Few upsets in first round Olympiad
On Tuesday it was business as usual for the first round of an Olympiad: strong teams beating weak teams with high scores, a few upsets here and there and the typical problems with the live transmission of the games. For the latter the organizers have already apologized.
The top seed in the Open section: Russia (Grischuk, captain Dokhoian, Karjakin and Tomashevsky) | Photo courtesy of FIDE & the official website
The first round of the Olympiad was started by Turkish Minister of Youth and Sports Suat Kilic, who made the first move at the top board in both the Open and the Women's section. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and the Turkish Chess Federation President Ali Nihat Yazici joined this small and traditional ceremony.
Suat Kilic plays 1.e4 for GM Zhao Xue in the match China - Bangladesh
The round didn't start in time. Probably as a result of security and other first round hussle, a huge number of players had not arrived at their boards at 15:00. The start of the round was postponed for ten minutes, and then again, to avoid too many losses by default as a result of the zero tolerance rule. Evgeny Surov, the Russian journalist who wasn't allowed to enter the playing hall, spoke to a few players who told him that nobody could enter the playing more than half an hour before the round, which led to queues at the entrances.
Another typical issue of a first round at a big chess event is a problematic transmission of the games. This was also the case at the Olympiad, which even led to a public apology by the main organizer at the official site. As always, TWIC's Mark Crowther will be doing invaluable work in the coming days, sorting out all the PGN issues and strange players' spelling and all!
Here's what arbiter (thus insider) Shaun Press wrote on his blog:
Apart from the crush at the entrance to the playing hall, the Olympiad got off to a pretty good start, at least inside the venue. The live broadcast system did have some difficulty, with a few misnamed players here and there. In one case GM Gawain Jones played 3 games, drawing for England, but losing for PNG and Wales!
There were also a couple of no shows, which also happens on day 1. One team simply turned up late to the venue, but a couple of teams failed to arrive in Istanbul. The hardest case was Bermuda, who had 3 of their team less than 2 kilometres from the venue, but this was because they were still trapped in Immigration at the airport. So they played with just 2 players in round 1. The good news is that they were released late yesterday evening, and so will have a full team available for the 2nd round.
Another thing that should be mentioned is that the Olympiad doesn't seem to be very spectator friendly. The entry prize is 40 Euros and from what we've been told, spectators can hardly see the top players.
While we were working on this report, TWIC only had the first 52 boards of the Open section. [Update August 29, 17:42 CET: this page now has links to the full round 1 processed PGN file of the Open section.] From these we'll give a few nice fragments.
Yuri Dokhoian, team captain of Russia, gave Vladimir Kramnik a rest and put Sergey Karjakin behind Alexander Grischuk. Both won and so did Dmitry Jakovenko on board 4, but Dominican Republic's William Puntier (2312) can tell his grandchildren that he once drew with a 2700 grandmaster from Russia. Tomashevsky probably overestimated the compensation he'd get with the following exchange sacrifice:
Sergey Karjakin in his sponsored jacket
There were actually quite a few top boards that didn't play in the first round, like Vassily Ivanchuk in the Ukraine-Iraq match. It was the same first round pairing as two years ago, and it had the same result: 4-0. Alexander Moiseenko's opponent had a good strategy: lots of theory in a very sharp variation. That's how you sometimes beat a stronger player! But not this time...
Another favorite for the gold medals, Armenia, even dropped a full point. Sergey Movsesian, who switched federations not so long ago, faced Bolivia's top player Oswaldo Zambrano who played a wonderful game.
USA defeated Jordan 4-0 without Hikaru Nakamura. Kyrgyzstan didn't do bad at all against Hungary with draws on two boards against Zoltan Almasi and Ferenc Berkes.
Judit Polgar started with a nice win in a King's Indian
The China-Zambia match ended in 3.5-0.5 as China's Wang Yue drew with Stanley Chumfa. National Champion Ding Liren had a nice finish:
Malaysia-Netherlands saw a big upset on board one, where Tze Meng Mok (2354) defeated Loek van Wely (2691).
A bad start for Duch GM Loek van Wely
One more upset should be mentioned. Israel played against the International Physically Disabled Chess Association (IPCA) and on top board GM Emil Sutovsky lost to IM Andrei Obodchuk. Right next to them Bulgaria (without Veselin Topalov) only scored 2.5-1.5 against the International Braille Chess Association (IBCA) with three GMs drawing against three clearly underrated 2200 players.
You can find all round 1 results of the Open section here.
In the Women's section almost all top countries (China, Russia, Georgia, USA, India and Poland) started with 4-0 victories but Ukraine dropped half a point. A surprising result was seen in Costa Rica-Greece, where Maria Elena Rodriguez Arrieta (1738) defeated WGM Marina Makropoulou (2256). The Turkey 2016 team (consisting of young girls) also saw an upset: 1WIM Dulamsuren Yanjindulam (2232) lost to Busra Arig (1864).
You can find all round 1 results of the Women's section here.
The Russian ladies with Natalija Pogonina, Valentina Gunina, Alexandra Kosteniuk and Tatiana Kosintseva
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