DRESDEN, Germany (AP) — Russia’s chess team, hailed as the highest rated ever assembled for a Chess Olympiad, hit a bump Monday as 11th-seed Germany battled all four games against them to a draw in round five of the biennial tournament in open division play.
Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik played the super-solid Petroff Defense against Germany’s No. 1 Arkadij Naiditsch. By move 24, the position was symmetrical with opposite-color bishops. But under the rules, draw offers are not allowed until after move 30. They shook hands on move 31.
On board two, Alexander Grischuk of Russia sacrificed a pawn against Germany’s Igor Khenkin. He had some initiative but after Khenkin gave back the pawn, the position was dead even and they also had nothing to do but play until move 31.
On board four, Daniel Fridman could do nothing with an extra pawn against Russia’s Dmitry Jakovenko. In the last game to finish, German Jan Gustafsson successfully defended a pawn-down endgame against Alexander Morozevich.
In other play, the United States men’s team crushed a much weaker Hong Kong team 4-0, almost without effort. The U.S. open division team’s Gata Kamsky, Hikaru Nakamura, Yuri Shulman and Varuzhan Akobian — all strong grandmasters — had little trouble against Hong Kong’s two promising juniors and two amateurs.
The 38th Chess Olympiad, which started Nov. 13, includes 146 teams in the open division — often referred to as the men’s division although it includes a few women. The separate women’s division includes 111 teams.
On the women’s side, Russia and Georgia’s teams faced one another for the first time since this summer’s conflict between the two countries and played to a 2-2 tie.
Former world women’s champion Maia Chiburdanidze of Georgia crushed the current champion Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia on the top board. With Black, Chiburdanidze quickly obtained a dominating position with a thematic exchange sacrifice on c3 in the Sicilian Defense and never looked back.
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