Round #6

Netherlands upset Russia… Armenia moves into the lead!

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Netherlands 2½-1½  Russia
Armenia 2½-1½  Uzbekistan
Sweden  2½-1½  Bulgaria
Ukraine 2½-1½  Iran
Belarus 3-1 Spain

The Netherlands' win over Russia almost  turned into a route in not for Grischuk's active defense against an in-form Loek van Wely. However, Friso Nijboer scored the margin of victory after his enterprising exchange sacrifice after 23…Rxf2! Black's active pieces would soon swarm the board and overwhelm white's forces. (see gameArmenia toppled Uzbekistan after Vladimir Akobian crushed Alexey Barsov.

The other games were fought at arm's distance.
Sweden is an interesting story unfolding. They lost a heart-wrenching match to Egypt after two improbable blunders on the lower boards. Tiger Hillarp Person was suddenly -2 and sat out the next round to compose himself. In this round, he scored a resounding victory after a queen sacrifice and an ensuing mating attack. (see game) India has a big date with the Ukraine after dispatching of  Germany on the stergnth of two impressive wins by Pentala Harikrishna and Surya Ganguly.

From the international coverage and pictures, you would have little idea that any non-European teams (sans India) are playing in the Chess Olympiad, but this tournament boasts about 140 teams. This has been the drawback of international coverage of chess for so many years and in a tournament with so many wonderful stories, it is a shame that these stories are ignored… or overlooked.

One breaking story is the performance of the Peruvian team lead by Julio Granda. With only one Grandmaster, the team held underachieving England 2-2 as Emilio Cordova and Marco Pacheco continue to impress. England continues to slide and despite having six Grandmasters lies amidst the mid-tier teams.

France has had mediocre results, but Etinnet Bacrot played his first game this round. Cuba has also been surging after their 3½-½ demolition of a disconcerted Azerbaijan. Iran is also performing in the top half after swirling rumors about  the 2004 Olympiad dogged pre-Olympiad preparations.

Rafael Leitao of Brazil and Neuris Delgado Ramirez of Cuba are players of rising federations. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Nigeria's "Dream Team" on tap!

Oladapo Adu has arrived in Turin and will bolster an already impressive and balanced side. Since their team honors back in 2002 Olympiad, the Nigerian side has had problems fielding their best team for a number of logistical reasons. White the US-based Adu has arrived, according to Nigeria's Rosemary Amadasun two players were refused visas. However, this Olympiad features a Nigeria "Dream Team" of sorts and team has high hopes. In the 6th round, Nigeria crushed Liechtenstein 3½-½ and will play the team of physically-challenged players in round seven.

African-Caribbean scores

Vietnam 3-1
Algeria; Angola 3-1 Japan; Aruba 2-2 Malawi; Hong Kong 4-0 Bermuda; Barbados 4-0 Mauritius; Botswana 3½-½ Luxembourg; British Virgin Islands 1½-2½ Rwanda; Cuba 3½-½  Azerbaijan; Dominican Republic 3½-½  Palestine; Egypt 2½-1½  IBCA; Ethiopia 2½-1½  Guernsey; Monaco 2½-1½  Haiti; Jamaica 4-0 Cyprus; Libya 2½-1½  Sri Lanka; Kenya 2-2 Uganda; Malawi 2-2 Aruba; Mauritius 0-4 Barbados; Morocco 3½-½  Lebanon; Mozambique 1-3 Trinidad and Tobago; Namibia 3½-½ IPCA; Bolivia 4-0 Netherlands Antilles; Nigeria 3½-½ Liechtenstein; Yemen 3-1 Puerto Rico; Rwanda 2½-1½ British Virgin Islands; Seychelles 2-2 Honduras; South Africa 3-1 Nepal;  Trinidad & Tobago 3-1 Mozambique; Tunisia 2-2 Estonia; Uganda 2-2 Kenya; Pakistan 4-0 US Virgin Islands; Zambia  2½-1½  Suriname

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

African Diaspora Spotlight
Nigeria's Rosemary Amadasun (Africa)
(Photo by Daaim Shabazz)

African Diaspora Spotlight
British Virgin Islands (Caribbean)

(L-R) Art Christopher, Maurice Lettsome
(Photo by Daaim Shabazz)

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Posted by The Chess Drum: 28 May 2006