Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Calvia Olympiad

| Permalink | 11 comments

Round one of the Olympiad is today. There is a wealth of information at chess-olympiad.com, which is handling the details for the official portal site 36chessolympiad.com (the English pages don't appear to be up there). The first round is full of slaughters and the favorites won't have tough match-ups until the third or fourth round.

Russia is again a prohibitive rating favorite, with a 42 point advantage over Ukraine. Things tighten up considerably after that with a remarkable 17 teams having average ratings over 2600. Thanks mostly to Anand's return to top board, India is a new presence among the favorites. Nigel Short will miss the first half of the event for England, severely damaging their hopes. I was surprised to see the Netherlands so highly seeded with Timman's long slide, but Sokolov has finally stopped playing for Bosnia. Bacrot isn't playing for France. With his lofty new rating they would have been a contender. Shirov is back for Spain after skipping Bled.

On the ladies' side of the aisle, the usual suspects of China, Russia, and Georgia have been joined by the well-trained and heavily hyped American team. Susan Polgar leads the team and will be playing her first serious chess in seven years. Her old world championship foe Xie Jun is back to lead the top-seeded Chinese team.

Handicapping these events is impossible, but I always like the Armenians. And much as with the club events, it's fun to watch the world's best face lower-rated competition. Kasparov made the point to me that if Russia fails to win gold and if Leko finishes off Kramnik, there won't be a Russian (/Soviet) title holder for the first time probably since before Botvinnik's day. (Junior, women's, men's, national team, club.)


Are the games in the olympiad FIDE rated?

Why didn't Kasparov play for Russia? Is it because of the politics, or is he too busy with other stuff?

Gary has forgotten Fischer already. :-)

But even when Fischer was champion, the USSR won the gold medal at the Olympiads in 72 and 74.

Garry was in talks about playing for Russia, so I assume the reason he's not there is financial. He's not a big fan of team events and can be a bit of a snob about the playing conditions. So unless the money is good I think he'd just rather not.

It's always been hard to get the top guys to play in team and open events, at least since the "commercial era" began in the late 80's. Anand is in Calvia for his first Olympiad in over a decade. The Russian team has been a political football for a while, making it hard to get all their top players on the same team. Most of the top 10 players have acted similarly at times. Certainly it's not a priority for them, which is sad as I consider it the greatest event.


Really, greater than the World Championship? Why?


Umm, have you seen the games from the last few world championships?! Bleh. The Olympiad is non-stop fun and action with new stories appearing every round. With so many games you'll always have a few great ones every day. It's a pity they've accelerated the time controls though.

The old world championship system with interzonals and candidates matches was quite exciting too. Sigh.

Just two comments:
1. I played in the ECC team event in Turkey 2 weeks ago. People thronged around Kasparov's board each time he played. Nobody bothered about any of the other players. So, I can well imagine why he doesn't enjoy these events.
2. These team events are wonderful for the amateur participant. How many times do ordinary players get to play against their heros? And if you're lucky, you may even draw or beat one of these guys. Finally, they allow for great bragging. For instance, I scored 50% in Turkey, the same as Kasparov! (Yes, I know its not comparing like with like, but still :-)

just a question. why is it called chess olypiad? shouldn't it be chess olypics? i thought the olympiad is the time between the olympic games.

Technically, the word Olympiad covers the period of time from one set of games to another, including the games themselves. That is, the games END the current Olympiad. And so technically it is "the games of the 36th Olympiad" not just "the 36th Olympiad" if you mean the games themselves.

But it has become very common to say "the Olympiad" when we mean "the games of the Olympiad."


When you qualify for the 36th Olympiad, for example, you are qualifying in that cycle, and will have the opportunity to play in the games that end that olympiad.

So it's really a very small distinction.

merci duif :)

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 15, 2004 8:58 AM.

    Chess Art was the previous entry in this blog.

    Leko's Big Day is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.