The Ghanaian national chess team, the Golden Knights, have have picked up their first points at the ongoing Chess Olympiad. The team started the competition poorly failing to pick up any points in the first 2 rounds of the competition but earlier today claimed 3 points against Papau New Guinea and Ivory Coast in both the open and women’s divisions respectively.
The men’s team which includes International Master (IM) Francis Anquandah (1992) and National Champion John Kojo Hasford (2042) got off to a poor start losing to the higher rated Paraguay team which includes Grand Masters (GMs) Neuris Ramirez Delgado (2619) and Zenon Ocampos Franco (2486).
The second round gave some hope to the Ghanaian team as debutant and rising star Anthony Ajavon (1902) showed some promise against his Japanese opponent Kohei Yamada (2128) holding the Japanese FIDE Master (FM) for most of the game before losing it in the end game.
Ajavon opened with d4 which transposed into a Gruenfeld Defence on move 6.
Ajavon then held Yamada till he blundered on move 30 (Nc6) allowing his opponent to strike a decisive blow against him.
The open team however picked up their first points today against Papua New Guinea as FM Hasford and Candidate Master (CM) Joseph Jamena Mensah (1999) picked up the country’s first wins with Ajavon and CM Lionel Adu Junior (1896) tying with their respective opponents.
The women’s division saw the team succumbed to a first-round defeat to Mexico which saw debutant and National Women’s Champion Tobi Felix (1468) give her all against Mexican Woman International Master (WIM) Diana Real Pereyra (2110).
The team then faced Monaco in the second round and where again dispatched losing on every board, Ms. Felix this time facing Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Svetlana Berezovska (1812).
Tobi opened with her preferred Caro-Kann as black, a solid opening which produces good endgames for black.
The classical variation, which resembles a Scandi to me so I can say this position is about equal, though white does gain the bishop pair it isn’t really that easy to take advantage of the imbalance.
Quite slow, the d-pawn weakness cannot be taken advantage of at this stage of the game a more active move like h6 would be better.
This is when it begun to go bad for black.
Round 3 was a different story however as the ladies defeated the unrated Ivory Coast team as Woman FIDE Master (WFM) Angela Naa Amerley Ayiku (1439), Dorcas Allotey (1241) and Ms Felix all picked up wins against Josiane Nzi, Marie Emmanuella Cisse Nda Amenan and Marie Prisca Cisse Nda Ahou respectively. The couldn’t pick up a clean sweep as Christiana Naa Merley Ashley was defeated by Marie Yavo Tchetche.