Olympiad R3: Kasparov Speaks, Armenia Stumbles, Netherlands Beats USA | Update: VIDEO

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 8/4/14, 4:25 PM.

Several top matches ended in 2-2 today, and now only 11 countries are in the lead, with three wins, at the 41st Chess Olympiad in Tromsø: France, Netherlands, Serbia, Russia, China, Azerbaijan, Israel, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Uzbekistan and Romania.

Three-time winner Armenia suffered its first loss against France, while Netherlands managed to beat the United States, which played its first match with Hikaru Nakamura.

On the third day of the Olympiad, many journalists missed the start of the round. The reason was that they were somewhere else: at the Rica Ishavshotel, where an hour earlier a press conference started with Garry Kasparov and his ticket members Afrika Msimang, Jan Callewaert, Ian Wilkinson and Ignatius Leong. The latter is still FIDE Secretary, and in fact also Olympiad tournament director, so he's wearing many hats at this Olympiad!

L-R Leong, Msimang, Kasparov, Callewaert, Wilkinson. 

One member was missing: Rex Sinquefield, the biggest individual chess sponsor these days, who helped fund the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, the recent U.S. Championships, and the Sinquefield Cup. Sinquefield will be coming to Tromsø later this week.

The first question at the press conference came from Peter Nicholas, a journalist for the Wall Street Journal, who asked: “Do you believe Vladimir Putin is in lead with your opponent for this presidency and do you believe that your political opposition to the Putin government is in some sense the reason for that?”

Kasparov answered: “It is not a secret that every Russian embassy in the world has been mobilized by the incumbent. They have been actively pursuing federations and governments to exercise their influence and to sway the votes. In some countries they have been actively involved in buying votes.”

Wilkinson added: “I can confirm. The Russian tried to put a squeeze on us, so to speak.” 

Jøran Aulin-Jansson, the President of the Norwegian Chess Federation, was also present and said that he was approached twice. 

Kasparov: “Even the Ukrainian federation was approached!” He ended his response to Mr. Nicholas with: “Ilyumzhinov's FIDE will be fully dependent on the pariah state that unfortunately Putin's Russia has been turned into.”

Garry Kasparov.

The bigger part of the press conference was about proxies. A proxy is a vote by a delegate on behalf of another federation, whose delegate cannot attend the General Assembly for whatever reason. At least, that is the original idea.


“There were massive violations of the regulations. But you can also just look at the list of proxies. The incumbent side has 25, we have three. That definitely tells you that they have been very busy collecting proxies. (...) Out of these 25 proxies, I would say at least half of the countries that gave the proxies will be represented. In my view, it will not be morally acceptable to have presidents of federations in the audience, while somebody else will be casting the ballot. (...) In our case, all three proxies were given by countries who are not attending this Congress: South Africa, Hong Kong and Bhutan.”

The Kasparov team suspects that some of the proxies might not have a clear link between the two federations, but they haven't been able to bring this topic to the Electoral Commission.

“We asked the Electoral Committee and the FIDE office, led by Mr Freeman, the executive director, to provide us native documents, I mean the emails that could prove this link,” said Kasparov. “Our requests have been categorically denied, whereas every single request from the opposite side was accepted. That gives you an idea about the impartiality.”

“There were four specific proxies hand-delivered by Mr. Makropoulos. All we wanted to ask them is please provide us an email that will show the link between the link between the delegate and Mr. Makropoulos, especially since in two cases, Laos and the Maldives, the proxy was allegedly issued and delivered on the same day. I don't believe that you can sign a proxy on July 15 and the same day hand deliver it to the office in Greece, unless there is an email. Our request was denied again,” said Kasparov. 

The Kasparov team believes that altogether at least 14 votes can be discounted “because they simply do not meet the requirements made by the FIDE rules.”

This last point suggests that if they lose by a small margin, it is likely that the Kasparov team will sue the FIDE leadership at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.

Hikaru Nakamura finally arrived in Tromsø. | Photo © Paul Truong.

It's high time to speak about chess. In the third round, Hikaru Nakamura made his first appearance for the U.S. team, as travel problems had prevented him from arriving earlier in Tromsø. The American drew very quickly on board one with Anish Giri in the match against the Netherlands, but later he saw his team losing the match, despite a smooth win by Alexander Onischuk against Loek van Wely. 

Netherlands was 1.5-0.5 down, but on both white boards it had promising positions. Two victories was perhaps too much to ask, but a 2-2 was certainly possible. With some luck (as team captain Vladimir Tukmakov admitted to Chess.com), both games were won and the score was overturned.

USA-Netherlands at the start. | Photo © Paul Truong.

Erwin l'Ami was the first to score a full point for the Dutch, against Gata Kamsky, certainly one of his biggest wins ever. It wasn't a perfect game from start to finish (the Duch GM didn't like taking with the f-pawn on e5; he had missed 17...Be8) but in the end, l'Ami's position was just too good.

An excellent win for l'Ami. | Photo © Paul Truong.

From a 5.Re1 Berlin, Van Kampen was trying his luck with the bishop pair, and he got quite far. But then he traded queens, and the ending was probably a draw, until his opponent Varuzhan Akobian blundered on move 63; he allowed a pawn ending that was losing for him. With Giri and l'Ami watching closeby, Van Kampen decided the match.

Update: here's our video which includes interviews with Erwin l'Ami and Robin van Kampen:

Three-time winner Armenia suffered its first loss. Sergei Movsesian, who had narrow escapes in the first two rounds, finally stumbled after somewhat feeble opening play:

Levon Aronian had good chances on board one, but in the end Maxime Vachier-Lagrave saved the crucial half point. The computer likes 22.Rf3 and gives White about a two-pawn advantage there.

Levon Aronian: close, but no cigar. | Photo © Paul Truong.

It seems that throughout the tournament, Norway's first team will be playing in the corner of the playing hall where the top boards are, so that the spectators and the cameras of the Norwegian TV can follow it closely.

On Monday, Norway did play like one of the top teams, scoring a solid 3-1 win with two draws and two wins against Montenegro. Carlsen won on board one as his opponent played OK but needed too much time, and went wrong from move 27 onwards:

Germany-England, Poland-Cuba, Italy-India and Turkey-Georgia, and Switzerland-Vietnam all ended in 2-2. Matthew Sadler opened the score for England in a Queen's Gambit Declined, about which he once wrote an excellent book. In the end, the English GM managed to trap his opponent's knight:

But at the end of the day it was Georg Meier who leveled the score against Gawain Jones, whose Torre Attack is not named after the record holder of Olympiads in Tromsø: Eugenio Torre (who is playing his 21st for the Philippines!).

Somehow Jones got himself into an IQP position without much compensation for the small weakness. In the rook ending Black was slightly more active, but was it really lost?

On board one, Italy's Fabiano Caruana further improved on his highest ever live rating by beating India's Parimarjan Negi. As so often, opposite-colored bishops weren't so drawish with rooks on the board.

Caruana went to 2804.7 in the live ratings. | Photo © Paul Truong.

Top favorites Russia were way too strong for Macedonia, named “FYROM” in the tournament tables which stands for Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the name used by the United Nations.

At the end of his game, Peter Svidler was playing around with some funny pawn checkmates.

Hungary gave Judit Polgar a rest, and top board Peter Leko defeated Wang Yue, but the Chinese went away with the win thanks to Ding Liren and Yu Yangyi on board two and three against Csaba Balogh and Zoltan Almasi respectively. Norway's second team again held a stronger team to 2-2: Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Update: Veselin Topalov's brilliant game against Paco Vallejo cannot remain unmentioned in this report!

Top pairings, round 4

No. Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team
1 France 10½ 6 : 6 10 Azerbaijan
2 Serbia 10½ 6 : 6 10 Czech Republic
4 Russia 11½ 6 : 6 10 China
5 Netherlands 10½ 6 : 6 10 Israel
6 Bulgaria 10 6 : 6 10½ Romania
7 Uzbekistan 6 : 5 10 Germany

It was a bad day for the USA as it also lost in the women's section. However, its opponent was top seed China, playing with Hou Yifan, so it was not a shame to go down.

China was too strong for the U.S. women. | Photo © Paul Truong.

Top pairings women, round 4

No. Team Pts. MP Res. : Res. MP Pts. Team
1 Iran 12 6 : 6 10½ Slovakia
3 China 11 6 : 6 10½ Azerbaijan
4 Indonesia 10½ 6 : 6 11 Armenia
5 Germany 6 : 6 10½ Russia
6 Netherlands 9 6 : 6 10½ Georgia
7 Hungary 11 6 : 6 10 Cuba

Again, don't miss the Chess in Tweets blog!

The official website is here, and the Olympiad is also on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Chess.com is transmitting a number of top games every round in Live Chess, and we're hosting a daily show on Chess.com/TVOur reporter Peter Doggers is present in Tromsø for on-the-spot (video) reports and calls in live from Tromsø during the Chess.com/TV show, so stay tuned!

21186 reads 38 comments
2 votes


  • 2 years ago


    that was good

  • 2 years ago


    Loved Sadler's, Meier's and Topalov's wins, in spite of the last one being against my compatriot Vallejo

  • 2 years ago


    Feeling Sorry for those who have lost

  • 2 years ago


    There are many factors at play to explain the search of the Russian team.  The controversy regarding the Russian women's team.  The FIDE presidency election (Russian support for Ilyumzhinov), Norwegian support for Kasparov, events in Urkaine, and Norwegians natural distrust of Russians. 

    Again, if any other team was searched in this fashion, then I would say the Russians have nothing to complain about, but this wasn't the case.  It was so clearly political, it must be obvious to everyone. 

  • 2 years ago


    If I was the US team Captain, I would send Kamsky home.  His play is terrible.  The game from round 4 is unrecognizable.  If he can't even handle a 2300 IM as white, its time to toss in the sponge.  He obviously didn't prepare or is taking chess too seriously these days.  In addition, as white he insists on playing this tepid, silly London-system, often he is worst, but I think is he just trying to find a way to draw, again because he isn't working on chess much anymore.

    Perhaps his wretched play is Putin's opening salvo for counter sanctions against the US ? Not that the US had any chance of winning a medal even if Kamsky was in form.  They simply lack the depth.

  • 2 years ago


    Carlsen´s instructive victory against Wojtaszek, makes it look easy:


  • 2 years ago


    Aronian and Carlsen are the real champions of the world !!!

  • 2 years ago


    It's one thing if a single person is subjected to an extra personal scurity check, it's another story if this happens to about ten people - starting with the first, and ending after the last member of the Russian chess team.

    I make the following assumptions:

    - no other chess teams were subjected to systematic luggage checks (else we probably would have heard about it)

    - no other people travelling on the same plane as the Russian team, or arriving at the same time got such treatment (else Kramnik might call Norwegian airport authorities paranoid, but not anti-Russian).

    If both is true, it could still be coincidence or an airport employee acting on his own without orders from his superiors, government or Olympiad organizers. But then, Kramnik (and Karjakin) have the right to be puzzled, big or small ego won't matter ... .

  • 2 years ago


    Norwegian organizers remind of Soviet days. A special place and priveleges for the Norwegian team and it's"allies". "Enemies" are harassed before and during the event, get worse conditions and different, negative press coverage. Organizers mistakes are blamed on others and used for political gains. Even the Olympiads name and prestige is used to make money for a Norwegian company who gets to host the official website on it's commercial page.

    This is not the first time either. 2 years ago reporting stopped when the Norwegian fave failed to win Norway chess. Mass complaints on the world cup were completely ignored in the Norwegian press. Despite promises supposedly unrated tournaments were send to FIDE for rating processing. All this gives Norweggians as chess organizers a bad name. They think themselves far above the Russians and Kirsan but behave like Soviets themselves. Very unfortunate.

  • 2 years ago


    Viva Iran!!

  • 2 years ago



    I don't think airport security care about chess teams at all, that is why it is completely misplaced to mention this incident in the first place. Airport security has their own job and could probably not care less if the person they are searching is an electrician, badminton player or a chess player with a big ego. I don't know what they are used to in Russia, but in Norway we don't suspect that airport security are ordered by the government to harass certain passengers because they belong to a chess federation that are about to vote for the "wrong" candidate in a not-so-important sports federation.

    I do not know which criteria they use when they select persons to search, but how about this point of view: If they searched e.g. only passengers of arab origin, maybe that would cause even more complaints than a hurt russian chess-ego? I travel a lot from norwegian airports in my job, and every now and then the metal detector in the security gate will randomly pick me for an extra security check. Should I go to the newspapers? After all I am an ethnic norwegian, I should feel harassed and offended that I am not trusted.

    Hotels are run as private companies, they are trying to make money. Kasparov can book the entire city if he can afford it, it is still not anything you can blame on the organizer. I have no idea which team lives in what hotel and why Kramnik feels that certain teams got "worse" hotels. But the whole idea that this is s conspiracy to punish federations that are not voting for Kasparov seems like a fantasy. On the other hand it is not uncommon that elite chess players gets such ideas about conspiracy, the chess history is full of examples with Bobby Fischer being the most bizarre.

  • 2 years ago


    @VG: As I wrote, there are two sides to the story - I am not in Tromso but following news at various chess sites (the Kramnik interview was @ Chessbase).

    Were many/all teams subjected to a luggage search? If so, are the Russians (Kramnik and apparently also Karjakin) the only ones mentioning it? If not, were the Russians randomly or deliberately singled out as potential terrorists?

    As to hotels: I don't think Kramnik was referring only to the Russian teams (and the men registered before the deadline). With an apparent general shortage of hotel rooms, it didn't really help if Kasparov and his team occupy an entire hotel: https://chess24.com/de/lesen/news/mitternachtssonne-kasparov-und-letzte-vorbereitungen (though Georgios Souleidis later wrote that this was exaggerated).

  • 2 years ago



    "The other side seems to be that the Norwegian organizers obviously favor Kasparov. In an interview, Kramnik said that countries that support Kasparov got better hotels. For some reason, the Russian team had all their luggage searched upon arrival at the airport. Kramnik was joking that this makes the Russian teams even more of a family - now they know exactly what they brought to Tromso: which books, color of their underwear, ...... ."

    Conspiracies are the best, aren't they? All borders, airports and public spaces in Norway had increased security last week due to a terror threat. Kramnik should not feel more special than any other person who got searched. They stopped every single car crossing the borders too.

    Regarding the hotel rooms: If the Russian chess federation had signed their teams earlier (e.g. before the deadline June 1st) maybe they would have better rooms too?


    It is not easy to run an arrangement this big if you have no clue who is coming, that is why FIDE made rules about a deadline. However, FIDE decided that these 10 teams should be allowed to enter anyway. Fair enough, but at least don't whine about small hotel rooms later.

    It's easy to blame other people when your own federation messed things up.

  • 2 years ago


    Topalov's game was BRILLIANT.

    I repeat, brilliant.....

  • 2 years ago



    Indeed, so I added the game!

  • 2 years ago


    It is a shame that Wesley So is not playing for the Philipines :(

  • 2 years ago


    Great game by Topalov!!!!

  • 2 years ago


    Aronian, Levon vs. Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime after 19. ...Qe7 Aronian should have played Nd1 as you can see in this continuation:

    1.Nd1 f5 2.O-O g5 3.Bh5 f4 4.Bd4 bxc4 5.Bxg7 Kxg7 6.Rxc4 Kh6 7.Qc2 Bb5 8.Rxc7 Qe1 9.Rc6+ Bxc6 10.dxc6 Qe4 11.Qxe4 Rxe4 12.Bf3 Re5 13.Nc3 Rc5 14.Nd5 Rxc6 15.Nxf4 Rf6 16.Ne2 Rb2 17.Nxg3 Rxa2 18.Ne4 Re6 19.Rd1 f5 20.Nd6 Kg6 21.Rd5 Re1+ 22.Kh2 f4 23.h4 gxh4 24.Kh3 Rg1 25.Nf5 Kf6 26.Nxh4 a5 27.Kg4 a4 28.Kxf4 Rc2 29.Rd6+ Ke7 30.Nf5+ Kf7 31.Bh5+ Kg8 32.g4 Re1 33.Rd8+ Kh7 34.Kg5 Rc6 35.Bf7 Rb6 36.Rd2 Rh1 37.Rd7 Kh8 38.Rd8+ Kh7 39.Bg8+ Kh8 40.Bd5+ Kh7 41.Rd7+ Kh8 42.Bxh1 a3 43.Bd5 a2 44.Rd8+ Kh7 45.Bg8+ Kh8 46.Bc4+ Kh7 47.Rd7+ Kh8 48.Rd3 Rb7 49.Rd8+ Kh7 50.Bg8+ Kh8 51.Bf7+ Kh7 52.Bg6# 1-0

  • 2 years ago


    Does anyone know where to find a good analysis of the Carlsen game. I watched it live and found it very interesting but still don't have a solid understanding of why the losing moves were losing.

  • 2 years ago


    It seems that (as in his press conference in Wijk aan Zee that I attended) Kasparov could do tranquil election campaigning and didn't get critical questions from journalists. If countries do attend the FIDE Congress, it should be their job to point out if proxies are fake (not Kasparov's to make such suggestions) - BTW Bhutan, Hong Kong and South Africa are at least attending the Olympiad.

    The other side seems to be that the Norwegian organizers obviously favor Kasparov. In an interview, Kramnik said that countries that support Kasparov got better hotels. For some reason, the Russian team had all their luggage searched upon arrival at the airport. Kramnik was joking that this makes the Russian teams even more of a family - now they know exactly what they brought to Tromso: which books, color of their underwear, ...... .

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