The 40th Chess Olympiad is scheduled to take place in the Turkish metropole
of Istanbul, from August 27 to September 10th, 2012. The Olympiad is a biennial
chess tournament in which teams from all over the world compete against each
other. The event is organised by FIDE, which selects the host nation. The previous
Olympiad was held in 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, the
next will be in Tromsø, Norway. The first was held in Paris, France,
in 1924, with 16 nations participating. The last Olympiad had 143 nations, 1294
competitors, and included no fewer than 254 grandmasters, 65 WGMs, 159 IMs,
and 90 WIMs. This time the organisers are expecting even more.
The chess web site of the Yorkshire Chess
Association will be providing daily coverage of 2012 Olympiad in Istanbul.
Naturally they will be keeping track of all the British participants and their
performances at the premier international team competition, but you can expect
many interesting tidbits from Rupert Jones, a representative of Papua New Guinea,
who will be writing a running blog on the event. You can read his interesting
Yorkshire Chess is also introducing a new competition run by the Fantasy
Chess Olympiad. For £5 you can select your dream team of Olympians
and win the top prize of £150! The website has hints and tips that assist
you in making your selection, as will the preview below by Yorkshire Chess.
Preview of the Open Section of the 2012 Chess Olympiad
Seed: 1, Average Rating: 2761, Members: Vladimir Kramnik (2799), Sergey
Karjakin (2779), Alexander Grischuk (2763), Evgeny Tomashevsky (2730), Dmitry
Jakovenko (2736). 2010 Olympiad (Russia 1): 2nd Place (+8 =2 –1). Six
time Olympiad Champions post-USSR, but have not won since 2002.
Yes, we all know that the USSR and Russia have dominated the Olympiad for many
years, but recently they haven’t had it all their own way. A couple of
disappointing showings in 2006 and 2008 sandwiched between two second places
mean they are in the midst of a ten-year drought. Russia have strengthened their
team by utilising the services of ex-Ukranian Sergey Karjakin for the first
time. Sadly Alexander Morozevich has been unable to take part in this year’s
competition due to ill health. A withdrawal that might have seriously hampered
most teams simply allows Russia to bring in another 2730+ player into the squad.
Just remember there is no room in this team for Peter Svidler or Ian Nepomniatchi!
Despite a poor fifth place at last year’s European Team Championships,
it will be a surprise if they do not win the gold medal at this year’s
Seed: 2, Average Rating: 2719, Members: Vasily Ivanchuk (2764), Ruslan
Ponomariov (2726), Alexander Moiseenko (2711), Andriy Volokitin (2704), Pavel
Eljanov (2693). 2010 Olympiad: Winners (+8 =3 –0). Out of 10 appearances,
they have won the Olympiad twice.
Ukraine return as the defending Champions thanks to Peter Svidler’s shock
defeat with white against Spain’s Ivan Salgado Lopez in the final round
in 2010. Andriy Volokitin is the only new addition replacing Zahar Efimenko.
Ivanchuk is one of the most unpredictable players at the top level, and Ponomariov
is known to be a bit streaky as well. This can lead to either the sublime or
the ridiculous! Hopefully the Ukraine will not collapse like they did at the
2011 European Championships where they finished a dismal 15th place. Look for
Pavel Eljanov to score highly on Board 5.
Seed: 3, Average Rating: 2711, Members: Levon Aronian (2825), Sergei Movsesian
(2695), Vladimir Akopian (2697), Gabriel Sargissian (2679), Tigran Petrosian
(2657). 2010 Olympiad: 7th Place (+7 =2 –2). Armenia won the 2006 and
In recent years Armenia have been the perennial overachievers – a solid
squad and great team spirit has led them to perfomances far above their seeding.
However with Levon Aronian scaling the dizzy heights of the 2800 club, Armenia
can no longer be considered underdogs. Aronian is the highest rated player at
this year’s tournament while Movsesian, Akopian and Sargissian all lose
very few games. Petrosian will likely be used in situations where the team feel
that a win is required from Board 4 with either colour.
Seed: 4, Average Rating: 2701, Members: Peter Leko (2730), Zoltan Almasi
(2713), Judit Polgar (2709), Ferenc Berkes (2685), Csaba Balogh (2668), 2010
Olympiad: 4th Place (+8 =1 –2). Won the first two Olympiads in 1927 and
1928 headed by Geza Maroczy. Also won in 1978.
Hungary have a strong chess history and their tradition of producing strong
players continues to the present day. Peter Leko was one game away from becoming
World Champion and all the top players fear his ability, even if his personal
life might have took some of the edge from his game. Zoltan Almasi and the best
female player of all time, Judit Polgar, will be looking to mix it up to fight
for victories with their combative styles on the middle boards. Hungary will
be satisfied with a medal to add to their Bronze medal obtained at last year’s
European Team Championship.
Seed: 5, Average Rating: 2695, Members: Teimour Radjabov (2784), Vugar
Gashimov (2737), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2726), Eltaj Safarli (2620), Gadir Guseynov
(2609). 2010 Olympiad: 12th Place (+6 =3 –2). Have participated in 8 Olympiads
with a highest finish of 6th place in 2008.
If Armenia can be described as perennial over-achievers, then their fierce
rivals Azerbaijan are the perennial under-achievers. However this year I think
they will perform very strongly. Teimour Radjabov seems to have found an extra
dimension to his game in the last 18 months or so while Vugar Gashimov has had
experience of mixing it in elite tournaments which will have only helped his
play. Shak Mamedyarov might throw the odd tantrum and not be everybody’s
favourite player, but he has a big talent for chess! Rauf Mamedov has not found
himself on the team this year so Eltaj Safarli and Gadir Guseynov will be required
to perform well on the lower boards. Azerbaijan will be looking to carry their
European Team Championship form (1st in 2009, 2nd in 2011) to Istanbul.
Seed: 6, Average Rating: 2693, Members: Wang Hao (2738), Li Chao (2703),
Wang Yue (2690), Ding Liren (2679), Bu Xiangzhi (2656). 2010 Olympiad: 5th Place
(+7 =2 –2). Finished 2nd in 2006, when Wang Yue won the Board 4 Gold Medal.
The highest seeded non-European team, China will be looking for a strong showing
in Istanbul. China have had a lot of strong players in the last ten years, but
nobody has yet made it to the elite level. However Wang Hao recently won the
Biel Super-GM tournament ahead of Magnus Carlsen which included two wins over
American Board 1, Hikaru Nakamura so will come into the tournament full of confidence.
However the rest of the team are known for having up and down performances.
All the players have played a lot of chess recently. Ding Liren has played 60
standard games and 35 quickplay games since May. For their sake I hope they
aren’t burned out before the competition even starts.
Seed: 7, Average Rating: 2681, Members: Hikaru Nakamura (2778), Gata Kamsky
(2744), Alexander Onischuk (2666), Varuzhan Akobian (2617), Ray Robson (2601).
2010 Olympiad: 9th place (+7 =2 –2). Five time Olympiad Champions, including
four consecutive triumphs in the 1930s with players such as Kashdan, Fine and
The USA is another country steeped in chess history and looking to return to
former glories. Hikaru Nakamura is trying to lead that charge, his transition
from Smallville the ICC hack-attack blitzer to elite Super-GM has been seamless,
highlighted by his victory at Wijk Aan Zee in 2011 and becoming US Champion
for the third time earlier this year. He is joined by an experienced team including
Candidate Gata Kamsky with the added surprise of young Ray Robson who might
score some surprises on the lower boards.
Seed: 9, Average Rating: 2662, Members: Boris Gelfand (2727), Emil Sutovsky
(2687), Maxim Rodshtein (2642), Evegeny Postny (2651), Boris Avrukh (2605).
2010 Olympiad: 3rd Place (+7 =3 –1). Finished 2nd in 2008 and 3rd in 2010,
their only 2 medals in 31 Olympiad apperances.
Israel were the shock of 2010's Olympiad, finishing with the Bronze medal against
all expectations despite their amazing silver medal in 2008. The moral of this
story is – never write off Israel! Their team is full of experience and
know-how and no-one exemplifies this better than World Championship Challenger
Boris Gelfand. Gelfand demonstrated superb preparation to limit the chances
of Vishy Anand, one of the greatest players of all time and will be a tough
opponent to beat for any of the top boards.
Seed: 14, Average Rating: 2651, Members: Michael Adams (2723), Gawain
Jones (2655), Nigel Short (2704), David Howell (2620), Nicholas Pert (2555).
2010 Olympiad: 24th Place (+5 =4 –2). Nigel Short was part of the 1980s
heyday when England won 3 silver medals and a bronze.
England have managed to assemble a strong team for this year’s Olympiad
with the only notable absentee being the world’s strongest amateur, Luke
McShane, whose work commitments enforce his absence from the Olympiad. England
have also made an interesting decision to put the recently crowned British Champion
Gawain Jones ahead of former world Championship Challenger Nigel Short. Short
has spoken of his lack of desire to play super-GMs at this stage in his career
and I am sure that Jones will seize upon his chance to play some very strong
players on Board 2. England will be hoping to improve on their below-par showings
in the last few big team tournaments.
Seed: 33, Average Rating: 2542, Members: Dragan Solak (2586), Alexander
Ipatov (2561), Baris Esen (2568), Mustafa Yilmaz (2536), Emre Can (2461). 2010
Olympiad: 45th Place (+6 =1 –4). Suat Atalik won a Board 1 Bronze medal
in 1988 with 7½/10.
Turkey will be hoping that the home support will propel them to their highest
ever Olympiad finish – they achieved 33rd place in 1968. Serbian-born
Dragan Solak will be playing for Turkey for the first time. Some of you may
recognise the name Alexander Ipatov, the Ukranian-born grandmaster recently
became the World Junior Champion, joining the likes of Garry Kasparov, Vishy
Anand, Levon Aronian, Anatoly Karpov and Boris Spassky. Also keep an eye out
for Turkey’s two other teams, Turkey 2016 and Turkey 2023 which feature
teams with an average age of 15.8 and 8.2(!) years respectively.
– Source: Yorkshire
Chess. We will bring you a preview of the Women's Section shortly –
Schedule of the Olympiad with Playchess commentators
There will be live commentary of the most interesting games on Playchess.com,
beginning around half an hour after the games have started
| 27 August 2012
|| Arrival, Opening
| 28 August 2012
|| 1st Round
| 29 August 2012
|| 2nd Round
| 30 August 2012
|| 3rd Round
| 31 August 2012
|| 4th Round
| 1 September 2012
|| 5th Round
| 2 September 2012
|| Free Day
| 3 September 2012
|| 6th Round
| 4 September 2012
|| 7th Round
| 5 September 2012
|| 8th Round
| 6 September 2012
|| 9th Round
| 7 September 2012
|| 10th Round
| 8 September 2012
|| Free Day
| 9 September 2011
|| 11th Round, Closing
| 10 September 2011
Some hours after the end of each round we will be posting video summaries by
Daniel King on our news page. If possible they will appear on the same night,
otherwise early the next morning. We also expect best-game video commentary
from Andrew Martin.
||Kramnik and Klitschko: heavyweight preparation
25.08.2012 – The chess Olympiad starts on
Monday, the teams will be swarming into Istanbul from their various
training camps. One of the players had a somewhat unusual session: Vladimir
Kramnik spent some days in Austria with his old friend and WBA Heavyweight
Boxing Champion Vitali Klitschko, who himself was preparing for a tough
match. We bring you a photo report of the unusual
||2012 Istanbul Chess Olympiad preview
21.08.2012 – After the London 2012 Olympics,
in which we saw a number of records fall with participants from 204
nations, the upcoming Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey, should be
no less impressive. Players hailing from over 160 countries are expected.
The official website is already up with a list of the many teams and
their makeups, and expect to enjoy photos and videos as well. Here
is a preview.
||Istanbul Chess Olympiad – Turkish teams youngest ever
20.06.2012 – At a Chess Olympiad the host nation
has the right to field three teams. Typically the third team will have
2500+ GMs. Not so in Istanbul, where the Turkish Chess Federation is giving
youngsters a chance. The average age in the third Open Category team is
– 8.2 years! They may get clobbered by the likes of Morozevich and Grischuk
in the first round, but watch them playing
||Chess Olympiad in Istanbul – officials from seven countries
09.06.2012 – At a recent FIDE meeting the Turkish
Chess Federation, which is host to the 40th Chess Olympiad, was given
a list of arbiters for the event. TCF President Ali Nihat Yazici rejected
any officials from seven countries – England, France, Georgia, Germany,
Switzerland, Ukraine and the USA – for supporting court cases against
FIDE and causing financial damage. The
affected federations have protested.
||Chess Olympiad in Istanbul – official web site up
06.04.2012 – The 40th Chess Olympiad is scheduled
to take place in the Turkish metropole of Istanbul, from August 27 to
September 10th, 2012. With just over four months to go the national federations
will have to make haste with the arrangements. The official web site,
launched this week, provides information on rules, travel and accommodation.