2012 Chess Olympiad: Round #1

Top Boards (Open)

Dominican Republic ½-3½ Russia
Ukraine 4-0 Iraq
Bolivia 1-3 Armenia
Hungary 3-1 Kyrgyzstan
Jordan 0-4 USA
China 3½-½ Zambia
Luxembourg 0-4 Azerbaijan
France 4-0 Zimbabwe
Malaysia 2½-1½ Netherlands
Andorra ½-3½ England

Full Results

After a spectacular opening, the wait is over and the fireworks in Istanbul have begun! In the Olympiad, the first round usually pits the strong and mighty against the weak and humble. However, in the days of databases and powerful engines, players can come to the board well-prepared against stronger opposition. The preparation may reduce the gap by as much as 100-150 ELO points as players rated 300-400 points can remain competitive until move 30 or 40.

Dominican Republic vs. Russia, ½-3½

IM Lisandro Munoz (right) failed to get the first round upset this year. Grischuk certainly looked at the Dominican’s win against Smeets in Khanty-Mansisyk.

Russia beat the Dominican Republic 3½-½, but gave up a crucial half-point when GM Evgeny Tomoshevsky (2730) was held by FM William Puntier (2312). Of course rating is not the only factor helping weaker players. If a match is well in hand, stronger players may be encouraged to take a draw instead of squeezing a win to save energy for stronger teams. Time will tell whether this will make a difference. Other top teams cruised to comfortable victories.

Bad Loek in round 1. No fun for the Dutch GM in loss to Malaysia’s Tze-Meng Mok.

While the Ukraine blanked Iraq in a repeat from 2010, Armenia also gave up a crucial point when GM Sergei Movsesian (2698) gave up the full point to Bolivian Grandmaster Osvaldo Zambrana (2471). Top teams need to compile big scores in order to build their tiebreak scores. Armenia is now 1-point out. Also giving up a point was Hungary from Kyrgyzstan.

Malaysia held the Netherlands close before losing by the slimmest of margins 2½-1½. IM Tze-Meng Mok upset Loek Van Wely as the worn out pun “bad luck for Loek” rises again. There was buzzing around the hall in the France-Zambia match as Stanley Chumfwa seemed poised to snatch a full point from Wang Yue. Daniel Jere was also in a long battle with Wang Hao. In the end, Wang Yue staved off a loss while Wang Hao bested Jere in an explosive game. This match was closer than the score indicated.

Selected Games (Round #1)

IM Lisandro Munoz (Dominican Rep.) – GM Alexander Grischuk (Russia), 0-1
GM Dmitri Jakovenko (Russia) – FM Francis Fernandez (Dominican Rep.), 1-0
FM Akar Ali SalihGM Aleksandr Moiseyenko (Ukraine), 0-1
GM Osvaldo Zambrana (Bolivia) – GM Sergei Movesesian (Armenia), 1-0
Stanley Chumfwa (Zambia) – GM Wang Yue (China), ½-½
IM Mok, Tze-Meng (Malaysia) – GM Loek Van Wely (Netherlands), 1-0
FM Martyn Del Castilho (Barbados) – GM Ioannis Papaioannou (Greece), 0-1
FM Warren Elliott (Jamaica) – GM Alexander Beliavsky (Slovenia), ½-½
IM Jomo Pitterson (Jamaica) – GM Matej Sebenik (Slovenia), 1-0
CM Providence Oatlhotse (Botswana) – GM Fernando Peralta (Argentina), 1-0
FM Elijah Emojong (Uganda) – GM Ilmars Starostits (Latvia), 1-0
GM Pontus Carlsson (Sweden) – Sander Kukk (Estonia), 1-0
IM Oladapo Adu (Nigeria) – IM Kenny Solomon (South Africa), 0-1

* * *

Top Boards (Women)

China 4-0 Bangladesh
Bolivia 0-4 Russia
Georgia 4-0 Guatemala
El Salvador ½-3½ Ukraine
USA 4-0 New Zealand
FYROM 0-4 India
Poland 4-0 Dominican Republic
Jordan 1-3 Armenia
Luxembourg ½-3½ Romania
Spain 3-1 Egypt

Full Results

China: Ding Yixin, Huang Qian, Ju Wenjun, Zhao Xue ready for action!

Russia has begun the defense of their gold medal with an easy 4-nil victory over Bolivia. Nadezhda Kosintseva sat out the first round. China blasted Asian counterpart Bangladesh 4-0 with World Champion Hou Yifan sitting. Georgia, USA, India, Poland also had easy victories, but Armenia (like their male counterparts) gave up a point losing on board #2.

The women’s field will be in some ways more predictable than the open field given that the talent pool is not as deep. Out of 62 matches played in the first round, there were 46 matches ending in 4-0. There were few board upsets, the largest being a 518-point upset of Costa Rica’s Maria Rodriguez (1738) over Marina Makropoulou (2256) of Greece. We will have to wait until rounds three and four to see the more competitive matches in the women’s field.

Photos by David Llada, Anastasiya Karlovich. for FIDE.com.


  1. 2012 Chess Olympiad (Istanbul, Turkey)

    On the opening night of the 40th World Chess Olympiad, the Jamaican Men’s Team narrowly missed the opportunity to score an upset when they loss 2 ½ – 1 ½ to an all Grandmaster squad from Slovenia.

    Clearly buoyed by the London success of their Athletes, the confidence and focus of the Jamaican men was glaring visible as they settled into a marathon match with the Slovenians.

    Slovenia drew first blood when Grandmaster Jure Borisek beat Candidate Master Duane Rowe on Board 3. Jamaica retaliated on Board 2 with a fine win and equalizer from International Master Jomo Pitterson against Grandmaster Matej Sebenik.

    However, it was when FIDE Master Warren Elliott held the legendary Slovenian Grandmaster Alexander Beliavsky to a draw on Board 1 that the severity of the situation for the Slovenians began to sink in. For not only had the Slovenians failed to gain the upper hand on their top two boards, a result their ratings would have predicted, but on Board 4 Grandmaster Jore Skoberne was entangled in a complicated end game against Jamaica’s rising star Damian Davy.

    Skoberne eventually managed to squeeze a win from the young Jamaican, but only after 5 ½ hours of play in a match that was the last to finish for the entire Olympiad.

    For the rest of the Caribbean only Cuba managed to post a win in men’s action with a 4-0 drubbing of Japan. The Dominican Republic playing top seeds Russia on Table 1 loss 3 ½ – 1/2, as did Puerto Rico, Aruba and USVI against Croatia, Portugal and Scotland respectively.

    Barbados lost to Greece 4-0; a result which did not reflect the competitiveness of the match. Playing for the Bajans were National Champion Martyn Del Castilho, a member of the UWI Cave Hill Sports Programme, International Masters Kevin Denny and Terry Farley and FIDE Master Delisle Warner.

    Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Curacao and Haiti all suffered similar 4-0 fates against Austria, Switzerland, Mexico and Canada.

    In the Women’s Section, it was again Cuba leading the charge for the Caribbean with a 4-0 victory over Finland. For Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean it was a dismal start with Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Curacao, Aruba all losing by 4-0 margins against Poland, Serbia, Azerbaijan, England, Turkey, Sweden, Estonia and Canada.
    Playing for the Bajan women were Corinne Howard and Barbados Woman Champion Katrina Blackman, both of whom are members of the UWI Cave Hill Sports Programme, Woman Candidate Master Sheena Ramsay and Donna Forde.

    Round 2 see the Barbados Men paired against the Team from the International Blind Association and the women against Bolivia.

    Live coverage of the next round including the games can be viewed at https://www.chessolympiadistanbul.com, starting at 8:00 a.m. Barbados time.

    Allan Herbert
    With the Barbados Chess Team at the 40th World Chess Olympaid, Istanbul, Turkey

  2. Thanks Daaim

    At a certain point, i thought Chumfwa had a good advantage and could have beaten Wang Yue.

    After black plays 41. Rd1?!, white could have gone for 42. Bh4!?

    I think pressure would have mounted on Yue after that…

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