2008 Chess Olympiad: Round #1

Drama in Dresden… upsets begin!

Top Boards

Russia 2½-1½ Switzerland
Vietnam 1½-2½ Ukraine
China 2½-1½ Philippines
Azerbaijan 4-0 Macedonia
Hungary 2-2 Iran

Pregame Analysis: There are some very interesting match-ups in the first round of the 2008 Olympiad. In the past, a 4-0 result was typical of the Swiss format pitting a strong team against teams without titled players. However, using the match point system, a 4-0 score will be worth the same as 2½-1½ result. Apparently a different pairing system has been used and the first round will indeed see a number of close matches. China-Philippines will be interesting.

Eduardo Iturrizaga drops 20.Nxf7! on Mladen
Palac’s head. Venezuela’s first GM
goes on to win in fine style.

Round #1 Analysis: While there was only one upset (Germany 2½-1½ Bulgaria and Venezuela 2½-1½ Croatia), other chess powers had to eke out victories. Bulgaria rested Veselin Topalov and figured to have the edge over Germany 2, but the Ivan Cheparinov and Kiril Georgiev dropped games on the top boards. IM Arik Braun finish Georgiev with the cute 74…Ra7! after the game displayed geometric wizardry.

Croatia was upset by Venezuela which is led by Eduardo Iturrizaga, the nation’s first and only Grandmaster. Croatia boasts a team of 2600-rated players, but Iturrizaga caused a stir after uncorking 20.Nxf7! on Mladen Palac and winning a technical ending in 81 moves. In other news, an upstart Iran held Hungary!

Defending Olympic Champions: Armenian (L-R) - Tigran Petrosian, Gabriel Sargissian, Vladimir Akopian and Levon Aronian

Defending Olympic Champions: ARMENIA
(L-R) Tigran Petrosian, Gabriel Sargissian, Vladimir Akopian and Levon Aronian
Photo by ChessBase.

China’s Ni Hua was crushed by Filipino phenom Wesley So putting China down a game early. Wang Yue and Wang Hao rallied victories to give China the margin of victory over the Philippines 2½-1½. Azerbaijan showed it means business by crushing Macedonia 4-0. Teimour Radjabov mated Vladimir Georgiev and Shahkriyar Mamedyarov sent Trajce Nedev’s king on the run in a wild Trompowsky.

In women’s play, there were a lot of lopsided scores which is perhaps a result of using four boards instead of the three as in previous years. Both Russia and China coasted to victories and Georgia squeaked by England. One surprising result was Argentina holding the powerful Ukrainian team. The women’s team from Iran duplicated their male compatriots by holding a much stronger team. Iran held the host Germany 1 team to a 2-2 draw.

There has been a lot of discussion about the 1-minute forfeit rule… another example of German efficiency. The arbiters have imposed a rule that any player more than a minute late would forfeit. There has been a relaxation of the rules for the first two rounds as players gain their bearings. However, there were a number of forfeits. There is also a rule that no game can end in a draw before move 30. This may have been instituted because of the embarrassing draws on less than 15 moves in previous Olympiad matches. Some occurred on all four boards.

African Diaspora: After many twists and turns in the visa department, most of the African teams have arrived and settled in. However, as many as five African teams forfeited matches while other teams forfeited game on one or more boards resulting in free points for the opposition. If the Germans have a reputation for being fastidious with time, they are proving it. In Nigeria’s case, they had visa problems, so two of their top players (IMs Oladapo Adu and Odion Aikhoje) will arrive on tomorrow.

FM Dr. Philip Corbin (Barbados)
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Africa’s top federation Egypt was crushed 3½-½ by powerhouse Romania as they missed the cut and were paired up. Other African teams had an easier pairing. Algeria blanked Liechtenstein 4-nil while South Africa walloped Hong Kong 3½-½. Many of the other African teams were huddled at the bottom boards slugging each other. The Ghana “Black Stars” made their first Olympiad since 1986, but was whitewashed by Botswana 4-0. Gabon made it debut against Panama 4-0.

The Caribbean is lead by Cuba which of course is playing with the “bigboys” and started off with a 3-1 rout of Estonia. The Dominican Republic overcame a slashing victory by Barbados’ Philip Corbin (above right) to win 3-1. That game started 1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e5 c5 4.b4!? a line also played by IM Emory Tate. Jamaica crushed Kenya 4-0 after two players were forfeited. Trinidad and Tobago had an easy time with New Zealand, winning 3-1.

Selected Games

GM Wesley So (PHI) – GM Ni Hua (CHN), 1-0
FM Philip Corbin (BAR) – Juan Jaquez (DOM), 1-0
GM Kiril Georgiev (BUL) – IM Arik Braun (GER 2), 0-1
GM Eduardo Iturrizaga (VEN) – GM Mladen Palac (CRO), 1-0
GM Wang Yue (CHN) – GM Buenaventura Villamayor (PHI), 1-0
GM Vladimir Georgiev (MAC) – GM Teimour Radjabov (AZE), 0-1
GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (VIE) – GM Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR), 1/2-1/2

Video by Europe-Echecs.com


  1. Yes… it’s coming. You cannot imagine how difficult it is to cover this event. In the past, I have covered the African Disapora, but I’m merely trying to come up with a strategy for covering the event in the first couple of rounds. This first report took about 6-7 hours to complete. Not as easy as it looks. It takes awhile to find out where all the Olympiad resources are and to get a rhythm going.

  2. Good day Shabazz, can you maybe include the coverage of the African Carribian states to see how they fare. Covering only the top boards will surely mean no coverage for the African states. We want to see how the Adly’s Simutowe’s, Solomon’s perform. Chess drum is our only hope for african coverage.

  3. On the first round results I notice five matches (there may be more) in which fewer than four boards appear to have been played. All involve African nations. Can I assume this is related to visa problems?

  4. Some of them are due to visa issues and others may be due to the time forfeit rule. You have to be at your board when the round starts. I’m not certain which of the teams were affected by this, but I understand a player from Egypt came one minute late. They allowed him to play. I hope to get more clarification.

  5. I have not seen any PGN files, so I have had to copy some of the files from the ICC, but they don’t carry all the games… only the top boards. It takes a couple of rounds for the coverage to get a consistent pattern.

  6. Whats up doc? I searched everywhere for the Nigerian team results of the first round and it seemed as if they missed out. Please do you have any idea what happened to them?

  7. Goodday Shabazz,can you also included coverage of Suriname as part of the Caribbean.We have an team in the Open and Women section.On the woman team we have Pamela Mangroelal who has just last mont been crowned Miss India Suriname (talking about beuaty and brains) see also http://www.missindiasuriname.com. I know that making the reports take a lot of time but you,re doing a good job. !

  8. Aubrey,

    I have not begun full coverage of the African Diaspora. I am trying to become acclimated in the first couple of rounds. Suriname is covered as part of the Caribbean despite its geography.

  9. The famous N+N+K vs. K+P ending.

    Bondarets,V (2345) – Veer,W (1959) [C06]
    38th Olympiad Dresden GER (1), 13.11.2008

    1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 Qb6 8.Nf3 cxd4 9.cxd4 Qb4+ 10.Qd2 Qxd2+ 11.Bxd2 Bb4 12.a3 Be7 13.0-0 Nb6 14.b4 Bd7 15.Rfc1 Rc8 16.b5 Nd8 17.Rxc8 Nxc8 18.Bb4 h6 19.Bxe7 Kxe7 20.Nd2 b6 21.Rc1 Nb7 22.f4 Kd8 23.Rc3 Na5 24.Nf1 Ne7 25.Ne3 h5 26.Nc1 g6 27.Na2 Bc8 28.g3 Bb7 29.h3 Kd7 30.g4 hxg4 31.hxg4 Rc8 32.Rxc8 Bxc8 33.Nc3 Nb3 34.Ne2 Kd8 35.Kf2 Bd7 36.Kg3 Ke8 37.Kh4 Kf8 38.Kg5 Kg7 39.f5 gxf5 40.gxf5 exf5 41.a4 Be6 42.Bxf5 Nd2 43.Bd3 Kf8 44.Ng2 Ng8 45.Kf4 Ke7 46.Ke3 Nf1+ 47.Kf2 Nd2 48.Nc3 Kd7 49.Ke3 Nb3 50.Bc2 Na5 51.Bb1 Nc4+ 52.Ke2 f6 53.exf6 Nxf6 54.Ba2 Kd6 55.Bxc4 dxc4 56.Ne3 Bf7 57.Kd2 Bg8 58.Kc1 Kc7 59.Kb2 Kb7 60.Ka3 a6 61.bxa6+ Kxa6 62.Kb4 Bf7 63.Nxc4 Be8 64.Nd6 Bd7 65.Kc4 Be6+ 66.Kb4 Bd7 67.Ndb5 Kb7 68.Kc4 Ka6 69.Kb4 Kb7 70.d5 Nxd5+ 71.Nxd5 Bg4 72.Ne3 Bd7 73.Nc4 Bg4 74.Ne3 Bd7 75.Nd5 Bg4 76.Ndc3 Bd7 77.Nd6+ Kc7 78.Ncb5+ Kc6 79.Nf7 Bh3 80.Nd4+ Kb7 81.Ne5 Bf1 82.Nc4 Bh3 83.Ne5 Bf1 84.Ne6 Be2 85.Nf4 Bd1 86.Nd5 Bc2 87.Nc3 Kc7 88.Nb5+ Kb7 89.Nc4 Bxa4 90.Kxa4 Kc6 91.Kb4 Kd5 92.Nd2 Ke6 93.Kc4 Ke5 94.Nf3+ Ke4 95.Nfd4 Ke5 96.Kd3 Kd5 97.Nb3 Ke5 98.Kc4 Ke4 99.Nd2+ Ke5 100.Nb1 Ke4 101.N1c3+ Ke5 102.Kd3 Kf5 103.Kd4 Kf4 104.Ne2+ Kf5 105.Kd5 Kf6 106.Ned4 Kg5 107.Ke4 Kf6 108.Kf4 Kg6 109.Nf3 Kf6 110.Ng5 Kg6 111.Ne4 Kg7 112.Ke5 Kf7 113.Kd6 Kg6 114.Ke6 Kg7 115.Ned6 Kg6 116.Nf7 Kh5 117.Kf5 Kh4 118.Kf4 Kh5 119.Ne5 Kh6 120.Kg4 Kh7 121.Kh5 Kg7 122.Kg5 Kh7 123.Ng4 Kg7 124.Nh6 Kh7 125.Nf5 Kg8 126.Kf6 Kf8 127.Ng7 Kg8 128.Ne6 Kh7 129.Kg5 Kh8 130.Kg6 Kg8 1-0

    ChessGames: https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1519166

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