Olympiad R11: Photographic impressions from Dresden

11/27/2008 – It started at ten in the morning, in chilly Dresden. After the final round was over an incident with Vassily Ivanchuk and the doping controls. Then the closing ceremony and awarding of medals, then a dinner and final farewells. The next day everyone was in the air or on road or rail. The ChessBase team is safely back in Hamburg and brings you a big pictorial report of the final round.

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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.

Impressions from the final day

By Natalie and Carsten Straub

Tuesday, the final day of the 38th Chess Olympiad in Dresden, started early. The games were scheduled for a brutal (ask any chess player) 10:00 a.m. start. Not everybody was at the board at the prescribed time – there were at least six lateness forfeits and ten other forfeits that morning! During the Olympiad about 20 players were forfeited for being late, including Ermenkov, who, we are told, left the board for 20 seconds to get a new pen from the arbiters' table when the gong was sounded.

Ten a.m. and freezing cold outside – but the team of South Africa, with IM Watu Kobese (2369), IM Kenny Solomon (2337), CM Henry Robert Steel (2280) and IM Johanne Mayedi Mabusela (2273) were there on time and beat IPCA 3:1.

GM Sergei Zhigalko (2592), GM Aleksej Aleksandrov (2617), GM Alexei Fedorov (2584) and GM Andrey Zhigalko (2568) of the Belarus side, which lost to Hungary in Round 11 by 2½:1½


Vigorous media attention for the game Armenia vs China

Bo. 3 China (CHN) Rtg
1½:2½
9 Armenia (ARM) Rtg
1.1 GM Wang Yue 2736
½ - ½
GM Aronian Levon 2757
1.2 GM Bu Xiangzhi 2714
½ - ½
GM Akopian Vladimir 2679
1.3 GM Ni Hua 2710
½ - ½
GM Sargissian Gabriel 2642
1.4 GM Li Chao B 2622
0 - 1
GM Petrosian Tigran L 2629


The start of a very important match, with Aronian, Akopian, Bu and Wang


Aron and Akop, top boards and top GMs for Armenia


Gabriel Sargissian and Tigran Petrosian, architects of Armenia's four-player victory

Armenian team captain Arshak Petrosian (all three are unrelated) used an unusual four-player strategy at the Olympiad: the fifth player, Artashes Minasian, was only allowed to play in once single round. The Arminian players lost only two games in the entire Olympiad, both in the critical round nine match they lost to Israel.


Together playing for Hungary: Judit Polgar and Peter Leko


The start of a fateful match: Ukraine vs USA, Ivanchuk vs Kamsky

Bo. 10 United States (USA) Rtg
3½: ½
2 Ukraine (UKR) Rtg
3.1 GM Kamsky Gata 2729
1 - 0
GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2786
3.2 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2704
½ - ½
GM Karjakin Sergey 2730
3.3 GM Onischuk Alexander 2644
1 - 0
GM Eljanov Pavel 2720
3.4 GM Shulman Yuri 2616
1 - 0
GM Efimenko Zahar 2680


Vassily Ivanchuk and Sergey Karjakin

The unexpected ½:3½ loss to the USA – it could easily have been a 0-4 blowout – was quite traumatic for the Ukraine, which lost a clearly attainable medal in the process. Vassily Ivanchuk, who can suffer like no other contemporary chess player from an unnecessary loss, emerged from the hall and started kicking a pillar ("A wonder," said a spectator, "that he did not fracture a number of toes."). Unfortunately the Ukrainian team had been selected for a FIDE doping control, and an arbiter tried to lead Ivanchuk to the checking area for a urine sample. But the distraught Ukrainian star broke free and disappeared for the rest of the evening. This put FIDE into a quandary: to cancel all results of the Ukrainian team at the Olympiad, as clearly prescribed by the IOC rules, and give the medals to different teams; or to make an exception and risk chess not becoming an Olympic discipline for ignoring the doping rules. After some passionate canvassing by former World Champion Boris Spassky FIDE went for the second option – but not because of the canvassing, we have been informed. The decision takers had in fact not heard Spassky's views.


Different attitudes and different demeanor: Israel vs Holland, top boards

Bo. 8 Israel (ISR) Rtg
2½:1½
20 Netherlands (NED) Rtg
4.1 GM Gelfand Boris 2719
½ - ½
GM Van Wely Loek 2618
4.2 GM Roiz Michael 2677
1 - 0
GM Smeets Jan 2604
4.3 GM Avrukh Boris 2657
½ - ½
GM Stellwagen Daniel 2605
4.4 GM Rodshtein Maxim 2609
½ - ½
GM L'Ami Erwin 2610


The Dutch squad with Lisa, Arlette, Marlies and Peng, lost to Russia in round eleven

Bo. 17 Netherlands (NED) Rtg
1½:2½
1 Russia (RUS) Rtg
5.1 GM Peng Zhaoqin 2455
½ - ½
IM Kosintseva Tatiana 2513
5.2 WIM Bensdorp Marlies 2303
0 - 1
IM Kosintseva Nadezhda 2468
5.3 WIM Van Weersel Arlette 2209
1 - 0
IM Korbut Ekaterina 2459
5.4 Schut Lisa 2153
0 - 1
WGM Pogonina Natalija 2474


Top boards of the medal winning US team: Anna Zatonskih and Irina Krush

Bo. 7 USA (USA) Rtg
2½:1½
5 France (FRA) Rtg
4.1 IM Krush Irina 2452
0 - 1
GM Sebag Marie 2533
4.2 IM Zatonskih Anna 2440
½ - ½
IM Skripchenko Almira 2455
4.3 WGM Goletiani Rusudan 2359
1 - 0
IM Collas Silvia 2352
4.4 WGM Rohonyan Katerina 2334
1 - 0
WGM Milliet Sophie 2366


Behind those hands and below all that hair: Marie Sebag and Almira Skripchenko


What a contrast: the Iranian ladies Atousa, Shadi and Shayesteh with their mandatory hijabs

Bo. 30 Croatia (CRO) Rtg 2½:1½ 39 Iran (IRI) Rtg
15.1 WGM Golubenko Valentina 2273 0 - 1 WIM Pourkashiyan Atousa 2241
15.2 WGM Medic Mirjana 2281 1 - 0 WGM Paridar Shadi 2248
15.3 WIM Franciskovic Borka 2275 ½ - ½ WIM Ghader Pour Shayesteh 2149
15.4 WIM Jelica Mara 2205 1 - 0 WFM Salman Mahini Mona 2113


...and at work during the games


Our favourites: Ghate Swathi, Sachdev Tania, Harika Dronavalli of the Indian team

Bo. 11 India (IND) Rtg
1½:2½
6 Armenia (ARM) Rtg
7.1 IM Harika Dronavalli 2462
0 - 1
IM Danielian Elina 2513
7.2 IM Tania Sachdev 2425
½ - ½
IM Mkrtchian Lilit 2443
7.3 WGM Swathi Ghate 2320
½ - ½
WGM Aginian Nelly 2325
7.4 WGM Gomes Mary Ann 2298
½ - ½
WIM Galojan Lilit 2305


The Armenian team (standing) with Galojan, Aginian, Mkrtchian, Danielian and trainer


The glare: Ukraine vs Poland in a critical match for the medals

Bo. 9 Poland (POL) Rtg
1½:2½
2 Ukraine (UKR) Rtg
1.1 IM Socko Monika 2434
½ - ½
GM Lahno Kateryna 2488
1.2 IM Rajlich Iweta 2404
0 - 1
WGM Zhukova Natalia 2488
1.3 WGM Zawadzka Jolanta 2378
0 - 1
IM Ushenina Anna 2496
1.4 WIM Majdan Joanna 2284
1 - 0
IM Gaponenko Inna 2473


GM Kateryna Lahno and WGM Natalia winning Silver for Ukraine


Azerbaijan vs France, with Radjabov and Bacrot on board one

Bo. 7 France (FRA) Rtg
1½:2½
4 Azerbaijan (AZE) Rtg
6.1 GM Bacrot Etienne 2705
½ - ½
GM Radjabov Teimour 2752
6.2 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2716
½ - ½
GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2731
6.3 GM Fressinet Laurent 2676
½ - ½
GM Gashimov Vugar 2703
6.4 GM Tkachiev Vladislav 2664
0 - 1
GM Huseynov Gadir 2650


Serbia vs Georgia, a critical match-up for the medals

Bo. 4 Georgia (GEO) Rtg
3 : 1
10 Serbia (SRB) Rtg
3.1 GM Chiburdanidze Maia 2489
1 - 0
IM Maric Alisa 2405
3.2 IM Dzagnidze Nana 2503
½ - ½
IM Bojkovic Natasa 2420
3.3 IM Javakhishvili Lela 2473
½ - ½
WGM Stojanovic Andjelija 2357
3.4 IM Khukhashvili Sopiko 2409
1 - 0
WGM Chelushkina Irina 2360


The amazing Maia Chiburdanidze in TV ChessBase with Frederic Friedel and Natalia Straub


Alexei Shirov (Spain) receives final instructions before the start of round eleven


In the audience: the Presidents of Armenia, Serge Sarkisian, and of FIDE, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov


A view of the stage with the top teams during round eleven

Pictures of the closing ceremony will follow soon

Photos by Natalia and Carsten Straub, Frederic Friedel

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