Olympiad R5: 7-Way Tie for First, Ilyumzhinov Team Responds

Olympiad R5: 7-Way Tie for First, Ilyumzhinov Team Responds

| 27 | Chess Event Coverage

The three leaders after round four -- Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, and Serbia -- all played 2-2 on Wednesday at the 41st Chess Olympiad in Tromsø, Norway. Four other teams caught them in first place: Cuba, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

In the women's section, top favorites China and Russia are sharing the lead with Hungary.

In the other “competition,” today the Ilyumzhinov team responded to Kasparov's criticism by handing out flyers to press and participants.

Right after the start of the fifth round, Berik Balgabaev, the assistant of FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, entered the press room. He handed out A3-sized flyers to the journalists and left a few more, which were later removed again by Press Officer Morgan Lillegård, who didn't want “any campaigning in the press room.”

In the evening, Balgabaev and photographer Maria Emelianova were handing out the same flyers in one of the hotels where dinner was served.

In the flyer, the Ilyumzhinov team responded to a number of remarks from their opponents in the FIDE elections, specifically last Monday at their press conference. As it turned out, it was the same text as was posted earlier on the FideFirst website. Here are a few important quotes:

“Garry Kasparov blamed(!) Kirsan Ilyumzhinov for the fact that Kirsan’s team has 25 proxies in their hands while Garry’s team has only …3! At the same time, Garry forgot to inform the journalists present about the fact that up to 28 July an incredibly big number of delegates who supported Kirsan were not provided yet with entry visas to Norway! It was therefore logical that many of these delegates would choose to send proxies in order for their federation to be represented in the General Assembly of FIDE.”

The article on the Ilyumzhinov campaign site.

Garry Kasparov continued his attack, again twisting the truth, this time targeting the FIDE Secretariat and Nigel Freeman for ‘hiding emails about the proxies’. But the truth is exactly the opposite: The FIDE Secretariat allowed the Electoral Commission (ELE) to check all the proxies received by email to the computers of FIDE, and to see that there was absolutely no violation of deadlines or regulations.”

You can read the full text here.

The round itself saw a number of fierce fights as well, with two games attracting most of the attention: Levon Aronian vs. Magnus Carlsen (board one of the Armenia-Norway match) and Vladimir Kramnik-Veselin Topalov (board one of the Russia-Bulgaria match).

Not much can be said about the first; Carlsen adopted Smyslov's 5...Na6 in the Slav and Aronian's extra pawn didn't mean much because of the opposite-colored bishops.

Armenia won this match though, thanks to Gabriel Sargissian, who defeated Simen Agdestein as Black. The Norwegian veteran ended up with too many weak pawns.

The Aronian-Carlsen didn't see that many photographers and cameramen at the start of the round; about half of them decided to position themselves at the board of Kramnik and Topalov. Ever since their 2006 Elista match, games between these two player have been very tense.

That the players do not shake hands is well known, but apparently there are still photographers out there who don't want to miss the moment in case they do!

One person who played a key role during the 2006 Toiletgate affair is Silvio Danailov, longtime coach and friend of Topalov and President of the European Chess Union. Despite the strict security in the playing hall, he had somehow managed to bring in not one, but two mobile phones.

While the participants are all searched at the entrance with metal detectors, crew members and officials aren't.

An official should give a better example than this!?

On to the game itself, which started as a Closed Catalan where the players followed the recent game Kramnik-Baramidze, Dortmund 2014.

There were quite a few move repetitions, but Kramnik clearly wasn't playing for a draw. He didn't like 22...h6, and the pseudo-sacrifice 25...Nxc5 also seemed to lead to a more pleasant position for White. With a “Topalovian” exchange sac, Kramnik strengthened his game even further and won rather easily.

Here's our video on this game, which includes a special appearance by Garry Kasparov:

Kramnik couldn't be too happy about his win, though, because the match with Bulgaria only ended in 2-2. Uncharacteristically, it was Sergey Karjakin who first missed a good chance in the opening, and then even lost the game after a series of bad moves. Iotov is now on 5.0/5!

More matches at the top were undecided: China-Netherlands (four draws) and Azerbaijan-Serbia (two draws, two decisive games). Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won an easy game against Ivan Ivanisevic, who had no clue how to handle the early g2-g4 push.

The Azerbaijan-Serbia match with Sedlak-Guseinov on board four.

However, on board two it went wrong for Teimour Radjabov. His old favorite, the Jänisch/Schliemann Ruy Lopez, has seen better days.

Ukraine's shared 25th place in the standings isn't great for a two-time winner. It has much to do with the unpredictable Vassily Ivanchuk, who unfortunately seems become more and more predictable, and not in a good way. After some uninspiring games, he did OK against the Uzbek GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov, but then completely collapsed in a better ending. Or did his hand mix up the move order of his calculations?

Well, it was not just about Ivanchuk, because Pavel Eljanov leveled the score with a convincing win over Marat Dzhumaev. You could easily argue that this match was lost on board four, where Anton Korobov missed a devilish tactic by his opponent.

Vietnam-England was another 2-2. Matthew Sadler and David Howell dropped half-points against the strong IMs Nguyen Huynh Minh Huy and Nguyen Duc Hoa respectively, while Gawain Jones suffered his second loss, to GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son. (About 40 percent of the Vietnamese people have the family name Nguyen, but the percentage is higher in the chess team!)

From a pawn-up position, Le Quang Liem completely lost track:

Germany scored a disappointing 2-2 against Qatar, whose board four IM Husein Aziz Nezad beat GM David Baramidze. Arkadij Naiditsch won a nice game for the Germans on board one:

Norway's second team scored another excellent result as it beat Slovenia, (much) higher-rated on all boards, 2.5-1.5. IMs Torbjorn Ringdal Hansen and Aryan Tari were too strong for GMs Jure Borisek and Matej Sebenik. Here's Hansen's power play:

The United States couldn't get more than a 2-2 against neighbouring country Canada, as GM Sam Shankland beat IM Aman Hambleton, but GM Varuzhan Akobian lost his second game in row.

Bator Sambuev played a splendid game there:

Top Pairings, Round 6

No. Team Pts. MP - MP Pts. Team
1 Azerbaijan 14½ 9 - 9 15½ Georgia
2 Serbia 15 9 - 9 14½ Bulgaria
3 Italy 13½ 7 - 7 11½ Norway
4 Cuba 15 9 - 9 15 Kazakhstan
5 Uzbekistan 14 9 - 8 15½ Russia
6 Bosnia & Herzegovina 14½ 8 - 8 15½ France
7 Croatia 14½ 8 - 8 13½ Indonesia
8 China 14 8 - 8 15½ Egypt
9 Vietnam 15½ 8 - 8 14 Hungary
10 Netherlands 14½ 8 - 8 14 Iran

In the women's section, the favorites are starting to make the difference. China crushed Indonesia 3.5-0.5 with Hou Yifan gaining a bit more Elo with an easy win -- she's now 12.4 points behind Judit Polgar in the live ratings. 

China-Indonesia. | Photo © Paul Truong.

Russia-Georgia was one of the absolute crackers in this event, and it was Valentina Gunina who decided everything, in favor of Russia:

The third country with 10 match points is Hungary. It defeated Iran, also with 2.5-1.5, and this time the board one game was decisive:

Top Pairings Women, Round 6

No. Team Pts. MP - MP Pts. Team
1 China 18 10 - 10 16½ Hungary
2 Venezuela 11 6 - 6 13 Norway
3 Serbia 14 9 - 10 15½ Russia
4 Netherlands 13½ 9 - 9 13½ Poland
5 Slovakia 14 8 - 8 15½ France
6 Iran 17 8 - 8 14 Greece
7 Italy 12 8 - 8 14½ Indonesia
8 United States of America 14½ 8 - 8 14 Estonia

Thursday is a rest day, and therefore Wednesday night was excellent timing for the (in)famous Bermuda Party. During each Olympiad, Nigel Freeman of Bermuda (and others of the federation) organize this party, and this year it was no different.

Nigel Freeman, dressed for the occasion.

Sparing the juicy details (yes, Magnus Carlsen did attend the party) since “what happens at the Bermuda Party stays at the Bermuda Party,” this one wasn't bad. The location, the DRIV “student house,” was quite a big club, which could easily host a few hundred people.

The venue was was full! So full that at some point, it took 45 minutes waiting at the door to get in -- like your regular Saturday night out. Unfortunately the DJ was not great, and so this nice party could have been a great party. 

On a final note, the Fantasy Chess team has informed us that it's started a second competition for chess fans who missed the entry deadline for the main FCO, those who entered teams that are not performing well, and existing participants who are hungry for more. It's called the "Week2Sprint," and you can find more info here!

Don't miss the Chess in Tweets blog!

The official website is here, and the Olympiad is also on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. is transmitting a number of top games every round in Live Chess, and we're hosting a daily show on reporter Peter Doggers is present in Tromsø for on-the-spot (video) reports and calls in live from Tromsø during the show, so stay tuned!

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