Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Turin Olympiad 2006 r1

| Permalink | 12 comments

The Olympiad begins today! The greatest event in chess, this bi-annual celebration is in the Olympic city in Italy. Rounds begin at 1500 local time, that's 1300 GMT, 9am EDT. Rest days are May 26 and June 1. The official site is here. The Weiner Zeitung site has all the team listings and standings and other handy charts. Daily reports at ChessBase and all the other usual suspects, I'm sure. (Preview articles with schedules and more here and here.) Live games at the official site if we're lucky and broadcasts at Playchess with fantastic commentary from GM Yasser Seirawan on Playchess.com. I hope to get occasional reports from a few players and visitors. If that means you, send us some dirt! Feel free to post news links and local team coverage.

There are too many stories to keep track of apart from the team medal hunt. (The individual medals are too often delivered to weak players on very weak teams. What is this, the Chess Special Olympiad?) Kramnik being in action for the first time since his rehab is a big one. His last game was December 30, 2005. Tradition says he'll be playing on board one despite being rated lower than Svidler and Morozevich, although he might not play that many games if he shows any strain. The Russian team is strong enough to not need him to excel to win the gold. It would be great to see him even show flashes of his old form. We remind that his first big international success was his amazing debut at the 1992 Manila Olympiad as a teen. 8.5/9 as a reserve!

Russia is the massive rating favorite. Harikrishna has come up enough to make India a surprising second seed. This is because Ukraine is playing without Ponomariov, which will seriously hamper their chances of duplicating their 2004 gold. Armenia is the third seed and the new-and-improved Aronian now on board one makes them a serious contender for any color medal. Azerbaijan's team, led by Radjabov, is still incredibly young and dangerous.

The clash with MTel is a pity, although a few top players rarely represent their nations at the Olympiad anyway. It's a grueling event and the pay is usually terrible. Leko isn't there again, nor is Topalov, his third miss in a row. Polgar would have to worry about her water breaking in zeitnot. I hate it when that happens. (Need I remind that the Ninja board's very own Inky once played in the Olympiad for the Virgin Islands in an ominously gravid state?) Those are the only players in the top 20 not in Turin. It's great to have Anand back again. Shirov returns for Spain.

Then there is team USA, which is greatly strengthened on paper by the addition of Kamsky and Nakamura. I say on paper because while this team is clearly stronger, Olympiad results often more resemble alchemy than Elo. In 2004 the US team jumped up for a remarkable 4th place finish by stomping Norway 3.5-0.5 in the final round. More impressively, they drew Ukraine, Israel, and Armenia. Surpassing that result will be an achievement, but it's possible. Earlier note on the team here.

Gots to give a shout to my homies on the English team. They could accidentally show up at the Olympic bobsled venue and still do better than last time. They had McShane on board three behind Adams and Short in 2004 and were the sixth seed. They finished 30th. This year he's gone and they're down to 13th. They'll still finish higher.

In the women's event, defending gold medalist China has apparently rotated squads and are only the sixth seed. Wacky. Russia is the top seed in this one too, impressively enough.

So let your jingo flag fly high for the next two weeks and enjoy lots of great chess. The FIDE presidential election also takes place, but it's out of our hands so let's dig into the games. Time control, btw, is 40/100+30, 20/50+30, 20/10+30. That's almost classical, if a bit rough on the endgame.


A Hungarian over at chessgames.com reports about Polgar and Leko. Judit is pregnant as you say and "...recently Lékó announced that he will pass as well. Ha says he is out of form and lacking confidence; needs time off to prepare for the WC cycle and recompose. He even said that a failure at the olympics would be a severe blow to him, and he would possibly never recover from it. He added that without Judit the Hungarian team is screwed anyway."

Dramatic! I suppose it's no secret that Leko seems to have a fragile psyche, which is a pity for such a strong player.


The Olympics are probably my favorite event. It's something of a throwback to simpler times when players played for prestige, "honor" (to use a 19th century term), and love of the game. There's also plenty of team spirit. In these somewhat mercenary times, it's nice to see proof that all those GM's are still capable of getting together and playing for love of the game.

For the first time, the Indian team members are being paid as per their Elo. The Indian Chess Fed has roped in a corporate sponsorship (Canara Bank). Good sign!

Is anyone managing to watch a game live over the Internet. The official torino web site does not work for me.

Any suggestions?


Time control is 90 min + 30 sec per move, just like last time.

What's your source on the time control? The info I was sent says what I have in the item. I was pleasantly surprised of course. Bummer if it's the semi-rapid.


try this link

and click on the small icons on the left of the match you want to watch.

If the applet isn't working, try this first

Here in Turin...

Excellent playing venue, but many logistical problems here. I won't specify at this time because it is still early. One problem is that the all participants have to do a lot of walking to get to the venue... not nice at all.

Opening ceremony was not very exhilirating, but it was nice to see all the teams dressed in their uniforms and national dress.

One major issue now... results not available for round one and it is 16:30hrs here. People here are friendly and helpful, but they have certainly missed the finer details.

No refreshments (water, coffee, tea, snacks) in the press room. :-(


Armenia - gold
Russia - silver
USA - gold


I hate jingoism. At least unlike the real Olympics, we actually care about the sport itself.

That said, I am still excited! All these great GMs. I got to say, it will be fun watching Moro play on Board 4 or whatever it is he will be on most of the tournament.

Man, I wouldn't be surprised to see any of the Russian GMs get a win on Board 1.

I made a couple of typos...

They didn't get the reports for round #1 until 21:00hrs and

Of course... that is the U.S.A. winning the bronze.

I can access few days ago, but, now, I can't access the website:



The website has been/is a nightmare. For the first few days it couldn't cope with the traffic and despite loading the java software as recommended elsewhere here, my PC still refuses to display the live games.

Did we really send people to the moon back in 1969? No doubt the computer technology thing will get sorted one day, but I'm not holding my breath until then.

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 21, 2006 4:07 AM.

    MTel 2006 Round 9 was the previous entry in this blog.

    MTel 2006 Round 10 is the next entry in this blog.

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