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Dresden Olympiad r3: So Much for German Efficiency

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You might want to think twice before buying that new BMW. Apparently the legendary German efficiency is just a legend, at least if you can judge from the mess that is the official Dresden Olympiad website. The round three games ended hours ago and there's still no way to be sure who won the important Georgia-Ukraine match, for example. There are two completely different scores for Jobava-Ivanchuk, two different results for Volokitin-Arutinian, the same score for two different games, and two different results for the match. All on the same site! The scores in the PGN file now at TWIC and the one on the official site are often totally different. (Ivanchuk game, Caruana game.) Yes, this happens in just about every Olympiad, but that is no excuse. We are supposed to learn from our mistakes. Large craniums, opposable thumbs, you know the deal. From the way the results and games are coming out of Dresden you would have a pretty good argument against Darwin. I mean, what is this, Bavaria?!

The Chess-Results site is usually the savior in these events, and the Dresden site imports their pages in several places. Right now its says Ukraine beat Georgia thanks to Volokitin's win on board four. They even have the r4 pairings up with Ukraine on top with six match points, facing Armenia, so that's likely definitive. Let's hope someone is actually collecting the scoresheets. Pathetic to have such a mess even on the top boards of one of our premier events.

Even if we can't trust all the games and results, some of them seem clear enough to talk about. Just take them with a grain of salt. Russia finally got the big red Elo machine rolling and stomped Cuba 3.5-0.5 after squeaking by in the first two rounds. Kramnik drew with Dominguez while Svidler, Morozevich, and Jakovenko won. Moro's win is a classic in his style. One improbable move after another. The various outsiders who made it to 2/2 were duly crushed by favorites today. El Salvador, Malta, Faroe Islands, Malaysia, and Japan got the stomping that used to occur in the first round back when they didn't use accelerated pairings and match scoring. I believe those five teams scored a total of two points from their 20 games. Japan did get a win when 2100 Sano Tomu beat a Romanian GM on board four.

The biggest news was Norway's upset win over defending silver medalists and third seed China. And Magnus Carlsen didn't even win! No lie! I mean, yes Lie! That's Norwegian GM Kjetil Lie, who beat Bu Xiangzhi in the only decisive game of the match. Great sharp play from the winner. Hero of the Day for sure, and 19 seed Norway is one of the nine remaining teams with perfect 3/3 match scores. Self-proclaimed King's Indian basher Loek van Wely got another chance to show his stuff against Teimour Radjabov in the Netherlands-Azerbaijan matchup. The last three times the Dutchman has had white against Radjabov all ended up the same: "E97, 0-1". This time was different, however, and van Wely scored a critical win that drew the match. Radjabov's knight sacrifice on move 19 just didn't work, perhaps because van Wely had seen it before, eight years ago when Degraeve tried it against him. More in a bit, plus podcast.

Round 3 podcast here, now in Flash with a few diagrams.


Pairings begin to normalize for round 4. But it's interesting that with 55 countries having a 4-2 match score, the one that the pairings rules decided should go up to play 5-1 Netherlands, was 72nd ranked Faroe Islands.

This is a FIDE event; as you say, Jonathan, "normalize".

So much for German efficiency..

Well we have seen worse. From Spain and France lately, live relay on just a few games each round of a tourney seemed to be troublesome. In Dresden there are some games at a time..

Maybe Dresden/Saxony hasn't fully recovered from being part of the old communist East Germany yet.
And Saxony was never part of Prussia...

Word is starting to filter through from the organisers. They stuck to their "do it by the rules" approach and followed everything precisely. Were a little surprised by the requirements for large thumbs and opposable craniums, but thought it best to go with what was recommended. Investigations into the quality of proof-reading of translations are scheduled for when the even tis over.

Looks like Ethiopia is the other country with a female player in the "open" section. Checkout the game Mesfin Leykun - Robert Smith.

"Mesfin" is a male name. I had a teacher in grad school with that first name.

Ethiopia had quite a hard time getting to Dresden so the upsets they are scoring are inspired.

May I just say how much fun I'm having trying to make the tag cloud whiz round and round?

Any thoughts on Kramnik's draw today? The average ICC-er thought it was the sort of crumble from a potentially winning position we've seen from him many times recently...

German efficiency?! Germans are anything but and can't manage their way out of a wet paper bag.

I have a question: Does anyone know what the different tie-breaks are (TB2, TB3, TB4)?

German efficiency? Just another national stereotype; a simplification of reality that is sometimes accurate, and sometimes wrong.

In the same mould as 'American loudness', 'British good manners and fairness', 'Japanese work ethic', 'Russian hardiness' etc. True for some, untrue for others.

Defending Silver medalists?? hmm.. The Chinese don't want to go for Gold this time?? :)

The last game to end in the Georgia-Ukraine, I think the Georgian was winning until they showed the correct board at the end and then it was Ukrainian who won!

Being 300-400 points high favorites on all boards, Indians were not looking good against El Salvador out of opening in all 4 boards I think. If Anand had to continue for El Salvador with a simul probably he would have won all 4!

I was hoping something more about BMW's. A friend of mine bought a cheaper BMW and it has many faults, one of the most annoying is that it keeps terrible noise during driving. Perhaps the more expensive models are better quality, but I'm not sure if that's because of the quality of car, prehaps it's the quality of service for repairement.

Looking for quality? Buy a Japanese car.

The Norwegian surname "Lie" is pronounced "Lee" (as in Bruce Lee).

The game files from the early rounds are now quite horrifying.

To be clear what I'm doing (thank goodness I've been working on my computing skills this year).

Before the start of the Olympiad I went to chessresults.com and produced a master list of players (some extra players have turned up but not too many, but that was indeed a bit annoying) because I realise false matches have been a problem over the years (one false match from round 1 is Alexey Kim and Kim Yongtae but I'll sort that).

I then download all the individual games from the live coverage and see what matches I get. I then REGEX the ones where the form of the names is different from the one I use. So then when I download the games and filter the games they can all be processed in one go. (It takes about 20 minutes to download the lot).

So you're getting the PGN from the live coverage.

Yesterday Rd3 I found that the board four game of the Ukraine match was the same as board 3 and the result of Nakamura's game was wrong.

The official site now have a download of the games from the first three rounds in one file.

An immediately obvious problem is that they have put the result of the game at the end of the move text but have a large number of games with the result [Result "-"]. This made me think OK I'll reprocess these games and then do a doubles kill and find the differences.

I did the women's games first and discovered that there were no matches in the first two rounds. Hmmm. Turns out that the games in the download PGN section are in fact the men's games transferred to the women's games.

Then I moved to the men's games. Many more matches which is a good thing. But there are again completely different games between the PGN download and in the PGN live section for round 3. (check the Bacrot game)

I don't know how to proceed. I think I will take the live games tart them up and trust them because its pretty clear that the PGN downloads are screwed up and are more likely to be wrong than the live games.

If FIDE ever get a different leadership I might offer my skills, but I could not ever work or co-operate with them whilst Iljumzhinov is President, its a simple matter of principal.

I would finally add that it isn't an easy task to do this but you have to set in train bullet proof procedures to stop errors like this. They've clearly lost track of what they're doing and its now impossible to trust what's appearing. They'll almost certainly get better but the first three rounds are a bust.

Oh and I will be reluctant to use the live section as a place to get the results from. As people have pointed out, at least chess-results.com seem to be right. If I were doing it I would be comparing the results at chess-results.com and those in the live games section as a way of eliminating errors.

Oh I found one DGT error, final move Ke4, I'm sure they're more but I even forgot which game this is.

Mark Crowther

Alright, the Germans suck. But who does it better, the Poles? The Italians? Maybe the WASPs, but everyone else on earth is a disaster.

I think its down to knowing what you're doing and the special problems that Olympiads bring. I don't like national stereotypes, not really very useful.

By the way it was the Lie game that had the final move Ke4 which is clearly extranious. Not sure which game they've got for the Ivanchuk game but it ends in a repetition so the one I have is correct.

Have decided to correct my original rounds 1-3 and leave it at that. They will be up within the hour.

You don't have to try and fix the game logs, you can publish only what you're being given, especially when it's about thousands of games and when all you do are logical guesses.

To avoid polluting everybody's chess databases, assume that everything from the Dresde organizers is possibly wrong, replace all the player's names by [X] and [Y], replace all the results by [-], all the dates by [Nov 2008, Dresde Oly], and just give the list of the moves, that is, until the first illegal move appears.

Er don't think I'll be doing that.

I think its fair to say its unlikely the organisers will do any substantial fixing, ever. The trend is to trust electronic boards and not have additional bulletin editors. I would like to see a team of two or three checking the gamescores and dealing with reported problems but its not generally seen.

It is possible a commercial database has the rights to the gamescores so they can correct them but I doubt it.

So I think we're stuck with what we've got. No doubt they'll manage to restore the women's games a bit from rounds one or two, I guess that's a PHP problem.

My feeling is barring the odd wrong result and extranious move and lost game the live coverage is the one to trust.

Perhaps trust is the wrong word in the final sentence of my post above. The live coverage should be used as the starting point might be a better phrase.

FYI...Jobava talks about his win over Ivanchuk in an audio clip on the new ICC Chess.FM blog:


Mark, I just want to say "thank you" for the work you put into this, and for the work you've done in placing games online for download all these years. "Thank you" hardly seems adequate after all this time, but your work is *greatly* appreciated.

It is indeed a nightmare, I am not going to use games from the official. I had actually used ICC and TWIC, I will merely use links to the games.

Are you on site Mark?


I'll check out your segments. I asked Susan Polgar how things were there in the press room. Your impressions? I'll be there this week.

Any caveats? Has everyone marked off their turf? (smile)

I'm not on site. Hope to get away to Wijk again next year. This year has been the year of learning some proper computing skills. I think I've come a long way since I came back from Wijk last year and decided it was necessary.

The next thing to do is to put the new design into a CMS as I envisaged it to be. Its been a long struggle but I feel I'm making progress and am confident I've found the right CMS to do it finally (heck I got the front page and a story up in less than an hour on a test page (you can't see it yet), don't talk to me about Drupal or smarty templates....). After that it will be to work on my PHP skills to work on producing tables and results direct from games and also to check their results.

Once I have a CMS for TWIC it means I'll be able to post more news more easily, and in a more organised way one of the problems has been I never have a place for smaller stories or Malcolm's chess columns.

Anyhow this is all on the back burner during the Olympiad....

What a good set of pairings today (rd4).

I do have a question. I know the Olympiad isn't the Bradford Evening League but we have to play our players in order of playing strength. How come in the Olympiad the top rated player in the Russian team (Morozevich) is on Board 4? Does that mean teams can play their players in any old order?

Oh and PPS Julie van Kemanade is playing for Wales in the Olympiad, thinking of a country and sex change, I'm jealous. She played the Bradford evening league for years and I'm definitely stronger than she is.

Round 3 podcast up, now in Flash with a few diagrams.


Isn't it that you can put the players in any order you like before the event starts, but after it begins they have to observe that order? E.g. you can put Moro on board four, but then he always has to play behind the other three. Another example was how Russia put Khalifman on board one when he was FIDE champion despite the fact that half the team outrated him. He finished with an even score, I believe. This decision with Moro is more tactical, obviously. Put the solid guys up top and have the lower boards scoop up the points. Makes even more sense when 2.5-1.5 is the same as 4-0.

Having a guy like Moro not on board one also give you more flexibility if the coach really wants to get tactical with the lineup to give sharper players more whites. (In Moro's case, maybe more blacks makes sense...) The US used to do that with de Firmian, if I recall.

You could always go the Ermenkov route, Mark. Get yourself an Italian tablecloth, say a few nasty things about Israel, and you might be board four for Palestine come 2010! Or you might just try to get FIDE to approve a Bradford Chess Federation for a team. Doesn't seem like they turn many people down. You could be like Guernsey, "The Bailiwick of Bradford"!

"... is the other country with a female player in the "open" section."

Canada has played two of them. Raisa Luna of Bolivia, and Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant of Scotland.
I remember Rani Hamid playing for the Bangladesh open team at the 1984 (!) Olympiad. 24 years later, she's on their women's team. Mother of five, and a pretty good player too.

"whilst Iljumzhinov is President, its a simple matter of principal."

How many spelling mistakes in this brief quote, and how many examples of British humour?

The Faroe Islands versus Netherlands pairing continued to bug me. I remembered a useful guideline: "when you see something peculiar in a FIDE-style pairing, look for floats in previous rounds". Unfortunately, that wasn't it here. In previous rounds, Faroe Islands always played a country with the same number of match points.

"whilst Iljumzhinov is President, its a simple matter of principal."

I thought he was making a pun on principal/principle. Maybe not. It may have just been a Freudian slip.

Indian men are +1-1=1 against Russia (hopefully it's the correct score).

Are they going to repeat what their ladies did yesterday?

What a jerk you are, Mig. Didn't think you'd fall so low.

I know that teams have to play in their declared order but it seems to me that this declared order should be in rating order.

There isn't a lot between the players in the Russian team and you'd probably want the more solid players towards the top but I didn't realise you could do this.

What's to stop a team further down in the Olympiad who have only three quality players declaring an incredibly weak player as top board, that would certainly give flexibiity in matches where they thought they would lose top board anyhow. I'm just asking.

In the Khalifman case he was FIDE's world champion and probably performed better against top quality opposition, I thought that was more of an exception.

Harikrishna-Svidler is a jewel.
The brilliancy prize of this round.

India minus Anand goes down fighting against Russia! Ganguly lost to Grischuk finally. Sasikiran should have gone for a win against Kramnik I think! Brilliancy from Harikrishna against Svidler. Chanda didn't do very well I think. India should have played 5th board Gopal instead of Chanda probably.

Did Caruana shake hands with Korchnoi?


Check out the Philippines board order. They may well be trying to protect the young Wesley So, or to use him to greatest effect. "Bong", on board 1, is rated almost 150 points lower.

There has never been a rule about using rating order. Frequently, Canada's team has been headed by the national champion ahead of several higher rated players. And all according to the rules of the national federation: if you win the Canadian Closed, you play first board on the Olympic team. They used it as a magnet to get more players to compete in the Closed. This year that rule is not in effect, as our national champion Nikolay Noritsyn is board 5.

I think Radjabov-Kamsky is a brilliancy too. Nice violent attack if there is such a thing ...

Am I the only one annoyed by Latvians playing for Spain, Bangledeshis for Canada, four or five mercs in total for the US teams, and so forth?

I don't actually mind the U.S. mercs so much, more the scrambling of everyone else.

Could the organizers make it an Olympiad of country of birth? Just for old time's sake?

You must be pretty close to being the only one annoyed by it. There was never an Olympiad by country of birth.

I've put round 4 up on TWIC. These are again from the live PGN not the PGN collated on the website. I've no idea whether these are better or worse than their file.


Radjabov-Kamsky seemed just a complete positional squash for White (done very nicely, but piece of cake for Radjabov). Im no Grunfeld expert but that line looks very miserable for Black-give White all he wants and just hope it won't be enough and you can squeeze a draw with perfect defence. Kamsky's openings continue to disappoint, can only presume he's saving it all for Topalov. The Sozin crush of Karjarkin (never mind spelling) was the jaw dropper for me so far. And Carlsen v Adams was a very nice example of increasing a tiny edge to decisive proportions. Fun stuff!

Sorry, I asked before, but noone answered.

Can anyone explain what the different tie-breakers are in this Olympics (TB2, TB3, TB4)...?

For TM:

From the website:

Tie Break1: Matchpoints (2 for wins, 1 for Draws, 0 for Losses)
Tie Break2: Olympiad-Sonneborn-Berger-Tie-Break
Tie Break3: Sum Matchpoints (2,1,0) without lowest result (Olympiad)
Tie Break4: points (game-points)

>And Carlsen v Adams was a very nice example of >increasing a tiny edge to decisive proportions.

Doesn't look much that, the postion remained equal throughout despite Carlsen attempts to squeeze.

In the end however the persistent "woodshifting" paid off by wearing (or boring ?) Adams down.
He missed (or rather forgot, see bellow why) the point of 45.h4 and played 45..h5?? off-hand and after 46.Rd7 it was game-over in 1-move , he resigned.

But Rd7 was also possible a move earlier (45.Rd7) and after 45..Qb2 46.Qf3 Ng5! it is -/+ , it is Adams who wins.
However after the intermediary 45.h4 and the helpful 45.. h5 ?? White can now play 46.Rd7
(45..Qb2 46.Qf3 Ng5 47.hxg5) and wins on spot.

In other words it was a tactical shot (or a blunder from Adams if you prefer) in an otherwise equal position.
Not a great karpov-squeeze but close to "play them until they fall under the table"
Had Adams played the simple 45..Rc7 to prevent 46.Rd7 (instead of 45..h5?) he would have continued to be fine, equal postion (45..Rc7 46.Rd7 Qb2 =)

Half the world likes to make fun of FIDE, and I admit to not being immune from that temptation, but the rules for tiebreaking are exactly where you'd expect them to be at the FIDE website (and the same article contains the pairing rules, which I will re-read before mentioning Faroe Islands again):


G. Tie Breaking

13. The position of teams that finish with the same number of match points shall be determined by application of the following tie-breaking procedures in sequence, proceeding from (a) to (b) to (c) to the extent required:

a) the sum of Sonneborn-Berger points, which are calculated as follows:
match points of each opponent, excluding the opponent who scored the lowest number of match points, multiplied by the number of game points achieved against this opponent;

b) by the sum of the match points of all the teams opponents, excluding the lowest one;

c) by the number of the game points scored.

For tie-break purposes a bye is counted as a drawn match against the team itself, an unplayed match - if the opponent team does not appear on time – is counted as a match won by 3 - 1.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 15, 2008 4:38 PM.

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