Tromso Follies

  • NM GargleBlaster
  • | Aug 7, 2014

I love chess olympiads.  The great players, the pageantry, the drama, and, most of all, the unrelenting weirdness of the lower boards.  What do I mean by that?  Well, because the event is open to all countries, a wildly eclectic mix of professional, amateur, and beginner level players all play one another and the results of these unlikely matchups are often fascinating.  

To demonstrate what I mean, I'll pick as obscure a pairing as could be imagined: Scotland vs. Zimbabwe, round four.

OK, I suppose it should be mentioned before we go any further that both Scotland and Zimbabwe sport quite respectable chess teams and especially in proportion to their general chess-playing population.  That said, both teams were already relegated to playing for pride by round four and it it's unlikely anyone in this universe or any other would have found it strange had International Master Mandizha Farai, Zimbabwe's first board, decided to play something solid against his Grandmaster opponent, Colin McNab.  Instead, however, Mandizha tries everything imaginable to provoke his veteran opponent into a wild tactical melee... 

A truly epic game.  However, if you'd prefer briefer oddities, here's a few of of the more memorable miniature mishaps so far...

P.S. -> For those having difficulty believing this last game actually occured, there's photographic evidence...



  • 2 years ago


    Reading the annotations of these games is like being hit over the head with diamonds.

    Brilliant Article.

    #GargleSwag ;)

  • 2 years ago


    I have three games from my own tournement.

  • 2 years ago


    haha brilliant! 3 move checkmate. Frigging ridiculous to be happening at the olympiad though

  • 2 years ago


    There is no pawn blocking the white queen in the photo as best as I can see.  The kings are moved to the center of the board after the game is over, as I understand tournament practice (when the game ended they would have been on their respective original squares).

  • 2 years ago


    last game was amazing

  • 2 years ago

    NM GargleBlaster

    Thanks Petrosianic, though of course those are hardly the lower boards... :)

    That said, Kamsky - Steel was a bit of a tragedy.  Kamsky played brilliantly, but while approaching the first time control his intuition about how to continue the attack failed him, and Black pulled off an improbable (if not downright flukey) escape.

  • 2 years ago

    NM Petrosianic

    some interesting games...
  • 2 years ago


    h4. What a cool drawing resource.

  • 2 years ago



    You left out the women's games :-(.

  • 2 years ago


    "Anyone still here?"

    Haha! Great commentary! Keep it up these games were fun!

  • 2 years ago


    Love the reverse Fool's mate and the "help mate".  Nice article.

  • 2 years ago


    DGT Electronic Chessboards...about $1000 iirc

  • 2 years ago


    What kind of chess boards are those? Looks like they automatically register the moves. I want one!

  • 2 years ago


    I'm not saying that it didn't happen (I believe it especially because of the evidence), but I'm just very surprised that it happened.

  • 2 years ago


    One glance at the picture submitted as "evidence" had me laughing!

  • 2 years ago

    IM chesskingdreamer

    king in the center is the dgt board annotation that proves white wins, draw, or black wins.

  • 2 years ago


    Fantastic annotations for that first game (insightful and funny, always)!!! Loved seeing such strong, wacky play from white, too.

  • 2 years ago


    I believe the last game occur, but because I trust on annotations, not because of photographic evidence... If you look attentiounsly, you'll see that the pieces are not where it suppose to be... There is a pawn blocking white queen last move, kings on center, etc...

  • 2 years ago


    That last game though...

  • 2 years ago

    NM grumpyguru

    Great annotations!

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