2008 Chess Olympiad: Round #4

Top Boards

Ukraine 2-2 Armenia
Spain 1½-2½ Germany 1
Norway 2-2 England
Russia 2½-1½ India
Romania 1-3 Hungary
Azerbaijan 3-1 USA

Pregame Analysis: These top matches may allow someone to make a break from the pack. There will be a number of drawn matches here, but two interesting matchups are Russia-India and Azerbaijan-USA. If Russia can continue marching, they will have enough momentum to establish a lead. China will be looking for a big score against Macedonia.

Round #4 Analysis: The battle of the last Olympiad champions (Ukraine and Armenia) ended in a hard-fought draw ending with Vassily Ivanchuk and Levon Aronian splitting the point. Germany 1 has been playing well and are now not on board #2 merely because they are the host. They beat Spain in a mild upset and will now play Russia on board #1.

Harikrishna’s stunning win
not enough to overcome Russia.
Photo from wikipedia.

Russia eked out a win over India after Kramnik escaped a loss at the hands of Krishnan Sasikiran who missed a win in his game. Pentala Harikrishna won beautifully over Peter Svidler with the stunning 25.Rxe6! At this point the match was tied, but Surya Ganguly could not hold the draw against Alexander Grischuk and the match went to Russia.

Norway and England split the match trading wins on boards #1 and #3 with Magnus Carlsen beating Michael Adams and David Howell beating Leif Erlend Johannessen. In other matches, Hungary and Azerbaijan put a 3-1 beating on Romania and USA, respectively. China crushed Macedonia 4-0 and is trying to make up ground since losing to Norway.

In the women’s section: Hungary and Georgia split the point while India is now is edging closer to contention after beating Germany. China battered Armenia 3½-½ and will play board #1 against Poland. China continues to produce unknown talent as 17-year old Tan Zhongyi is now 3-0. Russia made sure that China is within sights by putting a 4-0 drubbing on Indonesia. Defending champion Ukraine fell off the pace again with a draw against Slovakia. Interesting matchups tomorrow… Poland-China, Russia-Georgia (!).

African Diaspora: This report will focus on a recurring problem… the treatment of African federations. The consideration for the continent in the run-up to this Olympiad has been deplorable. Nations in Africa not only struggle with the currency difference, but struggle with the visa question. This was an issue of great concern when the Mayor of Dresden traveled to Calvia, Spain to bid for the Olympiad. There were assurances made that these issues would be smooth.

So far, Africans in Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Zambia and the USA have all experienced difficulties with the visa questions. This is despite, in most cases, submitting the papers in advance and having the proper documentation. There was the Ethiopian case of asking the players to show proof of personal finances. There was the case of stranded two Ugandans waiting at the Germany Embassy in Kampala. The Ugandans visas were denied, but the Olympiad organizers will try to get them to Dresden. However, they will have missed five rounds of play. Zambians are also forfeiting two boards every round.

As long as Africa continues to be an afterthought in the chess world, “Gens Una Suma” will NEVER be realized.

African-Caribbean scores (by board #): Israel 2½-1½ Egypt; Dominican Republic 0-4 France; Cuba 4-0 Venezuela; Pakistan 2-2 South Africa; Paraguay 3½-½; Aruba 0-4 Latvia; Trinidad and Tobago 4-0 Bermuda; Algeria 4-0 Ghana; Syria 3½-½ Suriname; Ethiopia 0-4 Albania; Kenya 0-4 Kyrgyzstan; Tunisia 2½-1½ Angola; Mauritius 1-3 Lebanon; Barbados 0-4 Iraq; Mozambique 1-3 Hong Kong; Nigeria 2-2 South Korea; Netherlands Antilles 2-2 Jamaica; Libya 3-1 Sri Lanka; Malawi ½-3½ Wales; Liechtenstein 1½-2½ Puerto Rico; British Virgin Islands 0-4 Mexico; Zambia 2-2 Cyprus; Uganda 2-2 Papua New Guinea; Honduras 4-0 U.S. Virgin Islands; Namibia 3½-½ Seychelles; Fiji 2-2 Rwanda; Gabon 2-2 Madagascar


  1. What a stinker Adly Ahmed is playing on board 1 for Egypt .just look at this
    Gelfand-Adly Round 4
    1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Then Adly unleashes a stinker 4… Bf5 ,I have never seen this in GM Chess ,losing a pawn for nothing so early .

    Of coz Gelfand plays 5.Qb3 and mops up the pawn on d5 after 5..Qb6 6.Nd5 Nd5 7.Qd5

  2. GM Evgeny Sveshnikov tossed his queen to a 1980-rated player, but the score may be in error. It may be the other way around given that the official site has been horribly inaccurate.

    4…Bf5 is theory.

  3. Ganguly is a pawn up with India and Russia tied 1.5-1.5. It’s still complicated.

    Update! Grischuk pulled out the win. In the final position he’ll sacrifice the exchange for a pawn and get opposition. Russia wins!

  4. Just received this press release…

    The final turnout of the participants of the Chess Olympiad is now set. “Replacement or new nominations are not possible anymore”, says Werner Stubenvoll of the Technical Administration Panel (TAP).
    1270 chess players take part at the Olympiad in Dresden, 722 of them are men who play in 146 teams, 548 of them are women and play in 111 teams. In addition, 257 team captains and 120 arbiters take part. Several hundred organisers, journalists, physicians, chiefs and FIDE-officials accompany the teams. Their exact number will be announced at the end of the tournament. The players of the 38th Chess Olympiad come from 141 countries.
    Among the chess players there are 253 grandmasters, 65 women grandmasters, 176 international masters, 90 women international masters, 91 FIDE-Masters and 86 women FIDE-masters


  5. Thanks Jagdish!

    That’s too bad that he didn’t find the continuation. When I looked at the game, he was doing very well. I paid more attention to Ganguly’s game and was disappointed he didn’t hold that, but he was in time pressure. Harikrishna got a very nice win! I’m hoping India can rebound. In some ways I think they play better without the “Tiger from Chennai” but it would have been great to have him. In 2006 Olympiad, Sasikiran seemed off form and India finished 30th or so. Now as the leader, he will have to get some victories.

  6. Is anyone taking pictures of African and Caribbean federations? I will not arrive until later this week, but the diversity of photos is unsatisfactory. You wouldn’t know anyone from Africa or the Caribbean was playing in the Olympiad if you had to rely on the main sites and photos. That is the way it has been for decades which is why The Chess Drum was even created. It’s a shame though. What is this motto… “Gens Una Suma”?

  7. Jagdish,

    Here a report I got from ChessDom…

    In the 4th round of the 2008 Chess Olympiad, weakened India (World Champion Viswanathan Anand is taking rest) was paired against the heavyweight Russia. The teams exchanged wins on boards two and four, and then Krishnan Sasikiran suddenly signs a draw in the better position against Vladimir Kramnik on board one. Somewhat odd decision, having in mind that GM Ganguly was in trouble against Alexander Grischuk, that can only be atributed to time factor – Sasikiran had 3 minutes for the remaining 5 moves, according to the official website. Ganguly indeed lost and India suffered 1.5-2.5 setback.

    Source: https://featuredgames.chessdom.com/kramnik-sasikiran

  8. Whats up Doc? Thanks for the coverage of the Olympiad. Well done. At least we get to be reminded of the fact that there are indeed some African and Caribbean teams at the event. I was disappointed when some of the other ‘main’ sites I rely on for chess info and updates more or less ‘forgot’ to include pictures of our players in their ‘big pictorial report’!! I am still hoping to catch a glimpse of my Nigerian players in any of these sites. My predictions for round 5 match goes thus:
    Germany 1.5 – Russia 2.5 (Kramnik would win a game at last)
    Armenia – Netherlands (2-2)
    Hungary – Ukraine (2.5 -1.5)
    Norway – Azerbaijan (1.5 – 2.5)
    England – Italy (2,5 -1.5)
    Lets see how it turns out.

  9. Dear Shabazz,
    Round 5 is over.Tomorrow is rest day. Please update quickly from Susan Polgar’s website.

  10. Well… we’ll try to give you another place here at The Chess Drum. I hope to really be able to get great pics when I get to Dresden. The pics I am seeing are the same each round… same players, same shots.

    I plan to do audio interviews as well. I’m getting my list together. I have interviewed all of the current Indian team except for Ganguly and Gopal. Covering chess at Olympiad is challenging, but it very enjoyable.

    Stay tuned! Round #5 update is in progress.

  11. Dear Shabazz-sahab,Don’t mind,I am Ex-DGM of Indian Rare Earths Ltd.Chess is my passion.I have all the time in the world to go into the details of Olympiad during my stay here in USA with my son.

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