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 official tournament poster
After the London 2012 Olympics, an event in which we saw a number of records fall with participants from 204 nations, the upcoming Chess Olympiad in Istanbul should be no less impressive. Players hailing from over 160 countries are expected. Everyone who is anyone will be there, even if there are some notable names missing. The most obvious ones are Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand, but there are not the only ones. The tragic absences, meaning due to illness, are Alexander Morozevich, who recently withdrew from Biel, but also Vugar Gashimov, who is not missing due to a disagreement with his federation as last year, but a serious condition that ails him.
Don't let these MIA players detract from the grandiose event with as many elite players as could be hoped. Russia is clearly the favorite as usual with Kramnik and Karjakin at the forefront, followed by Ukraine (Ivanchuk, Ponomariov), Hungary (Leko, Almasi, Judit Polgar), Azerbaidjan (Radjabov, Mamedyarov), Armenia (Aronian), China (Wang Hao), Israel (Gelfand) and England (Adams, Short). Hikaru Nakamura will be defending the stars and stripes, and Fabiano Caruana will be the vanguard of Italy. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!
As to the women, China is once more the clear Elo favorite with Hou Yifan on top board, followed by Zhao Xue, and Ju Wenjun. That said, if the Russians lack that top Elo, they have great depth and are fielding the very same team that snatched the 2010 Gold with the Kosintseva sisters, Valentina Gunina, and Alexandra Kosteniuk, with Russian Women champion Natalia Pogonina. The third strongest lineup on paper is the traditionally strong Georgia.
* = only men's team
On this page you will find the makeup of each team, e.g.:
The opening ceremony will take place on Monday, August 27th with the first round the next day. There will be five round until the first rest day on September 2, and a final free day on September 8, the day before the final round.
|27 August 2012||Arrival, Captains' meeting (20.00), Opening (21.30)|
|28 August 2012||15.00||1st Round|
|29 August 2012||15.00||2nd Round|
|30 August 2012||15.00||3rd Round|
|31 August 2012||15.00||4th Round|
|1 September 2012||15.00||5th Round|
|2 September 2012||Free Day|
|3 September 2012||15.00||6th Round|
|4 September 2012||15.00||7th Round|
|5 September 2012||15.00||8th Round|
|6 September 2012||15.00||9th Round|
|7 September 2012||15.00||10th Round|
|8 September 2012||Free Day|
|9 September 2011||11.00||11th Round, Closing (20.00)|
|10 September 2011||Departure|
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. Naturally, even the most assiduous and fanatical chess fan will be hard-pressed to watch them all, but if you want to try, all the main games will be transmitted on Playchess, and we'll have daily reports at the news site with GM commented games as well.
|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. Details, contacts, videos.
|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.
|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 lesser countries.