Armenia had a crucial win against China today (2.5-1.5), Russia beat Egypt as expected (3-1), Hungary crushed Israel (3.5-.5) to continue chasing the lead, and the USA bounced back with a solid win against a strong Indian team (3-1). Armenia currently leads the tournament at the halfway point with Russia, Hungary, and Ukraine trailing closely. Side note – July 22nd is a rest day.
Peter Leko Has Still Got It
Leko set the tone for Hungary today with a devastating victory over Israel’s Michael Roiz with a sharp piece of preparation as white in the Advanced Variation of the Caro-Kann, employing a topical variation involving the off-beat 8. Na3!? In this variation, white aims to rapidly undermine and open black’s center to take advantage of black’s lack of development. Leko declared aggressive intentions with 12. b4! and 13. c5, seizing critical central squares and shutting out black’s dark-squared bishop. Leko followed by winning black’s isolated d-pawn through a series of tactics based on a pin against black’s queen. He emerged from the opening down a pawn, but with excellent compensation in the form of superior development, excellent coordination, and control of the b and d files. Roiz resigned in severe time pressure and down a pawn in a clearly lost position.
Grischuk Wins Quick Vs Egypt
Grischuk played aggressively today and was rewarded accordingly with a quick win over Egypt’s Ahmed Adly. Grischuk played the Modern Benoni with the black pieces, as Adly created complications with a thematic pawn sacrifice – 20. e5!? – opening up the critical e4 square for white’s pieces and creating good chances for an attack against black’s king. Grischuk responded by giving the pawn with 21. …c4! – while Adly’s response 22. Qxc4?! allowed black to build a monster pawn center with 22. gxf5. A better move for white could have been to maintain the tension in the center with the simple 22. Qc2. More complications ensued and Grischuk was able to find a winning tactic starting with 25. …e4! and 26. …f4! – capitalizing on white’s lack of coordination and loose knight on e7, leading to black winning a piece and the game.