Round #10

Armenian smelling gold… medal fight intense with three rounds remaining

Top Boards

Armenia 2½-1½ China
France  2-2 USA
Russia 3-1 Ukraine
Czech Republic 3½-½ Slovenia
Cuba 2-2 India

The Armenian juggernaut continues and  puts "Aronian & Co." in good position for a gold medal. Armenia got past China 2½-1½ on the strength of Vladimir Akopian's stellar play against Zhang Zhong. China was fortunate not to lose by a larger score given Bu Xiangzhi's rebound from a two pawn deficit. The opposite-colored bishop ending gave Bu a chance to blockade.

USA were also fortunate to gain a 2-2 tie with the rejuvenated team from France. The Americans played horribly, but lady luck shined after it appeared France was headed for a rout. Ibragimov won a game that appeared to be totally lost when Christian Bauer begin a series of hallucinations and tossed away a win. Absolutely amazing. Hikaru Nakamura fought from a two-pawn deficit  to snag a draw from the jaws of defeat as did Bu from China. For those teaching beginners the rudiments of K+P ending then this was the round to do so.

Unfortunately for Kamsky, Etienne Bacrot had the opposition after Kf5-g6 (left); unfortunately for Fressinet,  Nakamura’s Kg6-f6 won the opposition (right). Unfortunately for Kamsky, Etienne Bacrot had the opposition after Kf5-g6 (left); unfortunately for Fressinet,  Nakamura’s Kg6-f6 won the opposition (right).

USA-France - a beginner's guide on K+P endings

Unfortunately for Kamsky, Etienne Bacrot had the opposition after Kf5-g6 (left); unfortunately for Fressinet,  Nakamura's Kg6-f6 won the opposition (right).

Russia blitzed the Ukraine 3-1 to remain in medal contention. However, hopes for a gold medal are remote. Down 2½ points with three rounds remaining, the Russians will have to rely on other teams to upset the solid Armenians. It is doubtful that the Russians will gain much on the USA team which will probably go with Kamsky, Alexander Onischuk and Nakamura on the top boards and Gregory Kaidanov on board #4.

On the other hand, the Armenians will face an overmatched
Czech Republic team and will probably take three points. If the era of Russian dominance in team events was ever in doubt, then this Olympiad should further prove this notion. China, currently in second position, has a chance to redeem itself for the collapse in last year's World Team Chess Championship. It was at this tournament that China lost an apparently insurmountable 2½-point lead and got crushed in the last round 3½-½ by Russia. Ni Hua, who had lost two crucial games (including the last game), was devastated.

Redemption for China's Ni Hua?

African-Caribbean nations having mixed results

Both parties in tomorrow's General Election have pointed to chess development in smaller federations. In looking at this Olympiad, there is lots of work to be done.  It is interesting that a few federations have made breakthroughs in this Olympiad were once a part of the CACDEC or Committee for Assistance to Chess Developing Countries.
China, India and Cuba have all taken different paths to emerge as chess powers today and in the 37th Olympiad they hold top positions in the tournament.

If we look closer, we see that
Morocco is having a good tournament without Mohammed Tisser, their second-best player. Hichem Hamdouchi is in form on +5 (2719 TPR) and the other Moroccan players have worked hard to challenge themselves. Egypt was having a good tournament until a 4-0 whitewashing by Romania in this round. Tunisia was crushed by Canada. Other African powers Nigeria, Angola and South Africa had better fortune and won their matches. Nigeria added Oladapo Adu in the 6th round, but he has struggled in his five games. Zambia has had to do with their star players Amon Simutowe and Stanley Chumfwa, but are undefeated in their seven matches. The Botswana has had its share of frustrations after having a wonderful tournament in Mallorca in 2004. Ignatius Njobvu started the tournament with 3½-½, but has a four-game losing streak.

In the Caribbean, there have been some personal victories such as Jamaica's holding Finland 2-2 with Russel Porter's win over Heikki Westerinen. Trinidad can look to Christo Cave's win over Sweden's Tiger Hillarp-Person as a source of national encouragement. Barbados' Philip Corbin has provided the island with some of his customary highlights… sacrifices blazing. The 16-year old Justin Blackman is getting valuable exposure and got his initiation into the Olympiad family. Other smaller islands like Haiti have performed valiantly in their first Olympiad in many, many years. Unfortunately, players from Guadeloupe and Martinique cannot field teams due to their status as Overseas Departments of France. They both have active federations and would benefit from an international presence. Allan Herbert of Barbados has been working to include these islands in regional competition. Gilles Suez-Panama of Martinique scored well in the Heroes Cup last month.

No… this is not Viswanathan Anand. It is Hichem Hamdouchi of Morocco… Africa's #1. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

African-Caribbean scores

ICSC 3-1
Algeria; Angola 2½-1½  IPCA; Aruba 0-4 Kenya; Bermuda 1-3 Seychelles; Uruguay 3-1 Barbados; Palestine 3-1 Botswana; Papua New Guinea 2½-1½ British Virgin Islands; Cuba 2-2 India; Dominican Republic 3½-½ Yemen; Romania 4-0 Egypt; Ethiopia 2½-1½ Chinese Taipei; Haiti 2-2 Uganda; Andorra 3-1 Jamaica; Kenya 4-0 Aruba; Libya 1½-2½ Zambia; Malawi 2-2 Netherlands Antilles; Mauritius 2½-1½ Monaco; Morocco 4-0 Italy"C"; Panama 3-1 Mozambique; Honduras 2½-1½ Namibia; Netherlands Antilles 2-2 Malawi; Nigeria 2½-1½ UAE; El Salvador 2½-1½ Puerto Rico; Fiji 4-0 Rwanda; Seychelles 3-1 Bermuda; South Africa 3½-½ Sudan; Chile 4-0 Trinidad & Tobago; Canada 3½-½ Tunisia; Uganda 2-2 Haiti; Jersey 3-1 US Virgin Islands; Zambia 2½-1½ Libya

Reporting from Chicago, USA  -  Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum

African Diaspora Spotlight
Kenya's Wanjiru Gichuru (Africa)
(Photo by Daaim Shabazz)

Olympiad Information Center

The Chess Drum

| Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 |
| Round 5 | Round 6 | Round 7 | Round 8 | Round 9 |
| Round 10 | Round 11 | Round 12 | Round 13 |

| Home | FIDE Election News | Photo Galleries | Interviews |

Wiener Zeitung (Olympiad Database) Excellent Stats!

| Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 |
| Round 5 | Round 6 | Round 7 | Round 8 | Round 9 |
| Round 10 | Round 11 | Round 12 | Round 13 |

| Standings (General) | Standings (Women) |

Official Site of 37th Chess Olympiad Live Games!

| Home | Games (Java Viewer) Nice! |

Other Sites with Olympiad Coverage

| TWIC | | ICC | Daily Dirt | Google News |

*  *  *

www Drum

Posted by The Chess Drum: 1 June 2006