Hello everyone and welcome to the live countdown to the Chess Olympiad 2012 on Chessdom.com! We continue our daily minute by minute updates and six days before the official start of the event we will refresh the latest news regarding the Olympiad in Istanbul, interviews with top players, polls, photos, videos, and more.
Review: 7 days to the Chess Olympiad
With this we wrap up another day of live countdown on Chessdom.com. Thank you for following with us and see you tomorrow for more opinions by players, updates from national teams, details from Istanbul, and news regarding the Chess Olympiad 2012!
IM Torstein Bae gave his opinion on the Olympiad to Chessdom, “The Norwegian team in the open group is missing quite a few players for various reasons. Hopefully we can create problems for some of the top teams in the course of the Olympiad.” Yet, he is optimistic about the women section, stating, “The women’s team is perhaps our best ever, and will fight for a fine position in the final standings.”
After yesterday’s question by Chessdom as to why GM Bacrot is not in the French Olympic team, Europe Echecs have managed to get some information. In a short note they state that the “conditions of the player were not met by the Federation.”
The women team of France also miss their best player, as Marie Sebag will not play for the women team.
GM Mamedyarov, a top player from the team of Azerbaijan and member of the 2700 club, gave an interesting answer to the question by 1news.az, “Is Russia the favorite for the Olympiad in Istanbul.” Mamedyarov was direct, stating, “Russia has not won an Olympiad for 10 years. In the 70s and 80s it was clear that the first place will be for USSR, now the situation is totally different. Now all other teams have qualities, and against Russia they play to their maximum strength.”
A key point by Mamedyarov, similar to what Alex Ferguson also had in mind about the situation of Manchester United in recent years.
Marlon Bernardino is of course providing his best local previews as usual. For PhilBoxing.com he writes, “improving on their finishes two years ago will be the target of the men’s and women’s teams when they seeing into action in the 40th World Chess Olympiad scheduled August 27 to September 10 at the Istanbul Expo Center in the Turkish Capital. This was bared by former Olympian and Head Coach Grandmaster (GM) Jayson Gonzales during the send off party for the Philippine team.”
Board One in the men’s team will be for Filipino youngest GM Wesley So, only 18 who has an ELO rating 2652, Board Two by Oliver Barbosa (2554), Board Three by Eugene Torre (2469) and Board Four by Mark Paragua (2508), the reigning National Open champion who had just topped the recent “Battler of Grandmaster.” Reserve player is GM candidate and International Master Oliver Dimakiling (2428).
GM Gonzales, who will be coaching both the men’s and the women’s sides, also said that the Filipina woodpushers are, likewise, capable of a higher finish than the 44th wind up, also two years ago. The women’s squad is made up of veteran campaigners WIM Catherine Perena, WFM Rulp Ylem Jose, WNMs Janelle Mae Frayna, Jedara Docena and Jan Jodilyn Fronda.
“We’ll be aiming for a to 20 finish, but if given a chance try to be in the top 10 again, we’ll grab it” said Asia’s First Grandmaster Eugene Torre, referring his 21st Olympiad chess appearance who gets the chance to set a new record in this month’s Chess Olympiad for the most number of stints.
St. Louis Beacon is one of the few US newspapers to give a preview on the Chess Olympiad so far. In other countries news is already buzzing, but here we see this one mainly because of a chess connection, “Like the regular Olympics, the Chess Olympiad is truly a global spectacle, and this year 164 nations will be competing, from Afghanistan to Zambia. The chief rivals for medals will include not only global superpowers like the United States, China and Russia, but countries small in population but large in chess prowess such as Armenia, the gold medal winner in 2006 and 2008. The event will have St. Louis connections as local Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, currently ranked No. 5 in the world, and Webster University freshman Grandmaster Ray Robson, will be competing,” states the report.
Until the Olympiad, daily live games from the European Youth will be shown on Chessdom.com. Go to this link for U18 and U16 or here for U14, U12, U10, and U8. It is also the broadcast method at a special dedicated page at the official website.
Peter Zhdanov, husband of the Russian Champion Natalia Pogonina, has an interesting preview about the Olympiad. He says, “Chess Olympiads are a fantastic experience for all the players in terms of visiting new places, meeting interesting people, having fun at the Bermuda Party. At the same time, this is a very serious competition that grasps the attention of all the chess fans.”
Yesterday we had a breaking news during the Olympiad live countdown regarding the 2012 Final Masters. Today we have an important addition to make and this is the possible players list for the event. Until the contracts are signed nothing is sure, but most likely we will see GM Viswanathan Anand, GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Vladimir Kramnik, GM Levon Aronian, GM Fabiano Caruana, and one to be announced.
It is interesting to note that three of these participants represent their countries at the Olympiad – Karjakin (Russia), Caruana (Italy), and Aronian (Armenia), while Anand and Carlsen skip the event concentrating on their closed tournament schedule.
The name of Karjakin sounded in the participants list, but at the same time as the Final Masters he is playing the London Grand Prix.
The moto of the Chess Olympiad 2012 is “Let’s meet where the continents meet”. And this no coincidence. Istanbul is truly a world city, a city which everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. It is an enchanting blend of Eastern and Western culture, a vibrant, modern city, with a unique identity. Its rich past coexists alongside its youthful exuberance. Although no longer the capital of Turkey, Istanbul still remains the country’s cultural and business center.
It is a city of contrasts, bustling with the cacophony of 21st century life, and is yet achingly beautiful. It is set in a stunning location, surrounded by water, which is the narrow strait of the Bosphorus and the serene sea of Marmara separating Europe from Asia. Istanbul has a foot in each, celebrating the best of both heritages. As Byzantium, Constantinople and finally, Istanbul, it has been the capital of three Empires, each leaving their mark in the form of stunning palaces, castles, mosques, churches and monuments. The legacy of its chequered past can be seen on every turn of the modern city.
The layout of Istanbul can seem confusing at first. The Bosphorus divides the city into the European and Asian sides, linked by two magnificent bridges, spanning the continents, the first of which was opened in 1973 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Republic. Most visitors to the city, staying for a few days, will have little reason to visit the Asian side, except for as part of a Bosphorus tour, on a boat which zigzags from side to side, to take in the best of each.
The European side, however, is also divided in two by the Golden Horn or Haliç, which roughly divides the historic part of old Istanbul, encompassing the areas of, Sultanahmet and Laleli, from the modern city. It is crossed by a number of bridges, the most famous of which is the pontoon, the Galata Bridge. Most visitors on short city breaks stay in the old town as the vast majority of the sites which they will be visiting are in this area. Istanbul’s most famous sites – The Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia), Topkapı Sarayı (Palace) and the Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı) – are all within a 30 minute walk of each other. It is easy to get around on foot or by making use of the tram, which provides a regular service on the pedestrianised main street. In terms of accommodation, there are now a number of characterful boutique hotels in the area of Sultanahmet, many of which are restored Ottoman wooden mansions. These are ideal for those who really want to savour the authentic atmosphere of the Old Town. Those on a budget, may want to consider the more modern, and competitively priced hotels of the Laleli district, although this area is much busier.
More about the city of Istanbul with a photo report on Chessdom.com after the opening ceremony of the Olympiad.
Theodoros Tsorbatzoglou, an experienced international organizer and member of the ECU board, commented on the Olympiad, “I expect a well organized Olympiad an a historical city. I have a special connection with the city since one of my grandmothers spent her childhood there, in the well-known district of Pera, before moving in 1922 with her family to Thessaloniki. I am sure all will be well set in Istanbul we will see a very interesting competition with the traditional strong teams fighting for the medals.”
As we mentioned the Istanbul Chess Festival in the previous update, here are the details of the parallel event. The International Chess Festival “İstanbul Open 2012 ” will be held in İstanbul from 29th August (arrival) to 09th September (departure) 2012. Two Open Tournaments (A and B) will be held, with the participants divided according to ELO ratings. Besides, there is a Blitz Tournament on the 2nd of September that will be held as part of the festival.
The total prize fund of the tournament is 15 000 USD, 13 500 for the main events, and 1500 for the blitz.
Here is the official poster of the competition.
Downstairs at Hall 11 will be the second part of the participants. It will be a dedicated hall to the Istanbul Chess Festival and the World Youth Chess Olympiad U16 (details to follow).
Upstairs from the main playing hall (see update 12:25) are the arbiters rooms and FIDE offices.
In the next several updates we will present you detailed explanation of the playing hall of the Chess Olympiad with the special zones. To view the full size of the photo, click on the image.
This first photo presents Hall 9 and Hall 10. The zone 2 is the Press room, next to it are zone 38 for live analysis and commentary and zone 4 which serves as analysis room for the players. The given setting is very comfortable for the journalists and this means that you will have a high density of news and video materials on Chessdom.com, with player statements right after the games.
Right across the journalists room is the exhibition area with the stands where the bids for the next Olympiad of Bulgaria, Estonia, and Azerbaijan (a multimillion bid!) are going to present their projects. Few details are known about the bids, we will bring them to you at a later update.
Exiting hall 9 are the cafe (zone 19), the accreditation and information (zone 26) and the entry to the playing hall. Zone 35 (pink) is the women section, zone 34 (blue) is the open section.
The Cuban media keeps on praising the national team, putting high expectations on the players. Two of them – Dominguez and Bruzon – are in the 2700 club, while GM Yuniesky Quesada (2626), GM Isán Ortiz (2569), and MI Yusnel Bacallao (2583) are a stable addition at lower boards.
GM Miton is optimistic about the team of Poland at the Chess Olympiad. He states, “The team of Poland has developed nicely in the recent years thanks to the hard work of our president Mr. Tomasz Sielicki. We had a chance for medals at the last Olympiad until the last round, now is the time to be very optimistic and fight for medals.” GM Miton adds, “We have a great team with Wojtaszek being second of Anand, Bartel with good experience, and Swiercz the ex World Junior Champion. With GM Krasenkow as coach we have chances for medals, although a top 10 finish should not be disappointment.
A note about the 11:30 update, the team of Germany is not coming with the full players list from Halkidiki ETCC. GM Rainer Buhmann, the player who got 3,0/4 on the 4th board, will be substituted by GM Igor Khenkin. He got the right to participate in the German team after he finished clear second at the national championship after the winner GM Daniel Fridman.
The European Team Chess Championship 2011 was the closest team event to the Olympiad, regarding strength of players. It was won by the team of Germany, who stunned the favorites from Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine.
GM Arkadij Naiditsch was top board of the team at ETCC and now he will be top board of the team in Istanbul. He shared with Chessdom, “I try to focus on chess now, we are coming with the strongest team possible and with a good trainer – Peter Heine Nielsen. Last Year we became European Team Champions and we hope as well this year to fight for the Top 10 positions.”
Chess Olympiad LIVE 11:15CET
These days more than 1000 young players have collected in Prague for the European Youth Chess Championship. The event was opened by the Chairman of the Czech Chess Federation Mr. Viktor Novotny (video here). He commented for Chessdom.com on the participation of the Czech Republic in the World Chess Olympiad 2012 in Istanbul, “The Czech teams take the Olympiad as the most important event of the year. We are sending the top five rated men – Navara, Laznicka, Hracek, Babula and Stocek who are all experienced Olympiad players. Navara and Laznicka both fell under the 2700 rating, but I hope they show once again, that they both belong to the elite. Also the other players can play to a very high standard, which I hope thy will do exactly in Istanbul.” Mr. Novotny added about the women team, “We are sending a young, though quite experienced, women team – all five girls are among our best women players.”
Both teams of the Czech Republic had a week long training’s camp last week and are leaving with high hopes for Istanbul.
Chess Olympiad LIVE 11:00 CET
Only six days are left to the official start of the World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul. The event is much more than just a chess competition. It unites the top levels of the chess family from every country, hosts the FIDE congress, holds meetings for chess commissions, and has multiple parallel events such as the World Youth Chess Olympiad U16.
Today we will continue our Olympiad live preview with all these aspects. Expect also statements from players and officials from several chess federations. Here we go!