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Shirov On Fire As Online Olympiad Gets Set For Top Division

Shirov On Fire As Online Olympiad Gets Set For Top Division

PeterDoggers
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15 | Chess Event Coverage

On Sunday 15 teams from the FIDE Online Olympiad's Division 2, including group winners Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Spain, and Turkey, qualified for the Top Division that starts on Friday. Active for Spain, the legendary GM Alexei Shirov played some fantastic games.

How to watch?
The games of the FIDE Online Olympiad can be found here as part of our live events platform. On playing days, expert commentary is provided on Chess.com/TV starting from 1 a.m. Pacific / 10:00 a.m. Central Europe.


The full list of countries that qualified over the weekend consists of Bulgaria, Germany, Indonesia (Pool A); Greece, Romania, Slovakia (Pool B); Spain, Netherlands, Italy (Pool C); Turkey, Croatia, Norway (Pool D); Hungary, England, and Argentina (Pool E).

Below we cover what happened this past weekend in each of the five pools of Division 2 before examing the Top Division, where top favorites such as China, Russia, and the U.S. will be joining the competition.

Pool A

Bulgaria (nine victories!) and Germany (+7, =1, -1) qualified convincingly, but Pool A saw an exciting fight between Australia and Indonesia for the third spot. The two countries met in round seven, and it seemed the Indonesians had sealed the deal with a smashing 5-1 victory.

However, things turned around when they lost 1-5 to Bulgaria (with four of the Indonesian players losing their internet connection) and Australia was holding Germany to 3-3. The Aussies then were a point ahead again, but a narrow 2.5-3.5 loss in the final round to Belarus kicked them out anyway as Indonesia crushed Bangladesh 5.5-0.5 to take third place.

From the Australia-Indonesia clash, here's IM Novendra Priasmoro beating Australia's GM Max Illingworth, who was winning as Black but at one point got himself in trouble.

Division 2, Pool A | Final Standings

Rk. Flag Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 TB1 TB2
1 Bulgaria 5 4 6 5 18 41,5
2 Germany 3 5 5 5 15 34,5
3 Indonesia 1 5 5 12 34,0
4 Australia 2 3 1 4 6 4 4 6 11 32,5
5 Philippines 1 2 6 10 30,0
6 Belarus 4 8 29,0
7 Belgium 1 0 2 6 18,0
8 Turkmenistan 2 3 5 23,5
9 Bangladesh 0 ½ 2 2 3 4 3 17,0
10 Kyrgyzstan 1 1 1 0 0 ½ 4 ½ 2 2 10,0

Pool B

Greece was the clear winner in Pool B with 16 match points out of a possible 18. The team won seven matches and tied 3-3 with both Romania and Slovakia, the teams that finished in second and third places with 13 match points.

The 62-year-old GM Lubomir Ftacnik played an important role for Slovakia as he scored 7.5/9. Somewhat unfortunately, he is making this report with his only loss as Greece's Antonios Pavlidis found a beautiful move that won the quickest:

Division 2, Pool B | Final Standings

Rk. Flag Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 TB1 TB2
1 Greece 3 3 5 5 5 16 40,0
2 Romania 3 4 1 5 4 5 6 13 36,0
3 Slovakia 3 2 5 13 34,0
4 Moldova 1 5 1 5 12 29,5
5 Israel 1 ½ 5 3 3 4 3 5 11 28,0
6 Latvia ½ 3 4 4 9 25,0
7 Singapore 1 3 4 3 8 24,5
8 Austria 2 2 2 2 4 20,5
9 IPCA 1 1 3 3 4 4 20,0
10 Thailand 1 0 1 1 2 2 0 12,5

Pool C

Spain started with seven wins and a tie with Slovenia and qualified with a round to spare. The star player of the team was Shirov, who scored an undefeated 8/9! He impressed with both his score and his play.

In round four with two queen sacrifices in one game, Shirov defeated Italy's GM Danyyil Dvirnyy with the black pieces:

Alexei Shirov
Alexei Shirov, still playing fascinating chess. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

With Spain already secure of the Top Division, the last round saw Netherlands, Italy, and Switzerland fight for the other two spots. The struggling Dutch team was in danger of being eliminated as they had to face Spain, while Italy and Switzerland were expected to beat Albania and Estonia respectively.

They did, both with 5.5-0.5, but just in time the Netherlands got their act together and ended by beating Spain to finish second ahead of Italy. GM Anish Giri, who had scored terribly with just half a point out of four games, defeated GM David Anton on board one in a good game:

Division 2, Pool C | Final Standings

Rk. Flag Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 TB1 TB2
1 Spain 5 3 6 15 40,0
2 Netherlands 3 3 5 5 14 36,5
3 Italy 3 3 5 4 6 4 14 35,5
4 Switzerland 1 3 2 4 4 13 32,0
5 Slovenia 3 3 5 5 4 10 30,0
6 North Macedonia 1 4 4 8 27,0
7 Albania ½ ½ 2 2 5 6 23,0
8 Portugal ½ 1 2 1 1 4 6 20,0
9 Jordan ½ ½ 0 2 1 ½ 4 4 14,5
10 Estonia 0 1 2 ½ 2 ½ 2 2 0 11,5

Pool D

Pool D was another group where one team stood out—Turkey scored eight wins and one tie—and three teams fought for two spots. With one round to go, Norway and Serbia were tied for second place with 13 points, and Croatia was fourth with 12 points.

The Croatians gave everything and ended by beating Iceland 6-0, but was it enough? It sure was, as both rivals lost: Norway 2.5-3.5 to Turkey and Serbia 2-4 to Denmark. The young Norwegian team (with GM Simen Agdestein as team captain) ended with one extra board point to stay ahead of Serbia.

That must have been a big relief, especially for GM Frode Urkedal, who had resigned in a drawn position in the penultimate round:

Division 2, Pool D | Final Standings

Rk. Flag Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 TB1 TB2
1 Turkey 5 4 3 4 5 17 40,0
2 Croatia 1 4 6 5 6 5 14 37,5
3 Norway 2 3 5 5 13 35,5
4 Serbia 2 3 5 5 2 4 5 5 13 34,5
5 Sweden 3 1 1 4 5 5 11 29,5
6 Iceland 2 0 1 2 4 3 4 4 7 21,5
7 Denmark ½ 4 2 3 2 5 20,5
8 Ireland 1 1 2 1 3 3 4 18,5
9 Guatemala ½ 0 ½ 1 2 4 4 14,5
10 Chile 1 1 1 1 2 2 18,0

Pool E

Hungary and England, both scoring 16 match points, qualified rather smoothly in Pool E. The fight for third place was among countries from South America, and Argentina finished a point ahead of Colombia and Ecuador.

Round three saw a nice victory for Hungary's GM Adam Kozak against FM Tomas Kapitanchuk, who conducted the attack wonderfully:

Division 2, Pool E | Final Standings

Rk. Flag Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 TB1 TB2
1 Hungary 4 5 5 5 6 5 6 16 43,0
2 England 2 4 4 16 37,0
3 Argentina 1 4 2 5 5 12 33,0
4 Colombia 1 2 3 4 5 11 30,0
5 Ecuador 2 ½ 3 4 5 11 29,5
6 Mexico 1 ½ 4 ½ 5 3 3 4 10 24,5
7 Bolivia 0 2 1 2 1 5 4 18,5
8 Costa Rica 1 ½ 1 3 3 4 18,5
9 Montenegro 2 3 2 3 20,0
10 Scotland 0 1 1 2 1 3 4 3 16,0

Top Division

The 15 countries that have qualified will be joined by 25 seeded teams (including top favorites China, Russia, and the U.S.!) to play in the Top Division next weekend (August 21-23) with four pools with 10 teams each. The top three teams from each pool will qualify for the playoff (August 27-30).

The Top Division pools are known:

  • Pool A: Mongolia, Georgia, Germany, China, Zimbabwe, India, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Iran, and Vietnam.
  • Pool B: Azerbaijan, Hungary, South Africa, Ukraine, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, Spain, Norway, France, and the Netherlands.
  • Pool C: Algeria, Morocco, England, Russia, Armenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Croatia, and Egypt.
  • Pool D: Italy, Brazil, U.S., Argentina, Poland, Peru, Canada, Greece, Paraguay, and Cuba.

Watch these 15 qualifying teams and 25 seeded teams next weekend in the Top Division on August 21-23. All rounds will have live expert commentary on chess.com/tv.

The FIDE Online Olympiad is a major online chess event for national teams that runs July 25-August 30 on the Chess.com server. More than 1,500 participants and 163 teams from all over the world are playing.

Each team consists of six players, including at least two women, at least one player who is 20 or younger, and at least one female player who is 20 or younger. The time control for all matches is 15 minutes for the game and five seconds increment per move, starting from move one.


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