Info

3%

3%

30%/44

MNE=Montenegro; ISR=Israel; TKM=Turkmenistan; MDA=Moldova; NOR=Norway; ROU=Romania; CHN=China; RUS=Russia; POL=Poland; UZB=Uzbekistan; FRA=France *Board 2 Gold Medalist **Board 3 Silver Medalist screen, wanting their teammate to find the way as his clock crept below two minutes. They picked out sequences and tried to guess which was the safest path that allowed the least counterplay, thinking that even a draw would give them medal hopes (as it would later turn out, it would not). Meanwhile Shulman, who made the only decisions that mattered, had his hands full with Ukrainian GM Zahar Efi menko, who was performing over 2800 going into the round and was in line for an individual medal. "Efimenko has been their hero so far this tournament," Don aldson said, "He has been their designated hitter."

"In general, we thought they would put the toughest match on board four," Shul man said. He was aware of the score but oblivious to the tiebreaks and medal chances, having thought going into the round that a 3 1 win would do the trick. But he was too low on time to ask Ako bian what result was needed (Akobian was acting as floor captain for many of the rounds that he did not play, including the 11th round). Fortunately for the Ameri can squad, Shulman was in a position without losing chances, and with a 30 second increment and an extra pawn, there was no reason to bail out. Shulman shuffled his rook around for a half dozen moves. Spectators, including Akobian, could not figure out if he was gaining time or flummoxed. Akobian had to con stantly leave and return amidst the tension, but finally Shulman marched his king and pawns forward. "Because of time pressure, I couldn't find the correct order," Shulman said. Soon after, Efi menko conceded and the rout of 3% % became the worst loss Ukraine has ever suffered in an Olympiad. More impor tantly for the U.S., the lopsided win vaulted them into a tie with Ukraine and a date with the tiebreak algorithms. Shul man said his strategy to play a bland system worked to perfection. He expected

Efimenko, whose Ukrainian teammates had relied on often for match victories, to press too far, and that is exactly what happened. "If I trade, he's not going to be happy at all," Shulman said. "His team was doing poorly and he started playing very sharp."

At first, Donaldson seemed assured that his team had won by enough to ensure third place. But unlike normal individual tournaments where final round results can be ascertained and computed, too many teams and results were involved to be sure. Ukraine and U.S. had to watch prior opponents and follow the games of ignominious federations like Hong Kong and New Zealand. After calculating and double checking with GM Yasser Seirawan, Donaldson's initial hopes were dashed when a volley of unfavorable results arrived. He went as far as calling his team, by this time out at dinner, to inform them of the tough luck news. But less than five minutes later, the official

"We just have to play the match with Ukraine and do our best."

~IM JOHN DONALDSON

standings were posted. The U.S. had done notably Kamsky and Shulman. With the just enough to squeak by Ukraine. Don aldson hit redial.

"We've had good last rounds before but never against a team like this," said Don aldson, who has captained the team eight times. He said Dresden was the strongest Olympiad by far, and that going into the tournament, GM Larry Christiansen told him that a top five finish should be con sidered a good result.

In 2006, the U.S. defeated Norway in the final round, also 3% V, to clinch the bronze then as well. "Of course this one is bigger since we beat one of the strongest teams ever," Onischuk said. Akobian, who was irritated that his bronze medal in Turin was criticized because of their softer last round pairing, concurred with Onischuk. "We're showing the world that we are a chess power," he said. "This kind of win shuts down everything. I never had it in my mind that we were not going to beat Ukraine. I definitely think we had a chance for gold if there were two rounds left, but bronze I think is great."

Akobian, who played six rounds, also served as captain and as a second for other team members, especially Onis chuk and Shulman. "We had a long day," he said of the rest day prior to the final round. "We shared ideas. We don't hide anything from each other. My contribu tion to this Olympiad was with the preparation." Akobian also earned a key victory in round one. His win against his Icelandic opponent was the final game to finish and the conversion of a queen and pawn endgame ensured a positive start to the event.

Onischuk also got off to a running start. He won his first two games against grandmasters and held 2700+ GMs Vugar Gashimov and Alexander Morozevich (at 2787 the highest third board in history) to draws. Even his two losses were timely. "Physiologically it was a great relief for me that both matches in which I lost, the team won," Onischuk said. "In fact, both times I managed to win on the next day after the defeat, and these wins were probably my most important wins in the Olympiad, against Hungary and Ukraine."

Other players got going later, most uncertainty of his match with Topalov still looming as the tournament com menced, Kamsky got off to a sluggish start. With only one point in his first three games, he entered the first rest day with a win over an untitled player. But during the day off, his friend turned man ager GM Emil Sutovsky helped resolve the deadlock. Free from extraneous issues, the U.S. number one went on a remark able run. He drew Cuban GM Leinier Dominguez Perez in round six and then GM Peter Leko, who went on to win a gold medal on board one. Kamsky's win over GM Peter Svidler in round eight helped the U.S. tiebreaks despite the match loss. He then beat GM Krishnan Sasikiran and drew the overperforming GM Arkadij Naiditsch in the penultimate round, before his win against Ivanchuk. His final six rounds netted a 2925 per formance rating.

Shulman, who had a decade long hia tus from the Olympiad, improved his play and results in the second half as well. "Shulman was a little nervous in his debut for the first couple of rounds," Don aldson said. "The game against South Africa was unsettling. Since then he has been on a tear." Shulman also started with one out of three, escaping with a draw against a much lower rated player from South Africa in round three. But he went on to win 3% out of his last four. His victory over Efimenko as black was his highest rated opponent of the event.

Nakamura, still only 20 but playing in his second Olympiad (moving up one board from 2006), had a seesaw event, with key wins interspersed with two losses to 2700s. He used a jury rigged opening system with both white and black in sev eral rounds in which his pawns pushed to the third or sixth ranks, creating highly malleable but non theoretical formations. "[Nakamura] took two well known theo reticians and played g3 on the first move," Donaldson said of two of his player's key wins.

Nakamura said his play differs much from the Russian School. "I play unbal anced positions that have different structures," he said. "I can outplay any one in the world if I get into a playable position." He did just that previous to Dresden, having just come off a spectac ular victory at Cap D'Agde in France, in which he beat GM Anatoly Karpov and later Ivanchuk in the final. Nakamura returned to that form near the end of the Olympiad, with 2% out of his last three. In his final round draw against GM Teimour Radjabov, equalizing so early as black buoyed the team according to Ako bian. "Right out of the gate, Karjakin was struggling out of the opening," he said.

In a curious twist, while the men were trouncing the Ukrainians, the American women were rooting for the Ukrainian women's team to beat Poland. The quar tet of women needed to first win against fifth seed France however. Save a nomi nal advantage on board three, the U.S. entered the match outrated on the other three boards. France boasted a GM on first board and a former women's Euro pean champion on board two. Still, the American contingent came in confident. A second round loss to Israel was now a distant memory, and a more understand able loss in round nine to Poland was reversed by a crush of Turkmenistan in round three. They still felt deserving after their first ever win over top seed Russia and a hard earned draw versus then perfect China.

IM Anna Zatonskih was the first to fin ish. The U.S. women's champion was offered a three fold repetition before the time control and had to decide quickly whether to accept. After a fleeting glance at her teammates' games, she settled. "My position was not better," Zatonskih said of her decision, which preserved an undefeated Olympiad. From there, the U.S. looked to its lower boards, as it had for much of the tournament. With top board IM Irina Krush struggling against her grandmaster opponent, WGM Rusu dan Goletiani on board three and WGM Katerina Rohonyan on board four needed to score. Like all the other Americans, they insisted they blocked out thoughts of medals during their games. Instead, they channeled advice from earthly and divine sources.

"After the beginning of the tournament that didn't go well for me, the pattern of my mistakes was clear I wanted to win over weaker, lower rated, players, even in equal positions," Rohonyan said. "In the first game I gave a file in an equal posi tion, got into a worse position then [I was] losing, but managed to draw with my opponent's help. However, when I did it the same in the second game gave up a file in the equal position to try to win or fish for chances by making my position worse I got punished. Thus, the advice was to never give a file and be satisfied with what I have. (Team coach and GM

Left to right: IM Irina Krush, IM Anna Zatonskih, WGM Rusudan Goletiani, WFM Tatev Abrahamyan, WGM Katerina Rohonyan, team captain FST Michael Khodarkovsky

Gregory) Kaidanov said, 'Draw is a good result.' The sayings about open file and 'draw is a good result' were going around during the whole tournament. So, in the last game, Rusa (Goletiani) said when she was considering a variation where she had to give up an open file for attack, she remembered how they teased me and stopped considering the variation.

"Throughout the tournament I didn't think about a medal that we could win, because it could have created unneces sary stress. There is a Buddhist saying: Don't live in the past, you cannot change it. Don't live in the future, it doesn't belong to you. Live in the present."

She let the action come to her, and after the French woman across the table pressed too hard, Rohonyan swooped in and took the point. The U.S. now led 1 % % with Krush and Goletiani still battling. Krush's queen was becoming impotent against her opponent's two rooks despite a furious attempt to pry open the black kingside. Goletiani, like Zatonskih, was also trying to keep her unbeaten record

* intact (she was the only member of either

* American team to play all 11 rounds). In ® a symbolic linkage, she chose a slow h opening system where all of her pawns ^ pushed only one square much like

Nakamura's flexible repertoire. Goletiani eventually picked off her opponent's king's shelter, one pawn at a time. She chased the enemy monarch across the board. Ahead a piece and now with an armada of kingside pawns, France laid down its arms. Goletiani called it her best game of the tournament. Although Krush would eventually lose, the U.S. had already clinched the match. But the murkiness remained. The team was left to wonder. Was 2% 1% enough? And could Ukraine beat tournament leader Poland?

A Serbia Georgia draw could also post problems on tiebreaks for the Americans, but Georgia dispelled that possibility by winning earlier. They went on to place first, their first title since their third con secutive gold in 1996. Second seeded Ukraine managed to get by Poland, but only 2% 1%. Like the men, the women would have to wait out the tiebreaks. But unlike their comrades, they decided to forgo the convoluted calculations and head to dinner, that is, except Krush. Thinking that her loss fatally injured the team's tiebreaks, she left for an art gallery and was consoled by team captain FIDE Senior Trainer (FST) Michael Khodark ovsky. Playing a barrage of 2500s, she admitted to being worn down.

"The last half was [exhausting]," said Krush. She sat out the first round and then played ten straight. She vomited before her round nine game against Poland. "Physically there is a lot of stress. Every game is a big game. It's a special responsibility being on first board. I wish I could have done more but I feel like I did a good job." She finished with six wins, three losses and one draw, performing slightly above her rating.

The other team members Zatonskih, Goletiani, Rohonyan, and WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (who, like Akobian, was praised for her preparation of team mem bers) convened in the hotel to await the results. Zatonskih's mom, at home in the U.S., had a faster internet connection and delivered the news over the phone. The U.S. nipped Poland and Russia for the bronze, only their second medal ever. The foursome screamed loud enough to arouse the curiosity of Kaidanov, who was staying in the next room. He came over and joined the celebration. Krush got the news later while riding the hotel ele vator. A member of the Turkish women's team came up to congratulate her only 15 minutes before the awards ceremony. "We thought four boards would hurt us, but we played really well," Krush said. "I'm gonna dance and scream. I'm gonna hug my teammates and tell them that they are great."

The team rebounded well after a disap pointing second round loss to Israel. The experience and guidance of Kaidanov, a veteran player of the last six Olympiads, proved helpful. "Both Mike (Khodark ovsky) and Gregory made it a point to tell us the medals are decided during the last few rounds," Goletiani said. Krush, the most experienced member of the team, did not dwell on the early loss. Sitting at her board before the third round sweep of Turkmenistan, she brushed off the setback by mocking its importance. "Yeah, we're just going to pack it in and go home," she chaffed. The team won the next two matches 3 1, and then com pleted another sweep, of Romania in round six. They followed with a tie of tournament leader China and then knocked off Russia for the first time ever, including Krush's win over Women's World Champion GM Alexandra Koste niuk. "Everyone congratulates you when you beat the world champion," Krush said. "But I feel like we both blundered. It was very tense."

Nimzo-Indian Defense, Rubinstein Variation (E55)

IM Irina Krush (FIDE 2452) GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (FIDE 2525) 38th Olympiad,, Dresden, GER (8), 11.21.2008 Notes by Krush

This game came on the heels of my first loss of the tournament, to WGM Yifan Hou. Quite a painful loss, too, as I ruined a winning position in time trouble, and then inexplicably threw away the remnants of my position with my 41st move. So I wasn't in the best psycholog ical state going into round eight.

Black's first move indicates that it'll be a Nimzo Indian Defense. Alexandra used to play the Meran, but has recently switched to the Nimzo. Of course, there are lots of interesting things to be said about the opening preparation for this game, but it wouldn't be wise to reveal them.

2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 0-0 5. Bd3 c5 6. Nf3 d5 7. 0-0 dxc4 8. Bxc4 Nbd7 9. Qe2

In a blitz game the previous month, I had tried 9. Qb3 against Alexandra, a move which brought me a very nice vic tory earlier in the year, against Swedish GM Pontus Carlsson in Wijk aan Zee. The game Alexandra continued 9. ... a6 10. a4 Qc7 11. Rd1 b6 12. d5 exd5 13. Nxd5 Nxd5 14. Bxd5 Bb7 15. e4 Bxd5 16.

Qxd5 Rad8 17. Bg5 Nf6 18. Qf5 Rxd1+ 19. Rxdl Qc6 20. e5 Qe4 21. Qxe4 Nxe4 22. Be3 and it was drawn many moves later, Krush Kosteniuk, World Mind Sports Blitz, 2008.

11. exd4 is more common.

This was the move I had in mind when choosing 11. Nxd4. It's a very rare move (at first glance it appears to lose a pawn) that was noticed by Pascal (Charbon neau), and struck him as an interesting continuation that would be hard to deal with over the board.

12 Bxc3 13. bxc3 Qe7

A natural square for the queen. Black connects the rooks and gives much needed protection to the e6 pawn, whose vulnerability, as we see in the variations below, was what justified White's offer of the e pawn. Accepting the pawn with 13. ... Nxe4 is the most critical test of 12. e4, but so far it hasn't appealed to players of the black pieces, who have chosen the solid setup that Alexandra found in this game. Of course, it's clear that White's response will be 14. Nxe6 and it's rather daunting to try to work out the ensuing complications over the board; 13. ... Bxe4 also runs into 14. Nxe6 fxe6 15. Bxe6+ Kh8 (15. ... Rf7 16. Rxd7 Nxd7 17. Qxe4) 16. Bxd7 and White is much better.

Now White hurries to strengthen his center. White's pawn formation looks very effective against the ... Bb7 and the ... Nf6; the drawback in his position is the weak ness of the c3 pawn.

14 Ne5

Black immediately attacks the Bc4; however, it's probably more accurate to begin with 14. ... Rfc8, keeping the threat of ... Ne5 for the next move. That way White won't be able to move away to b3 without offering the c3 pawn. 14. ... Rfc8

15. a4 Ne5 16. Ba3 Qc7 17. Bb3 Nc4?? Black falls for a deadly trap: 18. Nb5 Qc6 19. Bxc4 Qxc4 20. Rd8+! Rxd8 21. Qxc4 Rac8 22. Qe2 GM Sergey Ivanov GM Zahar Efimenko, 1 0, 2004.

15. Bb3

This much was obvious; White has to conserve the bishop pair.

Now I was out of preparation as well as obvious, rote moves (i.e., Bb3) so it was time to think about a) what to do about the c3 pawn and b) how to deploy the Bc1. After a 40 minute think, I played a move that failed on both counts.

I really like Pascal's postgame sugges tion of 16. a4!? the main idea of which is to prepare Ba3, but which also supports the knight's arrival on b5. Meanwhile the c3 pawn is immune: 16. ... Rxc3 (16. ... Nfd7 looks natural, intending to meet Ba3 with ... Nc5) 17. Bb2 Rcc8 18. Nxe6 Nxf3+ 19. Qxf3 fxe6 20. Bxf6 gxf6 21. Qg4+ Kh8 22. Bxe6 with initiative against Black's open king; 16. Nb5, which I con sidered during the game, would also have been preferable: 16. ... Ba6 17. c4 I thought that this move wasn't possible due to 17. ... Nxc4 but overlooked a typ ical tactical idea for this position (which Pascal had pointed out in the pregame prep!): 18. Bxc4 Qc5+ 19. Be3 Qxc4 20. Rd8+! and White wins the queen, as in the Ivanov Efimenko game above; 16. Bf4!? was suggested by Kaidanov to push the knight out of the center. 16. ... Ng6 17. Bd2; Even the meek looking 16. Bd2 would have accomplished the task of developing a piece and not losing a pawn.

16 Rxc3

There goes the pawn.

17. Kh1

Tucking the king away; now f4 is a threat but it's Black to move. The intended f4 and e4 e5 idea is met with 17. ... Nc6!

18. e5? Qc5 and White is lost due to the collapsing g1 a7 diagonal.

I didn't find this move so convincing, but I guess it's not clear what is truly "convincing" for Black here. For sure, Black is doing well, but White does have some compensation for the pawn in the form of the bishop pair. Something like

18. ... Rac8 looked natural to me, and then I was planning to harrass the rook with 19. Be1 R3c7 20. Nb5 Ba6 21. a4.

19. Bf2

Targeting the rook.

Getting the knight to d6 is White's main source of counterplay.

21. Nd6 Bd5

Another blunder by me I completely missed this interception. At first sight, it looks devastating (particularly in the lines where I take the bishop) but then I real ized I had two decent ways of dealing with it, and the question was, which one to choose.

22. Nc4

Left to right: GM Yury Shulman, GM Gata Kamsky, GM Varuzhan Akobian, GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Alexander Onischuk, GM Gregory Kaidanov

22. Bg3, simply defending the Nd6, was my first instinct, as it forces Black to trade on b3 and in consequence opens up the a file for my rook. Any move that lets a new piece into the game seemingly cost free is a strong contender for best move in the position, but after 22. ... Bxb3 23. axb3 Rg5 with ideas of... Nh5 f4, I still felt like White had no clear path to equality, and meanwhile the position had simpli fied. So I chose the more complicated 22. Nc4. Clearly awful is 22. exd5 Qxd6 (threatening mate on h2) 23. g3 exd5.

22 Qc7

Now White faces an important choice between how to defend h2, 23. Bg1 or 23. g3. Both moves have their pluses and minuses. Moving the g pawn weakens the h1 a8 diagonal and forces White to reckon with sacrifices on e4 for the rest of the game. Retreating the bishop to g1 seems rather passive, and does nothing to take control of the f4 square. It's the sort of decision where calculation adds almost nothing, so in the end you just go with your feel. My instinct was to limit the g6 knight, so I played 23. g3. 22. ... Nf4 was an alternative, after which White has several queen retreats, though the solid 23. Qf1 was probably the one I'd go for.

23. g3 Bc6

23. ... Bxc4 was worth considering, though making that trade is psychologi cally difficult for Black; now White's weakening of the h1 a8 diagonal will go unpunished and Black's kingside gather ing will have led nowhere. And it will finally be clear that White has full com pensation for the pawn after 24. Bxc4.

24. Rac1

Bringing the remaining piece into the game.

24 Nd7

Directing the knight to c5, where it will block the c file very effectively. When I saw the ... Nd7 c5 maneuver, I was very con cerned it looks like that one knight can completely stifle White's play. But then I noticed a surprising possibility for White

25. Nd6

Funny how the knight comes back to that square! Now White is already threat ening things like Nxf7 followed by Qc4.

After 26. f4

And this is the paradoxical move I had prepared after 24. ... Nd7. It opens a dis covered attack on the ... Rh5, which suddenly finds itself out of squares and out of defenders. It is just kind of surpris ing that a move which weakens such a critical diagonal against my king can be good.

26 Nxf4

Black embarks on a tactical solution. I hadn't calculated this move in this par ticular position, but it didn't come out of the blue, either, as I had been watching for these possibilities ever since I played 23. g3. Black could have opted for 26. ... Rd8 27. Qxh5 Rxd6 28. Bxc5 Bxe4+ (28.

... Rxd1+ 29. Bxdl!) 29. Kg1 bxc5 30. Qxc5 Rc6 31. Qe3, however White is clearly winning; at first 26. ... Nxb3 27. axb3 Ra5 seemed like a defense, but then I saw that 28. b4! Ra3 29. b5 wins for White.

27. gxf4 Nxe4 28. Nxe4

28. Kg1! is much, much stronger than what I played. The king calmly leaves the perils of the hi a8 diagonal, while the ... Rh5 and ... Ne4 remain en prise. In terms of material balance, 28. ... Nxf2 29. Qxf2 Black is doing fine (three pawns for the piece) but in terms of position not so well. White's pieces are extremely well coordinated, and the pin on the c file is a heavy burden on Black. If Black tries to dislodge the Nd6 with 29. ... Rd8 then White has the nice tactic 30. Nxf7! Rxdi + (Black is also lost after 30. ... Kxf7 31. Rxd8 Qxd8 32. Rxc6 ) 31. Bxdi! attack ing the ... Rh5.

The only move; now Black has a choice between taking on e4 with the queen and playing the endgame, or taking with the bishop, with a much sharper game. Black chose to keep queens on the board, which is what I also thought was best during the game. To me, it seemed that without queens, White's king suddenly and thank fully stops being a liability, and while the endgame would still be far from winning, it would be much easier for White to play.

30. Kg1 Qf5

Alexandra used up much of her remain ing time here; during the game I wasn't sure what she was thinking about as 30. ... Qf5 seemed like the obvious move. But now I can see that she was probably deciding between 30. ... Qf5 and 30. ... Rg5.

31. Rd7

I had to be careful about which rook to bring to the seventh, as 31. Rc7 runs into 31. ... Bf3.

31 Qg6

It was at this point that I finally realized that my evaluation of the position that arose on the 29th move was too opti mistic. Basically, I thought that White had a significantly superior position with the piece against the four pawns (that's probably what kept me from finding 28. Kg1! I was already very satisfied with the bishop versus four pawns outcome), but now I saw that Black had real counterplay with ideas like ... Rg5 and ... h5 h4!

32. Rcc7 Rf8

After 32. ... Rf8

I had spent quite a while on the 'obvi ous' Rcc7, because I was having a hard time dealing with Black's best move, 32. ... Rf5 33. Bxe6! Gregory pointed out that this idea still works here, which I didn't see during the game. I was going to make a reasonable, but hardly killer move like Rd4, attacking the bishop and controlling the fourth rank in anticipation of the ... h5 h4 advance. (The queen sacrifice was tempting, but unfortunately not convinc ing: 33. Qxe4 Rf1+ 34. Kxf1 Qxe4 35. Rxf7 and there are various moves for Black here, such as ... Rf8 or ... Qd3+.) 33. ... Qxe6 34. Re7! the point 34. ... Qf6 35. Rxe4 White retains a significant advan tage.

I had noticed this refutation of ... Rf8

International Youth Camp

During the Olympiad, the German Chess Youth sponsored a multicultural chess jamboree they dubbed the "Inter national Youth Camp." National federations from eleven countries Ger many, Austria, Sweden, France, Russia, Croatia, Hungary, Greece, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States sent a total of forty two young men and women to the event, which was held from November 16 22. Repre senting the United States were Courtney Jamison of Texas, Tyler Hughes of Col orado, and Jonathan Hilton of Ohio.

The International Youth Camp, which was modeled after the youth camps that are traditionally held during the Olympic Games, was intended to bring the youth of the chess world together. Although many of the participants were strong players, the focus of the camp was not chess instruction. According to the vice president of the German Chess Feder ation, Hans Jürgen Gieseke, the goal of the camp was to "cultivate contacts and friendships across national borders and to increase ... the [cultural] understand ing of the participants." Throughout the week, workshops on topics such as eth nic cooking, Cold War history, and national sports were offered. Cultural expeditions included a boat trip down the Elbe River, sightseeing in Dresden in Berlin, a tour of a German high school, church and museum visits, and a chance to watch a live performance of Schach, the German language version of the musical "Chess." All campers received a pass to watch the Olympiad and free access to Dresden's thorough tram system, giving participants the opportunity to tour both the Olympiad and the city in their free time. At Olympiad events such as the "Bermuda Party," many participants had the chance to meet grandmasters such as Loek van Wely, Magnus Carlsen, and Veselin Topalov.

Measured by the sheer strength of the bonds formed between participants, it is fair to say that this first ever Inter national Youth Camp proved successful in its lofty ambitions. The students smashed through cultural, religious, political, and language barriers to form deep connections with one another.

Although there was no shortage of frank discussion about the global economy, military conflicts, the environment, and the recent U.S. election, the most mean ingful interactions were acts as simple as smiling. For a talent show on Friday, the final night of the camp, the stu dents found ways of combining their different talents to sing, dance, and perform incredible feats of skill together, such as catching marshmallows hurtling through the air at high speeds in their mouths. Emotions ran high as the camp came to a close. "Having to say goodbye to all the kids that I had known for only a week, but felt so close to, was incredibly tough!" remarked Court ney Jamison.

It is the hope of the German Chess Youth, which generously covered all the participants' expenses once they arrived in Dresden, that future hosts of the Olympiad will also sponsor such a camp. "We're hoping this could bring about world peace and all that kind of stuff," said Eike Schwede, one of the camp's organizers. Perhaps it will.

~Jonathan Hilton a while back.

33 Qxe6

White nets a queen for a rook after 33. ... fxe6 34. Rxg7+ Qxg7 35. Rxg7+ Kxg7 36. Qxh5.

34. Qxh5 Qxa2

Here there were two possibilities to defend against the mate threat; Bf2 and Qh3. At first I had planned Bf2, but when I saw Qh3, it looked more natural to me.

After 36. ... Qd2

I was really pleased to have found this move with around a minute on the clock. It gives some much needed air to the white king.

37 Re8

The final mistake. Something like 37. ... a5 needed to be played. White's up a rook, but Black still has a bunch of pawns ... White should be able to make his mate rial advantage tell eventually, though.

I made this move with three seconds left! That was pretty dramatic, but I had seen 38. Rxf7 right away and was just making sure I wasn't missing anything.

39. Bf2 was even stronger.

And with two of Black's pawns gone, White is essentially up a rook for free and wrapped up the game with a few more careful moves.

41 Qg4 42. Ra1 Bc4 43. Qd1 Qe4 44. Qf3 Qe6 45. Ra8, Black resigned.

I was happy with my individual result, but I was even more happy that the team won. We've pulled off a number of upsets in years past, but this one really stands out to me in the convincing way [two wins, two draws] we beat such a formida ble adversary as the Russian team. I'd like to thank our team captain, FST Michael Khodarkovsky, and our coach, GM Gre gory Kaidanov, for both their hard work and great attitude during the event. And last but not least, I'd like to thank my teammates, each of whom came up with big wins at critical moments to make our bronze medal possible.

The women's team bought into the con cept of unity, continuing to gel as the tournament progressed, including a truce between the top two players. Krush and Zatonskih, still at odds over the contro versial time scramble finish at the 2008 U.S. Women's Championship, had not spoken in six months. They played beside each other round after round, silently rooting for the result, if not the person. After a loss to Poland, the team entered a must win round 10. Krush had sat down for lunch prior to the round. Zaton skih came to eat beside her.

"I remember thinking how incredible and ironic it was that we were having this lunch together, and how it was a great sign for the team," Krush recalled. "If Anna and I could sit down for lunch, surely our team was a winning combina tion." She insisted they did not make peace, but rather "put aside personal grievances." Zatonskih agreed, but said that after the lunch they "became closer."

"I think we were both just influenced by the team's interest," Krush said. "And for that end, we just pulled together as a team. It was kind of extraordinary, actu ally, with our acrimonious past and all."

"I think team chemistry is huge if you want to medal," Goletiani said after the tournament ended. "Little things make a big difference. For example I met Katerina for the first time and we became friendly right away. Before each game we would secretly pump our fists under the table for good luck. It was like a secret handshake. It's silly but it helped.

"I liked competing as a team a lot. When you are having a good tournament you begin to understand how important your result is for the team. Winning feels good twice."

The men's team also clicked. Donald son called the team "cohesive" and mentioned that they ate and went to the sauna and gym together. Both teams arrived at the playing hall in unison before each round.

Zatonskih said that playing as a team makes her play better. Her performance rating was the highest of any women on second board, earning her an individual gold medal. Goletiani called the Olympiad "one of the best tournaments of my life." She captured an individual silver.

Goletiani and Zatonskih, both recent mothers, also had the shared experience of missing their children. "I feel tired," Zatonskih said after the closing cere mony. "I want to go home. I miss my daughter."

Goletiani, who was in touch with her 16 month old daughter Sophie three times per day, was worried what gift she could get from Dresden. "Everyone jokes that you have to have something to bring her. Now I have two." After returning home to New York, she said that her indi vidual and team medal are actually both on display at the Westchester Chess Acad emy, where she works as a chess teacher. Her students followed her play and e mailed her throughout the event.

Here she annotates her favorite game from the event:

Reti Opening (A04)

WMLjilja Drljevic (FIDE 2259) WGM Rusudan Goletiani (FIDE 2359) 38th Olympiad, Dresden,, GER (1), 11.13.2008 Notes by Goletiani

This is the first round of the Olympiad and it turns out to be a wild one. So much for a nice quiet game and easing myself back into competitive chess.

I. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 d6 4. g3 Nc6 5. Bg2 g6 6. 0-0 Bg7 7. c3 e5

More common is 7. ... Nge7 but this is a solid line with ... Nge7 and ... f7 f5 coming in the future.

Black has the option of taking on c5 or b2. It turns out that the c5 pawn is the safer choice.

II Bxb2 12. Nbd2 dxc5 13. Bxc5

After 13. Bxc5

I used a lot of time calculating her Exchange "sac." Black can grab the rook and keep the material but is left with weak dark squares and very little piece play.

13. ... Bxal 14. Qxal 0 0 15. Nc4 This was the kind of position I felt was difficult to go for a win with so I turned down the Exchange and brought the bishop back home. (15. Qf6 This seems more logical but Black can follow up with ... Qd7 Qe6).

13 Bg7 14. h3 Be6 15. Ng5 Qd7 16. Nxe6 Qxe6 17. Rb1 Qxa2 18. e5

18. Rxb7 Rd8 (18. ... 0 0 0? Long castling wins the Exchange again ... ahhhh no thanks! 19. Rxe7 Nxe7 20. Bxe7 Rxd2 21. Qg4+ when my poor king has no pawn cover) 19. Be3 0 0 (Not 19. ... Bc3, when 20. Qb3 escapes the pin by force) and White would have the advan tage in that position.

18 Rd8 19. Rxb7 Rxd2

Castling is safer but having already turned down two Exchanges I couldnt resist the knight on d2 and now things get out of hand.

20. Bxe7

Probably better than the game is 20. Bxc6+ Nxc6 21. Qg4 Qe6 22. Qxe6+ fxe6 23. Rxg7 Rd7 24. Rxd7 Kxd7.

White breaks through on the queenside after 22. ... Qe6 23. Qa4+.

(see diagram top of next column)

24. Qb4

24. Be4 is necessary to maintain the

After 23. ... Ke6

pressure. After 24. Qb4, the game move, I have time to eliminate the e5 pawn and relocate the king. 24. ... Bxe5 25. Qg5 Re8 (25. ... Bf6? 26. Bxf5+ gxf5 27. Qh5!; 25. ... f6? 26. Bxf5+ gxf5 27. Qg7) 26. Bxf5+ gxf5 27. Qh6+ f6 28. Qxh7 when Black has an extra piece and a shaky king.

24 Bxe5 25. Qb5 Kf6

Taking on g3 is also good but time pressure was creeping in so hiding the king was my first reaction.

26. g4 Nd6 27. g5+ Kf5 28. Qd7+ Kxg5 29. Qe7+ f6 30. h4+ Kxh4 31. Qg7 h5

I can save the rook but would lose the king! White is threatening 32. Qh6+ Kg4 33. Bh3+ Kf3 34. Qe3 mate.

I was happy to find this in time pres sure. The idea is to deflect the rook so I

can swing the queen to the kingside.

34. Rbb1 Qc4

White has to play Re1xe5 to stop the mate.

35 Qf4, White resigned.

This game set the tone for the rest of my Olympiad. I remained undefeated throughout all 11 rounds making it one of the most memorable tournaments in my career. Anna Zatonskih said it was a pleasure playing next to me because all the games were sharp and exciting.

The only blunder for the American teams came at the awards ceremony. Armenia repeated as men's champion and took the stage adorned in its red, blue and orange flag. Israel's iconic Star of David banner flew as they received the sil ver. On the women's podium, Georgia dusted off its cross laden ensign while the Ukrainian delegation flew its gleaming blue and yellow flag. The two American squads, however, had forgotten to bring the Stars and Stripes. In Khanty Man siysk, 2010, they left room for improvement.

Many more games and photos can be found on Chess Life Online at uschess.org, November archives, including reports by GM Ian Rogers and FM Mike Klein.

KCF Sponsors U.S. Teams to the tune of $40K

There are many KFCs in Dresden, but the U.S. team dined thanks to the KCF Kasparov Chess Foundation. The non profit is the chief charitable arm of former World Champion Garry Kas parov and provided the lion's share of financial support to both the men's and women's teams.

The KCF began funding American Olympiad teams in 2004, when the women's team received training and had all of their expenses paid (they went on to win the silver, their first team medal in history). Beginning in 2006, both the men's and women's teams were sponsored. According to FIDE Senior Trainer Michael Khodarkovsky, who is president of KCF in addition to being the women's team captain, KCF contributed $30,000 plus $10,000 in bonuses for this event. The U.S. Chess Trust also contributed additional funds. The KCF is not involved with the selection of players, and Khodarkovsky's nomina tion as captain was independent of his position within KCF. The players chose him after their selections.

The funding helps ensure that play ers are adequately compensated during their fortnight of chess. Many are chess teachers, or have other sources of income, that are necessarily suspended during the Olympiad. Some teams, even from medium sized federations like Aus tralia, had to pay their own way to compete in Dresden.

"All players were very appreciative of KCF's sponsorship, as well as USCF, so we believe it does make a difference," Khodarkovsky said. "We are willing to continue our support for 2010 Olympiad teams as well."

The funding provided a competitive advantage according to men's team cap tain IM John Donaldson. With the advent of the "be on time" rule and with players' hotels splayed all over the city, including some several tram connec tions away on the other side of the Elbe River, teams had to curtail preparation in favor of a prudent departure.

"(FIDE Vice President George) Markopoulos called [the rule] a 'per fectly reasonable request' but it is not a good condition with unequal condi tions," Donaldson said. "If you have to leave your hotel at one o'clock to be confident to make it at three, that is not an equal playing field." A noticeable upgrade from more budget choices, the U.S. teams stayed at the closest possi ble accommodation, only about a 30 second walk away. "I am extremely grateful the USCF put us in the Maritim Hotel."

The KCF no longer provides training sessions for the players, but it does conduct invitation only sessions for U.S. youth taught by Kasparov himself. The most recent class took place in Decem ber in New York. Additionally, the KCF developed a curriculum in use in schools around the country, founded and organizes the All Girls National Championships (the next is April 24 26 in Dallas, Texas), and sponsors the Greater New York Scholastic Champi onships. ~M.K.

See kasparovchessfoundation.org for more information.

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