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2010 Olympiad In Khanty-Mansiysk Begins

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[Damn, saved this as draft last night instead of publishing it! It was written as round 1 was about to begin. Changing the date to now so people can find it. Didn't notice it wasn't on the air until someone complained there wasn't an Olympiad thread. Don't miss the Kirsan Rebus Slogan contest below.]

Woo! Love me some Olympiad. Official site here, but it looks remarkably useless so far, although it does have a schedule. To the rescue, as so often, comes the Chess Results site. They must be scrambling to keep up because the information flow from Khanty-Mansiysk has been atrocious so far. With just 30 minutes before the start of the first round, there still aren't board pairings posted anywhere and the live games page only talks about how they are going to have Rybka "comment" on the top games. The horror.

Okay, enough whining. They should have it going all right by, oh, round five. By then we'll be well into the meetings between heavyweight teams. The first round is appetizers, and they aren't nearly as tasty since they changed the Olympiad scoring system from board points to match points. Yes, they still use board points as first tiebreak, but the incentive to take risks to put up a big score is much diminished, and match-clinching short draws are more likely. Match scoring also reduces the dynamism in the rankings, so big 4-0 scores don't jump you up the table, making the final rounds much more predictable.

So I guess what I'm saying is that there's never enough whining. Russia has exploited its advantage as host to field three teams, a tradition that was not really intended to have duplicate teams with real chances to medal. Russia B took bronze in Moscow 1994 and Russia B was actually ahead of Russia A for a while in Elista, 1998, but faltered in the final rounds. Until Thessaloniki, 1984, the B teams played hors concours. The C teams started popping up at least as far back as Novi Sad, 1990. Russia has really pushed the envelope this time, with local-ish teams representing the region signing on as Russia D and E, basically. Crazy.

Ah well, more teams, more players, more chess, and with Russia that means good chess. (And they need to compensate for the missing teams, such as Nicaragua, which decided late not to go in light of the widely-discussed organizational difficulties in Khanty-Mansiysk. They were actually warned not to go by Continental President of the Americas, Jorge Vega, which is another story.) Russia take on Ireland in the first round, which may have started a few minutes ago. The official site should be crashing in three, two, one...

I'll be swamped with campaign stuff in the run up to the election on the 29th, but I'll do my best to toss up some thread here for anyone who is still around. I'll try to work in all the election dirt I can; I'm sure there will be more than enough to go around.

We know the favorites. Who are your dark horses? Any team medals from outside the top dozen teams this year? Can Armenia three-peat? Can team USA pull off another shocker and medal? (Actually it wouldn't really be a shocker this time.) Will Russia improve on their embarrassing 5th place in Dresden? On the other end of the scale, which will be the last team to score a point? Never need a reason to tout the amazing Olimpbase website.


I think Vietnam could be a sleeper to challenge for a medal...dark horse to finish top 10.

Only comment, and looking very good just a few hours later! Well done, sir. Well done.

Well... Vietnam was #7 in 2008, so that is very probable. In my predictions, I had them as the team to watch.

Easy to say now, but no one other than me put it in writing BEFORE they beat Azerbaijan :). Everyone is an expert after the fact.

Thanks, Mig. I've been a fan of your work since before Kasparov hired you...back in the TWIC days; that's how I can spot when you're recycling old jokes ;).

Daaim's preview was written before round 1 ... .

Yeah, and there was no mention of Vietnam as a sleeper :). I read The Chess Drum regularly ;). Nice try, though.

You get copyright for the term "sleeper" - Daaim wrote: "TEAM TO WATCH: Vietnam – Led by sensation Le Quang Liem, Vietnam returns from a #7 showing in 2008 and will look to improve on that." Not inconsistent with beating the seventh seed Azerbaijan ... .

I do nto know why so important who say what first or say what but who can say.

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What is easy and what is difficult? Easy is to judge others mistakes and difficult is to recognize our own mistakes.

What is also interesting that this is a problem where simple attention, exposure, got it to disappear. Where the old "power of the pen" becomes reaffirmed in the internet age.

What is also interesting that this is a problem where simple attention, exposure, got it to disappear. Where the old "power of the pen" becomes reaffirmed in the internet age

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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 21, 2010 11:44 PM.

    Kirsan Slogan Contest! was the previous entry in this blog.

    K-M Olympiad, r2: Warm-ups Continue is the next entry in this blog.

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