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Dresden Olympiad r7

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Bit swamped yesterday; Garry has a speech today in Munich and a Wall Street Journal editorial appearing in both the European and US editions. And my mother-in-law is arriving today. (Hi Beth!) The epic round six podcast (video or mp3 only) is done and will be up at chessclub.com soon.

The big guns are slugging it out at last. Armenia beat Azerbaijan in round six thanks to a nice new idea in the Sicilian by Akopian, who beat Mamedyarov. Qg4-h3 is good stuff. Nyback upset Magnus Carlsen and Finland drew with Norway as a result. Kramnik beat Short with a nice game, winning with a rook and two pawns versus two knights. Short blundered with 39..c6 but it was tough to hold in any case. USA beat Cuba thanks to wins by Nakamura and Shulman. The USA women stomped the strong Romanian team 4-0 led by my Brooklyn homegirl Irina Krush. They face the still-perfect China in round seven. Rowson lost to 2272 Kajima of Japan but Scotland won the match. Interesting endgame with rook vs three connected passers. The six-man tablebases say 64.Rf2+ was the only move to draw. After missing that Rowson had to defend R vs Q, which he lost ten moves shy of the 50 move rule. Very impressive Germany again stood up to a top team, drawing with Ukraine with wins by Karjakin on one side and Fridman on the other.

In round seven the big shows are Russia-Armenia, both with 11 points, and Ukraine-China, USA-Hungary, Germany-Romania, India-France, Israel-Spain, England-Azerbaijan. That's seven games with both players 2700+! Who will wins the race for best performance rating? Live here. On-site video goodness and tidbits from Macauley in the ICC Blog. FIDE has announced the agreement for Kamsky-Topalov on Feb. 16 in Sofia. I hope so, though contracts not signed yet. As usual with FIDE, you can't believe it until the first pawn is pushed and the last toilet flushed. Olympiad r7 report here later.

Update: Armenia!! USA! Vietnam!? New Zealand?! Netherlands? Australia?? That about sums up today's highlights. Armenia took out the mighty Russian team, again thanks to their go-to guy, Sargissian. He beat Grischuk in a wonderfully complex endgame with protected passed pawns against a bishop. It looks like something Loyd would compose on the day his dog died. The other three games were drawn in this very hard-fought match, so Armenia is our first clear leader of the Open event with four rounds still to play. Back-to-back wins over Armenia and Russia thanks to Sargissian.

China-Ukraine was a four-draw split, slowing both teams. Ukraine looked to be winning on the top two boards but Ivanchuk and Karjakin couldn't finish off Wang Yue and Bu Xiangzhi. Germany is still rocking like a hurricane. Wins by Gustafsson and Baramidze compensated for Naiditsch's loss to Nisipeanu against Romania. A win by Vachier-Lagrave meant victory for France over India. Israel beat Spain 3-1 to stay in the medal hunt. The USA did the same with a big win over Hungary. Onischuk won a rook endgame against Balogh while Nakamura expertly saved one against Almasi. Kamsky looked in a spot of trouble against Leko but held neatly. Nice work, gentlemen!

Nigel Short handed Mamedyarov his second loss in a row, and did so with black in particularly violent fashion. Just 25 moves of wild-man pawn pushing and it was over. White is already in trouble, but the move 23.f4 must be put in the chess dictionary next to "lost the thread." Unfortunately for England, Howell suffered his first loss of the event to Gashimov and the match finished even. It seems like Howell declined a repetition at one point. He underestimated the power of Black's h-file infiltration and was quickly hacked to pieces by the rooks. Admittedly Howell was probably better when he rejected the repetition, but with one win already in the bag it was a debatable decision. Anyway, we can't criticize a fighter, especially one who has done very well so far in his first Olympiad.

Vietnam beat Netherlands and reminded us that they are now fielding an all-GM team. Nguyen added to van Wely's woes on board one and Le beat Smeets on the black side of a Dragon on board two. The bigger upset was New Zealand's win over Bosnia & Herzegovina. Chandler beat Nikolic and FM Stephen Lukey overcame a big rating gap and IM Stojanovic to take the match. Australia's up-and-down (under) event continued with a downer of a 4-0 pummeling at the hands of Bulgaria. Topalov won a pawn and later sacrificed a knight to win a nice game in his trademark style. Carlsen did not realize the Trompowsky is invincible and was held to a draw by Rahman. After such an amazing start Norway has come back to earth and could only draw Bangladesh. Caruana exploded Berg in spectacular fashion but Italy only drew Sweden.

The USA became the first team to slow down China in the women's event. Hou Yifan beat Krush on board one but Rohonyan got the point back on board four against Tan Zhongyi, whose game yesterday got some podcast time. The US faces top seed Russia tomorrow while seeds 2 and 3 Ukraine and China face off. If Ukraine wins they take over clear first place.

Podcast audio and video here or at ICC later.

Pairings for round eight are up. Armenia-France, Israel-German, USA-Russia, China-Vietnam, and, umm, Ukraine-New Zealand.


Hyvä Suomi!

A single stale super GM on the Hungarian team can not make Hungarys match against the overrated and hyped semi yankees into a big show.

So when you have one Armenian, one Japanese, and several Jews/Russians makes it a team of semi-yankees?

Can anyone explain the second and third tiebreakers to me? Trying to find an explanation on the official site was futile.


There is a rumor that in the mid-December, there will be a strong tourney(tournament?) in Nanjing, China: six players, Topalov, Ivanchuck, Svidler, Aronian, and two other Chinese 2700 players.
Can you confirm it?

It's more than a rumor; it's been posted for a couple of weeks or so. Check out TWIC (www.chesscenter.com/twic/twic.html).

According to this URL: http://www.dresden2008.de/site/de/olympiade/mitteilungen/2008/files/chess_olympiad_bulletin_2-final.pdf

10. Scoring
10.1 Each team's place in the order of classification shall be decided by the number of Match Points
it has scored.
10.2 Ties shall be resolved as follows:
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) by 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 Match Points of all the team’s opponents, excluding the lowest one;
(c) by the number of the Game Points scored
10.3 For tie-break purposes, a Bye is counted as a drawn match against the team itself, an unplayed
match – if the opposing team does not appear on time – is counted as a match won
by 3-1.


And way to go Armenia!

How did he go stale? Did someone leave him out of his wrapper too long? Or is he past his sell-by date? Can you confirm what other top GMs are in danger and how much aluminium foil will be required

Caruana's win against Berg is something to see.

Then the game points are part of the first tie-break after all! Did anyone tell the Russians?

The game points not only affect tiebreaks, they also affect pairings. Any team captain who thinks that 2.5 points is as good as 4 points should re-educate himself!

OTOH, if you expected to finish the Olympiad with 22 match points ... you are also in a fool's paradise!

Wait, am I reading those commas wrong? Sum of opponents' match points. Minus lowest opponent. Multiply by the number of board points you scored against that lowest opponent? Can't be right. After seven rounds that would be, for Armenia, 66, - 8 for Faroe Islands, multiplied by four for the 4-0 score they made against Faroe Islands. That's not right. Armenia is listed as having 165 points for first tiebreak.

The pairing seem much more impacted by seeding/rating. The lowest-rated team in a point group always seems to be paired up when a pairing up is required. E.g. In round 8 New Zealand gets Ukraine despite having more board points than Croatia. So how do board points influence pairings?

looks like USA-Russia tomorrow!


Yeah, you are reading the commas wrong. In each match, multiply your game score (in that match) by the opponent's match score (in the tournament). Discard the one with the lowest opponent's match score. Then sum the products that remain.

The pairing rules are at:


I draw your attention to this:

--------------start quote
K. Detailed Pairing Procedure for Rounds 4 to 11.

48. After the 3rd round, teams in a score-group (including `floaters` from other score-groups) shall be arranged in the order of the tie breaking procedure as outlined in section G.

49. In each median score-group or higher, priority shall be given to pairing the highest team with the lowest team in that group that it has not already played. The second highest team shall be paired with the second lowest team, etc.
---------------- end quote

So in a 10-team group, it's 1 vs 10, 2 vs 9, 3 vs 8, with the rank in each case in order of tiebreak points. Rating is irrelevant after round 3! I have observed this and for the past couple of rounds have been able to predict Canada's pairings.

So if your team scores more points in a match, it has a higher tiebreak, and it's likely to play an opponent with a lower tiebreak. In general, the teams with lower tiebreak on each matchpoint group are the weaker teams. For example, New Zealand has the lowest tiebreak among the teams with 10 points.

Now we come to a procedure that I don't (yet) understand. That involves how floaters (in an individual event they might be called "odd men") are determined and paired. Rules 51 and 52 are not, to my mind, precisely worded. But what they seem to mean in practice is that when you float a team (Ukraine) down to the next lower group, its preferred opponent is a middle team in that group. That is consistent with the pairing of Canada (top tiebreak of teams on 7 matchpoints) versus Trinidad (middle tiebreak of teams on 6 matchpoints) for Round 8. However, New Zealand is the bottom team in its group, and thus pairing it against Ukraine should not be favoured.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the rules. Maybe the rules have changed and the FIDE site not updated. Maybe the pairings committee misunderstands the rules. Or roll your own. And take your pick.

You can see the standings, in tiebreak order, by clicking on "Ranking list after" (whatever round) at the chess-results site. Comparing that with the pairings for the next round allowed me to (well, mostly, except for the floaters) reverse engineer the pairing system. The actual rules have been available all this time, but (aside from finding out the tiebreak rules earlier), I didn't attempt to read them. It's a puzzle, like Jumble or tic-tac-toe.

And even if Ukraine versus New Zealand or (in an earlier round) Netherlands versus Faroe Islands is the correct pairing according to the rules, maybe the rules need to be re-written!

"There is a rumor that in the mid-December, there will be a strong tourney(tournament?) in Nanjing, China: six players, Topalov, Ivanchuck, Svidler, Aronian, and two other Chinese 2700 players.
Can you confirm it?"

TWIC confirms most of your details, but has Sergei Movsesian (2732--Slovakia) competing, in place of one of the 2700+ Chinese players, like Wang Yue (2736) or Ni Hua (2710)-- or even Wang Hao (2696). 2 Chinese out of a field of 6 seems a reasonable ratio, as would 3 out of 8, or 4 out of 10....

Ivanchuk and Topalov will give the event some exctement...otherwise, just expect that one of the players will be out of form, and the other 5 will try to exploit that.

Maybe it's time to only get excited about Category 22 and above level events!?

From TWIC:

Nanjing Super GM
There is a Super GM Tournament in Nanjing, China taking place place 10th - 22nd December 2008. Six-player double round robin event.

Players: Veselin Topalov g BUL 2791; Vassily Ivanchuk g UKR 2786; Levon Aronian g ARM 2757; Movsesian Sergei g 2732 SVK; Peter Svidler g 2727; Bu Xiangzhi g CHN 2714.

It will be the strongest tournament ever held in China (at least by Elo average, 2751.6, making it a category 21 tournament)

The Nanjing tournament will become super one like Wijk aan Zee, Sofia, and Linares.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 20, 2008 5:36 AM.

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