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Dresden Olympiad r5

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Germany holds off Russia to keep a piece of the leaderboard, which is once again a mob scene. The four-draw split on the first table between The home team and the top seed meant there are no more perfect scores. Germany and Russia are now joined by today's winners Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and England with 9/10 match points. England has pulled off this feat despite two losses by top board Mickey Adams by beating seeds 50, 32, 109, and 44 and drawing with 19th seed Norway. The easy ride ends in Wednesday's round six when they face Russia.

Once again, ignore the PGN archive on the official site. Most of the scores I checked are wrong. The live scores look pretty good, at least for the top boards. Ooh, I do love serendipity. This just in from the organizers in Dresden:

Over 510 linked chess boards live on the internet - for the first time in history, all games of the chess Olympiad could be followed from the beginning without any problems. Michael Breidung, head of IT at the Chess Olympiad and of the Eigenbetrieb IT of the city of Dresden says: "We are very proud of this achievement. The Chess Olympiad in Dresden has the highest number of chess players, the highest number of boards, and still the equipment worked on a high level." During the first hour there were over one million views. On the first day 32 million file downloads were counted. 22 million times the chess boards were looked on, and 10 million times the homepage was retrieved. On the second and also on the third day there were over 60 million file downloads. The peak was between 7 and 8 pm.

Sigh. See my recent post on the Liverpool tournament regarding the hash these press releases inevitably make when discussing views and downloads (by which they must mean hits, which is actually technically close to accurate, if misleading in the vernacular). But this is better than most. For live viewing with every board counted as a page view, 50,000 visitors can easily rack up a million views in an hour. And I do agree that the IT has been solid. That means the hardware, of course. As for the site... Navigation was confusing in every language, there were broken links all over the place at the start and the gamescores are still a disaster. Pats to the hardware people, smacks to the web designers, and kicks in the nuts to whoever is in charge of the scores and the PGN archives.

Anyway, back to the chess, at least as far as we can make it out. I thought Russia might rest Kramnik, but he was ready to defend his Petroff against Naiditsch, who battered it with a nice novelty in Dortmund a few months ago. Morozevich pressed a rook endgame against my ICC Chess.FM homeboy Jan Gustafsson for a long time but eventually had to give up the ghost. Nicely done by Germany, I must say. I really thought they were going to get rolled today. Ivanchuk needed 127 moves but he finally brought home the point against Peter Leko and the match against Hungary. Great work from Ivanchuk, though it required some help from Leko in the bitter end. Even a technical master like Leko couldn't handle having to make only moves for so long with just a 30-second increment. Hell on the nerves. 124.Rf8 is the only move to hold the draw, sez Fritz. That win tipped the balance since Almasi beat Eljanov and Karjakin beat Polgar, who just hasn't been playing enough since her second child was born to back up her 2700 rating.

Azerbaijan finally turned the Norwegian coach back into a pumpkin. Wins by Mammadov and Gashimov were enough even with Radjabov chickening out of the expected board one matchup against Carlsen. Mamedyarov did well in the role and Kasparov said he was likely winning at several points. Perhaps knowing the match was already decided influenced his decision to take a draw, or at least interfered with his concentration. Another underdog, Netherlands, also had its piƱata punctured by a top dog, in this case Armenia. Sargissian's win over Stellwagen was the decider. (26.Rxc5!) England beat Italy 2.5-1.5 despite Adams becoming the victim of Fabiano Caruana's third straight victory after starting with two losses. It's not often you see Mickey lose with his beloved Tarrasch against the French. Short and again Howell came to the rescue with wins. Short has 3.5/4 and Howell has won four in a row after an initial draw.

India duly dispatched overmatched Austria and most of the other mismatches went to the favorites. Scotland took 1.5 away from mighty China, only Shaw losing to Wang Hao. Not saying that it happened in that match, which was a good effort by the Scots, but there is little doubt that when a match win is secured with a draw your motivation for playing for a win is going to drop. Especially if there is any risk of a loss by playing on.

Ukraine-Germany 1 and the regional grudge match Azerbaijan-Armenian are the other highlights of round six. Speaking of regional grudges, USA-Cuba is another good one. Anybody still pissed off for Spain-Philippines? Finland-Norway must have a few partisans, too. Rwanda-Liechtenstein? Tomorrow, Tuesday is a rest day. Podcast coming up later tonight tomorrow. Check out Macauley and the ICC blog from Dresden, meanwhile. Update your predictions, if you like. Biggest surprise so far?


Too bad the US just got it's a** whooped...

USA-Cuba a grudge match? Or Soviet bloc comrades reminiscing about old times?

Sad to see Judit leaving the 2700+ elite following the recent bad results. I hope she gets back to this group in no time!

Judit's slide has been obvious for some time. Its harder and harder to keep up with the theory of modern chess and I think the standards keep getting better. Judit isn't playing enough to be an elite professional anymore. She has the talent to get back but she has to want to do it. Even Kramnik is re-evaluation both his preparation and style of play. Not that I would criticise her for having a family (she's done well enough to have real priorities) but she's suffering from the tradeoff and the fact its harder even just to stay in the same place.

I would disagree with Judith needed to keep up with current theory to play at her former level. Her game has always been very forceful, very vigorous, and i would think that not having enough practice at keeping tension on the board would take more toll then her not knowing the latest novelty around move 24

Wow -- great round-up, Mig. I don't know how you do it day after day!

Judit should deign to play for the Women's World Championship since (1) she isn't ever winning the men's championship; and (2)she's out of the 2700 club. She's more marketable and will command better appearance fees that way. Otherwise, I don't know how a p/t mommy will get elite invites.

(Btw, along with her game her looks have gone downhill as well. She's age 32 and looks it, not any longer like a cute or pretty 17 or 18, and this surely negatively impacts her market value.)

All we need is an India-Pakistan match!

Gee, Mig. Please tell us what you really think.

And try not to kick me in the testicles.

Anyone got news if punches were thrown at yesterday's Bermuda party??


Norway vs. Denmark or Finland vs. Sweden yes, these might be grudge matches, but not Norway vs. Finland.

In Turin 2006, all games were online already; and there were bombastic official press releases too.

A great day for German chess ... as far as I could see the other 5 German teams all won their matches, only one of 24 games got lost.

What? There are no Germans on the first "German" team.

Doesn't matter for them. They were quite happy ("Germany won!") when Podolski and Klose scored 2:0 victory against Poland.

That's what I'm sayin'. What's the olympiadic point of beating Germany1 if it's an assembly of immigrant mercs? Thats not distinguishable from any scrambled up open team tournament.

Gustafsson is not an immigrant, he is a German guy.

Gustaffson is actually a 'true' German (even if the name sounds Scandinavian). Naiditsch came to Germany at the age of six years or so - so ("in spite of 'Soviet genes' ") he is also a product of German chess education, just as Podolski and Klose got their football education in Germany. And Fridman is at least permanently living in Germany (well, whenever he is not playing tournaments somewhere else).

Similarly (just to give one example), Nakamura has a Japanese name and looks Japanese, but still is American concerning everything else

So the situation is quite different from open team tournaments where players are just flying in for the occasion and can come up for different teams at different occasions. I think we simply have to get used to the fact that, in a globalized world, place of birth and 'race' is not the only thing that matters.

Go Nosher!

Ah memories....

Kamsky and Topalov sign contracts according to http://www.chessdom.com/kamsky-topalov-sofia

"Naiditsch came to Germany at the age of six years or so - so ("in spite of 'Soviet genes' ") he is also a product of German chess education"

Naiditsch product of the German chess education? lol thats comical. do you even know who were his coaches?

>Naiditsch product of the German chess education? lol thats comical. do you even know who were his coaches? <
Just checked Naiditsch's biography (on the Corus 2006 website) and concede that I was at least partly wrong in that respect: He came to Germany "at the age of about eleven" and had been European champion U10 - so his chess talent had existed, was discovered and promoted before. No need to argue "how much he owes to Germany" for becoming a 2600+ player thereafter, though 'local hero' invitations to the Dortmund supertournament certainly did not hurt.

My main point is that I disagree with widowmaker ("no Germans on the first 'German' team") and HCL ("an assembly of immigrant mercs"). This applies to club competitions, where one can play for several teams in different countries at the same time. And at the European club championship you have to choose one team and may end up playing against your colleagues from another team ... .

Another example from a different generation: Korchnoj obviously is NOT a product of Swiss chess education, yet it is perfectly normal that he plays for the Swiss team for several decades already !?

Does anyone know the exact FIDE rules to be eligible for a national team ? Probably you have to hold a passport of the country that you are representing, are there any bans or 'waiting times' on switching countries and chess federations ?

What do you mean 'easy ride'? That is just plain stupid. England have beaten some very strong teams- teams at least as strong as Greece who the USA couldn't beat. These teams definitely have more than an 1800 rating.

As a team they've played amazingly well.

Out with 400 years of colonial rule!

That's Spain-Philippines of course

"Does anyone know the exact FIDE rules to be eligible for a national team ?"

I think it's more the matter of national rules than FIDE rules. E.g. here in New Zealand you have to have been a resident for at least 2 years to be considered for the team. So there's no need to be a citizen.
I think most countries only allow citizens on their teams - but if an immigrant is a good player they can speed up the proccess of getting them citizenship.

Regarding the Mamedyarov-Carlsen game: at the time of the draw there were no signs of Azerbaidjan winning the match. On the contrary, Hammer may have been better (but lost later).

Gross, HCL. Go watch porn sites if you think it's all about how girls look.

Obviously "easy ride" is relative. England haven't faced any teams higher rated than they are. Out of 20 games they have been outrated on one board twice. That qualifies as easy. I don't see how their performance being better than the USA's is relevant. (And no, none of the teams they've beaten were as strong as Greece.) It's not an insult; they don't do the pairings. Anyway, it will all come out in the end. Even these weird pairings can't avoid giving the medals the best-performing teams, one hopes.

The German chess federation has a long standing policy that to be eligible for the national team, you have to be either a German citizen or seriously on the way to citizenship. The point is to keep here today-gone tomorrow-mercenaries out.
As far as I know, all players in the current team are Germans. Only one of them is born in Germany, but that's not a new phenomen. In Germany there is no systematic approach to chess education, so immigrants from post-Soviet countries usually have a head start.
The trouble with the current team is probably that all the names -Gustafsson included- sound a little foreign. Gone are the times of Alexander Graf, Eric Lobron, Stefan Kindermann.

Alexander Graf was born and raised in the Soviet Union.

And Eric Lobron is originally American, that's why his first name is spelled with a "c" rather than a "k" at the end. If Wikipedia is right, he moved to Germany at the age of 5 and got in touch with chess only afterwards. And, if that matters, he was born in Germantown, PA ,:) .

Yep, Alexander Graf was earlier known as Alexander Nenashev. He is of German ancestry and took up his former name (fron some generations ago?).

I don't think the "immigrant phenomen" is specifically German. For ex-Soviets it is somewhat amplified because people of German ancestry can move to Germany more easily - half-joking, people say it it sufficient to have a German shepherd somewhere in the family. Slightly off-topic, but this rule is arguably a bit strange: many of those people have trouble integrating because they do not speak German properly. And if things should go really wrong in the US, millions of Americans of German ancestry could come back claiming the same rule !?

As far as my other question is concerned: Obviously each federation can make their own rules. I was just wondering if, say, Qatar could decide to become chess world champion, hire (in alphabetic order) Anand, Kasparov (!?), Kramnik, Morozevich and Topalov and would get away with it. I took the example of Qatar because in athletics (one of my other hobbies) many Kenians were lured by the money, took up Arabic names and now represent that country.

In club chess this is very common indeed: top players coming and going, sponsors coming and going - and in the German first league you have little chance of even staying in this division without foreign mercenaries.

Thomas, yes Qatar could do that. That's not so different to what the USA has done.

How about those Georgian female beach volleyball players? Imported from Brazil, they took names that together spelled "Georgia". And of course there are American basketball players on national teams all over the world, even Russia.

As long as the person actually lives there I don't have any problem with it. It's not much different than someone moving to a new country to find job opportunities as a taxi driver or anything else. It's not as if the money for representing a country's Olympiad team is going to be worth big bucks. There are a few though, who take advantage of loose policies and just play for a nation without living there. Is that worse than someone who was born in a country and represents them but doesn't live there? Nikolic played in the Dutch championship and on the Bosnian Olympiad team in the same year, I believe.

And the US federation has hardly shelled out a bunch of money to attract all the players who live there. The USCF is nearly bankrupt most of the time. There are fewer opportunities for chessplayers here than just about anywhere in Europe if that's all they wanted to do. Clearly the US has other attractions, which is why such a large percentage of the world's immigrants go there.

I know there was some haggling for support when Kamsky and his father came over. And there were some shenanigans to allow Zatonskih to play asap, if I recall. But it's not like they don't live here, which is the real point.

Sorry, just checking as to why I see no new comments or posts for two days no matter how many times I hit refresh or clear my history and cookies.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 17, 2008 4:18 PM.

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