Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Turin 06 Irish Eyes

| Permalink | 5 comments

Some of the latest tidbits and links from the Olympiad. It's been confirmed by several correspondents in Turin that yes, Aleksandrov really does need his brain dry-cleaned. He mixed up his mental move order and played 18..Bc8 instead of playing ..Kf7 first and resigned immediately. You are excused if you believe this is all part of a Bulgarian conspiracy to push the betting odds on Topalov-Kramnik down so the Topalov supporters can make some money.

Round 9 team pairings are here. It's mostly medal contenders doing battle at this point, with Armenia-Ukraine the headline match-up. That's the 2004 bronze winner against the gold medal winners Ukraine, but this time Armenia is leading by two points. Because it's all about board points, that's hardly an insurmountable lead with five rounds still to play. After the top teams have faced each other they are inevitably paired with weaker squads and big scores can happen. (Russia snatching the gold from the USA with a 4-0 whitewash of Netherlands in the final round in 1998 comes to mind. See below.)

Mark Orr is keeping a fine Olympiad blog page. He's the captain of the Irish team. Are there other pages like this one? Scotland has some daily info here. The USCF site was supposed to have a blog by arbiter Carol Jarecki but if it's up I can't find it. Rob Huntington continues to liveblog from Turin. Daaim Shabazz is back from Turin and has quite a few audio interviews up at The Chess Drum here.

From Orr's Irish team page:

A curious piece in today's bulletin referred to a "serious" incident during yesterday's Ireland-Brazil match. What had actually happened was that the Brazil board 3 decided, half way through the match, that Suzanne was an imposter and complained to the arbiter. The arbiter took a good look at Suzanne's security badge and eventually found another arbiter who knew Suzanne from previous Olympiads and could vouch for her. The whole thing was over in about 5 minutes. Why the Brazilian took that notion, we'll never know.

Who can forget the famous Saleem-Timman imposter scandal at the Olympiad in 1998? See after the jump for that saga if you have. Replay the relevant games.

Mig on Chess #71, 13.10.98

So how did Russia A take the gold by a full point over the US despite entering the last round a half-point back? In what will certainly be remembered as one of the most sensational scandals in Olympiad history, GM Jan Timman, first board of the Russian�s opponent, the Netherlands, SWITCHED PLACES WITH A PLAYER FROM THE US VIRGIN ISLANDS TEAM IN THE FINAL ROUND!! The amount of money involved is as of yet undisclosed, but we can assume that with the considerable tourist resources possessed by the US Virgin Islands it was a considerable sum. Terrified of going through 52 Olympiad games without a single win, the Virgin Islanders bribed the Dutchman to take the place of fourth board Abdullah Saleem against Jersey while Saleem played against Svidler of the Russian A team! Their plan worked from one perspective as "Saleem" (Timman in a Hawaiian shirt and white Panama hat pulled low) won with black against Hill of Jersey. In a masterful ruse so as not to raise suspicion he pretended to hang a full rook before embarking upon a ruthless two-knight assault on Hill�s king. In true Grandmaster fashion he took Hill�s hanging queen right off the board! Thus "Saleem" (previous score: 0/12) notched up the US Virgin Island�s first and only win during the event. Unfortunately things didn�t go so well for the real Saleem playing for Timman against super-GM Peter Svidler on board 1. He lost the Exchange, but then began to put up heroic resistance, particularly for an unrated player! And just when through divine providence he reached a completely drawn position against the number nine ranked player in the world and only needing to move his bishop back and forth to guarantee the draw, HE PLACED HIS BISHOP RIGHT IN THE PATH OF SVIDLER�S ROOK. I guess the pressure was just to much for "Timman" (Saleem in a baggy, ill-fitting suit) and reports have the poor chap desperately trying to take the move back, much as he might have done playing against his friends in a Saint Thomas caf�.

A few weeks and hundreds of emails later...

Mig on Chess #72, 28.10.98

IT WAS A JOKE!!!!!!!! A JOKE! A JOKE! A JOKE! AAAAUUUUUUGGGGHHHHHHHH!!! If you hadn�t guessed, this is a note to all those who wrote me in astonishment regarding the "Timman-Saleem affair" in Mig on Chess #71. I simply had a little jest to highlight two of the most amazing games of the last round: Jan "Santa" Timman leaving a bishop en prise against Peter "Swede" Svidler in a drawn ending and Abdullah "0/12" Saleem scoring the only win for the US Virgin Islands during the entire Olympiad. This was not intended as a hoax, it never occurred to me that some idi^X^X^X, um, people would believe that this could or would actually happen! However, in order to profit from this situation I am currently offering for sale the e-mail addresses of the dozen or so readers who wrote me saying things like, and I quote, "I can't believe they got away with that! Isn't Mr. Timman a well known grandmaster? Are they going to take the point away from Russia?" and "I can't believe [This is a popular refrain, and yet they DO believe it...] this could happen because someone would tell i think. didn't the holland team want to win a medal?" and "Waht a funny story about the players who changed teams! Has that ever happened before...?" and "My question is: How could they get away with it at all? Or for some reason is the switch allowed, but merely frowned upon. Why haven't I seen mention of this occurance anywhere else?" For a reasonable price you can have all their e-mail addresses so you can sell them swampland or bridges.

To be kind, several, but not all, of the above messages included disclaimers like, "Are you kidding?" and "Are you pulling our legs?" Memo to Brian and Terence: YES I AM. But these folks pale in comparison to one fellow whom I sincerely hope is reading this. I received an e-mail from Sr. Pablo Ba�ados of Chile a few days after my article appeared at TWIC and he had some surprising news. It appears that the largest circulation newspaper in Chile, El Mercurio, ran my little joke about Timman and Saleem switching places as being true in their chess section!! Their regular chess columnist (who will remain nameless, if only because I don�t know his name), apparently a TWIC aficionado, wrote on Oct. 20:

"...Rusia1 gan� la olimp�ada por un punto de diferencia sobre EEUU, que lleg� a la �ltima ronda aventaj�ndola por 0,5. En esta crucial ronda, seg�n se denunci�, se produjo uno de los esc�ndalos m�s incre�bles de la historia ol�mpica: el GM holand�s Jan Timman, quien deb�a enfrentar al primer tablero de Rusia1, Peter Svidler, intercambi� (l�ase, vendi�) su lugar con el cuarto tablero de Islas V�rgenes, d�bil equipo que hasta Chile derrot� por 4-0. Su reemplazante, por supuesto, perdi� contra el noveno jugador del mundo, regalando el valioso punto que necesitaban los rusos"

For the Spanish challenged, that is:

"Russia A won the Olympiad by a point over the USA, which had been leading by a half point giong into the final round. In this crucial round, according to reports [That would be me, I imagine. � Mig], there occurred on of the most incredible scandals in Olympic history: The Dutch GM Jan Timman, facing Russia A first board Peter Svidler, exchanged (read: sold) his place to the fourth board player from the Virgin Islands, a weak team that even Chile defeated 4-0. His replacement, of course, lost to the world's ninth ranked player, gifting the Russians the valuable point they needed."

I feel terrible about the whole thing, of course. (SARCASM: PROBABLY NOT) So from now on I will clearly label all traces of humor or irony that might be misconstrued by those among us who possess the decency and childlike innocence the rest of us cynics have lost. (SARCASM) This may make things a little more boring for us jaded souls, but if it helps prevent horrible accidents like the one above, it�s well worth it. Worse were the several people who wrote to warn me that I had been taken in by a prankster myself! They earnestly admonish me for being so credulous as to believe such a wild story and report it as true. Thanks guys, I�ll be more careful from now on. (SARCASM: PROBABLY NOT)

The moral: no matter how absurd a story, someone will believe it.


Thanks a lot, Mig, for reminding me of that. I laughed myself silly at the time.

"The moral: no matter how absurd a story, someone will believe it."

Ah - so this must mean that ..Bc8 was NOT played. Thanks for clarifying. ;-)

There's not much of a blog, but there's usually a brief comment on the results of the Latin American teams at:


Hmmm.... There is a "Saleem, Zayd" 0 ISV

who is playing for the US Virgin Islands in this Olympiad. He is playing 1st Reserve board, and has lost all 6 of the games that he has played thus far. However, as early as the 2nd Round match vs. the Palestinian Federation team, one of the US Virgin Islanders managed to earn a win. Anthony Mongiello , playing 4th Board, managed to defeat his Palestinian opponent, Ludovic Cocogne (1965) [Do the Palestinians have TWO European expatriots playing for their team?]. Mongiello managed to score a 2nd win in the 5th round. Also, Francis Jackson won his game in the 8th round, which proved to be a vital contribution to the Islanders' feat of drawing the match with a 2:2 split of the game. Rwanda was the team that earned the dubious distinction of being the only squad, so far, to not defeat the US Virgin Island in the team match. In Rwanda's defense, it was the lower seeded team.

The round 9 match between Fiji and the US Virgin Islands will probably determine which team finishes dead last. On paper, the teams will be closely matched.

That time I didn't belive to Mig story, but now I really think it was not a joke it was all true.

Let's see what happened in Turin round 7
We can even accept the explaination about Alexandrov's blunder but how do you explain the Russia-Slovakia's affaire in the same round, women event ?

"Abdullah "0/12" Saleem" is in Turin and played on first board for Slovakia with the name of the IM Eva Repkova (h was in a woman dress I suppose)...

He played a nearly perfect defense against young star Kostenjuk and at move 51 he (she) was a full rook up plus the initiative...

Kostenjuk did not resign, surely knowing the 1998 affaire.
She was right, at move 57 Eva-Saleem gave her back the rook without any reason...the position looked as a draw but she(he) threw another knight away and lost.

See that game and tell me if I am right or wrong

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 29, 2006 3:27 PM.

    Turin Olympiad 2006 r8 was the previous entry in this blog.

    Turin 06 r8 Games & Notes is the next entry in this blog.

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