2008 Chess Olympiad: Round #8

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Armenia crushes France… USA women beats Russia!

France ½-3½ Armenia
Israel 2½-1½ Germany 1
USA 1½-2½ Russia
China 2-2 Vietnam
Ukraine 4-0 New Zealand
Azerbaijan 2½-1½ Croatia
Bulgaria 2-2 Belarus
England 2½-1½ Georgia
Slovakia 3-1 Greece
Turkey 1½-2½ Poland

Rround #8 Analysis: If Armenia did not make a statement by beating Russia in round #7, then they certainly made a statement by thoroughly crushing France. Armenia won on every board in which they were outrated and have not lost a single game during this tournament. Levon Aronian is solid as a rock on board #1.The chemistry remains a key factor for Armenia and Gabriel Sargissian is the star player as he was in 2006. Perhaps playing in the memory of GM Karen Asrian is a source of motivation.

Armenia’s Levon Aronian facing Etienne Bacrot of France.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Israel has quietly snuck into medal contention with its 4th win in a row. Boris Gelfand is proving reliable on board #1. USA-Russia is always a historic battle in any sport and chess is no exception. While the Fischer-Spassky days are long gone, the USA is a hodge-podge of players from different traditions and have improved with the addition of Hikaru Nakamura and Varuzhan Akobian on the team.

Unfortunately both players lost in their games to Russia… Nakamura to Grischuk and Akobian to Jakovenko. However these two players will be key down the stretch to salvage a medal. FM Sunil Weeramantry stated one of the problems the USA is running into is their lack heavy hitters who can go out and push for a point from the outset. Kamsky, Onischuk, Shulman and Akobian all have games where provactive risk-taking is kept at a minimum.

The future of chess seems to be centered in Asia. Two of the noted chess nations is Asia squared off in a contentious battle with the lower boards trading wins. This in a minor upset giving the 100+ rating different on all of the boards, but Vietnamese players are actually a bit under-rated. The Ukraine crushed New Zealand, an overachieving team with one Grandmaster.

In the women’s competition, the big story had to be USA’s win over Russia. IM Irina Krush led the charge against perhaps Russia’s strongest lineup and is now in a position to snatch a medal. China was held by the Ukraine and it marks the second match in a row that they have ceded a point. China, still undefeated remains ahead of the USA and the Ukraine in the medal race. Russia tumbles down to #10 and three points out, it seems their medal hopes have been dashed. Poland climbed back into the race with a win over Hungary and will face the USA in perhaps the most pivotal match of the round.

African-Caribbean scores (by board #): Germany 2 ½-3½ Cuba; Egypt 3-1 Costa Rica; Canada 3½-½ Trinidad & Tobago; Bolivia 2-2 Libya; Syria 3½-½ Netherlands Antilles; Algeria 2-2 Albania; Mozambique 1-3 Dominican Republic; Panama 2-2 Tunisia; Botswana 4-0 Fiji; Mauritius ½-3½ Sri Lanka; Jamaica 4-0 Macau; Zambia ½-3½ Hong Kong; Barbados 2-2 Andorra; Nigeria 2-2 IBCA; Malawi 1-3 Luxembourg; ICSC 1½-2½ Puerto Rico; Yemen 4-0 Ghana; San Marino 3½-½ Gabon; Guernsey 2-2 Angola; Aruba 1-3 Liechtenstein; Namibia 1½-2½ Kenya; Ethiopia 4-0 Rwanda; British Virgin Islands 2-2 Uganda; Bermuda 1½-2½ Papua New Guinea; Suriname 3½-½ U.S. Virgin Islands; Seychelles 2-2 Madagascar

Video by Europe-Echecs.com

Photo Gallery
All photos by Daaim Shabazz.

Ibis Hotels… Bastei, Lilienstein, Lonigstein.

McDonalds… there’s one everywhere!

Seems like a bargain store!

Playing Venue.

IM Watu Kobese (South Africa)

Edward Nii Lamptey Thompson and John Hasford (Ghana)

Wong Kit, one of the youngest participants. (Macau)

Libyan women’s team. Looking nice in their royal green!

Photo shoot at the beginning of the round.
Israel vs. Germany (Gelfand facing camera).

Rwanda vs. Ethiopia (men)

10-year old Javanna Smith (Trinidad & Tobago)

Legendary Maia Chiburdanidze (The Republic of Georgia)

Belarus vs. Bulgaria. Veselin Topalov (right) battles Sergei Zhigalko.

Costa Rica vs. Egypt (men).
Egyptian GM Bassem Amin catches a glimpse of camera.

Overhead screen has rotating game display
covering the top matches on the stage.

All Round #8 photos here!


  1. Batswana are really making us proud over her!! I think the rest of Africa has geared up their chess, dont you?? Well done Khetho.


    Jamaica’s team spanked Macau 4-0 in round 8 action at the 38th Chess Olympiad being played at the International Congress Centre in Dresden, Germany.

    After it was decided to rest the top board player, Cornwall College past student FM Warren Elliott, Jamaica’s record national champion and Excelsior High School past student National Master Shane “the magician” Matthews moved up to board one and started the rout when he comfortably outclassed his opponent with the white pieces in only 23 moves to set the tone for what was to come.

    The in-form Campion College past student National Master Jomo Pitterson, playing on board three, then took his unbeaten run to six games, winning his fourth by quickly dispatching his adversary with the white pieces. Pitterson, Jamaica’s best player so far at the world’s biggest chess tournament, only needs one more point from three games to achieve a FIDE (pronounced “fee-deh”) Master (FM) title (a prestigious international chess designation) and create further chess history for Jamaica.

    Seeing his country comfortably leading 2-0, Kingston college “old boy” Duane Rowe, Jamaica’s first Super National Master who played on board two, joined in the fun by notching his second consecutive victory with the black pieces.

    Ardenne High past student National Master Brandon Wilson, the team’s reserve player, made Macau’s misery complete by winning the last game to finish in the match on board four. It was Wilson’s first win in four starts and his shouts of joy can still be heard resonating around Dresden!

    Jamaica is playing in the Open section of the event with more than one hundred and forty (140) countries registered. The “land of wood and water” is on track to record its best-ever performance at a Chess Olympiad.

    The ninth round continues tomorrow at the same venue starting at 3:00 pm local time. At the time of writing Jamaica’s next opponents are unknown.

    Ian Wilkinson
    Jamaica Chess Federation
    (Jamaica’s delegate to FIDE Congress)
    Dresden, Germany
    Friday, November 21, 2008 (9:37 pm)

    NB: Dresden is six hours ahead of Jamaica

  3. Botswana basically has no trainer at all, is just for the love of the game that drives them forward. There are not chess professionals they have their own careers beside chess, they play chess casually as they are held by their demanding professions.

  4. Here’s a nice one from Akopian!

    Akopian,V (2679) – Vachier Lagrave,M (2716) [B90]
    38th Olympiad Dresden GER (8), 21.11.2008

    1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.Be2 Qc7 8.a4 b6 9.f4 Bb7 10.Bf3 Nbd7 11.Qe2 g6 12.0-0 e5 13.Rad1 Be7 14.fxe5 Nxe5 15.Bh6 Bf8 16.Bxf8 Kxf8 17.Qe3 h6 18.Bh5! Qe7 19.Bxg6 Nxg6 20.Nf5 Qe5 21.Qxb6 Bxe4 22.Qxd6+ Qxd6 23.Nxd6 Bxc2 24.Rxf6 24…Ra7 25.Rd2 Kg7 26.Rf3 1-0

    ChessGames: https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1522575

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