The Russian men’s teams got back on track in round 6, with Evgeny Bareev again on hand to comment on the victories over the Czech Republic (2.5-1.5) and the Netherlands (3-1). Meanwhile, the women’s first team almost ensured themselves gold with a “hair-raising” victory against Ukraine.
Bareev was once more talking to Yury Vasiliev of Sport Express. Perhaps the comment that stands out is his praise for his ex-pupil, Ian Nepomniachtchi. There’s an opinion that the young grandmaster might have been a “shoe-in” for a place on the Russian first team (ensuring more decisive games against weaker opponents), if it hadn’t been for a certain shoe-throwing incident that led to his expulsion from Bareev’s chess school. It seems at least on the surface, however, that Bareev doesn’t bear a grudge.
Bareev’s comments on the sixth round start with some black humour, as he recounts how the Czech team seemed to follow the formula used by Hungary to beat Russia (where Judit Polgar took a quick draw with white against Sergey Karjakin):
Now our opponents know how to beat our first team. They need to make a double-quick draw on one “white” board. That was how the Czechs “liquidated” our Malakhov. It’s true, the tactics didn’t work out in the end and we won the match.
Kramnik’s opponent, David Navara, when he’s on form can play like a genius. Just look at the position he saved today!
You’re right, white did seem to have a big advantage and it looked as though black’s position was about to collapse… But Navara was always looking for resources to exchange black’s attacking figures. And gradually he managed to exchange everything. The game ended up in an equal position. It’s good that Karjakin won at that point as Kramnik didn’t have to have any qualms about agreeing to a draw.
Svidler, it seems, is coming out of something of a crisis?
Today he played excellently! Given that his opponent was, as always, better in the opening. Alas, it’s already become a habit for Peter: things just aren’t going right for him at the start of games. And here again he got a worse position. But his defence was excellent and he said he couldn’t see where he could have lost by force. In general, Svidler managed to seize the initiative. At that point he was let down by the fact that the match was already won. Although a victory with a 3:1 scoreline would have come in handy – it might theoretically still come down to the coefficient being important. However, the main thing was that we won and managed and fulfilled our minimum aim. The most important thing now is to catch our opponents.
Our young team played ferociously and strongly today…
Spectacularly! Artem Timofeev brilliantly outplayed Daniel Stellwagen. Ian Nepomniachtchi demonstrated phenomenal technique! He quickly and accurately converted what was in general only a slight edge in a “two pawns against two” situation with a small number of pieces. He pressurised on the board and on time, exerting psychological pressure. As a result he won. I’m not afraid of the word: today Ian played like a genius!
With what at one point looked like a very unlikely 2.5-1.5 win over Ukraine the Russian women’s first team took a giant step towards overall victory. The way the match went, however, is perhaps best captured by a few consecutive posts at the Crestbook forum (“Crest” is Sergey Shipov):
Crest: And so, the Russian women’s team won the match after all. They’ve beaten all their opponents in the big four! Now, objectively speaking, victory in the Olympiad is just a matter of technique. But that’s a secret you mustn’t tell the girls themselves.
Adelante: It’s simply terrifying to imagine how many grey hairs it must give the women’s trainers to watch such matches.
Vasa: Which is why women’s team trainers should be bald! :)
Shipov has also put up a review of the Olympiad at the half-way stage, looking at both the chess and political warfare taking place in Khanty-Mansiysk. For example, he reveals the thinking of Karpov and Kasparov on their election chances (note the chess terminology!):
One of the greats is confident of victory. Saying they’ll do it even without the Court in Lausanne. An optimist, both in chess and in life! The other, as I understand it, is more cautious in his evaluations. He’s more cautious in general… However, he’s very active. It’s clear that there are serious positional justifications for an attack. And if Karpov attacks it means that it’s been calculated.