The Chess Drum's
65th Square

Page 5 … Jamaica at Olympiad 2002 (Ian Wilkinson)

The Bears vs. The Dragons. Ye Jiangchan (far right) waits for GM Garry Kasparov, who arrived five minutes into the round. He then led Russia to a 3-1 victory over the Chinese. Copyright © Ian Wilkinson, 2002.

The Bears (Russia) vs. The Dragons (China)

  • Watching the physically-disabled chess gladiators playing from their wheelchairs and dismantling other players.
  • The quizzical look on English GM Michael Adam's face before and after he made his moves. To me, he and Ukraine's Ruslan Ponomariov were ultra cool and displayed true sangfroid in spite of the heat of battle.
  • Garry Kasparov's demeanour and facial contortions while playing, whether or not he was sitting or standing at the board or strolling during moves. Of all the grandmasters at the Olympiad, I believe that the "King of Russia" was the most expressive and displayed the most passion. Small wonder that he did so well with an amazing 2933 performance.
  • The youthful vigour and determination of the Indian and Azerbaijan teams.

  • Watching English GM Luke McShane (with only a Rook) draw a Rook ending against Poland's GM Tomasz Markowski (Rook and pawn) in the final game of their round 14 clash which saw England prevailing 2˝-1˝. Among the crowd that gathered to watch the textbook ending was Trinidad and Tobago's Ravishen Singh who looked on anxiously, as victory by the Pole would have relegated Singh to a bronze, in lieu of silver, medal for his board five efforts.
  • The closing ceremony, particularly the loud applause which greeted the Ethiopian team (for winning the first place prize in group D for men). The men from Addis Ababa looked very patriotic in their national colours; Trinidad's Ravishen Singh winning the silver medal for board five; the special recognition given to the sartorially-elegant Zimbabwean IM Robert Gwaze as he collected his trophy for board one honours - a perfect 9-0 performance; and the joy on GM Alexander Khalifman's face as he was mobbed by fans and signed autographs after the ceremony.
  • Taking a picture of the two Zhu's together, Women's World Champion and Jamaica's Chinese-born player (below).
Former Women's World Champion, GM Maia Chiburdanidze and her signature hat. Copyright © Jerry Bibuld, 2002.

Former Women's World Champion, GM Maia Chiburdanidze and her signature hat.

Hanging with the beautiful African brothers and sisters, especially those from Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Woweee those sistahs were fine!

  • The party in "the tent" after the ceremony. The Russians, Americans (Yasser Seirawan was in his element) and the Jamaicans in particular had a great time. Never before in the history of mankind has so much liquor been consumed by so few. Apologies to Sir Winston Churchill.
  • Participating in the blitz-fest with the Jamaican masters at the Hotel Krim upon leaving the post-closing-ceremony-party in the tent. Everyone was "cherry" and seeing ten Rooks on the chess board!! I will never forget NM Shane "The Magician" Matthews' non-stop laughing as the white wine took a firm grip!
  • NM Robert Wheeler's attempts at jokes. Some of the attempts were themselves jokes! Well, if truth be told, some were quite good. If the jokes fell short Bob atoned with his excellent commentary while we watched midnight movies!
  • Chief arbiter Geurt Gijssen patrolling the playing area like a Sergeant in the marines and winking from time to time.
  • Discussing West Indian and international cricket with Russian GM Peter Svidler! Come on now! A Russian super GM with an intimate knowledge of cricket??!! What else will one encounter on this planet ??!!
Jamaica’s Zhu Hui with Women’s World Champion, Zhu Chen of China. Copyright © Ian Wilkinson, 2002.

Jamaica's Zhu Hui with China's Zhu Chen.

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Photo Credits

Russia-China (Ian Wilkinson); GM  Maia Chiburdanidze (Jerry Bibuld);
  Zhu Hui & Zhu Chen (Ian Wilkinson).