Friday, May 16, 2008

The games between utd and nankai university were held in the hotel we are staying in, in a special apartment place exclusive to the chinese federation and it's players.


The entire match saw some very interesting, close games. Let's go by board:

Ramirez, A - Wang Yue 1/2-1/2

My first game against Wang was very interesting. Wang Yue is a known specialist of the ... a6 slav (a very solid opening) but this time he chose to play the very agressive Gruenfeld against me, probably going for the full point. This plan backfired and I got a very comfortable position out of the opening, being slightly better through the entire game. However, I was unable to find any continuation leading to a clear victory, and only very in depth-analysis might possibly reveal such variation.

Zhao Jun - kuljasevic, d 1/2 - 1/2

"dado"s game had a similar story to mine: Zhao did not play his normal variation and saw davorin get a significantly better position. Zhao's defense was amazingly tenacious and at the end it was impossible for our utd player to break through the defenses.

Zivanic, Marko - Weng Yan 1/2-1/2

Marko's game featured the highly complex queen's gambit - exchange variation. Visually pleasing, it is always a tricky opening for white, and despite the enourmous space advantage of Marko, Weng's sacrifice in the queenside (where Marko castled) created too much counterplay. At the end the player's agreed to a draw in a highly unstable position.

Li Chen - Stopa, Jacek 1/2-1/2

Jacek was his typical self in this game: he boldly played an inferior line and snatched a pawn from his opponent in exchange of giving him a huge initative. The game was very tactical and rather short, it ended abruptly when Li saw nothing better than sacrifice a bishop for a perpetual check, forcing our Polish international master to concede the half point.

Shneider, I - Li Haoyu 0-1

Igor playing white was faced against his own defense against the king's pawn - the french defense. Igor sacrificed a pawn to attempt an attack on the enemy king, and black was eventually forced to concede the pawn back leaving Igor with a nice advantage. However by this time our player had almost no time left (about 30 seconds, remember that after every move he plays he gets an extra 30 seconds added to his remaining time). The pressure was unsurmountable and the fact that Igor has been sick since we arrived did not help at all. The Chinese player was merciless to Igor's mistakes and took the full point.


Wang Yue - Ramirez, A 1-0

The Chinese super GM slightly surprized me by playing a side variation in my favorite opening, the benko gambit. I managed to get into a good position, and the game was very complicated for a long time. Our clocks ran down to 5 minutes per player and it was still very hard to say who would win the game. At the end it was me who made the mistake, underestimating the chances his passed pawn on the queenside gave him. Wang played a flawless game and took the victory. I have to say, however, I am very satisfied with my level of play in these two games, Wang is one of the top GMs in the world and it was an honor to have played such a close match, which could have gone either way.

kuljasevic, d - Zhao Jun 1/2-1/2

Zhao played the Nimzo-indian defense, which later turned into a hedgehog. The reason chessplayers call this setup the hedgehog is because blacks pawns resemble the spikes from said animal, which curls to defend itself from any attack. This approach was successful and davorin was left to work with nothing, no choice but to walk away with the draw.

Weng Yan - Zivanic, Marko 1/2-/12

Another fascinating game where lots of pieces were flying over the board. Weng left his king completely unprotected by pawns in order to send them to the attack, but Zivanic's cool maneouvres forced the game into a slightly favorable endgame for our player. The difference was however too small, and with excellent play the chinese held on to the draw.

Stopa, J - Li Chen 0-1

This game was probably the most heartbreaking of all. Jacek refused a draw from his opponent in order to launch an initiative, which would have worked had Jack not overlooked a cunning retort from his opponents. After this mistake the game was very difficult to hold, the Chinese was implacable and both clocks ran below the 1 minute mark. Jacek was unable to hold on and Nankai took another point.

Li Haoyu - Shneider, I 1/2-1/2

I am not sure what happened in this game, Igor claims to have been better and lost a good chance to score a victory for us, but I was too absorbed in my own duel to really notice what happened. I will ask more details from Shneider later.

So at the end, Nankai takes the match with a convincing 3.5-6.5 and conceding no full points. Congratulations to our opponents, it was definitley a very interesting match!

Pictures will be uploaded when this internet feels like working...

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