Most Defended Square / Most Decisive Move

Most Defended Square / Most Decisive Move

Jan 12, 2018, 8:44 PM |

The Chess Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament in which teams from all over the world compete. FIDE organises the tournament and selects the host nation.

The use of the name "Chess Olympiad" for FIDE's team championship is of historical origin and implies no connection with the Olympic Games. 

The first Olympiad was unofficial. For the 1924 Olympics an attempt was made to include chess in the Olympic Games but this failed because of problems with distinguishing between amateur and professional players. While the 1924 Summer Olympics was taking place in Paris, the 1st unofficial Chess Olympiad also took place in Paris. FIDE was formed on Sunday, July 20, 1924, the closing day of the 1st unofficial Chess Olympiad.

FIDE organised the first Official Olympiad in 1927 which took place in London. The Olympiads were occasionally held annually and at irregular intervals until World War II; since 1950 they have been held regularly every two years. 


Each FIDE recognized chess association can enter a team into the Olympiad. Each team is made of up to five players, four regular players and one reserve (prior to the tournament in Dresden 2008 there were two reserves). Initially each team played all other teams but as the event grew over the years this became impossible. At first team seeding took place before the competition. Later certain drawbacks were recognized with seeding and in 1976 a Swiss tournament system was adopted.

The trophy for the winning team in the open section is the Hamilton-Russell Cup, which was offered by the English magnate Frederick Hamilton-Russell as a prize for the 1st Olympiad (London 1927). The cup is kept by the winning team until the next event, when it is consigned to the next winner. The trophy for the winning women's team is known as the Vera Menchik Cup in honor of the first Women's World Chess Champion.

The 35th Chess Olympiad, organized by FIDE and comprising an open and women's tournament, took place between October 25 and November 11, 2002, in Bled, Slovenia. There were 135 teams in the open event and 90 in the women's event.


Both tournament sections were officiated by international arbiter Geurt Gijssen (Netherlands). Teams were paired across the 14 rounds of competition according to the Swiss system. The open division was played over four boards per round, while the women's was played over three. In the event of a draw, the tie-break was decided by 1. The Buchholz system; and 2. Match points.

The time control for each game permitted each player 90 minutes for all their moves, with an additional 30 seconds increment for each player after each move, beginning with the first.

In addition to the overall medal winners, the teams were divided into seeding groups, with the top finishers in each group receiving special prizes.


The open division was contested by 135 teams representing 130 nations. Slovenia, as hosts, fielded three teams, while the International Braile Chess Association (IBCA), the International Physically Disabled Chess Association (IPCA), and the International Committee of Silent Chess (ICSC) each provided one squad. Sudan were signed up but never arrived.

Both reigning world champions, Vladimir Kramnik (classical) and Viswanathan Anand (FIDE), were absent from the tournament. Meanwhile, the Russian team with two ex-champions, Kasparov and Khalifman, won their sixth consecutive title. Hungary and Armenia took silver and bronze, respectively.


Robert Gwaze of Zimbabwe won the individual medal for 1st Board and is one of only two players to have recorded the "highest" perfect score at an Olympiad with 9 points in 9 games (the other was Alexander Alekhine in 1930).

The women's division was contested by 90 teams representing 85 nations. Slovenia, as hosts, fielded three teams, while the International Braile Chess Association (IBCA), the International Physically Disabled Chess Association (IPCA), and the International Committee of Silent Chess (ICSC) each provided one squad. Afghanistan and Tunisia were signed up but never arrived.

China were only narrow favourites on rating this time but still won their third consecutive title, led by reigning world champion Zhu Chen and future champion Xu Yuhua. Russia and Poland took the silver and bronze medals, respectively.

The Nona Gaprindashvili Trophy is awarded to the nation that has the best average rank in the open and women's divisions. Where two or more teams are tied, they are ordered by best single finish in either division and then by total number of points scored.

The trophy, named after the former women's world champion (1961–78), was created by FIDE in 1997.

The game featured below was played during the 14th Round between Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant and Ana Benderac. 

null null










At the time Ana was a WIM rated 2300; and Ketevan was an IM rated 2413. Ana would later become a WGM in 2004 and achieved her peak rating of 2334 in April 2008. Ketevan went on to become a GM in 2009 and achieved her peak rating of 2506 at that same time (July 2009).

This amazing game features a missed opportunity on Ketevan's part to win. The most amaizing element is that to find the winning move White have to have found a move that would land her Bishop on a square that was QUINTUPLE attacked by Black. 

Here is the game with analysis provided by myself, Stockfish and GM Mesgen Amanov.