Reports | August 22, 2012 14:39

Istanbul Olympiad preview - who will play (and who won't)?

40th Chess Olympiad

Next Monday the World Chess Olympiad starts in Istanbul, Turkey. 159 countries have registered a team for the open section and 131 of these have also registered a team for the women's section. Today we give a preview, focusing on which top players will be competing (and which will be notably absent).

With an arbiters meeting, a captains meeting and a grand opening ceremony scheduled for next Monday, the 40th Chess Olympiad is suddenly just five days away. The first unofficial Olympiad was held in 1924 in Paris and on its closing day, July 20th, 1924 FIDE was founded. Since 1950 the Olympiad is being held every two years. The 2010 Olympiad was held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia while the 2014 Olympiad will be in Tromsø, Norway. 

The 40th edition takes place in Istanbul, Turkey. The playing venue is the Istanbul Expo Center (hall 9, 10 and 11) which is located 1800m from Atatürk Airport.

The Istanbul Expo Center

Rounds 1-5 will be played August 28th - September 1st, rounds 6-10 on September 3rd-7th and the final 11th round, together with the closing ceremony, is scheduled for September 9th. We'll provide daily coverage throughout the event, and during the last week we'll be reporting from Istanbul!

The teams in both the open and the women's sections consist of four players, one reserve player and a team captain who may also be one of the players (or reserve). Each federation may also be represented by a chief of delegation.

At the moment of writing 159 countries have registered and 131 have also registered a women's team. Many of the world's top players will compete, but some of them will be missing. Let's have a look at a number of team and their line-ups.

One of the top favorites, if not the favorite is, of course, Russia. Their last victory, however, was in Bled in 2002. Their line-up this year: Vladimir Kramnik, Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Grischuk, Evgeny Tomashevsky and Dmitry Jakovenko. At first Alexander Morozevich was going to play, but after he withdrew from Biel due to health reasons he also had to cancel his Olympiad plans and Tomashevsky got his spot. Based on rating (and numerous individual results!) Peter Svidler should have been in, but the captain decided otherwise.

Armenia, who won gold in 2006 and 2008, will play with the strongest possible line-up: Levon Aronian, Sergei Movsesian, Vladimir Akopian, Gabriel Sargissian and Tigran Petrosian. Top board and world's number 2 Levon Aronian as stated that he'll travel to Istanbul before the others are joining him. In an interview for News.am Sport (translated in full here) he said:

I always go before the rest. I like to study a city – to immerse myself in the atmosphere of a city.

As always the team of Ukraine, who are defending their title, looks impressive: Vassily Ivanchuk, Ruslan Ponomarov, Alexander Moiseenko, Andrei Volokitin and Pavel Eljanov.

China is among the top favorites again. According to the latest rating list Ni Hua should have been in the team, but the Chinese will show up with Wang Hao, Li Chao, Wang Yue, Ding Liren and Bu Xiangzhi.

Another favorite is the USA, who won the bronze medal both in 2006 in Turin and in 2008 in Dresden. Their line-up: Hikaru Nakamura, Gata Kamsky, Alexander Onischuk, Varuzhan Akobian and Ray Robson.

The official website still has Vugar Gashimov as part of the Azerbaijan team. However, a few days ago the Azeri website ExtraTime brought the news that Gashimov had to withdraw due to health reasons, and that he was replaced by Rauf Mamedov. Azerbaijan's weakened line-up now has Teimour Radjabov, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Rauf Mamedov, Eltaj Safarli and Gadir Guseinov.

Veselin Topalov is less active these days and his rating has dropped somewhat, but it's always good to see him play. He'll be top board again for Bulgaria: Veselin Topalov, Kiril Georgiev, Ivan Cheparinov, Alexander Delchev and Momchil Nikolov.

Missing Luke McShane (who, having a day job, can't play too many tournaments) and semi-retired Matthew Sadler, England's line-up is still pretty strong with Michael Adams, Gawain Jones, Nigel Short, David Howell and Nicholas Pert.

Another top player who won't be playing in Istanbul is Etienne Bacrot. According to Europe-Echecs he "failed to reach an agreement with the French Chess Federation" and so France will be competing with Laurent Fressinet, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Vlad Tkachiev, Christian Bauer and Romain Edouard.

European Champions Germany will bring an even stronger team than in Halkidiki last year as Rainer Buhmann was replaced by Igor Khenkin: Arkadij Naiditsch, Igor Khenkin, Daniel Fridman, Georg Meier and Jan Gustafsson.

The Dutch team, or Netherlands if you like, will be competing with Anish Giri, Loek van Wely, Ivan Sokolov, Jan Smeets and Daniel Stellwagen. 

Both Leko and Polgar are again playing for Hungary: Peter Leko, Zoltan Almasi, Judit Polgar, Ference Berkes and Csaba Balogh.

World Champion Vishy Anand is again missing at the Olympiad - the last time he played was in Turin in 2006. Still, India's line-up isn't bad: Abhijeet Gupta, Krishnan Sasikiran, Pentala Harikrishna, Gopal Geetha Narayanan and Parimarjan Negi.

With a player who scored 6-6 in a World Championship match, the President of the Association of Chess Professionals and a renowned author in one team, Israel will be enjoying extra attention: Boris Gelfand, Emil Sutovsky, Maxim Rodshtein, Evgeny Postny and Boris Avrukh.

Super GM Fabiano Caruana will be playing top board for Italy, who also have Sabino Brunello, Daniele Vocaturo, Michele Godena and IM Daniyyl Dvirnyy.

Alexei "Fire on Board" Shirov will be playing as well, not for Spain anymore but for Latvia, together with Normunds Miezis, Arturs Neiksans, Vitalijs Samolins, and Ilmars Starostits.

Norway is going to Istanbul with a team much weaker than possible. Not only Magnus Carlsen but in fact all their GMs are missing! They'll play with Frode Elsness, Torbjorn Ringdal Hansen, Frode Urkedal, Torstein Bae and Andreas Moen. Two years ago Carlsen and #2 Jon Ludvig Hammer were playing, but even then the other GMs, who are not full-time chess players, didn't.

The Philippines deserve special mention because besides Wesley So, Mark Paragua, Oliver Dimakiling and Oliver Barbosa they'll have the legendary Eugenio Torre as reserve player. He is now #10 on the national rating list but qualified for the team by finishing 2nd-4th in the national championship this year. This means that Torre will break Lajos Portisch' record of playing in 20 Olympiads - for Torre, who first played for his country in Siegen 1970, Istanbul will be his 21st Olympiad. (Since 1970 he only missed Dresden 2008!)

The host team of the Olympiad is traditionally allowed to field a couple of extra teams, and Turkey decided to compete with no less than six teams – three in both the open and the women's section. Their first team has Dragan Solak, Alexander Ipatov (on board 2, not 1 as we wrote earlier), Baris Esen, Mustafa Yilmaz and Emre Can. The second team, called "Turkey 2016", consists of five talented boys with an average age under 16. The third team ("Turkey 2023") has an average age of… 8.2! More on this at David Smerdon's blog.

In the women's section the fight for gold will likely go between Russia, who won two years ago, and China (together with Georgia, Poland and Ukraine). Russia will travel to Istanbul with Tatiana and Nadezhda Kosintseva, Valentina Gunina, Alexandra Kosteniuk and national champ Natalija Pogonina. China has Hou Yifan, Zhao Xue, Ju Wenjun, Huang Qian and Ding Yixin.

You can find the line-ups of all registered teams here. Traditionally, the International Braille Chess Association, the International Committee of Silent Chess and the International Physically Disabled Chess Association participate as individual "countries" too. We'd also like to mention the wonderful Olimpbase website where you can find all kinds of data and statistics of the previous Olympiads.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, 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.

Chess.com

Comments

sulutas's picture

I think it is not appropriate for the Norwegian team to have such a weak field in this Olympiad, especially given that they will be the next hosts in Tromso in 2014. Also, if the number 1 player does not play in the Olympiads, why does there have to be an Olympiad in the first place? It is rather like, to have an Olympic games without the likes of Bolt, Phelps etc. Imho, if chess is to be promoted, the best should always be there in this kind of international organizations.

Tarjei's picture

"it is not appropriate to have such a weak field"

And what do you suggest the federation to do? Bind them to the chair and force them to play?

Blarnfest's picture

Your analogy to an Olympics without Bolt or Phelps is silly. This is a team event. Even if Carlsen showed up and dominated, it might still have absolutely no bearing on the final standings, since Norway probably would not medal. Expecting the very highest rated players from 150+ countries to show up is unrealistic.

NN's picture

"Also, if the number 1 player does not play in the Olympiads, why does there have to be an Olympiad in the first place?"

Are you implying that FIDE should first ask the top player whether he intends to participate, and if he refuses then the Olympiad should not be organized at all?

redivivo's picture

I guess that is approximately how deeply he has thought through that comment. Of course there would have been very few Olympiads played if they only were played if #1 was present. Anand didn't play 2008, 2010 and 2012, Kramnik didn't play 1998, 2000, 2002 or 2004, Topalov didn't play 2002, 2004 or 2006, Kasparov didn't play 1990, 1998 or 2000, etc etc.

Naturally, when Carlsen did play in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 there was less of this type of comments, but now that he is absent more criticism is voiced than in all the above mentioned cases.

S3's picture

I do not agree with sulatas but you are obviously doing him wrong by ignoring one of his main arguments: that the next Olympiad will be in Tromso, Norway. It's quite barbaric for a strong chess nation like Norway to send no GM at all when they desperately want their own olympiad to be a big succes. On the other hand indeed, what can you do about it?

Blarnfest's picture

Barbaric? Really?

Zeblakob's picture

barbaric?? how is?

Anonymous's picture

Barbaric as in uncivilized. Trust me, I'm an expert on this.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Them not sending any GMs to the Olympiad will not make or break the 2014 Olympiad, but it certainly would have helped Norway market the country. Carlsen is probably in New York for another photo shoot. Maybe he doesn't want to risk his rating. Who knows?

slonik's picture

I wonder if he didn't find the idea of playing only lots of 2300s not particularly challenging or interesting, with a non-GM team Norway would only play very weak opposition. I don't think Giddins is right when he states it as a fact that it is fear of losing points and/or money that is the reason.

Anonymous's picture

It's the other way around. Norway doesn't send a serious team because it's leader decided he'd rather not play.

gg's picture

Not really, but as in all other discussions on the subject it's usually more fun to just let the Carlsen hating trolls spew their misery and not bother answering every "fact", it gets boring in the long run and some people aren't capable of or interested in discussion or truth anyway.

Anonymous's picture

@ gg: Unlike you I happen to have a reliable source.
And if you had done a bit of reseach you'd have known that Carlsen's US trip was announced way before the line up of the Norwegian team. Or do you really think he was planning to go to the Olympiad right after without any preparation ?

gg's picture

"Unlike you I happen to have a reliable source"

Nice, who was the source now again?

"do you really think he was planning to go to the Olympiad right after without any preparation ?"

Huh? A 2800+ player unable to prepare for an Olympiad because he has a simul against beginners the week before?

Anonymous's picture

You talking about one simul just shows your ignorance. His string of activities in NY ended this weekend and players who are serious about the Olympiad -first games today- prepare. It's very obvious that Magnus wasn't planning to play.

Thomas's picture

"playing only lots of 2300s" - that's nonsense or extreme lack of confidence in the rest of the team. Even without Carlsen (and any other GMs) the _average_ rating of the Norwegian team is above 2400, and the opposition tends to be stronger on board 1: even countries with an inhomogenous and generally weak team often have one GM on the top board. So Carlsen's expected opponents might well have Elo 2500-2600 - still below his level but not really "very weak".

gg's picture

With Hammer (and Carlsen) in the team in 2010 Norway had an average rating of 2594 and didn't finish top 50. It's hard to predict what level their opponents would be this time without Hammer, but Carlsen's opponents could well end up with an average in the 2500s.

Thomas's picture

Yep that's what I wrote, while slonik (to whom I was replying even if my post doesn't appear right below his) said "only lots of 2300s".
This time Norway is seeded 54th (Carlsen's absence obviously affects their rating average). All teams seeded #40-60 have one GM rated above 2500 on board 1, even "exotic" ones such as Singapore and Ecuador.

Thomas's picture

I think at least Anand was also criticized for skipping the Olympiad, but by now people got used to it. Most 2700ers will play the Olympiad, and for those who don't we know the reason in about all cases but Carlsen's: problems with the federation (Anand, Bacrot), illness (Morozevich, Gashimov), they didn't make it on the national team (several other Russians). BTW while Svidler has a high Elo and good results in some (though not all) individual events, he had rather bad results in recent team events and particularly in crucial last rounds, so the decision to drop him this time might be understandable.

Carlsen of course isn't obliged to play, but one can at least ask or wonder why he doesn't. Players like Carlsen or Caruana are the best chance for subtop players from somewhat weaker chess countries to face a world topper at the Olympiad - Ragger from Austria is coming to my mind, but there are other possible names (Jobava from Georgia, various board 1 players from former Yugoslavia, ...).

S3's picture

Thomas, the reason of Carlsen is clear.

Quoting Steve Giddins f.e.: "Magnus Carlsen is reluctant to play for Norway, both because of money considerations and fear of jeopardising his Elo rating against the relatively weak opposition that the Norwegian team is likely to face. As a result of these difficulties, Norway have apparently decided not even to enter a team, despite the fact that they are due to host the next Olympiad in 2014."

I remember an interview with similar information about the "weak opposition" and I find it quite remarkable 'cause Carlsen's own performance was largely to blame for the weak opposition last Olympiad (f.e. playing the Norwegian defense against Adams in a crucial round). And the ratingwise weak opposition was still strong enough to beat him in the last round.

Still this is probably his main reason as I don't think that Carlsen really would squeeze his own federation for a bit of money when other players get even less and earn nothing compared to him.
Furthermore his status depends laregely on his rating-and with Caruana for example this is not the case.

All in all I think the Norwegian federation is moronic though -even without Carlsen they should be able, and ought to send a good team with Hammer and Lie perhaps.

Morley's picture

Carlsen is in NYC this week at a chess camp. Maybe he just didn't want to spend a week doing that, then hustle back the day after and immediately play in an 11-round team event. He is a professional, and is playing in a series of super tournaments a few weeks after the Olympiad; I'm not going to begrudge him a rest before Bilbao.

Thomas's picture

Ah I see: for Carlsen a chess camp (or the money he gets for it?) is more important than the Olympiad. To each his own, I am not even ironic or sarcastic. Of course he wasn't obliged to accept the invitation from NYC, he could have said "sorry, not the week before the Olympiad".

As you mention Bilbao: the participants have different ways to "prepare" for it. Aronian and Karjakin will face pretty strong opposition at the Olympiad - so will Kramnik, and one reason why he declined the Bilbao invitation might be that the Olympiad is rather important for him and Russia. Caruana's opposition will be, at least partly, more comparable to what he had at the Reykjavik and Aeroflot opens. And Anand and Carlsen might watch the Olympiad on the Internet.

gg's picture

"for Carlsen a chess camp (or the money he gets for it?) is more important than the Olympiad. To each his own, I am not even ironic or sarcastic"

Not ironic or sarcastic, no, but you are pretty sure that Carlsen isn't playing simply because he considers a chess camp to be more important than the Olympiad. I doubt it just is a question of weighing these two options, just like with all the other top players that have skipped the Olympiad in the past.

"so will Kramnik, and one reason why he declined the Bilbao invitation might be that the Olympiad is rather important for him and Russia"

When Kramnik declined the Olympiad four times in a row no one bothered what things he considered to be more important than the Olympiad. Just like Carlsen now declined once (together with all Norwegian GMs), Kramnik used to decline, for whatever reasons that no one was interested in.

Thomas's picture

I was replying to Morley's post which can certainly be interpreted as "Carlsen prefers a chess camp over the Olympiad". BTW, is it widely known that Carlsen is currently at a chess camp in New York, or did he pass some inside information - implying that he's close to Carlsen? If true, nothing wrong with that of course, but it would say something about his motivation to comment.

As to Giddins, he wrote "Norway have APPARENTLY decided not even to enter a team", then it depends on when he wrote his blog post. Maybe at the time Norway hadn't yet nominated a team, possibly because they were in a similar situation as Germany two years ago - the A team wouldn't play and they needed time to find and choose a B team.

As to Kramnik: when he didn't play the Olympiad Russia was strong enough to win gold even without him and Kasparov, so he didn't really let his country down. Norway isn't a medal candidate with or without Carlsen, but the team is much weakened if he doesn't play. Yep, the other Norwegian GMs also don't play this time, but people outside of Norway don't care or notice as much.

Anonymous's picture

Most Norwegians were getting tired of his spoiled little antics anyway.

He blamed his team openly for low opposition when it was foremost the result of him losing with silly openings like 3..Na5.

http://chess-results.com/tnr36795.aspx?art=20&fed=NOR&lan=17&flag=30

Then there was the incident at Novi Sad.

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=5836

The Sjakkforbund apparently doesn't want to invest a penny in other players and rather spends it's money on the next edition.

Morley's picture

"Ah I see: for Carlsen a chess camp (or the money he gets for it?) is more important than the Olympiad."

One could just as easily say that Carlsen thinks imparting his chess knowledge to youngsters, and giving them the opportunity of a life time to learn from the world's best player, is more important than playing in an event he has already played in multiple times, in which he has very little to gain. I don't understand why you and S3 have to put a negative spin on EVERYTHING Carlsen does.

Anonymous's picture

" One could just as easily say that Carlsen thinks imparting his chess knowledge to youngsters is more important"

The youngsters were in fact bussinessmen who had to pay at least 300 dollars for a few hours lecture of Carlsen. 300 dollars x 200 participants beats losing to Jobava and Sjugirovs at the Olympics for less.

Thomas's picture

@ Morley: Even if Carlsen's "students" had been youngsters rather than affluent businessmen, it would be sort of an overkill unless they are already rated higher than, say, 2400. While Carlsen's potential opponents at the Olympiad would be about/at least that level and could learn from playing against him, probably the opportunity of a life time - particularly if there's also a joint postmortem.

"in which he has very little to gain" - indeed that's the point, Carlsen thinks about what he can gain. For the NYC chess camp, the answer is clear: money. Nothing a priori wrong with that, not necessarily a negative spin - all I said is that Carlsen sets priorities.

gg's picture

Huh? Carlsen was at a chess camp for kids, and that was the reason he was late for the exhibition, but in any case I don't think Carlsen was choosing between a simul and the Olympiad since it would have been very easy to play both. Here's a description of someone that attended the latter:

http://www.chess.com/article/view/ashley_ian_doylemagnus-carlsens-exhibi...

Anonymous's picture

Are you a payed spin doctor gg ?

We are talking about several events, not just a simul. Carlsen played bussinessmen one to one. He was the main attraction of a very exclusive party at the PerSe. He held several lectures that were very expensive to attend, perhaps a lecture at a chess camp for kids as well. He is a professional chess player who wants to make money. But if he wanted to play the Olympiad he'd have had to sit down at the board immediately after his return flight.

gg's picture

"if he wanted to play the Olympiad he'd have had to sit down at the board immediately after his return flight"

Well, it's five days from 23rd to 28th, and I find the idea that a 2800+ player wouldn't be able to prepare for an event if he had a few evenings of promoting the game when he had three free weeks before that hard to fathom. He didn't play this time, so what? Compared to Anand, Kramnik and Topalov he has been playing the Olympiads to a much greater extent.

Anonymous's picture

23rd? You continue to spread false information. Activities extended into the weekend. Get your facts straight and then we'll talk.

gg's picture

Like your facts about the first round of the Olympiad being played today 27th? The chess camp with school kids was finished before the weekend, after that he could meet people or do whatever (I think the chess camp is a less popular subject here than the simul though, I wonder why?).

I'm not particularly interested what he chose to do when in New York after the chess camp, but then, unlike some others here, I'm not obsessing about the idea that Carlsen chose between making money or playing the Olympiad. He could have done both, but as Anand, Kramnik and Topalov on numerous occasions he declined (for the first time).

The Russians had their national Championship the weeks after Carlsen last played a tournament, so the idea that he had no time to prepare if he chose a few days of chess promotion is of course dubious. Biel finished August 2nd, after that Carlsen had nothing except the five days of chess promotion in New York, mainly the chess camp. Karjakin and Grischuk played the Russian Superfinal after Biel and still play the Olympiad. But why do I bother?

Anonymous's picture

That's what i was wondering about.
No one apart from you and Morley are going to believe that Carlsen skipped the Olympiad because he wanted to teach chess to little children. But keep on going if it makes you happy.

Thomas's picture

"Compared to Anand, Kramnik and Topalov ...". Comparing the long careers of these players with the still relatively short one of Carlsen is apples vs. oranges. Carlsen played two Olympiads as a world-top player and two as a rising star. For the other players not caring about the Olympiad is history (in Anand's case, ongoing history) - in Carlsen's case it's new and newsworthy.

gg's picture

""Compared to Anand, Kramnik and Topalov ...". Comparing the long careers of these players with the still relatively short one of Carlsen is apples vs. oranges."

Kramnik played three Olympiads and declined the following four. Anand played five Olympiads and declined the following five. Topalov played four Olympiads and declined the following three. Carlsen played four Olympiads and declined one. Rather similar this far, the difference would be if Carlsen deviates from the norm by playing some of the following Olympiads.

Anonymous's picture

Silly discussion. You are comparing with people who had to play world championship matches in the meantime and players from countries with plenty of substitutes. That's completely different.
Nonetheless, some other top players do appear to be scared as well. Add to that a bit of self centeredness and you have your reasons of absence. Yet I feel most people would still think it an honor to represent and help their country.

unknown's picture

Norway team chickened out.

gg's picture

"Thomas, the reason of Carlsen is clear.

Quoting Steve Giddins f.e.: "Magnus Carlsen is reluctant to play for Norway, both because of money considerations and fear of jeopardising his Elo rating against the relatively weak opposition that the Norwegian team is likely to face. As a result of these difficulties, Norway have apparently decided not even to enter a team, despite the fact that they are due to host the next Olympiad in 2014.""

Huh? What does the ramblings of Giddins have to do with Carlsen's actual reasons? If he claims it's money and fear someone else can claim whatever reasons they feel like and that wouldn't mean anything either. Especially funny that the people that always complained about Carlsen gaining his points by beating 2600s but not top players suddenly changed to exactly the opposite opinion the moment Carlsen declined the Olympiad. Now it is "weakies" he is doing worst against. Giddins is of course also wrong in claiming that Norway isn't participating, so that shows how much he knows.

Anonymous's picture

Fact free ranting of gg. Steve Giddins is a respected chess journalist and author. gg is some anonymous kibitzer with little knowledge about the chess world. Carlsen himself said in an interview that the wasn't interested in the Olympiad because of the likelyhood of weak opposition.

Tarjei's picture

Well, read Giddins' claim again. He still states that Carlsen declined to take part "because of money considerations", (not correct) and that "Norway because of this decided not to send a team". (also not correct).

A "respected chess journalist" should stick to the facts. And what is the source?

Anonymous's picture

Money was obviously an issue, albeit secundary.
Right now Carlsen is in NY playing against a bussinessman. After that he will have dinner with him. That guy is weaker than anyone at the Olympiad and I can tell you that Carlsen is playing and dining with him for the money. The guy just has a bigger purse than the Norwegian chess federation.

"Norway because of this decided not to send a team"

Keep in mind that Giddins wrote this a month ago, things might have changed in the meantime. The actual line up of Norway only confirms his predictions and intel as Norway has effectively chosen to send a team of amateurs.

Thomas's picture

If accounts by others are correct, even the strongest possible Norwegian team would have four amateurs (not every GM is a professional chess player). But - while I didn't check all time lineups - this time Norway, organizer of the next Olympiad, might be the only country that sends a B team. Some other countries miss their #1, e.g. Romania plays without Nisipeanu, and Denmark without Peter Heine Nielsen (who is the opening coach of the German team).
In general, the Olympiad may have four types of players:
1) The overall majority probably plays for fun, for the Bermuda Party (!?) and/or because they consider it an honor to represent their country. Didn't David Smerdon write that the Australian players have to cover their own travel expenses?
2) Some may see it as an opportunity to make themselves known and to leave an impression, hoping for spots in financially attractive team competitions.
3) Some expect to be paid, and don't participate if their federation is unwilling or unable to meet their financial demands. This time apparently Bacrot (and already last time), last time the entire German A team and the Romanian team (which dropped out shortly before the event). I cannot assess and do not want to discuss if their financial expectations or demands are/were reasonable and realistic.
4) And then the strong, happy and lucky few who get enough invitations to earn a _comfortable_ living from chess, and who cannot expect that their federations pay the type of appearance fees they get elsewhere.

Tarjei's picture

Quoting Steve Giddins f.e.: "Magnus Carlsen is reluctant to play for Norway, both because of money considerations and fear of jeopardising his Elo rating against the relatively weak opposition that the Norwegian team is likely to face. "

It's interesting to see that Giddins states this information as facts. Because this is absolutely not true.

Magnus' decision not to play is not related to money at all. He has played for Norway in the last Olympiads for a very limited amount (compared to what he usually gets) and was willing to play this year as well.

However, most of Norway's top players are not very ambitious, and when the four GM's Hammer, Agdestein, Lie and Johannessen declined the invitation, it's understandable that Magnus chose not to play as well.

"All in all I think the Norwegian federation is moronic though -even without Carlsen they should be able, and ought to send a good team with Hammer and Lie perhaps."

In an ideal world, yes. But Hammer is pretty much a full time student, Lie has a full time job. THAT is something the federation can't do anything with.

Anonymous's picture

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Giddins

The man knows what he is talking about but if you have other sources, please let us know. As it is it looks like to little money for too big a risk (weak opposition).

By the way, It's likely that Hammer could play if he wanted as it's only the first couple of weeks of the academic year and plenty of teams have students amonst their ranks.

Tarjei's picture

"By the way, It's likely that Hammer could play if he wanted as it's only the first couple of weeks of the academic year and plenty of teams have students amonst their "

Oh, so since there are other students taking part there, Hammer could've gone as well? And what could you tell me about Hammer's academic year?

Anonymous's picture

You are being silly. I wrote that it is likely.

A ountry with several GMs could obviously have send a better team. Players could have been compensated for missing other activities and most students can leave for 2 weeks if they represent their country at an international event.
What can you tell us apart from opinions stated as facts?

Anonymous's picture

Lol. A professional player who isn't playing for money. Perhaps Tarjei could explain why Magnus expressed in an interview that he was likely, but not even sure yet to play at the Olympiad in Norway?

S3's picture

Kudos for Caruana though to play for Italy without complaining about the weaknes of his team or "uninteresting pairings".

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