Tuesday, 6 September 2016

2016 Chess Olympiad - Round 4

The highlight of the day for the Oceania teams was the Australia v Norway match. With World Champion Magnus Carlsen playing on board 1, it was going to be a real challenge for GM David Smerdon, but a challenge he accepted with relish. Sticking to his tried and true 2.c3 Sicilian, Smerdon seemed to make most of the running, and with his pieces aimed at Carlsen's kingside, forced a draw by repetition on move 26. There were 2 other draws in this match (to Ly and Smirnov), but a loss to Illingworth on board 4 decided the match in Norway's favour.
Papua New Guinea continued to suffer at the hands of the swiss pairing gods, this time playing Thailand. Top board Stuart Fancy rested after yesterdays loss to Belgium, but the outgunned team went down 0-4. New Zealand had a strong result, beating El Salvador 3.5-0.5, with IM Russell Dive finding a nice save in his game.
On the bottom board Palau score their first match win of the tournament, beating Gambia 2.5-1.5, while Fiji went down 3-1 the Afghanistan and Guam got blanked by Netherlands Antilles.
The Australian Women's team turned up sporting matching team tops (which were purchased at a random Baku clothing store), but still got hammered by 7th seed Poland 4-0. New Zealand had a narrow loss 1.5-2.5 to Puerto Rico, Fiji beat Kuwait 3-1, and Guam drew 2-2 with Barbados.
Today is the last round before the only rest day. PNG's pain continues with a match against Kosovo, while Australia has a tricky match against Albania.

Smerdon,David C (2531) - Carlsen,Magnus (2857)
Baku Chess Olympiad | Open chess24.com (4.1), 05.09.2016


Exetron said...

Did Carlsen really take 3 minutes to play d5 on move 2?
Even if he hadn't studied Smerdon's repetoire, it's still always the move for choice.

Anonymous said...

Nf6 is also playable on move 2, though I think d5 is more popular now (as it was already to Tarrasch), as usually it is more to the liking of a Sicilian player in any event.

Anonymous said...

2...Nf6 is about equally popular and is recommended in some repertoire books. Carlsen has played both. He may also have been thinking about minor choices such as 2...g6 to get a less familiar position.