ICCF 2012} O-O 16. Ke2 $6 (16. O-O $11) 16... Be5 $1 {and once the dark squared bishop is traded off, Black has no problems. Nyback,T (2655)-Sokolov,I (2669)/ Malmo 2009.}) 13... Rc8 14. Nxf6+ Qxf6 {...and the Black queen is activated in the process too. Black's lead in development is already looking scary.} 15. Ke2 $2 (15. Bd2 $5 Nb6 16. Bc3 Qh4 {already looks dangerous for White.}) 15... Ke7 {ZZ connects the rooks without offering White a g-file target.} ({Houdini recommends} 15... Ne5 16. f4 Nxd3 17. Qxd3 O-O {and Black's colossal lead in development as well as the insecure White king are ominous signs.}) 16. Qb1 { Another natural move (to get the queen out of the rook's range) which exacerbates matters.} ({The only defence is} 16. Qc3 $5 Qxc3 (16... Ne5 17. f4 Nxd3 18. Qxf6+ Kxf6 19. Kxd3 Rhd8+ 20. Ke2 (20. Ke4 Bf8 21. b3 Rc2 22. Rb1 Ke7 $15) 20... Be7 21. b4 Rc2+ 22. Kf3 Rd3) (16... Qh6 17. h4 {is playable for White. The discovered attack on the White queen is not that big a deal in comparison with the other two lines.}) 17. bxc3 Nb6 $17 {and White's wretched pawn structure gives Black the advanage in this ending.}) 16... Ne5 $1 $19 { The beginning of the end. ZZ's pieces start taking aim at the hapless White king.} 17. Be4 {The f3-pawn is only temporarily protected as Black sets up ... f5.} (17. f4 Nxd3 18. Qxd3 Qh4 19. Qe4 Rhd8 20. b4 Bb6 21. Ra2 Rc4 22. Qg2 Qh5+ 23. Qf3 Qg6 24. Rd2 Rc2 25. Rhd1 Qd3+ 26. Ke1 Qc3 27. Qb7+ Bc7 28. Kf1 Rdxd2 29. Bxd2 Qxa3 $19) 17... Qh4 18. b3 f5 19. Bb7 Rc7 20. Bb2 $4 ({Houdini showed that the best way to resist is} 20. Qb2 Bd6 21. Qd4 Qxd4 22. exd4 Rxb7 23. Bg5+ Kf7 24. dxe5 Bxe5 25. Rac1 {though this pawn up ending clearly offers Black good winning chances.}) 20... Ng6 $1 {ZZ wants to blow open White's central shell and this knight will be the detonator.} 21. Rc1 Nf4+ $3 {Boom!} 22. Kf1 ( 22. exf4 Qxf2+ 23. Kd1 Rd8+) 22... Qh3+ 23. Ke1 Qxh2 {White has had enough suffering.} 0-1

A complete demolition that bode well for the team's chances to pull off a result!

On Board 2, I was White against another, very solid player in the form of Abdulla Al-Rakib. Prior to this round, Abdulla had had a great tournament, scoring a 2700+ performances including a draw against Ponomariov with Black and so I was certainly kept on my toes. Looking through his games, I had the impression that he was not an extremely theoretical player so I expected something non-standard to appear on the board. Rather surprisingly, my opponent took me by surprise and played the trendy 5...0-0!? and 6....d5! in the Giucco Piano. Fortunately, I had prepared this line quite extensively in the past and was able to throw out some reasonable opening prep:

[Event "41st World Chess Olympiad"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.08.09"] [Round "6"] [White "Goh Wei Ming, Kevin"] [Black "Abdulla Al-Rakib"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2433"] [BlackElo "2522"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [PlyCount "91"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 $5 {This was a small surprise.} ({On my database, my opponent had only played} 3... Bc5 {but perhaps, my opponent was trying to avoid certain lines such as} 4. c3 ({or the Max Lange Attack with} 4. O-O Nf6 5. d4 $5) 4... Nf6 5. d4 {although Black is doing pretty well in both lines. However, this move order allowed 4.Ng5 which I briefly considered...}) 4. d3 {I have been playing these quiet lines of the Italian for a few years now with very decent results. It has proved useful in my recent encounters with grandmasters as I've managed to obtain slight pulls in most of my games and the positions I've obtained are normally solid enough even if my opponent equalised early from the opening.} ({My opponent is a sound positional player and plays solid chess and hence I contemplated the more aggressive and complex } 4. Ng5 $5 d5 5. exd5 Na5 6. Bb5+ c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8. Bd3 $5 {, a line which I've studied in considerable depth some 4 years ago. However, I discarded the idea quickly as obviously, it makes more sense to stick to what I know best. I would also look foolish if my opponent turned out to be an expert in the Two Knights' Defence!}) 4... Bc5 {Transposing to the Giucco Piano.} (4... Be7 {is the main alternative and I'll face this move in an absolutely critical game in round 9.}) 5. c3 O-O $5 {Yet another surprise! However, this was a pleasant one as I've looked through this particular variation in some detail given how popular it is.} 6. O-O d5 $1 {This is the point of an early castling.} ({The normal} 6... d6 7. Bg5 {gives White an annoying pin.}) 7. exd5 Nxd5 8. Re1 { The consequence of an early d5 is that e5 is more vulnerable and White has to target the pawn immediately to have any hopes of an opening advantage. The potential threat of b2-b4-b5, hitting the c6 knight means that Black more often than not had to give up the e5 pawn in return for activity.} Bg4 (8... Re8 $2 9. d4 $1 {is strong.}) 9. h3 (9. Nbd2 {, with the idea of} Be7 {(the bishop is about to be hit by Ne4)} 10. h3 Bh5 11. Ne4 {followed by Ng3 is another promising idea.}) 9... Bh5 10. b4 Be7 $6 {The most natural but not the best. My opponent had clearly not prepared this at home which is kind of strange given how popular this particular variation is these days.} (10... Bb6 11. b5 Na5 12. Rxe5 Nf6 13. Nbd2 Bxf3 14. Qxf3 Bd4 $1 15. Re2 Bxc3 16. Rb1 {is the mainline in my preparation. The analysis goes much deeper than this but my conclusion was that even though Black should equalise with precise play, White is the one doing all the pressing.}) ({During the game, I suddenly became worried of} 10... Bxf3 11. Qxf3 Ndxb4 $2 {given that cxb4 loses to ...Bd4. Since I've checked this with engines before, I was sure there was a tactical refutation and I just had to work it out myself. I soon found} 12. Na3 $1 { which leads to a forced gain of material and silently breathed a sigh of relief....}) 11. b5 Na5 12. Rxe5 Nf6 13. Nbd2 Bd6 14. Re1 Qd7 15. Qa4 $6 {This felt natural but wasn't the best.} (15. a4 {was in my analysis which I obviously forgot. The line goes} Nxc4 16. Nxc4 Rae8 17. Rxe8 Rxe8 18. Bd2 {and Black has some compensation but White remains a pawn up and has a safe position.}) 15... Nxc4 16. Qxc4 a6 $1 {Initiating counterplay on the queenside. } 17. Rb1 axb5 18. Qxb5 (18. Rxb5 $2 c6 19. Rb1 b5 $1 $17) 18... Rxa2 19. Qxb7 {As compared to the positions a few moves ago, Black had clearly made some progress, exchanging off some queenside pawns and getting a rook to the 7th rank. In many ways, this position is similar to the Marshall Gambit where Black typically gets 2 bishops in exchange for a pawn deficit. However, White is still very solid and his queen is actively placed on the b7 square so it is still unclear whether Black's activity is sufficient to claim equality.} Nd5 $2 {This was a very tempting move to play from Black's perspective and I fully expected it. However, the engine quickly showed why this was a serious inaccuracy.} (19... Rfa8 $5) ({and} 19... Bg6 {were better options.}) 20. Rb3 $2 (20. Qb3 $1 Ra6 21. Ne5 $1 Bxe5 (21... Qe6 22. Ndc4 $1 $16) 22. Rxe5 Nf4 { was what I calculated and it looked extremely scary since Black was about to go ...Ra6-g6 or ...Nxh3 sacrifices. Houdini coolly defends with} 23. Qc4 $1 Ra4 24. Rb4 Ne2+ 25. Kh2 Rxb4 26. cxb4 Bg6 27. Bb2 Bxd3 28. Qd5 $1 {with a serious endgame advantage for White. Despite the material parity, White should be able to win the c7 pawn in due time with moves like Be5 and Rc5.}) 20... Nf4 21. c4 {I had wanted to defend along the 3rd rank in this manner and also wanted to keep my queen on b7 to further support f3.} h6 {After gaining so much activity after the last 5-6 moves, this "pause" in the action came as a total surprise.} (21... Ra1 $1 {, threatening to take on c1 was extremely strong. Here, White had to play the impossible} 22. Nb1 $3 {to force a draw:} Nxh3+ 23. gxh3 Qxh3 24. Nbd2 Qg4+ 25. Kf1 Qh3+ {and so on.}) 22. d4 Ra1 23. Rbe3 Rfa8 $6 (23... Raa8 {, followed by Rfb8 seems more to the point. Black would have controlled both a and b files.}) 24. Bb2 R1a7 25. Qb3 c6 26. Ne5 Qc7 27. Ndf3 $2 {Both players were in mild time trouble at this point, the perfect excuse for making bad moves!} (27. c5 Bxe5 28. Rxe5 Rb7 29. Qg3 $1 f6 30. Re7 Ne2+ 31. R1xe2 Qxg3 32. fxg3 Rxb2 33. g4 {would retain a small but pleasant edge although Black's position will be hard to crack after he manoeuvres his bishop to d5.}) 27... Rb7 $1 28. Qc2 f6 $2 {Missing a big winning chance.} ({After} 28... Ra2 $1 {, I had intended} 29. Rb3 {where I thought I would be doing quite well but I missed} Bxe5 30. Nxe5 f6 $1 31. Nf3 Bg6 $1 32. Qc3 Qb8 $1 {, winning material and the game on the spot. Phew!}) 29. c5 {Now the position becomes murky again and the resulting time scramble was apparently very entertaining to follow according to the FB Group.} Bf8 30. Nc4 Nd5 31. Rb3 Rxb3 32. Qxb3 Rb8 33. Qa3 $1 Bf7 34. Nfd2 {I've managed to consolidate and all my pieces are now defended so there was definite progress.} Nf4 35. Bc1 Qd8 (35... Bd5 36. Ne3 Re8 $5) 36. Qc3 Qd5 37. Ne3 Qg5 38. Ng4 $1 {My knight had hopped a long way in this game! With the threats of Ne4/Nf3 and an unpleasant discovered attack on the f4 knight, Black was facing a difficult situation. In severe time trouble, my opponent wasn't able to find a solution.} Qg6 $4 {This loses.} (38... Nxg2 39. Kxg2 h5 {didn't work due to the simple} 40. Qg3 $1) (38... Nd5 $1 39. Qg3 Re8 40. Nf1 Qg6 41. Rxe8 Bxe8 $14 {was best.}) 39. Qg3 $1 {Loose pieces drop off! My opponent had of course overlooked this and the game was essentially over.} Nd3 40. Re3 Nxc1 $4 {This made it even easier for me.} (40... Re8 $1 { would have kept material parity although White would still have won after} 41. Rxd3 Re1+ 42. Kh2 Rxc1 43. Ra3 $1) 41. Qxb8 h5 42. Nh2 Qc2 43. Nhf3 Bg6 44. Ra3 Qd1+ 45. Kh2 (45. Nf1 Ne2+ 46. Kh2 Nxd4 47. Ra8 Ne6) 45... Qe2 46. Ra8 ({I had seen the beautiful finish} 46. Ne5 $3 fxe5 47. Ra8 Qxf2 48. Nf3 $1 {but why bother?}) 1-0

A rather fortunate win but I am not complaining!

 On Board 3, Qianyun equalised quite comfortably with 3...h6!? of the French Tarrasch and had very good chances to obtain a sizeable edge in the middlegame. The game hovered around equal to slightly better for Black for much of the game until White played an absolute howler, gifting Qianyun an incredible opportunity: A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "WCO2014"] [Site "Tromso"] [Date "2014.08.08"] [Round "6.26"] [White "Hossain Enamul"] [Black "Gong Qianyun"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C03"] [WhiteElo "2421"] [BlackElo "2328"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/Q4pk1/5b2/6pp/P4p2/5N1P/2q2PPK/8 w - - 0 44"] [PlyCount "8"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:06:04"] [BlackClock "0:12:02"] {After a big middlegame fight where Qianyun had very reasonable chances of securing a large advantage, the position had dwindled to a comparatively calm and simple one. Black had some form of an attack with ...g4 in the pipeline but the a5 passed pawn will keep Black in check and the most likely result is a draw. Amazingly, the experienced Bangladeshi decided to force matters with} 44. h4 $4 g4 45. Ng5 $4 (45. Ng1 $1 {is the computer's defence but after} Bxh4 46. Qd4+ Kg6 $1 47. Qxf4 Bxf2 {Black should still be winning.}) 45... Qb3 $4 ( 45... Bxg5 46. hxg5 g3+ 47. fxg3 f3 48. Qd4+ Kh7 49. g6+ Kxg6 50. Qb6+ f6 51. Qg1 Qe2 {[%cal Gf3f2,Gf2f1] was a fairly straight forward win.}) 46. g3 fxg3+ 47. fxg3 Qc2+ 1/2-1/2

After the game, Qianyun was utterly dismayed to have missed such a straight forward win and I had to remind her that her draw did clinch the match for us!

On the last board, young Qing Aun had his hands full against the dangerous Niaz Murshed, an old but still very strong player. Qing Aun clearly still lacks the experience in playing these high level team events but he had maintained an extremely positive attitude throughout the tournament, cheering the team on even when he was not playing and following each game religiously.

After this victory, Leslie wanted to take us out for dinner but I had to decline given that I had a terrible headache after my game. More importantly, I wanted some time to myself to understand why I was getting into all these time trouble and how I can avoid this in the subsequent rounds. True enough, poor time management would eventually lead to a few highly costly mistakes within the next few days....

Leslie's solution was simple enough - he offered to buy us dinner to celebrate once we win our match the next day! Surprisingly, we were given this chance when we were paired against the lower seeded Faroe Islands, a team whom we had beaten in the past and one that we certainly expected to beat here.

Round 7 - Faroe Islands 0.5 - Singapore 3.5

It's National day and we managed to celebrate Singapore's 49th birthday by scoring a comprehensive win against the Faroe Islands. On Board 1, Zhang Zhong faced the talented IM Ziska Helgi Dam, whom he had beaten in the 2012 edition. The White player played very solidly although Zhang had one chance to secure a stable edge:

A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)
[Event "WCO2014"] [Site "Tromso"] [Date "2014.08.09"] [Round "7.21"] [White "Ziska Helgi Dam"] [Black "Zhang Zhong"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C07"] [WhiteElo "2507"] [BlackElo "2611"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r1bq1rk1/1p2nppp/p1nb4/3p4/8/1N1B1N1P/PPP2PP1/R1BQ1RK1 w - - 0 11"] [PlyCount "48"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:10:10"] [BlackClock "0:09:45"] {The opening had gone rather smoothly for Zhang Zhong as he had obtained equality and an imbalanced game. He may have the IQP but all his pieces were more or less well placd.} 11. Nbd4 ({I felt} 11. Re1 {was also possible but maybe White didn't like} Bf5 {when Black manages to exchange his dark square bishop. Still, White should get a typical plus after} 12. Be3 Re8 13. c3) ({As such, maybe after} 11. Re1 {, Black should go} Bc7 12. c3 Nf5 {, with reasonable play.}) 11... Bc7 ({Interestingly, the computer suggested the counter intuitive} 11... Nxd4 12. Nxd4 Nc6 {. I was taught not to initiate piece exchanges when you have the IQP and as usual, the computer is most adept at destroying well established maxims! Still, any human will prefer White after } 13. Nf3 Bc7 14. Re1) 12. Re1 h6 13. Be3 Qd6 14. c3 Ng6 15. Bf1 $2 {A rather feeble move.} (15. Nxc6 bxc6 16. b4 $1 Ne5 17. Nxe5 Qxe5 18. g3 $1 Qf6 ({both} 18... Qxc3 19. Bc5 Rd8 20. Rc1 Qa3 21. Re7) ({and} 18... Bxh3 19. Bf4 {are bad for Black.}) 19. Bd4 {and White is slightly better.}) 15... Bd7 16. Nxc6 bxc6 17. b4 Rfe8 18. Bc5 Rxe1 19. Qxe1 Qf6 20. Bd4 Qf5 21. Qb1 Qh5 (21... Qf4 $5) 22. Qd1 $6 {White goes all out for the draw!} (22. g4 {looks like a risky move but the computer showed that White defends after} Bxg4 23. hxg4 Qxg4+ 24. Bg2 Nf4 25. Qf1 h5 26. Be3 h4 27. Bxf4 Bxf4 28. Nh2 $1 {, with unclear play.}) 22... Nf4 $1 23. Ne1 $2 Qg6 24. Kh1 Re8 $6 (24... Bf5 $1 {would have given Black a substantial advantage. For example,} 25. Qd2 a5 {(the attack on both flanks is very difficult to handle in a practical game)} 26. bxa5 Rxa5 27. a4 Ne6 {followed by ideas like ...Be4 and ...c5.}) 25. Qf3 Bf5 26. Qg3 Qxg3 27. fxg3 Ne2 28. g4 Bg6 29. a4 f5 (29... f6 $5 {[%cal Gg8f7]}) 30. gxf5 Bxf5 31. Nf3 Bd3 32. Bxe2 Bxe2 33. Kg1 Bxf3 34. gxf3 Bd6 {and White eventually held this endgame.} 1/2-1/2

On Board 2, I managed to win my game from a rather obscure Sicilian Rossolimo: A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "41st World Chess Olympiad"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.08.10"] [Round "7"] [White "Goh Wei Ming, Kevin"] [Black "Olaf Berg"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B31"] [WhiteElo "2433"] [BlackElo "2320"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [PlyCount "53"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. O-O Bg7 5. Nc3 $5 {A slightly obscure line that I've prepared with Erik for the game against Salgado Lopez.} b6 $6 (5... e5 {was played against me in the final round and may well be best.}) 6. Re1 Bb7 7. d3 Nd4 8. Nxd4 cxd4 9. Ne2 ({I was very close to playing} 9. Nd5 $5 {until I realise Black could play} a6 10. Ba4 b5 11. Bb3 e6 12. Bf4 d6 {and I didn't see a clear follow up. The computer nonchatlantly suggests} 13. e5 $1 exd5 14. exd6+ Kf8 15. Qf3 {with compensation.}) 9... Bc6 10. Bc4 d5 $2 {I was very surprised with this move but perhaps my opponent had simply missed the bishop check. Of course, there are a few much better alternatives.} 11. exd5 Bxd5 12. Bb5+ Kf8 13. Ng3 $6 (13. c4 $5 {was in my thoughts but I wanted to keep this for later use.}) 13... Qc7 {Strangely enough, Black may well be fine here despite his awkward king position. The plan was to play ...h7-h5, ...Be5, .... Kg7 and ...Nf6 and I didn't see what I could do against this simple plan.} 14. Bd2 Be5 $2 ({I was rather worried of} 14... h5 $1 {and indeed, the computer gave a 0.00 evaluation here.}) 15. c3 $1 {Opening up the queenside to decisive effect.} h5 16. Rc1 Bxg3 17. fxg3 Qc5 18. c4 Bb7 19. Qe2 {With the pair bishop, pressure down the e-file and a passed c-pawn in the making, Black was quite lost here.} Nf6 20. b4 Qc7 21. Bf4 Qd8 22. c5 bxc5 23. bxc5 Nd5 24. c6 Nxf4 25. gxf4 Bc8 26. c7 Qd6 27. Qe4 1-0

Qianyun's game was a rather strange one where her opponent sacrificed the exchange early in the opening for very little in return. White perhaps had something that resembled an attack but Qianyun, true to her aggressive style was the one that eventually broke through with an attack of her own: A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "WCO2014"] [Site "Tromso"] [Date "2014.08.09"] [Round "7.23"] [White "Nielsen Hogni Egilstoft"] [Black "Gong Qianyun"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C03"] [WhiteElo "2256"] [BlackElo "2328"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [PlyCount "56"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:00:43"] [BlackClock "0:31:28"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 h6 $5 {The 4...h6 Tarrasch is sort of a Qianyun specialty. I remember playing this little pawn move in 2004 after reading an article on it by John Watson in NIC magazine and I've had a pretty good score with it even though I often get bad positions! Objectively, there is nothing much wrong with this line although I think White should get a small plus in one of the mainlines.} 4. Ngf3 Nf6 5. e5 Nfd7 6. c3 c5 7. Bd3 Nc6 8. Qe2 $6 { Hard to see what White was planning here. The White queen was misplaced on the e2 square.} (8. O-O g5 $1 {is the key idea and this position would be contested in one of Qianyun's later games.}) 8... cxd4 9. cxd4 Nb4 $1 {and just like that, Black had seized the initiative.} 10. Bb1 b6 11. O-O $2 { Played after a 30 minute think. The exchange sac was speculative at best and there was surely a better way to resolve the problems in hand.} ({For example, } 11. Nb3 Ba6 12. Qd1 Rc8 13. a3 Nc6 14. Be3 {followed by Bd3 and White would be able to unravel with a decent position.}) 11... Ba6 12. Qd1 Bxf1 13. Nxf1 Rc8 14. Bd2 Nc6 15. Ng3 g6 16. h4 Bg7 17. h5 g5 18. Be3 Qe7 19. a3 O-O 20. Qd3 f5 21. exf6 Bxf6 22. Nh2 Qg7 {Qianyun parries the White attack rather easily.} 23. Ng4 $2 Bxd4 24. Bxd4 Nxd4 25. Nxh6+ Qxh6 26. Qxd4 Rc1+ 27. Kh2 Rf4 28. Bh7+ Qxh7 {A rather mind boggling game where White appeared to have missed every trick in the position.} 0-1

The star game of the round was certainly Jingyao's win on board 4. From an innocuous looking position where White appeared to have the slightest of advantage but no more, Jingyao displayed a lot of maturity and surprising endgame technique to squeeze out a win and keeping his IM norm chances alive: A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "41st Olympiad Open 2014"] [Site "Tromso NOR"] [Date "2014.08.09"] [Round "7.4"] [White "Tin, Jingyao"] [Black "Nilssen, John Arni"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D52"] [WhiteElo "2251"] [BlackElo "2322"] [Annotator "Junior Tay"] [PlyCount "97"] [EventDate "2014.08.02"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 Nbd7 6. e3 Qa5 7. Nd2 Bb4 8. Qc2 O-O 9. Be2 c5 {Black attacks the White centre immediately, giving the game a Nimzo Indian flavour. The argument in Black being able to waste a move with ... c6-c5 is that White has done the same with Nf3-d2.} (9... e5 {was played in the famous Magnus Carlsen vs Kasparov rapid match game 1 where the former World Champion had to suffer for a draw one pawn down before beating the current World Champion in game 2 easily.} 10. O-O exd4 11. Nb3 Qb6 12. exd4 dxc4 13. Bxc4 a5 14. a4 Qc7 15. Rae1 h6 16. Bh4 Bd6 17. h3 Nb6 18. Bxf6 Nxc4 19. Ne4 Bh2+ (19... Be6 $14) 20. Kh1 Nd6 $2 21. Kxh2 Nxe4+ 22. Be5 Nd6 $16 { Carlsen,M (2484)-Kasparov,G (2831)/Reykjavik 2004}) 10. Bxf6 (10. Nb3 Qc7 11. O-O dxc4 12. Bxc4 cxd4 13. Nb5 Qb8 14. N5xd4 Bd6 15. f4 h6 16. Bh4 a6 $14 { Ivanchuk,V (2740)-Kasparov,G (2825)/Frankfurt 1998}) 10... Nxf6 11. Nb3 Bxc3+ $146 (11... Qc7 12. dxc5 {1/2-1/2 Goldin,A (2600)-Asrian,K (2645)/Beer Sheva 2005/CBM 110}) ({During the game, I was looking at the following pawn sacrifice typical in the Grunfeld Indian to play on the a- and c-files.} 11... Qa4 12. dxc5 b6 $5 {However, after} 13. O-O $1 (13. cxb6 dxc4 14. Nd4 Qxc2 15. Nxc2 Bxc3+ 16. bxc3 axb6 17. Bxc4 Bb7 18. f3 Rfc8 19. Bb3 Rxc3) 13... Bxc3 14. Qxc3 Ba6 15. cxb6 axb6 16. Nd2 Rfd8 17. b3 Qa3 18. Rfd1 Rac8 19. Qc1 {and White has consolidated.}) 12. bxc3 {Keeping queens on is imperative if White wants to play for a win.} (12. Qxc3 Qxc3+ 13. bxc3 cxd4 14. cxd4 dxc4 15. Bxc4 Bd7 {is easier for Black to handle.}) 12... Qa4 $1 {A good move, typical of the Cambridge Springs. Black keeps the presure on the c-pawn.} 13. Rc1 cxd4 $6 {The resulting position gives White a slight pull.} ({Now,} 13... b6 $1 {is the right way to go as after} 14. cxd5 c4 15. Na1 Qxc2 16. Nxc2 exd5 17. f3 $11 Re8 18. Kf2 {, chances are even with Black attempting to press with the queenside pawns and White either restraining them or trying to advance on the kingside.}) (13... b6) 14. cxd4 dxc4 15. Qxc4 Qxc4 ({Perhaps keeping queens on with} 15... Qa3 {is better.}) 16. Rxc4 {What we now have how, are pawn structures similar to the Grunfeld Indian Defence though without the dark squared bishops, Black's task seems to be a trifle tougher to attain counterplay.} b6 17. Rc2 {Avoiding unnecessary exchanges.} Bb7 18. f3 Nd5 $6 { This looks strange as Black could easily contest the c-file.} (18... Rac8 19. Rxc8 Rxc8 20. Kd2 Kf8 21. e4 Ke7 {I don't think Black has any problems here.}) 19. Kd2 Rfd8 (19... f5 $5 {is a Houdini suggestion. White's central majority is temporarily halted and Black gets play against the centre. However, there is the 'small' mattter of giving up an outpost on e5....} 20. Bc4 {and I think White only has a teensy weensy edge here.}) 20. e4 Nf6 {After this, Jingyao gets in a squeeze.} ({With hindsight, probably} 20... Nf4 21. Rc7 Rab8 22. g3 Nxe2 23. Kxe2 Kf8 24. Ke3 Ke8 25. Rhc1 Rd7 26. R7c3 Kd8 27. Nd2 Rc8 28. Rxc8+ Bxc8 29. e5 Bb7 {and it is not easy for White to improve his position any more. }) 21. Rc7 Rab8 22. Bb5 $1 {A strong anticipatory move, egging Black to weaken his queenside.} Kf8 (22... a6 23. Bc6 Bxc6 24. Rxc6 $14) 23. Rhc1 Ne8 24. Bxe8 $1 {Now Black has to worry about a knight getting to d6 after e4-e5.} Kxe8 25. Ke3 Rd7 26. R7c4 Kd8 27. Ra4 a5 {This slight weakening of the queenside allows White some incentive to torture for a while.} ({I like} 27... Ba8 $5 {, keeping things compact but maybe Black is hoping to outplay his younger and lower-rated opponent.}) 28. Rac4 Rd6 {Finally, Black falters and allows White a tempo to achieve e4-e5 and stick that pesky knight on d6.} (28... Rc8 29. Rxc8+ Bxc8 30. Rc6 Rb7 (30... a4 31. Nd2 Rc7 32. Rxc7 Kxc7 33. Kd3 {and things get dodgy for Black as the white king heads for b4.}) 31. e5 Bd7 32. Rd6 Ke7 33. h4 {and White has a slight edge, nothing much.}) 29. Nd2 $1 {Jingyao possesses a very strong strategic sense and this knight regrouping shows he knew exactly where this knight belongs...and this will surface in a short while.} Rc8 {Too obliging. This allows Jingyao to plant a superb knight on d6, thanks to his 29th move.} (29... f6 {is more testing as if White wants to establish a pawn on e5, he will either have to agree to a pawn exchange on that square, and if that occurs, ...Rd5 will hit e5 and f3-f4 will allow the Bb7 room to roam.}) 30. Rxc8+ $16 Bxc8 31. e5 Rd7 32. Ne4 Rc7 33. Rxc7 Kxc7 34. Nd6 Bb7 ({More challenging is} 34... Ba6 {when White must watch out for the queenside passer, for example, after} 35. Nxf7 Kc6 36. Ng5 Kd5 37. Nxh7 Bc4 38. a3 b5 39. Ng5 a4 $1 40. f4 b4 41. axb4 a3 42. Ne4 Ba6 $1 43. Nc3+ Kc4 {and White, despite being 3 pawns up cannot expect more than a draw because of the pesky a-pawn.}) 35. Nxf7 Bd5 36. a3 b5 37. Kd3 b4 38. axb4 axb4 39. Nd6 Kd7 40. h4 h6 $2 {It's actually very common to make the error just prior to making time control. This move allows the kingside pawns to be fixed.} (40... Ba2 41. Kc2 $16) 41. Nc4 (41. h5 $1 $18 {is stronger.}) 41... g5 $4 {Black lashes out and and this once again allows the black h-pawn to be fixed and eventually plucked.} (41... g6 {is prevent h4-h5 is more prudent.}) 42. Ne3 $1 $18 {The knight is heading for g4 to eat the chestnut on h6.} Kc6 ({Of course not} 42... gxh4 43. Nxd5 exd5 {when the protected passed e-pawn wins hands down.}) 43. h5 {There goes the h-pawn...The rest is easy.} Bb3 44. Ng4 Kb5 45. Nxh6 Ka4 46. Ng4 Ba2 47. Ne3 Bb1+ 48. Kd2 Kb5 49. Nc2 1-0

The next match up saw us being paired with Belgium, not your traditional powerhouse like its neighbours France and Holland but still a pretty decent team with 4 2500+ on all 4 boards. Still, the team was in excellent spirits and while no one dared to say it during the team meeting, I was certain that everyone fancied their chances against the higher seeded team. The match indeed turned out to be a very close affair and perhaps, we could have counted ourselves a little lucky.....

 Round 8: Singapore 2 - Belgium 2

Zhang Zhong was terribly annoyed after allowing his opponent to equalise quite easily from the opening. I actually was pretty impressed with Michiels Bart whom I was expecting to play after going through his games. He seemed to be an extremely well prepared and thorough player and hence I wasn't entirely surprised with the speed he was playing against our no.1 player.

Probably frustrated with himself, Zhang pushed a little too hard and found himself at danger of losing. The critical moment came during the 5th hour when both players were quite likely exhaused and therefore missed:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "WCO2014"] [Site "Tromso"] [Date "2014.08.10"] [Round "8.1"] [White "Zhang Zhong"] [Black "Michiels Bart"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D11"] [WhiteElo "2611"] [BlackElo "2535"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1B6/R7/8/5p1p/1p2b3/1P3kP1/P5r1/3K4 b - - 0 50"] [PlyCount "8"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:13:17"] [BlackClock "0:03:35"] {Zhang Zhong had surprisingly misplayed a drawn endgame and Black had his one and only chance in this particular position.} 50... f4 $4 {Fortunately, he threw it away!} (50... h4 51. gxh4 Ke3 {was a fairly straightforward win.}) 51. Rf7 Rxa2 52. Bxf4 Bc2+ 53. Kc1 Bxb3 54. Rf5 {and the game soon petered out to a draw.} 1/2-1/2

A big, big escape from Zhang! On Board 2, I played a roller coaster game with the youngster Ringoir Tanguy: A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "41st World Chess Olympiad"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.08.11"] [Round "8"] [White "Ringoir Tanguy"] [Black "Goh Wei Ming, Kevin"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D70"] [WhiteElo "2508"] [BlackElo "2433"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [PlyCount "69"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 $5 {I had envisioned that this popular move may surface in one of my games in the Olympiad and had prepared quite hard for it.} ({I had prepared quite hard for this particular variation of the Grunfeld:} 3. Nc3 d5 4. e3 Bg7 5. Qb3 e6 {which my opponent had played on multiple occasions. }) 3... d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nb6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Qd2 e5 9. d5 c6 10. Rd1 {I had absolutely no idea what the theory is after this.} (10. h4 cxd5 11. exd5 N8d7 12. h5 Nf6 13. hxg6 fxg6 14. O-O-O {is the big mainline.}) 10... cxd5 11. exd5 N8d7 (11... Na6 {was apparently the theory. I guess I'll have to take a look at this when I have the time!}) (11... Nc4 {looked very tempting but after} 12. Bxc4 Qh4+ 13. Bf2 Qxc4 14. Nge2 {, White gets to castle quite easily as compared to the game and this should be a better version.}) 12. Nh3 Nc4 13. Bxc4 Qh4+ 14. Nf2 Qxc4 15. b3 Qa6 16. a4 $2 {White embarked on a rather strange plan involving Nc3-b5 which simply looked too time consuming to be good.} (16. Nd3 $1 {was my key consideration and here, I thought Black would be fine after} f5 {but in fact, White gains a sizeable advantage after} 17. O-O Qa5 18. d6 $1 {with the key point that} e4 {can be met by} 19. Nxe4 $1 {This was the nuance that both my opponent and I had missed during the game. Pretty poor stuff.}) 16... f5 $1 {Black's position looked promising and I was happy with the fact that both ...e4 and ...f4 pawn breaks looked dangerous and White still had to find a reasonable way to castle. Here, I was already feeling quite optimistic.} 17. Nh3 f4 18. Bf2 Nf6 19. Nb5 $2 {The move I was hoping my opponent would play...but was sure that he wouldn't!} ({I was certain that my opponent would go} 19. Ng5 Bf5 20. Nge4 {, with the view of plugging some holes although I would still be very happy with my position after } Rac8 $36) 19... Bxh3 20. gxh3 e4 $1 {Opening up more lines for my pieces! White was in dire straits at this point.} 21. Bc5 $2 {This should have lost by force.} ({The computer suggests} 21. Nc7 e3 $1 22. Qb4 exf2+ 23. Kxf2 Qb6+ 24. Qxb6 axb6 25. Nxa8 Rxa8 {as White's best defence but this position should very likely be lost.}) 21... Rfe8 22. O-O e3 23. Qe2 {Here, I sank into deep thought mode as I had recognised that this was the critical juncture whereby an important decision had to be made. Black had made a lot of progress, advancing his e-pawn to the e3 square which was well supported by the f4 pawn. At the same time, White's kingside pawn structure was wrecked and these 2 factors alone were enough to convince me that Black had a near decisive advantage here. However, White was not without counterplay. Like in most Grunfeld lines, his main source of play was his passed d-pawn and here his pieces were ideally placed to play around that d-pawn.} Rad8 $2 {This threw away the main bulk of the advantage. I had overlooked a nasty trick which will be clearer after a few more moves.} ({Instead,} 23... Re5 $1 {was the tactical solution, with the point that after} 24. Bd6 Rg5+ 25. Kh1 Nxd5 26. Qc4 {, Black could simply play} Qc6 {, winning a pawn.}) 24. d6 $1 {Now the position gets rather tricky.} b6 25. Ba3 Kh8 {Played after another long think. I was fed up with all the tricks involving Qc4+ and decided to get out of it once and for all.} ({I had planned} 25... Qc8 {but completely overlooked} 26. d7 $1 Rxd7 27. Nd6 {, winning the exchange. Here, I considered sacrificing the exchange with} Rxd6 28. Rxd6 Qf5 {but didn't like my position after} 29. Qc4+ Kh8 30. Bb2 {when I would be struggling to hold.}) 26. Bb2 Rf8 27. Rd4 Qc8 28. Rxf4 a6 29. Nc3 Qxh3 $2 {Both sides were in severe time trouble at this stage.} (29... Rxd6 {, with the idea} 30. Qxe3 g5 $1 31. Rc4 Qxh3 32. Qf2 (32. Qxg5 $4 Bh6 $1 {[%cal Gh6e3,Gf8g8]}) 32... Rd3 $13 {was stronger.}) 30. Qxe3 Rxd6 31. Ne4 Re6 32. Qf2 $2 {With seconds to go, White was not able to find what would have been a remarkable turn around.} (32. Qd2 $1 {threatens Ng5 and after} Qh5 33. Rc1 {, Black would not be able to handle White's threats down the d and c file. A remarkable let-off!}) 32... Qh5 $2 ({Controlling the c-file with} 32... Rc6 {was best.}) 33. Re1 (33. Rc1 {[%cal Gc1c7] would have been quite tricky to meet in time trouble.}) 33... Nd7 34. Qd2 Bxb2 35. Rxf8+ {and finally, after a thoroughly exhausting fight, the players agreed to a draw.} 1/2-1/2

Board 3 was probably the game of the entire tournament for the Singapore squad and one that truly defined the spirt of the team so far. In sporting terms, this is the kind of game that will bring spectators to their feet. Junior provides you with all the details here: A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "41st Olympiad Open 2014"] [Site "Tromso NOR"] [Date "2014.08.10"] [Round "8.3"] [White "Gong, Qianyun"] [Black "Docx, Stefan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C55"] [WhiteElo "2328"] [BlackElo "2491"] [Annotator "Junior Tay"] [PlyCount "65"] [EventDate "2014.08.02"] [WhiteTeam "Singapore"] [BlackTeam "Belgium"] [WhiteTeamCountry "SIN"] [BlackTeamCountry "BEL"] 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 {Once again, Gong wheels out the Bishop's Opening after giving the British Champion GM David Howell quite a scare with it n the opening and early middlegame phase of their game in Round 2.} Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 4. Nf3 h6 5. c3 d6 6. Nbd2 g6 ({The standard Ruy Lopez / Piano knight tour can also continue without castling after} 6... Be7 7. Nf1 Be6 8. Bb3 Qd7 9. Bc2 d5 10. Qe2 Bg4 11. h3 Bh5 $6 12. Ng3 Bg6 13. Ba4 $1 {when suddenly, the Bg6 finds itself very misplaced.} Bd6 $6 14. exd5 Nxd5 {and White nets a pawn with} 15. Nxe5 Bxe5 16. Bxc6 Qxc6 17. Qxe5+ Kf8 18. O-O {Gaponenko,I (2422)-Bashkite,V (2174)/Tallinn 2008 (1-0, 37)}) 7. h3 Bg7 8. Bb3 d5 (8... Qe7 9. Nf1 Nd8 10. g4 {was agreed drawn in Cherniaev,A (2450)-Arkhipov,S (2520)/Vladivostok 1995. Black can prudently continue in similar manouvring vein with} Ne6 11. Be3 Bd7 12. Qc2 c5 13. Ng3 Bc6) 9. Qe2 O-O ({In a previous game, White also manouvred without castling} 9... Be6 10. Bc2 a6 11. a4 dxe4 12. dxe4 Nh5 13. Nb3 O-O 14. g3 b6 15. Nh4 Nf6 16. a5 b5 17. Nc5 Bc4 18. Qe3 b4 19. Ba4 Bb5 20. Bb3 Ne7 21. Bd2 bxc3 22. Bxc3 {and a careless retreat allowed White to gain a powerful attack. } Nh7 $6 23. Rd1 Qc8 24. f4 $1 $18 exf4 $4 25. gxf4 Re8 26. Rg1 Nf5 27. Rxg6 $1 Nf8 28. Rxg7+ Nxg7 29. Qg3 {1-0 Berchtenbreiter,M (2405)-Borsos,B (2279)/ Schwarzach 2013}) 10. g4 {The strange thing is despite the hyperaggressive kingside buildup, Docx continues to play at blitz speed in the opening.} dxe4 { I don't like this move. In theory, a flank attack is typically met by action in the centre. This move actually 'closes' the centre and renders it static.} ( {I prefer} 10... a5 {, gaining queenside space and Black has a fine game. Some examples are} 11. exd5 (11. a4 Be6) (11. Ba4 Re8) 11... Nxd5 12. Ne4 Be6) 11. dxe4 Nd7 12. Qe3 {It seems strange to move the queen yet again but White has to cover the c5-square. This incidentaly also helps White to play g4-g5.} (12. Nf1 Nc5 13. Bc2 b6 14. b4 Ne6 {and White has to tolerate a knight on f4 or to capture it, allowing Black to release the fianchettoed bishop's range after} 15. Bb3 Nf4 16. Bxf4 exf4 {with a strong position for Black.}) 12... Qe7 13. g5 h5 $6 {This timid move swings the balance towards White. Incredibly, White is still playing a-tempo and has more than 1hr 30 minutes on the clock at this point while Gong has used up more than an hour.} (13... hxg5 14. Nxg5 Na5 15. Bc2 b6 16. Rg1 Ba6 17. b4 Nc4 18. Nxc4 Bxc4 19. Bb3 Bxb3 20. axb3 {and Black's structural superiority gives him the edge.}) 14. Nh4 $1 {All of a sudden, White's threats become very real. Only now does Docx start thinking and he didn't think very hard before playing} Kh7 15. Nf5 $1 {In for a for a pound. Gong plonks the mare right smack in front of the Black king's pawn cover and it can hardly be captured.} Qe8 (15... gxf5 16. exf5 e4 17. f6 Nxf6 18. gxf6 Qxf6 19. Nxe4 Qe5 20. Bc2 f5 21. Ng5+ Kh8 22. f4 {with the better chances for White.}) 16. Nxg7 {The removal of the dark-squared bishop is a trifle worrisome for Black though the long dark squared diagonal is for the moment closed to the public.} Kxg7 17. Nf1 {As pointed out by FM Ong Chong Ghee, the knight is going to reroute to e2 to prevent Black from planting his own knight on f4.} Nd8 18. Ng3 (18. Qg3 {to prevent ...Ne6 is a good alternative.}) 18... Ne6 19. Ne2 Ndc5 20. Bc2 {So far, Black has reacted well to White's aggressive overtures.} a5 $6 {Too optimistic. Gong's knight did not reroute to e2 for defensive purposes only but to set up} ({With hindsight, it is easy to indicate that Black should perhaps get his king off the dark squares with} 20... Kg8) 21. f4 $1 {Forcing open the long dark squared diagonal. Gong starts yet another wave of attack.} exf4 22. Nxf4 Nxf4 {Before the knight gets to d5...} 23. Qxc5 (23. Qxf4 Bf5 24. Be3 Nxe4 25. Bd4+ Kh7 26. O-O-O {also looks dangerous for Black.}) 23... Ne6 $6 {Finally, Black misses a step and Gong proceeds to home in on the king without remorse.} ({Incredibly, Stockfish 5 showed that White has no good way to get at the Black king after} 23... Nxh3 $1 24. Be3 Bg4 $15 {but who among us would not be alarmed at being so exposed on the dark squares?}) 24. Qe5+ Kg8 25. Be3 b6 26. O-O-O Ba6 27. Qf6 {Here, the spidey sense should start tingling as Gong sets up Bb3xe6 and Bd4 but Docx is probably still reeling from the sudden turn of events.} Rd8 (27... a4 {to prevent Bb3 is mandatory.}) 28. Bb3 $1 $16 Bd3 $4 ({Black MUST get the king out of the b3-bazooka's range with} 28... Kh7 $16 {but one of the symptoms of shell shock is the inability to defend oneself due to the intensity of the bombardment.}) 29. Bd5 $1 $18 {It's all over now as the White wizard shields the dark one from being traded off at d4, thanks to the possibility of Qxg6 once the Ne6 captures on d4.} c6 $4 ({As pointed out by Chong Ghee, Black must cough up the exchange with} 29... Rd6 30. Rxd3 Nc5 31. Qf1 Nxd3+ 32. Qxd3 {and Black is still very lost.}) 30. Bd4 {To quote from Arthur Conan Doyle's The Croxley Master -"It was a magnificent blow, straight, clean, crisp...And it landed where (s)he had meant it to—upon the exact point of that blue-grained chin. Flesh and blood could not stand such a blow in such a place. Neither valour nor hardihood can save the man to whom it comes. The Master fell backwards, flat, prostrate, striking the ground with so simultaneous a clap that it was like a shutter falling from a wall". OK, I'm dramatising it a bit too much. But at this moment Gong delivered the mortal blow, these phrases came to my mind...} Nxd4 ({Or Black can choose to go one rook down after} 30... Kh7 31. Bxe6 Rxd4 32. Qxd4 Be2 33. Bd7 Qe7 34. Rd2) 31. Qxg6+ Kh8 32. Qh6+ Kg8 33. g6 {What a finish!} 1-0

A fantastic result!

After this game, Qianyun's surname officially became a verb. To "Gong" an opponent equates to completely crushing/demolishing/annihilating his defences and reducing them to rubble. The term "gonged" will become quite commonly used for the rest of the tournament....

Unfortunately, Jingyao went down in flames after overlooking a straight forward trap on the kingside. I felt that his position could have been even more comfortable had he played an early ...a5, a typical move in the Philidor.

A 2-2 draw wasn't bad although we certainly had our chances to win it. Our reward was a match-up against the Indonesians, a match that had a lot of significance attached to it and where our norm chances were at stake.....