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Dresden Olympiad r11

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This is it! I hope you've consulted Jonathan Berry's magic numbers so you know what needs to happen for your favorite team to win which medal today. 10:00 start in Dresden, 0400 EST. Live here. You Eastern Hemisphere people update the top action in the comments best you can. (Or you west coast night owls.)

My round 10 ICC Chess.FM podcast video with animated diagrams or MP3 audio only.

By the way, if you were thinking about getting a norovirus for the holidays, don't. Ugh. Never invite the Caliciviridae family over. Urgh.

Do you believe in miracles?

Final standings here. First things first. Armenia beat China to clinch their second consecutive gold medal. A tremendous performance from Aronian, Akopian, Sargissian, and Petrosian. (Minasian gets a medal too, for his one game. Is this 4-player Armenian system really something to emulate?) Israel beat Netherlands to lock up the silver medal. The USA just performed one of the greatest feats in Olympiad history, blasting the 2nd-seeded Ukrainian team 3.5-0.5 in the final round!

That leaves them tied on match points, but thanks to some magic with Spain drawing Russia, it seems the USA will get another miracle bronze, duplicating their feat of 2006, when they beat Norway 3.5-0.5 and pipped Israel on tiebreaks. But to do this to mighty and previously undefeated Ukraine, with Kamsky-Ivanchuk 1-0, Karjakin-Nakamura 1/2, Onischuk-Eljanov 1-0, and Efimenko-Shulman 0-1 is insane. (And Karjakin barely scraped that draw. Nakamura was killing him.) And Ukraine had everything to play for, let's not forget. Outstanding effort, medal or no medal. [Yes, medal! Final tiebreak score 362-348.5 for USA!]

And it looks like the USA women's team has duplicated the medal, the mettle, and the metal, beating France and likely nipping Poland on tiebreaks for bronze. Final standings. That's at least two medals for Brooklyn (Kamsky, Krush)! When do we get our own federation?

Yesterday's hero for China against England yesterday, Li Chao, was the goat today, losing to Petrosian on board four in the only decisive game of the top match. Israel eked out a win against Netherlands with a win by Roiz over Smeets on board two, other three drawn. Ukraine was simply demolished top to bottom by USA, which allowed the American squad to nip them on tiebreaks for the bronze medal. According to JB's calculations, a 3-1 win by the US wouldn't have been enough, but 3.5-0.5 did the trick! Russia would have won the tiebreak but were held to a draw by Spain. Amazing. ¡Gracias, España! USA women also win bronze. Georgia gold, Ukraine silver.

Board prizes here. Leko won an epic 130-move game in the final round to take the first board gold away from Gelfand by a single performance point. Open: Board 1: Leko; Board 2: Akopian; Board 3: Sargissian; Board 4: Blagojevic; Board 5: Jakovenko / Women: Board 1: Chiburdanidze; Board 2: Zatonskih; Board 3: Kosintseva, N; Board 4: Majdan; Board 5: Zdebskaja.

The US team that rocked Ukraine. Clockwise from top-left: Nakamura, Kamsky, Onischuk, Shulman in round 11. Inset, Akobian. Photos from Susan Polgar's Picasa stream.


How's the g-phone?

Yes, I'm curious too. Have you used the iphone too? Is the g-phone anywhere close?

It seems that even China, in theory, still has a chance for the women's bronze, if they will win vs Romania, and also:
POL beats UKR
RUS does not win versus NED
USA does not win versus FRA
GEO vs SRB make no draw
and, also, a REALLY good tiebreak is needed

Games are a go.

Ni-Sargissian is a Marshall, Akopian-Bu is a Petrov. On the last board Petrosian-Li Chao is some Dragon with a lot of exchanges. White should have some sort of an edge there, but probably nothing "big".
On the first board there is some weird Slav, I don't understand anything from those.

Topalov not playing the last round- so in effect he gives the gold for board 1 to Gelfand (barring Gelfand losing with white to Van Wely).

It is impressive someone over 40 winning gold for board 1 in the olympiad- and he has had tough opposition (much higher average than Topalov got)

Remit, I am sure no one cares for individual gold medals in Olympiad :)

Looks like the USA do not really believe in 4-0 against Ukraine: Nakamura was offering a three-fold repetition at move 15. But Karjakin refused, so the game goes on.

I cannot understand those weird openings. In Karjakin-Nakamura I would rather play black.

Yep, Aronian with black is copying Aronian with white ... g5 at an early stage (move 8). "However" (!?), to me this move makes sense - or at least it iss not obviously bad or highly risky.
Has Aronian prepared this stuff ? He has more time than at the start of the game after 114 moves, whereas Wang Yue spent half an hour so far.

My joke about Ukraine winning 4-0 against the US team if Armenia was Russia, was not based on extra motivation for Ukraine, but just the other way around (of course).
If the US team could do anything NOT TO let Russia win Gold medal, they'll do... ;-)
Anyway, just a crazy thought.

Very exciting last round games.
board 4 of Armenia has just entered the dragon with 9...d5 and eat the e7 pawn. I always told my students never to play this line with white, because black will simply mate white.
Hope Petrosian proves me wrong...

Raffael, on the bright side-Petrosian has always been playing Dragon with both colour, so he should somehow have a good feeling about those positions.

Ni-Sargissian follows Efimenko-Sargissian (draw) from round 4. Hope the Chinese GM has not cooked some novelty there...

I hope you are right playjunior.

Next crazy game is board 3 with Gabriel Sargissian.
Yesterday I said it is a mistake to play the Marshall (against weaker opponents), because white can force a draw, but today things are completely different again, because white is trying to win and if I am not mistaken is going down in flames very soon...

Gabriel is an enormous player. I was there for the previous 2 rounds, and especially with Israel you could feel he feels some kind of personal responsibility for the team. The Russians ("chesspro.ru") wrote that "it's time for him to publish his 'Best Games in Olympiads'". The German commentators in Dresden were saying that he is able to win practically any position which is not drained.

Aronian is blizting. Ni-Sargissian deviate from usual path. Akopian seems to have some kind of an edge because of the 2 bishops in the endgame, although he has ugly pawns and I assume one does not usually win those against a 2700. Petrossian, if he plays like a computer has an edge probably, but optically it looks just awful.

@Raffael: [If the US team could do anything NOT TO let Russia win Gold medal, they'll do... ;-)"]

Oops, hadn't thought about this possibility (it was already late evening in my time zone when I wrote that comment). I still think that strategy would make little sense: Taking the results ARM-CHN 2.5-1.5 and UKR-USA 4-0; lots of other matches would need favourable results from an Ukrainian point of view in order to overcome the still-remaining tiebreak gap. But we are only joking anyway .... .

I guess the US team will rather play for their own chances, even if their medal chances are quite hypothetical.

I have a bad feeling that this match will be decided on the fourth board.

"Remit, I am sure no one cares for individual gold medals in Olympiad :)"

BTW, since when do they use rating performance (rather than simply percentage scored) to determine board prizes ? Is this another rule change for the present Olympiad, which received comparatively little attention ? Earlier, players from weaker teams could score close to 100% against second- or third-class opposition to qualify for a board prize. A bit the same as giving a special prize to Canada this time for their many board points.

With the 'old' system, the prize on board 1 would go to Jean Pierre Moulain Ayombo from Gabon (unrated, 8.5/10 for a performance of 2239). Board 5 would go to Moses Kawuma from Uganda (2204, 8/9, TPR 2107 so he actually loses rating points !).

Of course it is objectively correct to consider rating performance, but actually less fun and possibly demotivating for that kind of players.

Sargissian safe, Akopian edge probably not enough for a win, Aronian game equal, although Aronian has a big advantage on clock; but probably they will exchange down to a dead-drawn endgame soon.

Petrosian is better I think.

Susan Polgar said, the President of Armenia just came to Dresden to support his team in the final round.
That's quiet something, isn't it?!

Armenia seems to be in control of the match, while Karjakin looks (optically) completely lost against Nakamura. Maybe Sergej should have taken the repetition earlier, after f5! exf5 d5! (just like in some Sveshnikov lines) black has an overwhelming position.

That Kamsky game puzzles me, the engine give decisive(!) white advantage, but I don't see any reason why - and the players move around only with their Kings at the moment and some of these King moves (just like Kamsky's Kh1 after he had played Kh2 before) is also the engines top choice.
Looks like chess is just not my game...

Raffael, of course you do not imply that Kamsky took forbidden computer assistance to find moves like Kh1 !? ,:).

Seriously, such king moves are probably just a waiting tactic: Ivanchuk is known to be, at times, impatient, and Kamsky may hope that he weakens his position to 'get something going'. But fore the time being it is more like "I wait, you wait ... (let's wait for move 30 to agree a draw?)".

The engines obviously like Kamsky's space advantage, but to me it also seems more optical than anything else.

no Thomas.
Rybka3 give Kamsky 1.89 pawns advantage, that is completely winning. I guess either the Rg6 (which is completely out of play) and/or the pinned Nc6 is forced lost.
But what I didn't get is why the king moves were important, maybe there was a hidden tactic like in some strange lines the black queen could take the Bf4 with check (after Kh2) or something...
Anyway USA seems to be winning the match!

And so is Armenia, Petrosian has a won endgame, thanks to his very active Kc3.
Other games should be draw

In the meantime things became clear: Kamsky won first the exchange and then the game, so Rybka had a point ... . Not completely sure if Ivanchuk really had to sacrifice the exchange, but otherwise the next white move probably would have been Qe2, attacking the h5 pawn and switching to mating attack mode.

The king moves remain mystical. If there is a hidden reason for Kh1 (it also could be prophylaxis just in case), then what was the reason for Kh2 one move earlier ?

Chucky's opening choice against Kamsky was fundamentally wrong. You have to play dynamic openings against him.

To be honest I was very disappointed after the drawing of the final round. Because I support Armenia and I thought China is much stronger opponent than the US team.
Looks like I was wrong!
In this very moment everything looks like USA will win 3.5 - 0.5 (!!) against the Ukraine and Armenia will win 2.5 - 1.5 against China.

Kudos to the US team. After some really big problems in the early rounds their top 2 boards playing incredible in the final rounds.
(I haven't seen Chucky getting hammered like this for a very long time!)

USA has good team rapport unlike Russia, they are about to crush Ukraine with 4-0

unbelievable, even a 4:0 sweep seems possible now!
USA! USA! USA! as Homer S. might say :-)

Russia finished 'in style' with four draws against Spain. Not sure what that means for their final ranking - most probably behind the USA ...

Armenia just won their match and since Ukraine can't win their match anymore (current standing 0:2) Armenia wins the Olympiad!
Clear first place with 19 points! Congrats!

Now the other medals depend mostly on Israel - Netherlands. Israel seems to be better. If they win, they get silver with 18 points, behind are Ukraine and USA with 17 points. If Israel-Netherlands should be drawn after all, we have three teams with 17 points.

So in any case, tiebreaks become relevant. Karjakin - Nakamura was drawn, black giving away his advantage to a tactical shot which he may thoroughly regret in the end.

Should we start paying attention to some matches on the lower boards which could affect the tiebreak ??

And an update from the so far relatively neglected women's section:

Poland - Ukraine 0.5-2.5
Georgia - Serbia 2.5-0.5
USA - France 2.5-0.5 (I include board three, even though the French player has not yet resigned)
Netherlands - Russia 1-0 (third Russian board Korbut with a horrible blunder against an opponent rated more than 200 points lower)
Things also don't look good for Russia on board 1

Top standings are Ukraine and Georgia with 18 points, tiebreak "too close to predict", followed by Poland and USA with 17 points (tiebreak clearly in favour of USA). If miracles happen, Russia could also still get 17 points.

China finished with a draw against 16th seed Romania, they clearly ran out of steam (and maybe lost motivation once any medal was out of reach).

I agree, it was a strange choice for Chucky to choose the French as Black in a match Ukraine badly needed to win in order to share first place with Armenia (in case the latter also won).

The way things developed, maybe Ukraine will not even win silver??

@ Kogi
depends on the match from Israel.

At the moment it looks like Israel will play 2:2
In this case Israel shares 2nd place (by match points) with the USA and Ukraine. So everything depends on the tie break lotto...
If things went astray, Ukraine might end up 4th, but that would be really weird.

No need to calculate tiebreaks for Israel, as Rodshtein holds against L'Ami to secure the silver medal.

1. Armenia

2. Israel (swiss gambit worked!)

3. (If I am not miscalculating anything) USA!
thanks to this stunning 3.5 sweep against Ukraine (must have been a 4:0 had Nakamura won his totally won position)

If pre-round tiebreaks hold, it looks to me like USA wins bronze ... and bronze.

The last game to finish in Georgia's victory over Serbia in the women's may have been decisive in the women's golds going to Ukraine. It'll all be easy to see when the final Ranking Crosstables go up at the chess-results site.

I thought US had really bad tiebreak (#2) in the tiebreak column, can they still get bronze? Kudos to all US players, well played gentlemen!

Indeed, the tiebreak gap before the round between Ukraine (309.5) and USA (266) seemed impossible to overcome. Yet from todays match, USA gained 59.5 points (3.5*17) to reach 325.5, and Ukraine only 8.5 points to arrive at 318. This is still 'close to call' (it still depends on numerous other matches). And the situation would be the other way around if the USA had only won 3-1.

Raffael, you said "it would be weird" if Ukraine ends up only 4th in the end. It is certainly a surprise (a bad one for their team), but it would also be weird indeed if they stay ahead of the USA despite the direct result between both teams.

Congratulations to the medalist teams. On another note, FIDE just decided on a whim to completely change the ongoing WCh cycle. :-) Nothing like a good soap opera.

I said it more than one time, and repeat it again.
I don't like this 11 round swiss system at all and Israel taking sole silver, having played only 2 top teams (Ukraine and Armenia)is not fair imho.
Same with USA btw.
Of course winning 3.5 against the Ukraine in the final round is outstanding, but the US team also had only played 2 Top teams so far, and funny enough they have lost both matches! (1:3 against Azerbaijan and 1.5:2.5 against Russia).

I don't blame any country or team here, but the idiotic system in this Olympiad.
To win a Olypic medal you should have played at least have of your games against the strongest teams and this just didn't happen.
That's why I said (and still think) it would be "weird" if Ukraine (who played the whole Olypiad at the top tables) doesn't win a medal.

must of course be:
"To win a olympic medal you should have played at least half of your games..."

I think the new system is better as the result is not clear until the very end, just look at all those brokered draws in last olympiad

Official results are out!


In woman section it is:


Two times bronze for the US teams, congrats!

Full final results:


Wow, no medals for either Russia team. Will Jakovenko get 5th board prize at least?

"Swiss Gambit"... LOL, good one Raffael!

yea...this system does leave you with a feeling that, maybe not the win, but the rest of the top placements arent really worth that much. its fancy of course, to say your country is no two or three in the world, but I really cant see much accomplishment in it...its just a too imperfect scoring (or even playing) system.

actually, maybe some kind of semi knock out system would be the best. Like they use in the football/soccer world championship. of course that means you have to limit the teams playing a bit, but maybe that isnt such a weird thing to do...

by the way, I would like to see a list of how the teams performed, based on average team rating and result. IMO that would show better who did well and who didnt. is there such a list?

Mother of god , FIDE changed the candidates system AGAIN (and before the cycle ends).
They are really the oposite of FIFA.
Something should happen after this .
I hate FIDE like no man has hated a barbaric organization before.:(

Some ex-Soviet dominance... Is it only Nakamura who was not born in the Soviet Union, among the first six teams?

Where's the FIDE announcement?

Yes, 11 rounds is not enough; round 12 might have given us the interesting matches Armenia-USA and Israel-Russia which could change the top rankings once again .... . Interestingly, the US Chess Federation homepage states that "the reduction to 11 rounds was an acquiescence to mostly larger federations, such as ours, and is indeed based on finances." Strange, why is it the large federations having financial problems ?

But, as indicated by Mig, the USA did the same thing two years ago, back then also thanks to the ranking based on board points. And clearly Norway (in 2006, before Carlsen reached the world top) was a much weaker opponent than Ukraine today. So one cannot blame everything on "only eleven rounds".

"Correct" or not: It looks quite funny that the medals went to teams ranked 9, 8 and 10 based on Elo ratings - followed by the 'nominal' top 5 teams.

And finally: Did anyone notice that the board prize on board 1 went to .... Peter Leko. Like Gelfand, he scored 7.5/10, but his performance rating was 'slightly' better (2834 rather than 2833). Was that the reason that Leko played 130 moves in the last round to win against Zhigalko ? I doubt he was even aware of the situation, and only striving to save the honour of his team ... .

Congratulations to the Americans for this performance, proving that the last bronze was no fluke.

I didn´t notice that Leko was having such a great performance , must be because it pains me to look at most of his games.
Its really strange because im an e4 player too , but his moves are always the oposite that i want from the position (of course his moves ar sounded and mines are mediocre).

"And it looks like the USA women's team has duplicated the medal, the mettle, and the metal, beating France and likely nipping Poland on tiebreaks for bronze."

Is "nipping" a close Freudian relative to "nippling" since you are talking about the women's team?

The final game in the already finished match Georgia-Serbia *did* decide the fate of the women's gold medals, just not in the way that I predicted! If Georgia had won that match with a smaller margin, or Ukraine theirs with a bigger margin, Ukraine would have received the golds.

After 6 rounds China had 12-0 but did not win another match (3 draws, 2 losses). Georgia at the same moment had 8-4 and might have been paired against lowly Canada (they were one country away from that pairing). Had they played Canada, beaten them 4-0 like they beat Spain, then everything else the same (including Georgia going 12-0 over three rounds), Canada's low final matchpoint total would have given Georgia a lower tiebreak and Ukraine the golds. Or if Georgia has ceded a single draw in rounds 7-9, same result. Yes, it was close!

Do they receive an actual metal of said grain?

Hey Mig,

Where's the photo of the US team you referenced above? I get a broken link and can't find the team photo in Susan's photo collection. Great job guys!!! Great games on all 4 boards.

Let's hear it for the amiable Tigran Petrosian. Who would have thought a nation the size of Armenia could repat as winners after losing Asrian? Hard enough to step in anyway in those circumstances, and then to win in the last round when he must have still been thinking of the loss to Israel which looked like costing them the title. OK, a draw would have done it as it turned out, but he didn't know that.

Congratulations to Armenia!

And congratulations to Georgia and mighty Maia Chiburdanidze!


I don't understand why you are so upset about the FIDE announcements about the world championship cycle.
But maybe I just didn't get the point.

To me it seems like winner of Topalov/Kamsky match in Feb 2009 will play Anand in a world championship match.

The question is who will be the next challenger, who will play the winner of the match Anand vs. Topalov/Kamsky?

And that's what the new FIDE idea is doing, create a system to find the contender for the wolrd champion.
The new system, as chessvibes describes it, seems very logical and good to me, so what's the big problem?
(Sorry in advance if I missed something important)

"And it looks like the USA women's team has duplicated the medal, the mettle, and the metal, beating France and likely nipping Poland on tiebreaks for bronze."

funny how Mig and others were going on how Israel got lucky with pairings and all that but nobody noticed that the same thing happened in the women senction.
USA won bronze without even playing against first placed Georgia or second placed Ukraine or 6th placed Armenia or 7th placed Serbia. on the other hand Polish women played against everybody in top 7 and among others beat Georgia and USA. but it turned out USA has better Tie-breaks than Poland.


I like Kirsan's proposed candidates' tournament, too. But changing the cycle that is already under way does more harm than good.

If I remember correctly, the winner of the Grand Prix cycle was supposed to play a match against the next World Cup winner for the right to challenge the World Champion. Now their rights are reduced to participate in a tournament. But the Grand Prix cycle has already started. One wonders if Kirsan doesn't like the current leader, Wang Yue.

hey mig...let's get something straight. Polgar's photos are not on flickr.com; they are hosted on Picasa.

Picasa is Google's, whereas Flickr is Yahoo's.

2or 3 reasons to hate this (IMHO):
Changing the horse in the middle of the river is proof of stupidity.
There should not be special invitations to challenge a WCH , that is the biggest insult to the rest of the players.
Ask yourself this simple question: Why are they doing this?
They already had the system for the next candidates ,Why would they need to make this changes before this cycle ends ?
And you know what? It doesnt matter which player are they trying to include with this .
Of course i don't think this is done to give a player from Argentina another shot to the title ...I bet this benefits another interests.
This are the first reasons that comes to my mind , but there must be more reasons to feel insulted by this resolution.
But maybe is just me , and like i said i should start to play Go right now.

In the women's section, the tiebreak advantage of USA with respect to Poland is due to
- Poland losing 0.5-3.5 against China, and
- big American victories against Romania (4-0) and Uzbekistan (3.5-0.5).
Funnily, they played the relatively weaker team of Uzbekistan after their loss against Poland one round before. It certainly was not done on purpose, but could be considered some sort of "delayed Swiss gambit" .... .

Anyway, the tiebreak rules were defined beforehand and cannot be changed during the tournament ,:) well, with FIDE you never know for sure !!??

The reason that "nobody noticed" (it was not put up by Mig or anyone else) is IMHO simply that Israel became a serious medal candidate after Round 8, and there was still plenty of time to discuss the merits, adequacy etc. of the Swiss gambit. The US woman team became a medal candidate only before the last round, and the US Men Team only 'during' the last round. Their medal chances seemed purely theoretical, and even after their victory against Ukraine they needed (quote Mig) "some magic with Spain drawing Russia".

If reports on the US Chess Federation homepage are correct, they didn't even think about or believe in their medal chances at any stage, "only" wanting to beat Ukraine - after all, 4th or 5th place would have been 'more than acceptable' for the #10 seat, even more so after their shaky start.
So, again according to that homepage, Nakamura conceded a draw against Karjakin (i.e., allowing simplifications and deliberately [?] losing his advantage) to secure match victory. I think at that moment, Shulman was better but not yet clearly winning.
And as I had posted, the early silent (repetition) draw offer by Nakamura also fits into that picture - OK, from a practical point of view he was probably expecting that Karjakin would decline.

Around rounds 3 or 4, people were saying that team scoring would remove the drama in the final rounds. Anyone want to reconsider?

I don't know about anyone else, but I wasn't paying much attention to the women's event in general, let alone the tiebreaks. But it seems to me that Georgia and Ukraine weren't at the top throughout either. Neither was leading in the final round, for example. The US faced the three top teams at the time, China, Russia, Poland. They also got the tough France in the final round. The women's event was just less consistent at the top than the open.

"Same with USA btw.
Of course winning 3.5 against the Ukraine in the final round is outstanding, but the US team also had only played 2 Top teams so far, and funny enough they have lost both matches! (1:3 against Azerbaijan and 1.5:2.5 against Russia)."


OK, lost to Azerbaijan (seeded #4) and Russia (seeded #1), but they beat not only Ukraine (seeded #2) but also Hungary (seeded #5). And also beat several other teams just outside the top 10 -- Cuba (#16), India (#13), and Germany (#11).

*shrug* You play who you're paired against. Perhaps Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Hundary and China were more worthy -- but they all stumbled as well. If not, or if Ukraine had put up a better fight against the U.S. . . . but "coulda, shoulda" doesn't count.


maybe you should look at it from a different perspective:
1. Since Kasparov left FIDE we had 15 years of more or less stupid ideas for the world championship title. Most of the time it was even unclear who is the (real) reigning champion...
Since Anand beat Kramnik in Dortmund few weeks ago the chess world is truly reunited. That's pretty much of a progress.
So we finally have a undisputed world champion (again)!

(Now all we need is his opponent!)

2. The opponent who will fight for the world championship in a match against the reigning champion should above all, be the most qualified one, the best player!
And the system introduced with the world cup just doesn't provide this. Too much is uncertain with this system. A lot of players just play 2 or 3 world cup tournaments and don't play the others. Just to give an example, it is possible that Aronian wins all world cup tournaments he plays (so far he played 1 and won it) and Leko wins also the world cup he participates in, but maybe Leko never plays Aronian in world cup, because they just play different tournaments, sick isn't it? Let alone, a player like Bu winning the world cup - nothing against Bu, but he is for sure not the strongest player in the world (besides Anand), is he?
Also this cycle takes much too long.
So there are a lot of reasons to make a better system, to find the best challenger for the title.

And the new system does indeed provide this!
It is just 1 tournament, where all challengers play each other twice (just like in Mexico).
Every very strong player is included and the special seat in this elite tournament FIDE occupies and gives to a nominee of their choice (+2700ELO needed) might sound unfair at first glance, but what is wrong with it?
If the tournament takes place in Kuba (which won't happen, unfortunatly ;-) of course it is reasonable to let Dominguez participate as a local player with +2700 ELO. So what? If the other players are strong enough they will not let him win the tournament and there is no problem anyway.

So of course it would have been better if FIDE had created this new idea earlier and didn't stick to the world cup at all, but on the other hand, better change a wrong system when you know it is worse, than stick to it till the bitter end, just because you have once elected it (One might think about some latest changes in US politics here, but that would lead us to far...).

So I think the new FIDE idea is really a good one and much better than the current world cup cycle, but I really hope that this will be the last major change for a long time, some stability in the chess world would be cool!

(One last note: Go and play Go, but let me tell you one thing, Go is not easier than chess at all, just the opposite!) :-)

(I am from Germany, just in case my English is too terrible to read, well, too late anyway ;-)

I would say there is nothing wrong with drama in the last rounds, and I prefer today's drama (medals decided in direct confrontations of the main contenders) to what sometimes happened in the past, when huge victories against relatively weak teams could have a large influence on the standings.
Two years ago the USA got their bronze medal thanks to winning 3.5-0.5 against Norway (at that time Carlsen was not yet world top). I also remamber one Olympiad (don't know which one) when Russia seemed to be trailing and got back with a 4-0 against Romania (then also without a single strong grandmaster such as presently Nisipeanu) in one of the last rounds.

On the women's competition, for once I have to disagree with Mig: for a long time (until Round 8 or 9), the event was very consistent at the top to the point of becoming boring. China seemed to be firmly in control, the only remaining question how large the final difference with #2 would become !? Only when China lost track, "the drama started".

I don't remember at which stage, but some sources already indicated "Armenia and China set to win the Olympiad". Armenia came out #1, but until the final round it was not crystal-clear, China finished in 8th place .... .

I do play Go , i suck as much as in chess , ;)
I still believe this is insane but it has its own thread now , lets discuss it there.

Mig, did any player get defaulted for not turning up on tim? Al-Mohdiaki of Qatar has a strange result in his table - was that a no-show default?

I think that Vlad Tkachiev from France might of defaulted due to coming too late, because he has a forfeit listed next to his name.

Several players were forfeited in rounds 2 and 3, we were told at the time. Nobody I'd heard of, which is why it hasn't been mentioned. Shouldn't no-shows still be 1-0 and counted for rating, etc.? I could see it being quite annoying if you needed a result for a norm or individual medal and your opponent was defaulted instead of forfeited.

Who's got award ceremony photos?


Hikaru never intentionally steered that towards a draw, especially since Shulman was quite far from winning. It wasn't like that was a clincher.


"Heading into today’s clash with Ukraine, Donaldson dismissed the idea of trying to win big against Ukraine, a team that outrated the U.S. on all four boards. He said the focus was solely on winning – the topic of a rout was not even broached to his team."


"GM Hikaru Nakamura then agreed to a draw to ensure victory." (just above the third diagram)

I am not sure who wrote this (and based on which inside information), I was only quoting ...

Small addition (and this, but only this was interpretation from my side): In the final position, Nakamura had already lost his advantage (and any winning chances) - due to a sequence of moves just before. So I wondered if he was "blundering on purpose" to reach a safe draw, rather than playing on in a favorable, but not 120% clear position.

So the US won. Whatever.

Oh, I think you misunderstood me. I'm all for drama in the last runs. My point was that some claimed that would be less drama due to the match scoring, but I disagreed with that analysis -- and we certainly got a pretty exciting and unexpected finish here.

There was plenty of drama, and individual points also did matter (maybe even a bit more than necessary in the women section). The match point system IMO is a clear improvement on all counts over the game point system.

Just 11 rounds as opposed to usual 14 is a clear downgrade though and it was exposed today in the women's section. Georgia and Ukraine (2 top teams) that are dead even on match points haven't played each other. That's a disaster for any Swiss system.

In a nutshell, this Olympiad was too short, still it was a great fight throughout.

Congratulations to my compatriots from the US. Last round 3.5-0.5 against Ukraine was shocking and satisfying.


The board prizes are crazy to just go by rating performances alone.

For instance Toplaov would have got gold instead of bronze if you just didn't count his win(!) against the 2289 that bought his performance down 30 points. A win actually cost him gopld and silver- crazy!

The solution to this would have been not considering the weakest opponent (just as they do for calculating tiebreaks).

But I would still prefer the old system when rating performance did not matter at all, only points or percentage scored. If you look at "best players based on points [or percentage]" On the Chess Results page, you find names such as Moses Kawuma from Uganda, Jean Pierre Moulain Ayombo from Gabon, and Daniel Jere from Zimbabwe. Why not give those guys their "moment of glory" on the stage? Leko, Gelfand, Topalov and even Sargissian already have enough exposure to public and media!?

Concerning Moulain Ayombo, there is a 'revealing' (!?) story on the ChessDrum page concerning the forfeit rule ... . In the last round, he had been at the board before the games started, shook hands with his opponent and then left for a quick bathroom stop. So he was not present when the clocks were started, and the arbiter decided to declare the game lost for him. German efficiency?? [I am German myself, and do not knnow if the arbiter was actually German]. Next, the entire Gabon team decided not to play under the circumstances. They could have filed a protes, but didn't have the money to pay the required fee .... .

I think there should be board prizes based on both percentage and rating performance.

The percentage thing is good to recognize players who have worked hard in winning their games. It's not the fault of Moses Kawuma that he plays low rated opponents. He did as well as he could. Winning is winning. Give him a medal for that.

At the same time, tougher wins should be recognized. Hence, give other prizes based on rating performances.

Another note: I think prizes based on rating performance should not distinguish boards. Just rank all players based on rating performance, and give one gold, one silver, etc. A rating performance of 2800 is just that, no matter which board one is playing. Differences in opponents is taken care of by the way the rating performance is calculated.

True, but then you would have 3 times less individual medals, which would not make sense: everyone who got a medal had a remarkable performance in the Olympiad.

"True, but then you would have 3 times less individual medals, which would not make sense: everyone who got a medal had a remarkable performance in the Olympiad."

So did many other players who did not qualify for a medal .... . To give one example (admittedly influenced by the fact that I am German): Georg Meier from Germany2 (rated 2558) had the 5th performance at board 1 (TPR2779, beating Cheparinov, drawing Carlsen and Dominguez), which could also be called remarkable. He was the only player rated below 2600 among the top 20.

The prize giving ceremony obviously can never be long enough to 'make sense' in terms of honoring every remarkable performance. I was watching live on Tadaah TV, honestly got a little bit bored at the beginning because I was mostly interested to see the overall medal winners.

But at a major blitz tournament (Bunschoten, for the few who might know) in the Netherlands (where I am presently living), things were a bit different: I was more eager to see friends and club colleagues (and myself at one occasion) winnning 100 Euros in one of the lower final groups, then which grandmaster got the first prize of 1000 Euros .... .

What I am seriously missing is a prize for the best game(s) played at the Olympiad. But maybe that is very hard to tell, who could scan all the thousands of games played quickly enough ? And we probably cannot leave this decision to a computer ,:) who would most likely find flaws in every single game, including wins by Topalov (just kidding, of course).

OK, if you want to see more awards based on rating performance, I'd suggest extending the number of medals, but still taking the overall rank of all players regardless of board. Say, give awards to 6 best rating performers among ALL players, instead of separate medals for each board.

The point is that rating performance calculations takes care of the difference in opponent's strength, so it is not necessary anymore to distinguish boards.

On the other hand, percentage score obviously does not take into account the strength of the opposition. Hence, we need separate percentage-based awards for each board.

"Several players were forfeited in rounds 2 and 3..." Mig, didn't Round 2 start an hour late due to technical difficulties? How could these guys not have made it to the Board by then?

I was one of a dozen people who witnessed Ivanchuk emerging into the foyer after his loss to Kamsky.
I have never seen such an expression of pure agony, and that was before the two toe breakingly hard kicks at a concrete column, and thumping of wooden counter.

Fairly shocking to see, and perhaps the reason why the Ukrainian team failed to appear to collect the Gaprindashvili cup.

Moses Kawuma got 9/10 and had the highest percentage in the tournament. Ironically, it was in part because two of his teammates couldn't get visas. This also lead to forfeits on two boards for Uganda until the 9th or 10th round when Shadrack Kantinti shows up for Uganda. Sheesh. Angola also had visa problems, but got settled shortly before the tournament as did Sri Lanka who got theirs the day before the tournament! Sunil Weearamantry told me this.

There were several forfeits on suspicious matters. One included Jamaica and Palestine. According to Ian Rogers, (who talked to Ermenko), he was at the board at 10:00am, but not at his board. He went to the arbiter's station to get a pen and was forfeited. An arbiter was going to let him play, but Jamaica launched an appeal and won.

I'm not sure if he had met Warren Elliott at the board (as in the Gabon-US Virgin Island case), but it is a difficult rule for such a tournament. There was also not a strict application to the rule. In the Mongolia-Ukraine women's match, there was a controversy where Mongolia was allowed to play and their top player WGM Batkhuyag Munguntuul ended up beating Lahno. It will be hard to keep such a rule and not have flexibility.

The Dresden Olympiad was a memorable event and successful, but the forfeitures are a bit draconian. The visa issues were also a bit shameful.

"Differences in opponents is taken care of by the way the rating performance is calculated."
As I mentioned earlier- you might have to score more than 1/1 against a much lower rated opponent to keep the same performance rating- so it is not taken care of in a sensible manner.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 24, 2008 9:01 PM.

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