Game Of the Week: Volokitin goes to Baku
The Olympiad ended in an historic gold medal for the United States, and there were a number of spectacular individual performances that deserve mention. This week I want to focus on the unconscious performance by Ukrainian fourth board Alexei Volokitin. Once one of the youngest grandmasters in the world, Volokitin has for the most part not delivered on his promise. I don't think he has performed very well in the Olympiad before, and I was actually a bit surprised to see him still on the squad. But in Baku Volokitin turned in an 8.5-0.5 score for the runner-ups, nearly performing at a 3000 level. To make such a score that Magnus would be hard-pressed to achieve, you probably will need a bit of good fortune. This week I will do something a bit different by examining three games; in all of them Volokitin was able to overcome disadvantages and bring home the full point. Part of it was pure luck - if his opponents made certain moves he could have been toast. But Volokitin's resourcefulness and ability to capitalize on opportunities had a lot to do with his success as well. So let's see how AV left Grischuk, Babula, and Hansen shaking their heads in misery.