Jamaica celebrates Olympia

by ChessBase
9/4/2016 – For the top teams the Chess Olympiad is a serious affair. They battle for points, prestige and medals. But the Olympiad is also a festival to celebrate the joys of chess and this is what Jamaica does. With a rating average of 2166 the Jamaican team are are ranked 115 of 180 teams but that does not diminish their joy of being in Baku. Ian Wilkinson, President of the Jamaica Chess Federation, sends an enthusiastic report about the start of the Olympiad.

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2016 Baku Olympiad

All games start at 3 p.m. local time = 15 p.m. in Europe (CEST), one hour earlier in Britain, and 2 p.m. in Moscow. You can find the starting time at your location here.

Watch it live on Playchess!

Jamaica "Ready to Rumble" at 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku

By Ian Wilkinson

After travelling for more than a day Jamaica’s fifteen-person delegation touched down safely in Baku, Azerbaijan on August 31, a day ahead of the official arrival date. Although there were some issues (with luggage in particular!) the players have settled in nicely and are looking forward to combat.

Glittering Opening Ceremony

The host country, Azerbaijan, staged a fabulous opening ceremony which began just after 7:00 pm on Thursday, September 1 at the National Gymnastics Arena.  There was variety, the performances involving acrobatics, music, dance and impressive graphics highlighting, understandably, the chess pieces and themes.

National Gymnastics Arena – site of Opening Ceremony.

Jamaicans outside the venue before the opening ceremony.

Beautiful display during the ceremony.

Majestic pieces (courtesy of the brilliant David Llada)

Grace on show (courtesy of David Llada)

The opening ceremony in its glory.

The country’s President Ilham Aliyev, who later declared the games open, led the applause from the audience represented chiefly by players and delegates from the approximately one hundred and eighty countries present.

The cheers rang out (Jamaica’s arguably being the loudest – Russia coming a close second!) when the names of the countries were called and their respective flags highlighted. A nice, piquant touch was added by the organizers - countries being identified, additionally, on a map of the world graphically mounted on the “Chessboard” stage.

Performers and flags of various countries - See Jamaica's!

Members of the Jamaican delegation were resplendent in their national colours (black, gold and green) with the players from Somalia giving serious competition for “best dressed delegation” in their blue and white regalia complete with hats! Both groups took photographs together.

A number of other teams were well-dressed including the Azerbaijani Women’s team and the Russians.

Jamaica's delegation sitting above juggernauts Russia and below powerhouses Hungary.

Somalia looking regal (courtesy of David Llada)

Jamaica and Somalia at the opening ceremony.

World Champions drew colours

The drawing of the colours for the top boards in the Women’s and Open sections, respectively, were done by China’s Grandmaster Hou Yifan (the reigning Women’s World Champion) and Russia’s Grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik, the former World Champion for Classical Chess, in the presence of Azerbaijani International Arbiter Faik Gasanov, the Chief Arbiter. This brief ceremony was a crucial prerequisite in determining who plays whom with what colour.

IA Faik Gasanov, Chief Arbiter, flanked by China's GM Hou Yifan
and Russia's GM Vladimir Kramnik who drew the colours for the
top teams (courtesy of David Llada)

The top ranked team in the Open section is Russia with the average rating of the players being a whopping 2768! They are followed by the United States of America narrowly behind with 2765. Rounding off the top three is the defending champion China with 2740. Jamaica’s male gladiators have average rating of 2166 and areranked 115 of 180 entrants).

The winning team in the Open section shall receive the "International Hamilton-Russell Cup".

The top ranked team in the Women’s section is China with an average rating of 2560. The women from the Orient are followed by Ukraine (2505). Defending champion Russia is rated third (2504). The teams are competing for the "International Vera Menchik Cup".

Each player has 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, an additional 30 minutes thereafter, plus 30 seconds per move from move 1. A point is awarded for a win; a half-point for a draw and zero for a loss on each board. When the points are tabulated the team with more will be declared the winner and awarded match points. No player is allowed to offer a draw until after 30 moves have been completed.

The top teams with the best combined scores in the Open and Women sections shall receive the “Nona Gaprindashvili International Trophy.”

Jamaica’s participation was made possible chiefly by sponsorship from the Government of Jamaica (via the Sports Development Foundation), the Jamaica Chess Federation (“JCF”) and the Kasparov Chess Foundation.

Ian G. Wilkinson QC
President, Jamaica Chess Federation
Baku, Azerbaijan

Olympiad schedule

Date Time Event, function
1 September 18:30/20:30 Arrival, Opening, Captains meeting
2 September 10:00/15:00 Arbiters meeting/Round 1
3 September 15:00 Round 2
4 September 15:00 Round 3
5 September 15:00 Round 4
6 September 15:00/22:00 Round 5/Bermuda Party
7 September   Day Off
8 September 15:00 Round 6
9 September 15:00 Round 7
10 September 15:00 Round 8
11 September 15:00 Round 9
12 September 15:00 Round 10
13 September 11:00/19:30 Round 11/Closing Ceremony
14 September All day Departure day


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