Olympiad tournaments are full of interesting personalities ranging from professional players, to enthusiastic organizers and to national champions in tiny chess countries.
IM Kenneth Solomon
The Chess Drum was able to get 12 interviews during the 40th Chess Olympiad including its third with three-time Olympic champion Levon Aronian. Please sit back and enjoy these short interviews and feel free to give your feedback! All photos by Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum.
IM Kenny Solomon (South Africa) – Solomon fortunes would not be met until later in this tournament, but he had already beaten GM Zhang Zhong and would go on to beat GM Jaime Cuartas of Colombia and GM Ivan Morovic of Chile scoring a “double-norm” and thus adding two norms to the one he already earned. This interview was after round six. 7:52 minutes
CM Duane Rowe (Jamaica) – This former Jamaica national champion is living in Oman as an energy engineer, but still flies the Jamaican flag. He is manning the tables in his 7th Olympiad and talks about his experience and life outside of chess. 5:54 minutes Sorry about quality!
FM Warren Elliott (Jamaica) – The talisman for Jamaica, Elliott drew GM Alexander Beliavsky in round one and had high hopes for a strong performance. However he mentioned the side effects of rust built up after dedicating time to his academy. With his academy thriving he still has goals for chess. Very optimistic. 6:39 minutes Sorry about quality!
Kebadu Belachew (Ethiopia) – A tireless worker for the advancement of Ethiopian chess, Belachew (FIDE Delegate) talks about the Olympiad experience for the Ethiopians and programs in the country. He talks about Ruth Leykan a player who has found a way out of poverty and now riding a wave of success in Istanbul. 11:40 minutes Sorry about quality!
GM Abhijeet Gupta (India) – A silver medalist on board #4, Gupta shined in his first Olympiad, and discussed India’s performance, the climate for chess in the country and the impact of Viswanathan Anand. Having graduated from the university, he is now shooting for 2700 and is hoping to move forward in his endeavors. 4:04 minutes
Hilda Vukikomoala and Kieran Lyons (Fiji) – This Fijian duo completed the Olympiad and gave an upbeat account of their experience and chess in Fiji. An Australian national, Kieran was Fiji’s top board by the virtue that her mother is from the island nation. She was enthralled by the Olympiad experience and is a proponent of promoting women’s chess. Hilda is a very cheerful and smiley high school student who called the experience “eye-opening”. Pleasant conversation… my favorite! 🙂 9:07 minutes
Hilda Vukikomoala and Kieran Lyons of Fiji
GM Ray Robson (USA) – America’s talented hopeful discusses his experience at the Olympiad. Born in Guam, Robson played on the USA team for the World Team Championship so this was his second time in Turkey. He is a freshman at Webster University and speaks a little on his experience there. 3:56 minutes
from Jamaica’s Chess President Ian Wilkinson.
All photos by Daaim Shabazz.