Olympiad R1: Armenia & Azerbaijan start convincingly

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Campomanes makes the first moveThe defending champions had a most convincing start in Dresden: Armenia defeated Italy 4-0. Azerbaijan crushed the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with the same score; Switzerland almost held Russia to a tie: only Jenni lost to Morozevich. Round 1 of the Olympiad with games, results and photos.

The Chess Olympiad takes place 12-25 november in Dresden, Germany. ChessVibes provides daily coverage and will be reporting from the venue in Dresden during the last six rounds. But for now... let's check out the first round!

On board one, FIDE Honorary President Florencio Campomanes started the first round of the 38th Olympiad by playing the move 1.e4 in the game Svidler-Kortchnoi. In a very interesting game, the 77-year-old drew his first game in Dresden - will he meet more 2700s? Let's hope so. The match ended in three draws and one win: Morozevich, on board three, beat Jenni.

Fabiano Caruana tested Levon Aronian in an Anti-Moscow Gambit but the Armenian was clearly more comfortable in this opening and crushed the young Italian. His team members Akopian, Sargissian and Petrosian also won and so the title defenders had a most convincing start. The team from Azerbaijan, with Radjabov and Mamedyarov on the first two boards, also won their first match 4-0.

The very strong home team with Naiditsch, Khenkin, Gustafsson and Baramidze defeated Scotland 3?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?. Like their Russian colleagues, Ukraine could only win on one board and so they defeated Vietnam 1?Ǭ?-2?Ǭ?. With the same score China beat Philippines but the talented Wesley So won his game.

Norway beat Austria 3-1 with Magnus Carlsen beating Markus Ragger on board one. 2-2 was a fantastic result for Iran against the Hungarians with Polgar and Almasi on one and two. Germany's second team managed to beat Bulgaria who started without Topalov. Australia, for the first time in ages without Ian Rogers on board one, lost ?Ǭ?-3?Ǭ? to the Czech Republic.

We're secretly rooting for The Netherlands who went to Dresden with a young team led by KingLoek: first board Loek van Wely brought Stellwagen, Smeets, L'Ami and Werle. Watch out for them - especially in the last few rounds!

Few surprises also in the women's section, where favourite Russia crushed Azerbaijan (with Mamedyarov's sisters on the first two boards) 4-0 and Iran copied their men's stunt by holding Germany to a 2-2 tie. Argentina's 2-2 versus Ukraine and Greece-Mongolia, also 2-2, were also quite amazing.

Results for the first twenty matches in both sections:

[TABLE=455] [TABLE=456]

At the moment of writing, Mark Crowther of The Week in Chess is still working very hard to create a PGN file of the first round (I know he is!). I've collected the games of the first twenty matches (men) for replay:



Susan Polgar is in charge of the English speaking media for the Olympiad; her husband Paul Truong is the official photographer. Here's a first selection of much more available:

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The opening ceremony on Wednesday night...



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...was a spectacular show, with ice skating...



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...rays of lazer lights...



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...and of course the presentation of the nations...



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...or, more accurately, federations.



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Because of Ilyumzhinov's absensce due to a small car accident, Honorary President Florencio Campomanes opened the 38th Chess Olympiad...



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...and the next day he also played the offical first move at the board of Peter Svidler and Viktor Kortchnoi, in the match Russia - Switzerland. Also in the picture are Alexander Grischuk (l.) and Yannick Pelletier playing on board two.



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Surprise, surprise: Alexander Morozevich on board 3 (playing Florian Jenni) and Dmitry Jakovenko versus Joe Gallagher on board 4. The Swiss team have protested because of a last-minute board change by the Russians - wel'll try to keep you informed on this matter



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The strong team from Azerbaijan, with Teimour Radjabov, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Gadir Huseynov and Rauf Mammadov



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Le Quang Liem (Vietnam) versus Sergey Karjakin (Ukraine), with Vassily Ivanchuk next to him



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Judit Polgar playing board one for Hungary (Peter Leko is also in the team); Zoltan Almasi on her right



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Jan Gustafsson, board three for the strong home team



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Philippines lost to China but Wesley So managed to beat Ni Hua



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Anna Ushenina (Ukraine)



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Board one and two of Russia-Azerbaijan: Alexandra Kosteniuk - Zeinab Mamedyarova (1-0) and Tatiana Kosintseva - Turkan Mamedyarova (1-0)



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India-Switzerland (2?Ǭ?-1?Ǭ?) with Harika Dronavalli vs. Dr. Heinatz Gundula on board one



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The Dutch women team on the right, with the same mascotte (an orange lion) as two years ago in Turin



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