Life in the Chess Olympiad
Hi everybody!!! Sorry about not writing this earlier, its all been really busy here the past 3 days and I haven't had a chance to write to you. So lets start by what happened 2 days ago. On that day we played the US... Virgin Islands. They were the bottom seed of the tournament, but I was not feeling that confident after throwing away what looked like a drawn position in the previous round against FM Long. So I took a rest that day. I still travelled with my team to the tournament hall to cheer them on. After about 1 hour, with my team seemingly all in good positions, I decided to take a walk. I went to the small playing hall, where all the elite teams were playing. There I saw Kramnik, Leko, Polgar, Shirov, Ponomariov and many other stars of the chess world. It was a great experience . I then went out into the entrance area of our playing hall and guess who I saw? Karpov!!!! He was campaigning for the upcoming FIDE election, and he was giving out signed photos and shaking hands with people!!! So I went up to him, shook his hand and wished him luck for the election.
After all that excitement, I went back to see how my team was doing. Our board 1, Hon Ki Tsang, wrapped up his win quickly as did our board 2, Edwin Borigas. We were afraid that our reserve board, Kwai Keong Chan, was losing, but after the game we found that he was not in serious trouble before his opponent blundered. Bryan Lee took the longest to win, but eventually defeated his opponent in a long double rook endgame where he was a pawn up. So 4-0 to Hong Kong!!! A great result!
When we got back to the hotel we found that we were paired against Kenya. Our captain said that we had a fighting chance against them, and predicted a 2-2 draw. I, returning to the team, was matched against Joseph Atwoli, an unrated player. However, in round 1, he had defeated a player over 2200. To make matters worse, his round 1 opponent played the Sicillian and was met with the Grand Prix, and I play the Sicillian too. So I prepared a line against the Grand Prix, but knowing the previous 2 rounds, I couldn't be sure that our preparation would be useful...
So I finally won!!! The rest of my team also did well, with Borigas' opponent blundering from a superior position, and therefore losing. Bryan Lee crushed his opponent positionally, leaving him with only no moves before he lost. Hon Ki Tsang had a long, tough game in the closed Sicillian, and it looked drawish before his opponent blundered while pressing too hard to win. However, Tsang did not see the win, so he accepted his opponent's draw offer. All in all, though, a very good day for Hong Kong, 3.5-0.5, much surpassing our Captains expectations.
Ah well, today we're playing against Ireland, who are resting their top board, IM Sam Collins, against us. They probably think that we're going to be an easy whitewash. However, we are determined to give them a good fight at the very least. I am playing FM Colm Daly. So I'll tell you how it all went when I get back later.