U.S. Teams Cruise in Round 2 of Olympiad

Nakamura at World Chess Olympiad
GM Hikaru Nakamura won a wild one on round 2 of the World Chess Olympiad.

The U.S. team in the open section faced much tougher opposition in round 2 as they were paired against Lithuania, a country rich in chess culture. But the U.S. met this challenge in stride and defeated the Lithuanians 3.5 - 0.5. 

Nakamura vs Malisauskas

This game was a real nail biter, as it lasted 107 moves! GM HIkaru Nakamura chose to meet GM Vidmantas Malisuaskas' Sicilian Defense with the English Attack. The English Attack is an aggressive setup based on the pawn chain e4, f3, g4 with queenside castling. It is quite an aggressive setup, which usually leads to a full-blooded middlegame, not an intricate 107-move endgame. The game was fairly level for the most part and did not really heat up until the endgame. In an equal position, Nakamura took some big risks and ended up in a worse position, but due to immense complications he was able to outplay his opponent and take home the full point.

Akobian vs Pileckis

Usually people associate draws in chess with boring, insipid, and overly cautious play, however this drawn game was full of crazy complications. GM Varuzhan Akobian is known for calm, strategic play, but recently he has livened up his games, one example is his recent win over GM Alejandro Ramirez at the 2012 U.S. Championship. This game begins as a quiet Queen's Indian Defense. By move 19 the position is already looking a mess with black's kingside pawns far advanced. IM Emilis Pileckis errors with 19..Nc6; he should have tried 19..Na6 so that 20.Qc2 could be met by 20...Qb7 defending the e4 pawn. By move 28 the games becomes unclear again as both King's are exposed and both sides have enough material to deliver a quick mate if either missteps. The tension eventually dissipates when the players find themselves in a complicated, but most likely drawn queen and pawn endgame.

Beinoras vs Kamsky

GM Gata Kamsky demonstrates, yet again, why he is ranked 13th in the world with a powerful display of strategic chess. It really is quite instructive to see how he outplays his opponent in a tense Isolated Queen Pawn position.

Labeckas vs Robson

This game was an exchange variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined. IM Kestutis Labeckas mistimed the opening of the center with 30.e4?, and from that point on GM Ray Robson was easily winning.

The U.S. Women's team beat Estonia yesterday, 3.5-0.5. The team rested IM Anna Zatonskih as the team out rated the Estonians by several hundred points on each board.

Tsiganova vs Krush

IM Irina Krush clearly outclassed her opponent by smoothly winning.

Foisor vs T. Narva

Sabina Foisor proved her tactical superiority over Triin Narva in 39 moves.

Abrahamyan vs R. Narva

Tatev Abrahamyan and Regina Narva debated the ever topical Sicilian Dragon Defense. This defense leads to some of the most complicated opposite side castling positions in all of chess, and this game proved to be no different. Narva played an interesting pawn sacrifice on move 13, b7-b5, and for the next ten moves both players were playing as if they had the initiative! Abrahamyan's attack gained too much momentum with 23.e5 and so Narva's resignation was inevitable.

Vahtra vs Goletiani

With the U.S. winning 3 games so far in the match, a draw in this game would suffice to clinch the match.