Malta Chess Federation

44th Chess Olympiad India with a captain's eye Round 1-4

August 17, 2022 by Robert Novak, game analysis by IM Imre Fancsy

Round 1 Serbia:
In the first round Malta Men’s team played against Serbia and it was a really though game. 4 GM’s, four really experienced but not old chess players with 2574 average Elo-rating. Result happened as pro forma 0-4.

On board 1 Jake played 1. e4 c5 2. c3 (prepared against him) and Ivic, Velimir thought 15 mins how to continue the game. Jake could exchange queens quite early and engine showed the game in balance but with a small combination black could get 2 pieces for a rook and slowly but confidently win the game.  0-1
On board 2 Colin played the Dutch system with early 2.Bg5 move (reference game: Xiong – Maghsoodloo 0-1)  Colin could complicate the game with 29..e5?! move which would cause extremely complex and hard positions for both players. In the time trouble he missed 33..Nd4 or Ne5 moves which could give hope for a draw for black. 1-0
On board 3 In Duncan’s Scotch game after Nb4 unusual move white could not find the correct answer with Bf4 and after some moves the pawn structure weakened and fell apart. 0-1
On board 4 Jack had his first Olympiad game ever. The opening brought slight advantage for white what was improved move by move but Jack tried to mess up the board what didn’t work unfortunately. 1-0

Further results can be found here

Round 2 Timor-Leste:

In the second round Malta Men’s team opponent was Timor-Leste and it seemed a way easier game as the previous BUT NO easy game on an Olympiad! They had quite less games and we could not prepare on a proper way but I said for the guys: keep calm and play on a normal way. Their average Elo-rating was 1701. We won by 3-1, let’s say acceptable, at least we had our first win.

On board 1 Jake played a bad opening and was worse or losing till move 33. After that point he changed the board and fought for win. He was getting better and better however in the move 60th there was a perpetual check for white(I was sitting near to the board and praying for a miss….) and he missed! 0-1
On board 2 David had a solid opening with white and he started to push black position, he gained space but after 17. –  Qb6?? He missed cxd5 exd5 e6!! tactical strike when black’s structure crumbles in seconds. Anyway David continued with small steps and after Rf7 penetration wasn’t any further question who will win the game 1-0
On board 3 Duncan equalized so quickly and in move 15.. Rb4 black had clear advantage. Unfortunately with e5 move this rook was closed out from the game and Duncan had to spend a lot of effort to escape it. Three moves later when he could move this rook finally he blundered it immediately 🙁  1-0
On board 4 Jack won his first Olympiad point! Solid opening, bishop pair in move 6!, improvement, penetration in the C file and execution with a deadly pin on g6. Almost a perfect game! 1-0

Further results can be found here.

Round 3 Ecuador:

In the third round Malta Men’s team faced with Ecuador’s team and it was an other though game. 1 GM, 2 IM, 1FM with 2370 average Elo-rating. I think, we managed to secure a correct result 1-3. (if Jack finds the correct moves in the rook end game it could be 1,5-2,5)

On board 1 Jake had a terrible game unhappily. From the beginning (after move 10.a3) he lost a pawn and struggled to develop his pieces and was having a worse and worse position 0-1
On board 2  David’s opponent started with aggressive play 6. g4?! David’s reaction was correct, he took the sacrificed pawn but he missed the correct continuation 8.. dxc4 furthermore He took h2 poisoned pawn which decided the game result 1-0
On board 3 SURPRISE: Colin beat his opponent with a tactical attack, Kh1 and e5 moves were needed for his combination which was perfectly executed on e6 what caused a simple exchange advance for him. His opponent was shocked but tried to not give up until move 39.. when he realized the game is lost. So he left the clock to run out of time 0-1
On board 4 Jack had the longest game during this match and he had really good chances to fight for a draw. That’s happened what we wanted in the opening. Until 15th move everything was planned. In the middle game black was holding the balance and the game was drawish till the last part of the end game move 59. Personally I didn’t like h5 and g6 moves because these are white squares and white had bishop on this color but fortunately Jack traded them and simplified to rook endgame. Jack was unlucky and missed 59.. g5 or Rg1 correct continuation. After this game I mentioned to Jack never forget what Siegbert Tarrasch said!  “All rook endings are drawn.” (you only need to find how) 1-0

Further results can be found here.

Round 4 Fiji:

In the fourth round Malta Men’s team played against Fiji and it seemed an easier but not easy game! They had a few games only in the database so we decided not to overprepare it. After Colin and David won, Duncan decided to offer a draw to secure match win in a worse position and his opponent accepted it.

On board 1 Just the usual bad opening from Jake, losing an exchange in 14 moves but he got a pawn as well, so he had some compensation. Move 37 this is the time when his magic starts, opponent position is better until this point but not further. He had a good attack what could lead to win with h3 in move 44. The rook endgame was totally draw. I liked who Jake tries to win this game but his opponent didn’t do one more mistake 1/2-1/2
On board 2  David was winning since move 6. Good game without any question who will win. His opponent was offering draw in every few moves which was absolutely unfair so he decided to punish him with a long game 1-0
On board 3 Colin had an easy game from move 5 he was better with black. Nice game which doesn’t require comment. 0-1
On board 4 Duncan had a good opening and he tried to attack on the queen side but after he lost a6 pawn his position was worse. He realized if he gets a draw the team wins because Colin and David have already won. He offered a draw and opponent took it. 1/2-1/2

Further results can be found here.

To be continued….

Round 1 CM Darmanin, Jake 2101 – GM Ivic, Velimir 2581 0 – 1
Round 3 CM Pace, Colin 2159 – IM Bastidas Rodriguez Emilio 2351

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