So, here we are again - another two years have passed and it's time for the 2012 Chess Olympiad, this year held in Istanbul, Turkey.
It's long been an ambition of mine to go to an Olympiad, after all it's the biggest collection of top chessplayers in one place and a fantastic celebration of chess. Sadly my prospects of playing in an Olympiad are basically zero (without somehow switching to a different Federation, something I have no plans to do) so instead I'm going as a captain/trainer.
More specifically I'm going as the Captain of the Welsh Women's Team. Maybe they're not going to be medal contenders but they're looking to put in a good performance as I certainly hope to help them achieve their ambitions. I won't introduce them all to you now but you can find all the registered teams/players at http://register.chessolympiadistanbul.com/countries
The favourites for the event are no doubt Russia as top seeds but Armenia are always contenders in these team events and Lev Aronian will be the highest rated player in attendence at the Olympiad. I will also be keeping an eye on the English Team, not least because their board two is my housemate, and new British Champion (congratulations for him on that), Gawain Jones (VerdeNotte).
In fact whilst I have been busy coaching and writing lately my other housemates have been playing quite a bit of chess. My spot as #2 in the house is under severe threat from FM Peter Roberson (Squirlolz) who recently won an IM norm tournament with a very impressive 8/9, gaining 50+ points into the bargain.
I have been playing chess a little myself but mostly in a London Rapidplay league, nothing that is likely to affect my FIDE Rating. In some ways this is a shame as I'm finding rapidplay a lot easier to play than slowplay these days, probably because I can play on instinct rather than have to rely on my calculation, which is distinctly rusty due to lack of tournament practice. The team I play for, West London, put in a strong performance and finished 2nd overall. I finished with a score of 13.5/16 on top board although I only played one player who outrated me. Details of the league can be found at: http://www.citychess.org.uk/main.php
That's all from me for now, I look forward to writing a few updates from Istanbul. Let me know in the comments if there's anything you'd like me to discuss about the event!