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Monday Syndrome for Ukraine!
r6We all feel depressed on Mondays, when we go to work again after the weekend. It must have happened so for the Ukrainian team today too, as they got their first loss against another team on fire, Netherlands. The other surprise of the round came from the Germany-Armenia match. Let's have a look at today's matches one by one.

If a team resembles a marathon runner in this championship, it's Netherlands. Like a greyhound letting the rabbit run first only to catch her again, they have beaten Ukraine 2,5-1,5 today. Anish Giri played a rather uninspired game as white against Ivanchuk like he also confessed on his Twitter account but still all Chucky could achieve was a draw. On the second board Korobov overextended against Loek Van Wely and the Dutch star made efficient use of the bad positions of white pieces so when Korobov's attack on kingside failed Black's win became obvious. The last two boards were drawn and if one side had a chance to win on either one of them, it was the Dutch side since Sokolov played a pawn up rook endgame against Kryvoruchko but didn't manage to win in the end. If it was drawn all the way until the end or not, one should better ask Mr. Dvoretsky!

IMG 0002
 John Donaldson - Hikaru Nakamura
IMG 0006
 Loek Van Wely
IMG 0032
 Russian Team
IMG 0144
 Yuriy Kryvoruchko

The second surprise was Germany's convincing win against Armenia. To score 3-1 against the strong Armenian team is a huge success for any team in the world, especially for the German team who hadn't really gotten into the championship before this round. Even Meier was winning against Levon Aronian on board one so the score could be even worse. Finding himself in a lost position against an opponent in zeitnot, Aronian took the best practical decision: to complicate the matters even if it's objectively worse to play in that fashion. Meier couldn't cope with the complications with little time and allowed Aronian to slip from his hands with a perpetual. Movsesian is not in a good shape in this tournament and his game against Fridman was kind of a nightmare for the Armenian who lost second time in a row. On the third board Naiditsch played 5.Qe2 against Berlin Defense and then kept the queens on the board. When all the light pieces got exchanged, it was Akopian who had structural weaknesses and more importantly his king was not in safety so only white who could play for a win. So did Naiditsch and with success, forcing the black king to go on a long journey to the end of the night. On the fourth board Baramidze drew with black against Sargissian easily and did what he should do for his team. Armenia has been for the past few years the best performing national team, that's beyond any dispute, but this championship didn't turn out to be well for them. How they'll play in the coming rounds against Ukraine and Netherlands will be very crucial for the race at the top, if nothing but to decide the winner themselves they would not let anyone go easily with a win, that's for sure.

IMG 0042
IMG 0062
 Wang Yue
IMG 0090
 Netherlands - Ukraine
IMG 0142
 Alexander Areshchenko
IMG 0149
 Ipatov - Kramnik

In the Azerbaijan-USA the decider was the game Robson-Guseinov on fourth board. Probably Guseinov missed 21.Nxc4 by Robson in his calculations and later he sacrificed many pawns for a mate attack but Robson parried it with threats against the naked black king and won the game. Kamsky-Safarli and Nidjat Mamedov-Onischuk games were very adventurous and a win could be achieved in either one of them but both games ended in a draw. The longest struggle of the match and the day was the game Rauf Mamedov-Aronian. Other players would have probably drawn the game on move 31 or so but not Nakamura. He kept on trying to win the fully equal endgame for 80 moves more, finding interesting tricks even at the very end. However the position was not too complex for the Azeri grandmaster and he saved the endgame like he should. After six hours of play the score was decided: 2,5-1,5.

IMG 0101
 Van Wely - Korobov
IMG 0119
 Daniel Fridman
IMG 0129
 Ezat - Li
IMG 0132
 Mamedov - Nakamura

Russia won against Turkey with a clear score: 3-1. The forceful play of Kramnik against Ipatov is worth to have a look at. On board three Yilmaz played a terrible game against Nepomniachtchi and lost in just 20 moves. This is surely not his tournament as he has lost all the four games he played. In Karjakin-Solak on board two, Dragan came out of the opening with a better position and obtained good winning chances against world number 10. Unfortunately for him, a few inaccuracies was enough for Sergey Karjakin to save the draw. Baris Esen also played a good game against his strong opponent Vitiugov and he was the side playing for a win although in zeitnot he didn't risk anything and repeated the moves.

China-Egypt was a bloodbath as all the four games proved to be decisive. In the only win of Egypt, the African champion Bassem Amin won against Yue Wang in fine positional style. On the other boards the Chinese players just rolled over their opponents to bring a convincing win to their country. With this fine match win, China continues to be a contender for the title and in the last three rounds they will try to get their place at the top with their talented young stars such as Ding Liren or Yu Yangyi

Tomorrow there are many interesting matches. Especially Russia-Netherlands, USA-Germany and China-Azerbaijan will be exciting, so don't miss those fights! See you tomorrow!
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