Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Olympiad round up

Well that was an amazing event! Both the men's and women's tournaments went to the wire, with Armenia edging out Russia in the Open section, while Russia beat China in the Women's section. Man of the tournament was Armenian number 1, Levon Aronian who led his team from the front, posting a 2848 rating performance and 70% on the top board against all the strongest opposition. Women's world champion, Yifan Hou starred in the women's section with a 2645 performance and 72%. One thing worth noting is the bi-polar tournament of the Netherlands. Obviously disturbed by the absence of board 1 Anish Giri, the 9th seeded team found themselves in lowly 74th place after 4 rounds. In round 5 Giri played his first game, arriving in Istanbul after visa problems, and from then Netherlands started their move, finishing eventually in 6th.

The tournament wrapped up with the closing ceremony, and almost as soon as the event closed, the tweets started about Tromso 2014. The big question regarding the next Olympiad is whether the host nation will be able to get their star player, World number 1 Magnus Carlsen, to play. Even with Carlsen Norway are unlikely to place near the medals, but they would probably do better than their 54th place starting from a ranking of 45. The venue for the 2016 Olympiad was decided at the FIDE council, and disappointingly, it was given to Baku in Azerbaijan. Personally I have no problem with Azerbaijan but the fact that Armenian's will not travel there means that we are likely to have a tournament without one of the big favourites. Really FIDE should insist on host nations who are not in conflict with others, so while I am not happy with Azerbaijan, I would be equally dissatisfied, for example, with Armenia.

Australians should be proud of the performance of their teams, who suffered at the start of the event from illnesses, but who pulled through. The Open team had a remarkable event, with young stars Moulton Ly and Max Illingworth having particularly notable tournaments. Moulton scored 70% on board 2 for a 2541 rating performance which shows that he is capable of playing at GM standard. Max also scored 70% as board 5, scoring an IM norm which means he will be an IM as soon as he reaches 2400 which surely cannot be too far away. Max also finished in the top 20 for his board. Australia's women had an indifferent start to the event but came through to finish in 50th, which is where they were originally ranked. All the women chipped in with performances, and Ariane's last round victory against Peng Zhaoqin rated 2411 was a real highlight.

Istanbul 2012 was a great media event, and a competitive success. There is a huge amount of material with thousands of games ready to download or view online. There are also pdf bulletins which can be downloaded with games and information about the event. There is enough raw material to keep most of us busy until the next Olympiad in 2014. One game that may have escaped your notice was from the round 1 match between Mozambique and Bangladesh. It isn't often you see 4 queens on the board by move 10.

1 comment:

  1. Illingworth is now an IM - he reached 2400 a long time ago.