Ukraine wins Olympic gold

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
OlympiadUkraine won the gold medals at the Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk after four draws with Israel in the last round. Russia took silver after a 2-2 against Israel, who edged out Hungary on tiebreak to win bronze. Final report that includes the news that Tromsø yesterday won the bid for the 2014 Olympiad.

L-R President of the Ukrainian Chess Federation Viktor Kapustin, Pavel Eljanov, team captain Vladimir Tukmakov, Zahar Efimenko and Alexander Moiseenko

General info

The 39th Chess Olympiad took place September 20th – October 3rd at the Tennis Sport Development Center in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. 148 teams (735 players) in the Open section and 114 teams (559 players) in the Women section participated in the biannual event.

Each team consisted of four players and one reserve. The rate of play was 90 minutes for 40 moves and then 30 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment from move one.

Results round 11 | Open section | top 20 boards

Olympiad 2010 | Open section | Round 11 (Final) Standings (top 30)
Olympiad 2010 | Open section | Round 11 (Final) Standings

Results round 11 | Women section | top 10 boards

Olympiad 2010 | Women section | Round 11 (Final) Standings (top 30)
Olympiad 2010 | Open section | Round 11 (Final) Standings

Complete results and standings can be found here

Round 11 report

To be honest, yours truly picked Ukraine as the favourite team before this Olympiad, and not Russia. This prediction was based on the fact that they had Pavel Eljanov, the current world number 6 (!), on third board, as well as the strong duo Zahar Efimenko and Alexander Moiseenko on four and 'five' - not to mention the highly experienced and brilliant Vassily Ivanchuk and former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov. Still, they were second seeded, basically because Sergey Karjakin switched federations last year.

But even without Karjakin, who won the gold medal on board four for Russia, the Ukrainians managed to stay ahead of their main rival, just one point, round after round after round. The success was largely based on Ivanchuk's amazing performance of seven wins, two draws and one loss (TPR 2890) that got him the gold medal on first board. But it was in fact a team effort, as Eljanov and Efimenko both got a silver medal on boards 3 and 4 respectively. Only Ponomariov didn't perform outstanding, but not bad either (5/9), while Moiseenko only got to play the first four rounds (where he scored 2.5/4).

Crucial for this Olympiad was the Ukraine-Russia match. Team captain Vladimir Tukmakov: "After the moment when Eljanov lost his game to Karjakin, we were very close to the loss. Only thanks to the heroic play of Zahar the match was saved and we regained our favorable position. It was a decisive moment of the Olympiad for us." He added: "The tactic was to perform well on the first two boards and to win destructively on the third and the fourth ones. The plan proved itself for 100%."

Just like in Calvia in 2004 the Russians finished behind Ukraine to win silver. It was a much better result than in 2008 and 2006, when they didn't took home any medals, but naturally a team like Russia can never be satisfied with anything less than gold. But it would be too easy to blame Peter Svidler, who lost with the white pieces in the last round against 136 points lower rated Salgado Lopez.


In fact due to a very complicated tiebreak system it was not easy to determine during the day whether a 2.5-1.5 win or a 3-1 win would have yielded the Russians gold.

The sum of Sonneborn-Berger points, which are calculated as follows: match points of each opponent, excluding the opponent who scored the lowest number of match points, multiplied by the number of game points achieved against this opponent.

We are inclined to think it had to be 3-1, but we must admit that we're not sure at all. Following similar calculations, only hours after the round, after the final results were published on Chess-Results, board 2 gold medal winner Emil Sutovsky from Israel was sure his team had won bronze, and not Hungary.

Let's look at a few game fragments, one more time, from Khanty-Mansiysk. In the first, we see two of the four players who will play in the Bilbao Grand Slam Masters Final next week.

Kramnik-Shirov Khanty-Mansiysk OL 2010 Olympiad 23... g6?! The engines prefer 23... Qd6. 24. Qb3! A double attack, as both b6 and g6 hang. 24... Kg7 24... b5, with the idea 25. Nxg6 a4, doen't really help because of the strong answer 25. a4! bxa4 (25... b4 26. Nxg6) 26. Qxa4. 25. Qxb6 and White won.


Svidler-Salgado Lopez Khanty-Mansiysk OL 2010 Olympiad White just put his king on h2 after a check, which should have been answered by either 29.Be3 or 29.Kh1. The Spaniard behind the black pieces plays it very strongly. 29... g5! 30. fxg6 30. Be3 is not better because of 30... Qc7+ 31. Kg1 Qg3. 30... Qxe6 31. Kg3 Rg5!! 32. Bxg5?! More tenacious was 32. Bh3 Rxg6 33. Qe3. 32... fxg5 33. Rf5 Bd6+ 34. Kf2 e3+ 35. Kg1 Bxg2 36. Kxg2 Qe4+ and Svidler had to throw in the towel.

And so the Armenians, who won gold in Turin and Dresden, this time have to leave Siberia without team medals. It wasn't because of board one Levon Aronian, whose 7.5/10 (TPR 2888) got him the silver medal. In the last round he won an ending with Black against Vachier-Lagrave.


In the Russia 2-Azerbaijan match a great and theoretically important encounter was Motylev-Radjabov, resembling a sharp, 19th century attacking game.

Motylev-Radjabov Khanty-Mansiysk OL 2010 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. Bc4 Bc5 6. Nxe5 Qe7 7. Nf3 d5 8. Bxd5 Bg4 9. d3 O-O-O Olympiad Black has sacrificed two pawns for speedy development and lots of pressure. But to make it worth the value, every move has to be to the point, to keep the initiative. 10. Be3 Nxd5 11. Nxd5 Rxd5 12. exd5 Re8 Olympiad 13. O-ON 13. c3 Nxf3+ 14. gxf3 Qh4 15. Kd2 Rxe3! led to a draw in Vallejo Pons-Dominguez, Cuernavaca 2006 13... Bxf3 14. gxf3 Bd6 15. f4 Qh4 16. Kh1 Qh3 17. Rg1 Nf3 18. Rg2 Olympiad 18... g5! Of course! 19. c4 gxf4 20. Qa4 Kd8 21. c5 Nh4 22. Rag1 Be5 23. Bxf4 Nxg2 24. Rxg2 Qf3 Olympiad 25. Bxe5? Motylev cracks under the pressure. White had to play 25. Bg3=. 25... Rxe5 26. Qh4+ f6 27. h3 Rg5 and Black won.

Russia won the Nona Gaprindashvili Cup, which is given for the best combined score of men and women teams. The runners-up were China, and Ukraine took the third place in this nomination.

According to the official website "a colorful closing ceremony concluded the Olympiad. Five thousand spectators congratulated the winners and medalists of the competition". They received their trophies from FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Chairman of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov and Governor of Ugra Natalya Komarova.

Medal winners: open section

Board 1: Gold Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), 8/10, TPR 2890 | Silver Levon Aronian (Armenia), 7.5/10, TPR 2888 | Bronze Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia 2), 6.5/9, TPR 2821 Board 2: Gold Emil Sutovsky (Israel), 6.5/8, TPR 2895 | Silver Zoltan Almasi (Hungary), 7/10, 2801 | Bronze Wang Hao (China), 7.5/10, TPR 2783 Board 3: Gold Vitaly Teterev (Belarus), 7/8, TPR 2853 | Silver Pavel Eljanov (Ukraine), 7/10, TPR 2737 | Bronze Sergei Rublevsky (Russia 3), 8/11, TPR 2727 Board 4: Gold Sergey Karjakin (Russia 1), 8/10, TPR 2859 | Silver Zahar Efimenko (Ukraine), 8.5/11, TPR 2783 | Bronze Anish Giri (The Netherlands), 8/11, TPR 2730 Board 5: Gold Sebastien Feller (France), 6/9, TPR 2708 | Silver Mateusz Bartel (Poland), 7/9, TPR 2706 | Bronze Vlastimil Babula (Czech Republic), 7/9, TPR 2668

Top 20 of all boards here

Medal winners: women section

Board 1: Gold Tatiana Kosintseva (Russia 1), 7/10, TPR 2628 | Silver Zeinab Mamedjarova (Azerbaijan), 9/11, TPR 2623 | Bronze Hou Yifan (China), 8/11, TPR 2573 Board 2: Gold Nadezhda Kosintseva (Russia 1), 8.5/10, TPR 2662 | Silver Ju Wenjun (China), 9.5/11, TPR 2636, Bronze Pham Le Thao Nguyen (Vietnam), 8.5/10, TPR 2481 Board 3: Gold Yaniet Marrero Lopez (Cuba), 7/8, TPR 2511 | Silver Salome Melia (Georgia), 7/10, TPR 2458 | Bronze Ilze Berzina (Latvia), 9/11, TPR 2450 Board 4: Gold Inna Gaponenko (Ukraine), 7.5/8, TPR 2691 | Silver Anastasia Bodnaruk (Russia 2), 7/8, TPR 2569 Board 5: Gold Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine), 6.5/9, TPR 2431 | Silver Alina Kashlinskaya (Russia 2), 5.5/9, TPR 2327 | Bronze Bela Khotenashvili (Georgia), 5/8, TPR 2289

Top 20 of all boards here

Selection of games

Game viewer by ChessTempo


Bronze, women section: Georgia


Silver, women section: China


Gold, women section: Russia


Bronze, open section: Israel


Silver, open section: Russia


Gold, open section: Ukraine


Team captain Tukmakov holding the cup, with Ponomariov to his right and Eljanov to his left

Photos courtesy of FIDE, more at the official site

Tromsø wins 2014 bid

In 2012 the 40th Chess Olympiad will be held in Istanbul, while yesterday the FIDE General Assembly awarded the city of Tromsø in Norway the 41st Olympiad in 2014. The Norwegians won by a 95-47 vote margin against the other bid, Albena in Bulgaria.

In August, Macauley visited Tromsø for the Arctic Chess Challenge, and spoke to the General Manager of the Norwegian bid, Børge Robertsen, and a board member of project, Ulf Hansen. They explained a bit about the city, the country, and the plans for 2014. For more information visit:



Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

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