Reports | August 30, 2012 12:30

Olympiad: Round 2, Surov and Norway

The playing hall during the second round

Slovakia is leading the Olympiad on tie-break as the only team that started with two 4-0 sweeps. There are 33 teams with 4 match points. In the women's section six countries started with two 4-0 wins. Meanwhile, Evgeny Surov still hasn't been allowed to enter the playing hall and an article in a Norwegian newspaper has more about the line-up of their team.

The playing hall during the second round | All photos by David Llada, Arman Karakhayan and Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of FIDE & the official website

Event Olympiad | PGN: Open & Women via TWIC
Dates August 28-September 9, 2012
Location Istanbul, Turkey
System Team Swiss, 11 rounds
Players Open, top 10: Aronian, Kramnik, Radjabov, Karjakin, Nakamura, Caruana, Ivanchuk, Grischuk, Topalov, Kamsky
Women, top 10: A.Muzychuk, Hou Yifan, Zhao Xue, Dzagnidze, Lahno, T.Kosintseva, Ju Wenjun, N.Kosintseva, Cmilyte, Zatonskih
Rate of play

90 minutes for 40 moves + 30 minutes to finish the game + 30 seconds increment from move 1

Tie-break 1) Match points 2) Sonneborn-Berger without lowest result 3) Game points
Extra No draw offers before move 30

Surov case

Before we'll go to the games, let's return one more time to the Surov case. Peter Zhdanov, the husband of Russian Women's Champion Natalija Pogonina, gave his full support to the Russian journalist who isn't allowed in the playing hall. On he writes:

I have known Evgeny Surov for quite a few years. He is a passionate chess lover, an esteemed professional and a very liberal and critical-minded person. While many websites are posting glossy reports and praises, Evgeny is always looking into the essence of things and interviewing people about the most urgent and unspoken matters. In my opinion, it is unacceptable to prevent one of the leading chess journalists from working just on the basis of some personal feuds. Injustice done to one is injustice to all. I strongly believe in freedom of speech and want to support my friend and colleague.

Surov himself has now written an open letter to officials of the Russian Chess Federation, which we've added to Tuesday's article.

The Norwegian team

As we mentioned before, Norway came to Istanbul without Magnus Carlsen and in fact without any of its other nine grandmasters. This led to some discussion in the comments section, so we'd like to draw your attention to this article, posted yesterday at the website of Nettavisen, one of Norway's biggest newspapers. Carlsen's manager Espen Agdestein was quoted:

Magnus has pretty much played all the Olympics and wants to play in 2014. It looked fine to him with a break this time.

GM Leif Erlend Johannessen said to Nettavisen:

It was criticized that Norway is playing without their supposedly strongest cards in the Open section, just two years before the Tromsø Olympiad. That the team does not contain grandmasters this time is most probably due to chance. Kjetil Lie became a father right before the Olympiad, and I've just changed jobs.

Update 12:40 CET:

In a Twitter conversation yesterday with Mark Crowther, Norway's second highest rated player Jon Ludvig Hammer tweeted:

My economics professor explained to me the cost-benefit of studying. I decided the cost of skipping school was higher than fee.

Round 2

After the second round eight countries are sharing the lead: Slovakia, USA, Azerbaijan, France, Cuba, Ukraine, Armenia and India. We tried in vain to find the tie-break rules on the official website. All it says on the 'regulation' page is:

Each teams place in the order of classification shall be decided by the number of match points it has scored. Ties shall be resolved by the procedures in D.II.07, Annex D, paragraph G.

However, "D.II.07, Annex D, paragraph G" isn't there. We did find it in the FIDE Handbook, where the tie-breaks are given for teams that finish on the same amount of match points:

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 number of the game points scored;
c) by the sum of the match points of all the teams opponents, excluding the lowest one.

The four federations mentioned above are all on four match points and four SB points. Slovakia would win the gold medal after two rounds as the only team that won both its matches 4-0.

Again, the second round saw a lot of big scores with many strong teams facing clearly weaker teams. This time there were not many upsets. In Qatar-Ukraine Mohamad Al-Modiahki defeated Vassily Ivanchuk, who lost on time in the following position:

Olympiad, 2012

PGN string

White is winning with 54.Qf8 Qh5+ 55. Kg3 Qg5+ 56. Kf2 Ne4+ 57. Ke3 +-.

After losing on time Ivanchuk stayed at the board for a while, analyzing the position

The biggest upset was the overall team score in the match Netherlands-Venezuela: 1.5-2.5. With draws on the other three boards, the following game decided the match:

PGN string

As you might have noticed, Anish Giri hasn't played for the Netherlands yet and he is not in the line-up for round 3 either. Due to unexpected issues with his passport, Holland's number one grandmaster still hasn't arrived in Istanbul, but the Dutch team is hoping to welcome him soon.

Hikaru Nakamura played his first game for the USA in the match againt Lithuania. He needed 107 moves to beat his opponent, who threw away the draw in a queen ending.

PGN string

At move 100 Malisauskas made the decisive error

Vladimir Kramnik made his first appearance for Russia and started with a draw. His opponent offered a "Greek gift" in the opening and the pawn sac yielded good compensation:

PGN string

Sergey Karjakin already repeated moves with Hristos Banikas at move 13, but Alexander Grischuk and Dmitry Jakovenko won to set the score at 3-1.

Vladimir Kramnik (l.) and Alexander Grischuk, top boards for top seed Russia

The first absolute top encounter of the Olympiad occurred in the China-Italy match and it was an excellent game by the Chinese board one.

PGN string

Levon Aronian also played his first game on Wednesday. His opponent was rated 2516, a normal GM rating you'd say, but Aronian was still rated exactly 300 points higher!

PGN string

Levon Aronian, the highest rated player in Istanbul

Nigel Short decided the match England-Brazil. The final phase of his game was sheer torture:

PGN string

Also in Germany-Georgia only one game ended decisively. We've heard that Baadur Jobava had to withdraw at the last minute due to illness. Naiditsch was too strong for Mchedlishvili:

PGN string

For the Turkish team four draws against the Czech Republic was a fine result. Sweden managed to reach the same score against Serbia, with in this match a nice pawn ending on board one:

PGN string

The third round will see some interesting individual board pairings. To name a few: Vachier-Lagrave vs Topalov (France-Bulgaria), Ivanchuk-Gelfand (Ukraine-Israel), Aronian-Vallejo (Armenia-Spain) and Kramnik-Shirov (Russia-Latvia).

In the women's section no less than six countries started with two 4-0 wins: China, Georgia, Poland, France, Serbia and Kazakhstan. In the first two rounds the strongest players didn't really face serious opposition, but round three will have the following clashes: Hou Yifan-Lahno (China-Ukraine), Dzagnidze-Pähtz (Georgia-Germany), Socko-Hoang Thanh Trang (Poland-Hungary), T.Kosintseva-Munguntuul (Russia-Mongolia) and Danielian-Dronavalli (Armenia-India).

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Tarjei's picture

Chessvibes: In addition, you may want to add this tweet from GM Hammer:

@gmjlh @MarkTWIC My economics professor explained to me the cost-benefit of studying. I decided the cost of skipping school was higher than fee.

Peter Doggers's picture

Thanks, did so!

Anonymous's picture

Poor Hammer. I Guess the federation is broke after paying the 2014 ambassador..

Tarjei's picture

The federation isn't paying for that, the Tromsø 2014 campaign is. The 2014 Olympiad got state support, the federation doesn't.

Frits Fritschy's picture

Are the collected chess journalists (I don't know if there is any formal organization) doing anything about the Surov case (apart from reporting it)? You would expect something like a joint protest – everyone of you might be the next.

Thomas 's picture

As you mention "collected chess journalists": There is at least one who doesn't support Surov - this is from Europe Echecs (my translation from French):

"... During the Anand-Gelfand WCh match, as soon as he [Surov] took the word we all - the players included - knew that the question would be weird. Sometimes this led to sharp answers. Obviously in the microcosm of the chess world such an attitude isn't forgiven and Surov made himself some enemies."

Janis Nisii's picture

I hope people at Europe Echecs understand the difference between thinking someone is not kind, or gentle, or even dislike someone and not allow him to work or express his opinion!
Journalists who try hard to please everyone aren't usually the best my opinion!

nep's picture

What were his weird questions? (That match asked for sharp questions, by the way.) Is he the one that made up 'exclusive' interview with Kramnik?

Janis Nisii's picture

I'll be harsh here, but the weird questions are the one that the other people didnt' have the ball to ask. Why they drew their games so early without playing and that people were disappointed and some even disgusted by two people who are afraid to play and to make mistakes. Many chess GMs and even Carlsen confirmed to me that they didn't understand why some games weren't played for some more moves.

Janis Nisii's picture

I don't know if there's such an organization (I remember there was an attempt that failed in Dresden), but there is a tragic lack of truly independent journalists in the chess field for the simple reason there is so little money, that many of them have to rely on the organizers invitations.
One of the best compliment I've ever received on my work was when Aronian told me "There should be more independent journalists like you!". Let's see if he will confirm his idea if next time I write something evil about him :P

S3's picture

Well I guess you are no stranger to these press haters. Didn't some weirdo refuse to let you cover reggio? Only confirms that you guys are real reporters!

Janis Nisii's picture

LOL, I wouldn't call them weirdos, more like anti-democratic, anti freedom people. But yes, it was me, and I don't know if that makes me a real reporter, but I'm surely free and not conditioned by the powers that be. It must be said that chess doesn't pay my bills so it's easier for me. This is why I tried my best to give publicity to my story with the Reggio Emilia organizers, there are many who get treated like that, but are afraid to lose their job or possibility to work if they complain, so I felt responsible for them as well (I surely can live without Reggio Emilia, in fact, and even without the Italian Federation that backed them, IMO it's their loss)

PeterV's picture

Thumb up for the husband of Pogonina! Who's next?

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