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Turin Olympiad 2006 r8

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Game replay and results here at the official site. Some games still in progress as of this writing. The tidal ebb and flow of the Swiss system and board point tossed some weaker teams into the gaping maws of the favorites today. Cuba's 3.5 victory over Indonesia earned them a shot at Armenia. That one ended 3-1 in favor of the leaders. The amazing performance by the Czech team continues as they held Russia 2-2 thanks to a win by Navara over Svidler on board one. (Morozevich's win on board three looks suspect. Perhaps the position is wrong or at least not the final. Or maybe he lost?!) These aren't (all) the same guys that Kasparov demolished by himself in a clock simul in 2001! (I have incredible photos from that event since I snuck in and grabbed some shots during the games.)

Ukraine beat Sweden 3-1 and the Netherlands continued to collapse, losing to France 1-3. Philippines finally played their rating after a strong run and lost to China 3.5-0.5. USA also acted like the high seed they are, playing their big three and scoring a 3-1 win over Denmark. Kamsky and Onischuk came back from their rest day to notch the wins.

The USA faced Russia on the top board in the women's event and held the favorites to a split thanks to a win by Irina Krush on board two. The USA is two points off the lead but is still is still in good medal position. China moved back into contention with a whitewash of Latvia.


As I understand it, there's one arbiter per match. Does that arbiter verify the results electronically or something, and then they become official, or at least show up on the overview of the live games? With only 4 games per arbiter, I would expect them to have complete overview of the results on "their" boards. Anyone who knows?

They confirm the scoresheets and results such but don't necessarily know what was being transmitted live. The results are often not confirmed until the head arbiters go through the arbiters' reports and the gamescores can go unconfirmed until someone reports an error, which on the less consequent games can mean never.

That is, Moro probably won but that might not be the correct final position. Babula losing on time on that move with a 30-second increment seems as unlikely as his resigning there.

Thriller in India-Bulgaria. In the end, history repeated itself with India prevailing 2.5 - 1.5. Cheparinov proved to be the weak spot once again, going down to Sasikiran while Delchev brought one back for the Bulgars. Chanda did some sterling work on the lower board against Spasov.
Oh and Georgiev-Anand was a quick draw. No surprises there. Have to applaud Anand's committment though - he has played 16 games on the trot from Sofia onwards.

Mig, are you able to confirm that Bc8 was played yesterday against Kramnik? Still awaiting a chessbase report but don't see any news on any sites about the game. There's still lively speculation about the veracity of the score.

For John G., from TWIC:
Aleksandrov committed a strange blunder at the end of his game against Kramnik. He calculated 18. ...Kf7 19.Nc5 Bc8 but played 18. ...Bc8 instead and had to resign.

What does TWIC know about that though? Mark isn't at the Olympiad is he? Not that it doesn't sound like a very plausible theory.

Mig, thanks for the answer. :-)

JaiDeepBlue, Anand's commitment is certainly nothing to complain about. However, I'm not that impressed by his results. He beat a 2300 in his first game, and after that he's drawn 5 players in a row, one of which was Ivanchuk, and the other four 2640-2677 players. OK, those four aren't exactly pushovers, but India's perceived board 1 strength, based on Anand's rating, is what makes India a third seed in the tournament. If he had been replaced by a player with the playing strength of his current rating performance, India would be a seventh seed, behind the USA. In short, whether Anand is able to play at his rating or not, is the difference between medals and merely a top 10 for India. I hope he can rack up some wins in the last part of the tournament. :-)

Probably someone on-site talked to Aleksandrov or heard about what happened to Aleksandrov during the game and then reported that on to Mark C.

Mark, like me, relies on dozens, even hundreds, of people sending in first-hand information. Many of these become trusted sources either through knowing them personally or a history of accurate material. If Mark posts something stated so straightforwardly it's because it comes from someone who spoke with Aleksandrov, if not from Aleksandrov himself. (Not to say that I hold this place to such standards!)

If you download and read issue 7 of the chess bulletin at the Olympiad, it backs up the claim that the move was actually played.

"...while Aleksandrov lost to Kramnik even one move earlier. His last move, at least according to their scoresheets and what was seen on the screens will be certainly a serious candidate for the most absurd move of this Olympiad."


9th round pairings are up. Ukraine-Armenia is the key matchup, and if the Armenians win this I see no obstacles on their way to the gold, as they already played all the top teams. Of course beating Ivanchuk, Karjakin et. al. is easier said than done.

KB, as mentioned earlier, Anand seems to be out of form - so he is performing a 'blocking' operation reeling in the half points. This enables Sasikiran and Harikrishna to play on the lower boards. Perhaps this is the team strategy behind having him play continuously without a break. Also you have to take into account that all his opponents are quite keen for a draw.
Alex, if Armenia wins or atleast does not lose it indeed seems to be a shoo-in for the gold - with four rounds left! Wonder if it is a record for such an early break out from the pack.

In the old days of Soviet dominance, a 2-point lead would seem like small change. In Thessaloniki '88, for example, USSR won by 6 points, and in Lucerne '82 by 6.5. I don't think we'll see anything even remotely close to that in 2006.

Yeah, I forgot to add 'since the days of the Soviet Union'.

Btw, KB thanks for that link to the newsletter. It has an article on Anand winning the ACP cup, that i had asked for earlier.

Armenia will win. They are consistent and have played the same lineup the last four rounds with excellent results. Russia has played a different lineup every round except the first two, so the captain doesn't seem to have a good feel for what the best combo is. Russia has dropped five games... more than any other top team.

Russia's come from behind win in 1998 has been mentioned. I believe Armenia is much more solid than that USA team. With a rested Lputian, Armenia will be able to hold a strong opponent. They have played most of the strong teams and Sargissian is on fire.

Russia appears disoriented since winning first two matches 4-nil. Can Svidler continue to play several rounds in a row after having arrived from M-Tel? Who knows what the story of Kramnik's stamina is? Bareev, Rublevsky and Grischuk seem to be fading a bit.

If Russia doesn't make a dent in France (with Etienne Bacrot playing well) then I'll say it's over. Armenia and the Ukraine will probably draw even, so this is Russia's chance.

I agree with Daaim that Armenia is the most likely winner. I agree that Svidler appears tired and the team disoriented. I don't agree that one can question Kramnik's stamina based on his results so far (he has never been known to falter towards the finish).

I emphatically disagree with the idea that with only a two point lead on its competition and five rounds left you can predict the winner with any sort of certainty (if so, it's time to change the format).

The argument of changing line-ups is kind of weak. Armenia's Board 3 has been drawing non-stop and its Board 4 (Player #5) has played phenomenally so while keeping him on makes sense not trying Lputian instead of Asrian does not.

The idea of "best combo" is ridiculous in this format. It's not like you would play Moro to compensate for Svidler's shortcomings. What's more, best line-up depends on who you are facing. Rest Kramnik against a weaker team, play higher-ranked players on Board 4 against somebody with a strong Board 4.

Looking over the two teams' line-ups in the past rounds, Armenia seem to have settled into an established line-up inspite of one member of its line-up having performed poorer than the two reserves and having zero tournament wins so far. Russia's changes have a pattern of one player alternately getting a rest each round, except Svid, who got the first 3 off after Mtel, and Rublevskiy off for good reasons--2 losses in his 2 real games. Additionally, with different players losing, no clear best line-up presents itself.

I do think Armenia will win. They are a proud team, with strong sense of unity and national pride. Russia on the other hand seems to be composed of superstars with no clear vision or focus. Kind of like teams for those countries in other sports, like soccer and hockey.

Sargissian plays fantastic chess in this tournament, and shows that at 23 y.o. he still can improve a lot his level. It took ten years to Akopian to go from 2680 to 2705, and now that he's 2700 he crushes every player under 2699 (as true as he's regularly killed by any top 10 player). There are the regular GMs, there are the top GMs, Akopian is an inbetween GM.

On the whole, Armenia is doing a fantastic job. Which is normal, because despite of the fact that Armenia is 1/2000 of the world population, they .. we are all armenian, with armenian genes. Hmm ... no matter how obvious are my troll feedings, they still have good chances to succeed !!!!

Armenia Rulz !!! Armenia Forever !! Such a shame we're not ruling the world any more, like we did in 100 bc...

... by the way, I forgot to say that if USA was 4th, it was 100% due to the fact that Varuzhan's genetic effect is excellent on his teammates. The same thing is also true for Arutinian's genes who boost the georgian results.

Hey Ruslan,
you forgot to mention Kasparov and his Armenian connection, or should I say genes?



There are different methods in team events and Armenia has chosen one... see who is in form and then decide on a core group to carry the team. In fact a team captain in Turin told me this is a common strategy.

I must disagree though... you don't play this tournament round-by-round. You have to plan ahead when you get down to the last four or five rounds. There simply isn't enough time to go by trial and error and Russia's lack of chemistry proves this. The best lineup depends on who you are facing, but with a two-point lead and five rounds left, you can figure it out the combinations and I'm sure the Armenian captain has looked at these variations. Armenia has played most of the top teams. Of course, nothing is certain, but the odds are certainly with Armenia.

Asrian is the only new player on Armenia from Mallorca. Aronian told me in an interview that they wanted to try a younger team. I would imagine Lputian will be the "stopper" in the latter rounds to hold strong opponents in the last few rounds. He is rock solid and tough to beat. I think you also have to look at history of players being matched.

Two points is a huge, but not insurmountable lead. I'm sure everyone realizes how hard it is to gain even 1/2-point each round, yes? It has taken the USA nine rounds to get within 2.5 points!


The core theory is true up to a point, but it also makes sense to bring in reserves to give your guys a break. You yourself suggested as much for Svidler and Kramnik above. I am not sure it's very wise to keep using the same exact guys day in and day out, and if it is in fact the common strategy, none of the other teams from the top of the table in the Olympiad are utilizing it.

Russia's daily changes are not necessarily an indication of disorientation. Simply none of the guys have played overwhelmingly better (except Vlad) so it makes more sense to use different players depending on opponents.

I don't feel that using the same players day in and day out is a sign of focus or that changing line-ups is a sign of lack of focus.

Chemistry is brought-up again . . . do you mean the team personally getting along with each other? When we talk about team chemistry in other sports we mean things like Peyton Manning having a good eye for Marvin Harrison or Dwayne Wade's and Shaquille O'Neal's inside/outside game helping the other get open. In chess, opportunity to use such ability to help each other on-board or compensate for shortcomings does not present itself.


I suppose I can go by what I saw there in Turin, but I also see the Armenians are being hungrier and having a certain look of confidence, cohesion and comfort. The Russians seem uptight... maybe because they are expected to win. Levon looks like a kid in a candy store... always smiling and laughing. Maybe he fooled Sokolov! (smile)

The Armenians are always out and about with their red "Armenia" jackets on. They are accessible and down-to-earth as well. Maybe the Russians will catch the Armenians... or the Chinese, Americans or the Ukrainians, but team chemistry and cohesion certainly looks good for Armenia.

The Armenians are playing the same lineup for the fifth match in a row. As you remember in Mallorca, Ukraine played Ivanchuk in all but one round. Karjakin also logged heavy minutes as a reserve and Volokitin also played 13/14 matches.

Lputian will certainly get off the bench as the "closer." This round will be key.


I agree. The word to describe that however is not chemistry, perhaps mentality and spirit. Every comment I heard from Armenian side gives me an impression of focused, cohesive group of individuals. My best friend is Armenian and I understand where the team comes from. Russian teams of late generally lack the effort and underperform in these same types of competitions. My money is on the Armenians, though the fact that they gained a point this past round should show changes in the gap are not that impossible.

I guess the best performing team doesn't change lineups but continues to go with what works. Actually don't remember Mallorca that well, but like I said every top team but Armenia has had different lineups for different rounds. I doubt that Armenia is the only focused team.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 29, 2006 1:21 PM.

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