Favorites continue with all wins

At the end of the second round of the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad, 43 teams have four match points, and nine teams have won clean 4-0 wins and thus have eight match points. In the 44th FIDE Women’s Chess Olympiad, 40 teams have four match points; 11 teams with 4-0 wins have eight game points at the end of this round.

In the important matches of the open section, world champion GM Magnus Carlsen made his debut for Norway with characteristic late-game pressure after a long battle of nerves, while GM Dieter Nisipeanu of the German team played a peach of a game. 73rd-seeded Zambia created a major upset by beating 27th-seeded Denmark 2.5-1.5.

In the women’s section, significant upsets occurred when 65th-seeded Ecuador beat 26th-seeded Slovenia 2.5-1.5 and the former women’s world champion GM Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine was beaten by IM Ekaterina Atalik of Turkey.

Olympiad flavor

With such a sea of ​​humanity, it’s not just the chess on the board that you want to observe, you’re also captivated by the attires, contrasts, ages, and poses of the players. As the players are engrossed in their games, the colors of the Olympiad featured in their robes and headwear grab your attention.

A pre-match ritual? Photo: FIDE/Madelène Belinki.

Colors on her hat, a smile on her face and failures in her soul – Ellen Kakulidis from Denmark. Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes.

The first desire of every chess player, a rich and clean head during the game – IM Semetei Tologen tegin from Kyrgyzstan. Photo: FIDE/Stev Bonhage.

What makes us all smile: the innocence of youth, Mazen Fandi from Syria. Photo: FIDE/Mark Livshitz.

Lines of Wisdom, Focus of Experience: FM Rupert Jones from Papua New Guinea. Photo: FIDE/Mark Livshitz.

Because GM Viswanathan Anand has a huge fan base in India, he got a lot of attention at the Olympiad. On Friday, he interacted with a large group of enthusiastic young children. They are part of the “Chalo Chennai” (“Let’s Go Chennai”) initiative and were selected to attend the Olympiad as spectators of chess tournaments held nationwide by the All India Chess Federation:

Spreading Wisdom: Vishy Anand. Photo: FIDE/Lennart Ootes.

Open section

Teams that have won comprehensive 4-0 wins in both rounds are Ukraine, India 2, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Georgia, Argentina, Cuba, Montenegro and Canada scoring four match points and eight match points. However, medal favorites USA, India, Norway, Spain, Poland, Azerbaijan and the Netherlands also won their matches to earn four match points.

Carlsen, in an 80-move final against GM Georg Meier of Uruguay, used his favorite methods of playing chess: constantly applying pressure even with limited equipment on the board, giving the opponent every chance to be wrong and demonstrate his famous reputation as a tireless “squeezer”:

GM Dieter Nisipeanu of Germany, playing in his true style, unleashed complex tactics to finish with a checkmate in the middle of the match. Our game of the day only lasts 28 moves:

Nisipeanu. File photo: Peter Doggers.

The top-seeded USA came out on top with a 2.5-1.5 margin against 47th-seeded Paraguay, with the former superior in terms of ratings on all counts. The decisive victory came from GM Leinier Dominguez who clinically beat GM Fernando Cubas on third board. Fabiano Caruana, the birthday boy, started his campaign for the United States in this round, but he never had any chances during his game.

GM Wesley So’s game was a curious affair, as the American grandmaster seemed to be constantly building an advantage, which was considerable at one point:

Wesley So assesses the risk at a decisive moment. Photo: Maria Emelianova.

USA had some slightly anxious moments when GM Sam Shankland seemed to struggle late in the game, even though he edged his opponent, FM Ruben D Zacarias, by 545 Elo points:

India cruised to a 3.5-0.5 win over Moldova with GM Pentala Harikrishna leading and showing off his famous late game prowess. The game is a classic example of efficient and practical endgame play with Hari’s fluid and efficient play in a seemingly simple position:

Harikrishna: seemingly simple and effective game. Photo: FIDE/Stev Bonhage.

In addition to the best Indian team, the other two teams in the open section and the three women’s teams from the host country also won their matches, thus pleasing the home crowd, which obviously showed overwhelming support:

Indian players obviously enjoy massive public support. Here, Raunak Sadhwani grabs the attention of onlookers. India 2 team captain GM RB Ramesh stands behind Sadhwani. Photo: Maria Emelianova.

Women’s Section

France, Azerbaijan and Armenia are among 11 teams that have won comprehensive 4-0 wins in both rounds, scoring four match points and eight match points. However, medal favorites USA, India, Norway, Spain, Poland, Azerbaijan and the Netherlands also won their matches to earn four match points.

For top-seeded India, GM Koneru Humpy, showing unusual hesitation in her match against WIM Marisa Zuriel, struggled in an advantageous position on the top board:

Humpy’s timely draw offer in a lower position prompted GM Arturs Neiksans on Chess.com’s live commentary to joke, “Koneru just pulled the old trick!”

The major upset of the day was IM Ekaterina Atalik’s win over GM Mariya Muzychuk. Atalik seemed to run the game with ease, keeping a good grasp of the proceedings throughout:

The meeting between Atalik and Muzychuk. Photo: Maria Emelianova.

A surprise happened in the Lebanon-Syria match when veteran GM Pia Cramling won her match in just nine shots against WIM Knarik Mouradian who made an early mistake:

Pia Cramling, a long presence on the chessboard. Photo: Maria Emelianova.

It was a special moment in the press center after the second round. The youngest participant in the Olympiad, eight-year-old Palestinian Randa Seder (Elo 1442), who won her match against unseeded Mohamed Fahima Ali Mohamed of Comoros, addressed the press with her teammates .

Eight-year-old Randa Seder from Palestine, the youngest participant in the Olympiad, with her teammates. Photo: FIDE.

See the full results here.

The 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad and Women’s Chess Olympiad are team events where national chess federations compete in classic games for gold medals, trophies and the nation title of strongest chess in the world. The event consists of an 11-round Swiss tournament where each player from one national team plays against another player from the opposing national team. Teams receive “game points” for winning or drawing and “match points” for winning or drawing. The teams with the most match points for each section become their section’s champions, with a third prize for the team with the most points from both sections combined.

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