August 28, 2012 10:32

Olympiad: opening ceremony and pairings round 1

Last night the 40th Chess Olympiad was officially opened at the WOW Convention center in Istanbul, Turkey. The drawing of lots resulted in the black pieces for top seed Russia in round 1 of the Open section while China will start with the white pieces in their first match in the Women's section.

The opening ceremony seen from the audience | All photos courtest of FIDE & the official website

Before the opening ceremony a captains meeting was held, led by Chief Arbiter Panagiotis Nikolopoulos from Greece. He announced that 158 teams were registered, of whom 128 attended the meeting. They were told a few strict rules, some of which seem to be the result of the cheating scandal two years ago. For example, each team will receive four green cards for the players who will be in the lineup for the respective round. The 5th/reserve player will not be allowed in the playing hall. He/she can observe the play from the spectators' stand. Then, captains should stay behind their players at all time, and no visual contact is allowed. Again the zero tolerance rule shall be in effect, so players cannot arrive late at their boards at all. And, at this Olympiad draw offers before the 30th move are not allowed.

Opening ceremony

At 21:30 local time the opening ceremony took off at the WOW Convention center, Istanbul's largest congress center that also offers accommodation. The ceremony began with the national anthem of Turkey, followed by a tribute to historical top chess players, similar to what was shown at the start of Anand-Gelfand in May. A cultural program followed with traditional music and dances.

Three officials came on stage: FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the Minister of Youth and Sports Suat Kilic and the Turkish Chess Federation President Ali Nihat Yazici.

Ilymzhinov pointed out a new record, with 161 federations participating, but apparently he was using old data. He was quoted on the official website saying the correct number 158, which is still a record - according to Olimpbase 149 federations participated two years ago.

Yazici emphasized the development of chess in Turkey and mentioned staggering statistics: the number of chess players now exceeds 235,000 while 60,000 (!) chess trainers and coaches work in the chess clubs. Kilic promised to continue supporting the Turkish Chess Federation in the future, in order to see chess "globally around the country".

After the official anthem of FIDE and the rising of the "Gens Una Sumus" flag, the Chief Arbiter performed the drawing of colors together with the Minister. In round 1 the top seeded team in the Open section, Russia, will play with the black pieces on board one. In the Women's section, China will start with the white pieces on board one.

The opening ceremony concluded with an element which is standard at the Olympic Games: fair play and sportsmanship oaths by players and trainers.


Just like two years ago, at the 39th Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, the ceremony of the 40th edition could also be followed online. The organizers have hired the same tv crew that has been responsible for the recent top chess events in Russia, Chess.TV, and their first broadcast was offered in no less than four languages. They'll cover the rounds in Russian and English, with commentary by GMs Sergey Shipov and Evgeny Miroshnichenko.

In general it looks like this Olympiad will be the best covered Olympiad so far. Besides an official website the organizers also use a Facebook page, a Twitter account and there are even smartphone apps!

Round 1 pairings

The pairings of the first round, which starts at 15:00 local time (14:00 CET or 08:00 EDT), have been published. The first thing that strikes is that the captains didn't always enter their line-ups in order of rating.

Bo. 78 Dominican Republic Rtg - 1 Russia Rtg 0 : 0
1/1 IM Munoz Santana, Jose Lisandro 2428 - GM Grischuk, Alexander 2763  
1/2 IM Pinal, Nelson 2322 - GM Karjakin, Sergey 2785  
1/3 FM Puntier, William 2312 - GM Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2730  
1/4 FM Fernandez, Francis 2289 - GM Jakovenko, Dmitry 2722  
Bo. 2 Ukraine Rtg - 79 Iraq Rtg 0 : 0
2/1 GM Ponomariov, Ruslan 2734 - FM Abdul, Ahmed Abdulsattar 2314  
2/2 GM Volokitin, Andrei 2709 - FM Ahmed, Ali Layth 2360  
2/3 GM Eljanov, Pavel 2693 - IM Al-Ali, Hussein 2329  
2/4 GM Moiseyenko, Aleksandr 2706 - FM Salih, Akar Ali 2282  
Bo. 80 Bolivia Rtg - 3 Armenia Rtg 0 : 0
3/1 GM Zambrana, Osvaldo R 2471 - GM Movsesian, Sergei 2698  
3/2 FM Gemy, Jose Daniel 2345 - GM Akopian, Vladimir 2687  
3/3 IM Cueto, Jonny 2282 - GM Sargissian, Gabriel 2693  
3/4 CM Ferrufino, Boris 2171 - GM Petrosian, Tigran L. 2661  
Bo. 4 Hungary Rtg - 81 Kyrgyzstan Rtg 0 : 0
4/1 GM Almasi, Zoltan 2713 -   Shukuraliev, Algis 2360  
4/2 GM Polgar, Judit 2698 -   Maznitsin, Andrei 2283  
4/3 GM Berkes, Ferenc 2685 - FM Abdyjapar, Asyl 2365  
4/4 GM Balogh, Csaba 2668 -   Takyrbashev, Bolot 2195  
Bo. 82 Jordan Rtg - 5 United States Of America Rtg 0 : 0
5/1 IM Khader, Sami 2392 - GM Kamsky, Gata 2746  
5/2 FM Samhouri, A. 2373 - GM Onishuk, Alexander 2666  
5/3 FM Samhouri, Bilal 2244 - GM Akobian, Varuzhan 2617  
5/4 FM Mansour, Sameer 2244 - GM Robson, Ray 2598  
Bo. 6 China Rtg - 83 Zambia Rtg 0 : 0
6/1 GM Wang, Hao 2726 - IM Jere, Daniel 2382  
6/2 GM Wang, Yue 2685 -   Chumfwa, Stanley 2347  
6/3 GM Ding, Liren 2695 - CM Bwalya, Gillan 2256  
6/4 GM Li, Chao 2665 - CM Kayonde, Andrew 2180  
Bo. 84 Luxembourg Rtg - 7 Azerbaijan Rtg 0 : 0
7/1 IM Wiedenkeller, Michael 2475 - GM Radjabov, Teimour 2788  
7/2   Serban, Vlad 2280 - GM Safarli, Eltaj 2620  
7/3 FM Wagener, Claude 2261 - GM Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2729  
7/4   Jeitz, Christian 2212 - GM Mamedov, Rauf 2634  
Bo. 8 France Rtg - 85 Zimbabwe Rtg 0 : 0
8/1 GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2686 - IM Gwaze, Robert 2454  
8/2 GM Fressinet, Laurent 2714 - IM Mandiza, Farai 2390  
8/3 GM Edouard, Romain 2652 - FM Makoto, Rodwell 2139  
8/4 GM Tkachiev, Vladislav 2644 -   Moyo, Dion James 2210  
Bo. 86 Malaysia Rtg - 9 Netherlands Rtg 0 : 0
9/1 IM Mok, Tze-Meng 2354 - GM Van Wely, Loek 2691  
9/2 IM Lim, Yee Weng 2287 - GM Sokolov, Ivan 2696  
9/3   Yeoh, Li Tian 2258 - GM Smeets, Jan 2608  
9/4   Lim, Zhuo Ren 2120 - GM Stellwagen, Daniel 2630  
Bo. 88 Andorra Rtg - 11 England Rtg 0 : 0
10/1 GM De La Riva Aguado, Oscar 2540 - GM Jones, Gawain 2653  
10/2 FM Simonet, Marc 2291 - GM Short, Nigel 2698  
10/3 FM Garcia, Raul 2193 - GM Howell, David 2635  
10/4   Jose Queralto, Daniel 2133 - GM Pert, Nicholas 2555  

You can find the full round 1 pairings here and the women's pairings here.

We finish off with two funny tweets:

First-round pairings are always brutal. Michael Jordan would have a better chance against the USA than Jordan.

(Mig Greengard)

Deja vu! The same team (Iraq), my opponent and colour like in Khanty 2010! I hope that overall result will be the same :)

(GM Pavel Eljanov)

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Someitsi's picture

Can the team captains submit the order of players as they wish? (f.e., Kramnik playing on fourth board?)

Remco G's picture

As far as I know, yes, but they can't change the order during the tournament.

Longyearbyen's picture

I don't really see how it makes sense that professionals play weak amateurs, but lets say that it is a unique feature of chess. What's inexcusable is, that there is no knock out system, no semi-final, no final. The swiss system is ok to start a tournament, but towards the end it does not work, because The final round usually is a draw round. Is chess a sport or not? I real final it must be.

Anonymous's picture

Euwe, Granda Zuniga, Giri and many other great players were and are amateurs.

Anonymous's picture

Longyearbyen, I agree with you. This is the only 'sport' that allows players in a final to de-facto collaborate on splitting the prize money by not
trying to win.

Anonymous's picture

The Olympiad is the one thing that FIDE really does well.

Anonymous's picture

Interesting event, especially for the players. I don't think we need to have it staged every other year though. Once every 4 years, like the real olympics, would be absolutely sufficient.

Latest articles