[T]he Australian women's team is notable both for its high average age and for the faith the selectors have shown in players with modest Olympic records. It has been six years since a current member of the women's team scored above 50% at an Olympiad and team results have been declining.
In particular, [IM Alex] Wohl must be scratching his head at the twist of fate which saw him - the star of Torino 2006 - dumped while Arianne Caoili, who equalled a record losing streak at the 2006 Olympiad, is promoted to board two in the women's team.
In truth the selectors' hands were tied by the Australian Chess Federation's single selection criterion of playing strength. A number of selectors have already complained that a better team result would probably be achieved if other factors such as past Olympiad performances and team harmony could be given consideration.
Team harmony? I hadn't realised that these guys were having problems on that front the last time around. What's the grandmaster talking about, we wonder.
Seriously - it's difficult to see how "team harmony" could be justified as a factor for selection. For one thing, how are the selectors supposed to know if certain players will form an harmonious bunch? And even if the selectors did have such knowledge, the whole selection process could quickly result in biased outcomes: viz., selecting only those who "get along". It's a bad approach as far I'm concerned.
Instead, the message should be made emphatically clear to these players: you put your hand up for the job, you do it as a team. Leave the bitchiness at home.
Maybe these women need somebody who can sort them out. That risky task will fall to one of these guys - IM Leonid Sandler, IM Andras Toth and Oleg Korenevski - applicants for the women's team captaincy. Good luck boys.
Information about Australia's selection procedure is available here.