The Australian Chess Federation has announced the two teams for this year's Olympiad in Torino. They are:
OPEN TEAM (in board order)
1. GM Ian Rogers
2. IM David Smerdon
3. GM Darryl Johansen
4. IM Zong-Yuan Zhao
5. IM Gary Lane
6. IM Alex Wohl
WOMENS TEAM (in board order)
1. IM/WGM Irina Berezina
2. WIM Anastasia Sorokina
3. WIM Laura Moylan
4. WIM Arianne Caoili
Overall, the teams look very competent and fairly solid. Alex Wohl's selection is a touch surprising, however. An informal poll of Aussie chess fans actually rated him lower than Nick Speck (who recently performed remarkably in Gibraltar, earning his third IM norm along the way). I certainly would have opted for Nick.
The women's team is correct and reflects the selections of the same informal poll. Based on form, I would say that Arianne's placing below Laura Moylan was the right decision. If Arianne were playing for the Philippines again, she'd likely be slotted on first board.
And speaking of the Philippines, I should mention that this year is the 50th anniversary of that country's participation in the Olympiads. Actually, we missed one, 1962 (Varna, Bulgaria), when President Macapagal placed on a ban on travel to communist countries. The four brave Filipinos who flew to Moscow way back in '56 were Florencio Campomanes, Glicerio Badilles, Carlos Benitez and Rodolfo Tan Cardoso.
For Torino, it will be exciting to see a near all-GM Pinoy team. But speaking to Pinoy-Aussie player Angelito Camer yesterday, he asked: will RP be permitted to play in the Olympiad if the NCFP has not paid their dues to FIDE? Well, that's the bloody question, isn't it?
Anyway, good luck to the Aussies!