Baku Olympiad 2016 – Round 2

The police cars were again in front of the busses, so perhaps chess will remain top priority in Baku in the following 2 weeks.

As expected, we played a strong team, although I didn’t expect us to play that up high and play the hosts! The result of the match, 0-4 defeat, didn’t really show the tension of the match.

On board 1 we had a good position but then Mamedyarov started to outplay Nedev when all of a sudden he allowed a great chance:

Black’s last move was 28…h5? and now white could have gained an advantage by 29 f5!, the idea being that 29…Ng5 is met by 30 Qf1! and if 30…Ne4 then 31 fg fg and 32 Qd3, winning. Alas, Nedev missed this chance and lost in time trouble.

On board 2 Radjabov pressed Pancevski in a Philidor and unfortunately didn’t allow any chances.

On board 3 I was better for most part of the game against Mamedov, but as I was getting low on time the quality of my moves began to suffer.

On board 4 our youngster Nikolovski had a good position after the opening against Naiditsch, but in time trouble he allowed white to active his queen and this turned out to be decisive.

Judging from the positions we had after the openings we had a rather balanced match, but when the tension rose our opponents were much superior in handling it – the quality of their moves remained more or less the same, while the quality of ours dropped drastically.

On the other boards the favourites were generally doing their job, perhaps a bit surprising was England’s win of only 2.5-1.5 against Indonesia, Adams drawing with Muhammad Ali and Sadikin The beating McShane.

Tomorrow we play Pakistan, not the strongest of teams, but we still need to win.

I had a walk around the centre of Baku tonight and here’re a few photos. The city feels rich and the vast distances and spaces remind me of the other former Soviet cities I have been to, Moscow and Saratov. Wide boulevards and walking areas, big parks, imposing buildings and architecture. It’s still early and I expect to start to feel its essence as I explore it every day a bit more.

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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4 Comments
  • Sep 4,2016 at 9:48 am

    Does the 0-4 result reflect the difference between strong amateurs and professionals? Or do your opponents simply play more regular competitions? Or are they more motivated, being the home team? Or do they get better sleep because they are staying at home or with relatives, in the case where they come from another city in Azerbaijan? Or do they have a team of coaches on hand to assess the likely openings and preferred style of their opponents? Any thoughts as to why they were able to win when your team had good chances?

    I am wondering about these possibilities because my country, Australia, also had chances but went down 1-3 to Croatia. My questions above reflect some of the questions we spectators ask ourselves as urge our country's teams on, hoping they can break through against tough opponents.

  • Sep 3,2016 at 8:32 pm

    Thank you! Fala!

  • Sep 3,2016 at 8:07 pm

    I followed all games and I agree w/ your assesment.

    Good luck tomorrow. So srekja!

  • Sep 3,2016 at 8:07 pm

    I followed all games and I agree w/ your assesment.

    Good luck tomorrow. So srekja!

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