The offer to train the Papua New Guinea (PNG) team came as a surprise some months ago. This would be a completely new experience for me and I naturally did not want to miss the Olympiad. I have send my email to the members of the team and told them to write me whenever they have questions concerning their preparation. They did not, and I understood they would not once that I saw them in Istanbul.
All my teammates were colourful characters. A successful businessman, famous journalist, former teacher and member of the secretary of the commission for developing countries were united in the chess squad. They were also very experienced players with number of Olympiads but very busy with their own business.
“Our goal is to play some good games, and if you can help Craig win his first game that would be an enourmous achievement”, told me Shaun Press, our reserve player at the start of the event. Craig Skehan was playing his sixth Olympiad and the statistics showed that he holds the record for the most number of games without a win in the Olympiad. This is a record that stretches back to 1986 and extends over 6 Olympiads. In that time he played 59 games (defaults not counting) for a record of 10 draws and 49 losses. He also started poorly here, as well as the whole team.