Olympiad Dresden: statistics and stories

12/2/2008 – The games are over, but there are still plenty of stories to tell about one of the biggest and most spectacular chess Olympiads ever. We start our series of retrospective articles with one on the Elo winners, a medal-deciding game, on the most unusual results, the stolen diamond, the reception of the winners in their home countries and the trauma of a 0-4 loss against your arch rivals. Enjoy.

38th Chess Olympiad Dresden 2008

The Olympiad took place from November 12th to 25th, 2008, in the Congress Hall in Dresden, Saxony, Germany. 156 teams from 152 nations participated, with most of the top players present.

Statistics and stories

Who was the top rating winner in Dresden, which player added the largest number of points to his or her current FIDE ratings? The answer is Aa Citra Dewi of Indonesia, rated 1802, who scored 6.0/11 against strong opposition and gained 69.8 points. She is followed by Cegmed Munhchuluun of Mongolia, 1969, who gained 67.8, and WIM Joanna Majdan of Poland, 2284, who gained 66.9. The biggest male winner was Mohamed Waqar of Pakistan, rated 2207, who gained 63.5 rating points. We would also like to mention that Atousa Pourkashiyan gained the title of WGM, an achievement that was celebrated in the Tehran Times.

But let us come to the big boys (and girls) and see how they fared. The following lists represent a selection of players, mainly chosen on the basis of their strength or because they are well-known names.

Ti. Name FED Rtg rtg+/-
GM Sargissian Gabriel ARM 2642 30.3
GM Hillarp Persson Tiger SWE 2543 27.7
GM Kotronias Vasilios GRE 2587 27.5
GM Blagojevic Dragisa MNE 2522 26.2
GM Meier Georg GER 2558 25.4
GM Dao Thien Hai VIE 2510 22.4
GM Ragger Markus AUT 2518 22.2
IM Kobese Watu RSA 2369 21.6
GM Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2664 20.7
GM Akopian Vladimir ARM 2679 19.4
IM Arakhamia-Grant Ketevan SCO 2448 19.1
GM Predojevic Borki BIH 2615 18.9
GM Rodshtein Maxim ISR 2609 18.6
GM Beliavsky Alexander G SLO 2619 16.9
GM Short Nigel D ENG 2642 16.0
GM Fridman Daniel GER 2630 15.5
GM Howell David W L ENG 2593 15.1
GM Gelfand Boris ISR 2719 14.4
GM Aleksandrov Aleksej BLR 2617 14.3
 
Ti. Name FED Rtg rtg+/-
IM Fierro Martha ECU 2361 34.7
WIM Pourkashiyan Atousa IRI 2241 30.6
GM Chiburdanidze Maia GEO 2489 24.4
WGM Goletiani Rusudan USA 2359 24.2
WFM Ozturk Kubra TUR 2254 24.1
WGM Gomes Mary Ann IND 2298 21.3
WGM Motoc Alina ROU 2313 20.3
WGM Krivec Jana SLO 2345 19.8
IM Moser Eva AUT 2376 19.7
WFM Milligan Helen NZL 1957 19.2
IM Socko Monika POL 2434 17.7
IM Sedina Elena ITA 2365 17.1
IM Zatonskih Anna USA 2440 16.6
IM Mkrtchian Lilit ARM 2443 15.0
WGM Sharevich Anna BLR 2322 14.7
WGM Munguntuul Batkhuyag MGL 2410 14.6
IM Madl Ildiko HUN 2376 14.4
IM Kosintseva Nadezhda RUS 2468 13.0
WIM Caoili Arianne AUS 2170 12.1

Veselin Topalov, who had a rating performance of 2821, added just five points to his 2791 FIDE rating. Boris Gelfand's 2833 performance earned him 14.3 points (as you can see in the table above), and Peter Leko's prize-winning 2834 performance on board one will add 10.8 points to his 2747 FIDE rating.

The (unofficial) live top list of provisional world chess rankings, which covers all players with a rating above 2700 in the FIDE system, compiled the following list on November 25th at 19:05, immediately after the last round of the Olympiad:

# Player
Rating
change
gms
evnts
born
01 Topalov
2796.0
+5
8
1
1975
02 Anand
2790.8
+7.8
11
1
1969
03 Ivanchuk
2778.6
-7.4
19
3
1969
04 Carlsen
2775.7
-10.3
17
2
1990
05 Morozevich
2771.5
-15.5
20
2
1977
06 Kramnik
2759.5
-12.5
20
2
1975
07 Leko
2757.8
+10.8
10
1
1979
08 Radjabov
2753.1
+1.1
14
2
1987
09 Wang Yue
2750.6
+14.6
23
4
1987
10 Aronian
2750.4
-6.6
16
2
1982
11 Movsesian
2748.4
+16.4
23
4
1978
12 Jakovenko
2742.8
+5.8
32
5
1983
13 Gelfand
2732.9
+13.9
17
2
1968
14 Shirov
2731.0
+5
23
4
1972
15 Mamedyarov
2727.9
-3.1
16
2
1985
16 Alekseev
2726.2
+11.2
25
4
1985
17 Ponomariov
2725.6
+6.6
9
2
1983
18 Kamsky
2724.8
-4.2
16
2
1974
19 Bacrot
2719.5
+14.5
29
4
1983
20 Grischuk
2719.1
+0.1
15
2
1983
21 Dominguez
2716.8
-2.2
10
1
1983
22 Svidler
2714.0
-13
34
5
1976
23 Adams
2712.5
-21.5
29
4
1971
24 Gashimov
2711.4
+8.4
15
2
1986
25 Sasikiran
2711.3
+17.3
24
3
1981
26 Ni
2711.2
+1.2
21
4
1983
27 Akopian
2707.9
+28.9
20
3
1971
28 Karjakin
2706.1
-23.9
17
3
1990
29 Vachier-Lagrave
2703.0
-13
30
4
1990
30 Rublevsky
2702.0
0
0
0
1974
31 Bu
2700.8
-13.2
14
2
1985

The web master of Live Top List, Hans Arild Runde, is livid at the drastic change of the World Championship cycle by FIDE ("despite binding contracts with the Grand Prix participants"). He has decided, as a consequence, to temporarily discontinue his service on a day to day basis. Instead he is asking his visitors to write to FIDE – relevant links are given – "to tell them that it's quite unacceptable to make huge changes to an on-going qualification cycle, and that this decision needs to be reversed as soon as possible. However, if you consider the chance fairly low that FIDE would ever do anything like that, you could instead ask the Treasurer to simply make €50,000 payable to the Webmaster of chess.liverating.org - you know, to remove future uncertainty and improve our finances and so on."


In round 11 Peng Zhaoqin of Holland got a tremendous advantage against Tatiana Konsintseva of Russia.

Peng Zhaoqin (2455) - Kosintseva,T (2513) [E15]
38th Olympiad w Dresden GER (11), 25.11.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Bg2 c6 8.0-0 d5 9.Qc2 Nbd7 10.Rd1 0-0 11.Bf4 Rc8 12.Nc3 h6 13.e4 dxc4 14.Nd2 c5 15.d5 e5 16.Be3 Ng4 17.Nxc4 b5 18.Bh3 h5 19.d6 Bf6 20.f3 Nxe3 21.Nxe3 Rc6 22.Ncd5 Nb6 23.Nb4 cxb4 24.Qxc6 Bg5 25.Rd3 h4 26.Rad1 hxg3 27.hxg3 Bxe3+ 28.Rxe3 Qg5 29.Kf2 Qh6 30.Rh1 Bc8 31.Bg2 Qg6 32.Qc5 Qf6 33.Qxb4 Bd7 34.Rc1 a5 35.Qd2 a4 36.Rc7 axb3 37.axb3 Ra8 38.Rb7 Ra6 39.Rc3 Be6 40.Rc6 Nc4 41.bxc4 Rxc6

42.Rb8+? Here Deep Fritz 11, which has been giving White more than +4 since the time control, wants 42.cxb5 Rc8 43.b6 Rd8 44.Rc7 Bc8 45.Qa2 with a +4.50 evaluation. 42...Rc8 43.Rxc8+ Bxc8 44.d7 Qb6+ 45.Ke2 Bxd7 46.Qxd7 bxc4

Now Peng is stuck with an endgame which, try as she might, she is unable to win. 47.Qc8+ Kh7 48.Qxc4 Qb2+ 49.Kf1 Qb1+ 50.Kf2 Qb6+ 51.Ke1 Qb1+ 52.Kd2 Qb2+ 53.Qc2 Qd4+ 54.Ke2 Qg1 55.Bf1 Qxg3 56.Qc8 Qh2+ 57.Kd1 Qf2 58.Qh3+ Kg8 59.Qc8+ Kh7 60.Qh3+ Kg8 61.Qg2 Qe3 62.Qe2 Qb3+ 63.Ke1 g6 64.Kf2 Kg7 65.Qb5 Qc3 66.Qd5 Qc7 67.Bc4 Qb6+ 68.Kg2 Qf6 69.Kf2 Qb6+ 70.Ke2 Qf6 71.Bb3 Qf4 72.Qd7 Qf6 73.Bc4 Qf4 74.Qe7 Kg8 75.Qd6 Kg7 76.Qe7 Kg8 77.Qa7 Kg7 78.Qe3 Qh2+ 79.Kd3 Qh1 80.Kc2 f6 81.Qa7+ Kh6 82.Qe3+ Kg7 83.Kb2 Qd1 84.Bb3 Qd6 85.Kc3 Qa3 86.Kc2 Qd6 87.Qd3 Qc5+ 88.Bc4 Kh6 89.Kd1 Qg1+ 90.Kd2 Qf2+ 91.Kc3 Qc5 92.Kd2 Qf2+ 93.Kd1 Qg1+ 94.Ke2 Qg2+ 95.Ke1 Qg3+ 96.Kd1 draw.

So why are we showing you this game? Well, as Chess Today pointed out, this game was decisive for the Gold Medal going to the Georgian team. Had Peng won this game the match Netherlands-Russia would have been drawn 2-2 (instead of 2½:1½ for the Russians). Ukraine had beaten the Netherlands 3½-½ in an earlier round and would have thus had a better tiebreak than Georgia, who drew with Russia 2-2.


The most unusual result of the Olympiad was that of a player named Yohannes Simbolon, who is unrated and without a birth date on his FIDE card (he is around fifty). Her drew his tenth game on board three for Indonesia in 91 moves and in the process spoiled a unique record. In all nine previous games our hero had won every single white game and lost every single black one.

Yohannes, seeded 734th in the Olympiad, had even beaten a grandmaster, Nikola Mitkov, in a white game, to achieve a rating performance of 2366. Memo to self: must find out more about this player.


In case you missed it: our Ukrainian friend and associate Olena Boytsun pointed out that there was a serious error in the English translation by Russia Today of the original Russian language story regarding the stolen diamond in the Nona Gaprindashvili International Trophy (see our report). Apparently it was not the Georgians or "Gruzin" who removed the diamond from the statue at Kiev airport, but baggage handlers or "gruzchik".

The Ukrainian news portal Today displayed the missing diamond in the trophy.


The Armenian Chess Olympiad champions received a tumultuous welcome on their return, in the plane of their President Serzh Sargsian, in the capital Yerevan. You can watch it on this YouTube video:

The Georgian women's team returned to Tblisi to a similarly warm welcome. President Mikheil Saakashvili met with the Olympic Champions and awarded cash bonuses and Orders of Honors to the players, who won Gold for the fourth time. As the broadcasting company Rustavi 2 reports: the president thanked the chess players for "restoring the glory of the Georgian chess school and proving that Georgian chess is not only alive but is in a good form, as well." There is a video on the page as well.

Meanwhile the players from Azerbaijan were clearly shattered by their 0-4 loss against arch rivals Armenia. The two contries have hostile relations over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, and this can sometimes be felt at chess events. Panorama.am reports:

Zeiynab Mamediarova, who is the best chess player of Azerbaijan, said that Azeri women chess players were under pressure as 'enemious character' against Armenians is sowed among them. [we assume she means that they are being incited to regard Armenians as enemies]. According to Azeri media, Mamediarova admitted that the most difficult meeting in Dresden was the one with Armenians when they have been crucially defeated by 4-0 points. “The only reason of that defeat was the pressure on us. Armenians did not have such feelings and they managed to be well prepared to the game. Any game with Armenia is much spoken in our country and everything is accepted not as it is to be,” she said.

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