U.S. Teams Unbeaten in First Round of Olympiad

GM Ray Robson played board 4 for the U.S. team in round 1 of the World Chess Olympiad.

By Alex Marler

Both U.S. teams started play at the 40th World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey, rated 5th overall, which offered both teams relatively easy first round pairings. In the Open section, the U.S. team took on Jordan, ranked 82nd overall, and managed four wins to take the match. Captain John Donaldson elected to sit GM Hikaru Nakamura and inserted GM Ray Robson into the slot on board four. In the Women's section, the U.S. team took on 67th-ranked New Zealand.

Khader vs Kamsky

GM Gata Kamsky easily defeated Sami Khader on the black side of an a6 Slav defense. Khader made an interesting pawn sacrifice on move 10 in an attempt to blow open the center. Kamsky not only accepted the sacrifice but then diffused Khader's dangerous initiative. The game concluded with a nice tactical flurry from which Kamsky emerged victorious.

Robson vs Mansour

GM Ray Robson, the youngest competitor on the team, demonstrated some quite mature play in his win over Sameer Mansour. GM Robson utilized the c3 Sicilian so that he could outplay his opponent in a quiet middlegame.

B. Samhouri vs Akobian

Bilal Samhouri was clearly outclassed in his match with GM Akobian. By move 22 the result of the game was fairly clear as Akobian had two minor pieces for a rook and Samhouri's king was exceedingly weak. Samhouri resigned in lieu of a pending checkmate on move 32.

Onishuk vs A. Samhouri

GM Alex Onischuk's win over A. Samhour was like something out of a book on great strategic victories. The game began in a quiet line of the Semi-Slav defense, but soon morphed into some sort of Tarrasch defense with Black possessing the isolated queen's pawn. On move 16 Black took on a seemingly innocuous structural weakness, doubled f-pawns, however Onischuk masterfully steered the game into a bishop endgame where that structural weakness proved fatal.

The United States' Women's team made a clean 4-0 sweep over New Zealand yesterday. The U.S. team out rated the New Zealanders by several hundred points on every board, thus not really leaving the result of the match in doubt.

Zatonshik vs Milligan

Anna Zatonshik easily outplayed Helen Milligan in a Fianchetto King's Indian. Milligan lost her queen on move 21 and resigned two moves later.

Tsoi vs Krush

This game was a big mismatch in playing strength, so it's not surprising that IM Irina Krush crushed her opponent. IM Krush played the King's Indian Defense against Nicole Tsoi's London System and by move 16 she had stolen the initiative. White quickly conceded her second rank to Krush's rooks on move 26, which left her with an indefensible position.

Foisor vs Fairley

Sabina Foisor vs Natasha Fairley was a knockout! Fairley barely contested the center and allowed Foisor to build up a crushing attack.

Meyer vs Goletani

Marany Meyer essayed the Grand Prix attack against Rusudan Goletani's Sicilian defense. This may have been a poor choice as Goletani was clearly ready for this opening; she obtained a much better position out of the opening and was pretty much winning by move 27.