Baku Olympiad 2016 – Round 4
It started slowly. On boards 1 and 3 we had the traditional small plus with white while on boards 2 and 4 we had the traditional small minus with black. While we kept things control on our white boards (I kept a small plus which I let dissipate after a miscalculation against their highest rated player, GM Escobar Forero) things started to go berserk on our black boards.
On board 2 Pancevski had a great chance to take over the initiative early on after a fine pawn sacrifice:
And on board 4 we even got more lucky. Take a look at this:
And so we can feel lucky tonight in Baku! But I’m not sure there are casinos here.
The favourites have started playing each other and Ukraine beat Russia in the heavyweight showdown. Volokitin played a great combination to beat Grischuk with black:
But things were still looking good for the Russians, as Nepomniachtchi beat Korobov to level the score and Tomashevsky was totally dominating against Ponomariov. Kramnik on board 1 was keeping it steady against Eljanov, so it looked like the Russians would win. And then this happened:
The World Champion made a second draw in a row, today against the Australian GM and a very cool guy David Smerdon. David played his usual Alapin Sicilian and Carlsen was even in some trouble at one point.
Worth noting is also the collapse of the mighty-looking English team. They lost 3.5-0.5 against the Netherlands – they were wobbly from the start and this only underlines their troubles. It seems that almost everybody (except Short) is out of form!
Tomorrow is Round 5. I don’t know what to expect from the pairings for us, but I will find out anyway in a couple of hours (or less).