Tromso Olympiad 2014 – Round 8

Today I was black again, but this time on board 1. I played GM Baburin and I went for the line in the QGA made popular by Svidler: he used it to draw easily with Aronian in the London Candidates 2013 and also here in Tromso, against Cheparinov. But I went for a different set-up, with a rook on a7 instead of Svidler’s Rb8.

11…Rb8 (Svidler), 11…Ra7 (Colovic)

He introduced a new plan (almost certainly an over-the-board improvisation as he was spending a lot of time) by playing a5 and Nb3. I got a good position when I castled and played c5, but the awkward rook on a7 and the various tricks meant that I hadn’t completely equalised. I was also spending a lot of time calculating various tactical sequences and this led me to serious time-trouble which soon enough became mutual. We committed a lot of errors before reaching a drawn endgame. A nervy game, but I was happy to escape from an uncomfortable position.

We had advantage in all the other games, but somehow nobody won. The closest to win was Mitkov on board 3 with 2 pawns up, while Bogdanovski also had a big advantage. But they drew and at the time of writing Pancevski is still playing (most probably a draw).

From the other games that I managed to take a look at, Kramnik lost (this has become a repetitive event) to Vallejo, even his big box of blueberries didn’t help him much. There was also a bottle of water, a mug and something else on the table. It used to be considered bad manners when people would eat at the board, but starting with Carlsen this idea of being “comfortable” at the board and having the energy (hence the food, drinks etc.) to fight for 5 or more hours has taken on quite a new dimension. Like I said in a previous post, it looks more like a picnic to me (and bad manners as well), instead of a dignifed game of chess. But perhaps it is just me who considers chess still to be dignified?

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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