Reports | August 29, 2012 11:19

Few upsets in first round Olympiad

The top seed in the Open section: Russia

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

Event Olympiad | PGN: Open 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

Extra No draw offers before move 30

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:

PGN string

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...

PGN string

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.

PGN string

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:

PGN string

Malaysia-Netherlands saw a big upset on board one, where Tze Meng Mok (2354) defeated Loek van Wely (2691). 

PGN string

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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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.


Annba's picture
fernando's picture

What a wonderful pinning theme game ! Oswaldo Zambrana deserves applause .
Was 27) ...Qh5 a wrong choice by Movsesian ?

Thomas's picture

Yep, engines "easily" mark 27.-Qh5 as a mistake - not for the game continuation which is considered equal but for 29.Bxc7! Rh1 30.Bxd6+ Kd7 32.Qxh1 Qxh1+ 33.Rc1 when white has too much (rook and two minor pieces) for the queen.

In the actual game, maybe only 46.-Bd8 was the final mistake - 46.-Ba7 would keep an eye on the future passed a-pawn. If it's consolation for Movsesian: live commentator GM Miroshnichenko didn't see the winning idea (48.a5 and only then 49.b5) either. He discussed the position after 46.-Bd8, moved on to some other games (and a commercial break) and when he returned to this game he was a bit surprised that it was over, and only five more moves were needed.

fernando's picture

Thanks for answering . Much appreciated .

Fabrice's picture

"Tomashevsky probably overestimated the compensation he'd get with the following exchange sacrifice"
I'm not sure that Tomashevsky played really a exhanche sacrifice because this offer seemed forced.
What else ? White were going to play c4-c5 and then Qb3+-f7 or simply Bc4 with huge pressure.
For example : 16...Re8 17.c5 Bxc5 18.Qb3+ Kh8 19.Qf7 Rg8 20.Bg5 Rf8 21.Re8 ! or 18...Nd5 19.Rxe8+ and 17...Bf8 18.Qb3+ Kh8 19.Bg5 or 17...Rxe1+ 18.Qxe1 Bxc5 19.Bc4+ Kh8 20.Qe5
These variations must be checked with a computer but that seems very dangerous for Black

Frits Fritschy's picture

Talking about upsets, what about the draw Daniel Stellwagen (2630) - Lim Zhou Ren (2120) (Netherlands - Malaysia)?
Creaky start of my countrymen.

Remco Gerlich's picture

It got worse against Venezuela, a 1.5-2.5 loss against average 2440!

RuralRob's picture

Karjakin looks like he is thinking, "I HAVE to wear it, okay? Stop looking at me like that!"

valg321's picture

its hideous isn't it?

NN's picture

I think that Ding Liren plays the most spectacular chess in the world.

Anonymous's picture

After 2 rounds the Norwegian team is doing well with 6/8. Board 1 will face 2536 in round 3 after 2507 in 2nd round. Carlsens words sound a bit empty.

boardgame's picture

What did Carlsen say?

slonik's picture

What he actually said or what he said in the head of "Anonymous"?

Anonymous's picture

What a certain slonik wrote - that Carlsen would face only opponents around Elo 2300.
Anyway, it seems that some light has been shed on how the Norwegian B team came about. In a twitter exchange with Mark Crowther, Jon Ludvig Hammer said that he wasn't happy with the appearance fee proposed by the Norwegian federation. And when Hammer wouldn't play, Carlsen also didn't.
And Europe Echecs has this: "Jon Ludwig Hammer indicated that the absence of the world #1 isn't solely for financial reasons, the young prodigy getting 1 million Norwegian crowns (about 137,000 Euros) as ambassador of the Tromso Olympiad."
Whatever Carlsen's obligations are, playing at the previous Olympiad isn't part of it? And whatever this might mean for current relations between Carlsen and Hammer ... .

Thomas 's picture

I wrote this - for some reason the comment system had 'forgotten' my identity.

Frits Fritschy's picture

Talking about these 'Anonymouses': isn't it possible to automatically give them a number to differentiate between them?

Anonymous's picture

1 million crowns as an ambassador (what a patriot) but what did they offer Hammer? Looks like Carlsen's succes and financial demands are detrimental to Norwegian chess.

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