Malta Chess Federation

44th Chess Olympiad India with a captain's eye Round 8-11

Feb 6, 2023 by Robert Novak, game analysis by IM Imre Fancsy

Round 8 Sao Tome and Principe (The bad day):

In the eighth round Malta Men’s team played against Sao Tome and Principe, where we were the favourites, but everything went wrong. Their average rating was ~1900 but they played much higher level. However Colin was totally winning and Duncan shouldn’t lose his game.



On board 1 Jake played a crazy game which was a chaos from move one, but everything was theory!  Unbalanced material from 15th move and he was lost in a few position but he managed to drew it.  1/2-1/2

On board 2 Colin could have a winning postion after Nd4 in move 14, he missed it but white still had some advantage in the beginning of the middle game. In move 32 Colin had two winning moves: Rxb6 or Qxh7 where Qxh7 leads to unavoidable checkmate but under time pressure he played the losing move g4. 0-1
On board 3 Duncan was playing very well the openning and increased his advantage move by move until move 40th when the engine shows -5.0. After this postion he didn’t choose the correct defense structure of his pieces and white’s knight became a beast and decided the game. 1-0
On board 4 Jack’s opening was leading for clear advantage for him.when he played f4 instead of the correct e4. After that he started to struggle a little bit but with a fantastic combination Rxe5 and Bc8 he managed to win the game. 1-0



Further results can be found here

Round 9 Saint Lucia:

In the nineth round Malta Men’s team faced Saint Lucia’s team. Another game where we weren’t the underdogs but we had to recover from the previous unnecessary lose. We managed to win 3-1 but unfortunately Duncan lost a game which was absolutely winning for him.



On board 1 Jake won a game where he showed for his opponent why it is not good to take the king into the centre in the middle game 0-1
On board 2 David had a quite balanced game until black pushed the d pawn and this weakness decided the game. 1-0
On board 3 Duncan equilzed in the opening and tried to attack on the queenside because white castled on the queen side. After he captured the Queen for 2 rooks he chose a bad plan and took the “posioned” a4 pawn. White’s 2 rooks, knight and bishop enforced black to move in a checkmate net.  1-0
On board 4 Jack won a really simple game without any question when and who is better near to the board. It was a start-to-finish victory 1-0



Further results can be found here.

Round 10 Faroe Islands:

After nine rounds the final was coming and with 4 wins + 5 loses we hoped for an easier opponent but we got the first seed from our 8 points group. None of us were super happy because the opponent team had 1 GM 1 IM and 2 FMs. Their average elo rating was 2397.



On board 1  Jake played a balanced game against the grandmaster but Rd6 could hold the 0.00 instead of Rd3 and after that the C passed pawn was too strong   0-1
On board 2 David easily equalized in his game and 18.. b5 could gain some advantage instead of Qg5. 23… Bxe5 was the losing move, because black gave up his bishop pair and opened the F file. 1-0
On board 3 Colin could have advantage in the opening with  11.Bf4 or 14.Bd2 but he missed both. Unfortunately he lost his game because he didn’t follow the first principal rule: Development, Development and more development in the opening. After black’s sacrafice his king side crumbled and led to losing the point  0-1
On board 4 Before the game Duncan and me prepared the exact variantion for the International Master what happened on the board. In the endgame there was a wonderful move 43..Rxb3 which could lead better position for black  1/2-1/2



Further results can be found here.



Round 11 Sudan:
The last round we started with mixed feelings. Our opponent was Sudan the second seed from the 8 points group (first was Iraq whom we already played with). We enjoyed our trip-tournament, had a lot of fun and we felt ourself confident to try our best in the latest games but we were really tired in the another hand. 11 rounds are more than enough on this high level brain activity, I knew two things before I created the team for this clash: Duncan will not lose, he got a boost from his previous draw and I cannot miss Jack because he had a chance to win CM title. 



On board 1 Jake missed the accurate continuation of the opening with 8.e5 but the game was around 0.00 maybe a little bit better for black somethimes. Jake lost the game with one bad move 26. Ne3 but in this position really hard to find the correct king move Kf1! 0-1
On board 2 Colin played his favourit Holland defense and after the opening he was defenitely better. In the 18th move white has to sacrifice his knigh on g5 but Colin reaction with counter sacrifice on e3 was not correct. His opponent played some inaccurate moves and Colin had the chance to win the game with Nc6 in the move 26. He missed it and had to resign 4 moves later. 1-0
On board 3 Duncan started with usual 1.e4 and dominated the entire game until black resigned. He had 93% accuracy and made only 2 small mistake so it was out of question who will win the game 1-0
On board 4 Jack was fighting for his CM Title and he needed a win for this. This game finished as the very last of ours. If he find exd4 in move 7th black could gain some advantage in the opening. During the game I thought 45..Qxa2 can give some advantage but the computer says its still equal. The end game was drawish until 61..Bc2 when black lost the game 1-0



Further results can be found here.

Final ranking can be found here.


Epilogue: I was really happy and honoured to be part of this amazing team as a coach. We had many funny and joyful moments. The accomodation was fantastic and the food was  tolerable. Only we had to “fight” with the extremely high humidity and temperature. Our group was more than a team, like almost a family. We meet day by day and focused on the same goal: Do your best! This olympiad wasn’t a success in results perspective but I know one thing: Everybody who was there put his/her maximum effort to win his/her game.



One more time I would like to thank you for this amazing adventure.


Round 9 Jack, Mizzi (1913) – Nicholas, Arvin (1744) 1-0
Round 10 IM Rodgaard, John (2324) – Vella, Duncan (1985) 1/2-1/2

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