Tuesday, April 22, 2014

2014 Aussie Olympiad Team

It is an Olympiad year again and this time the party is heading off to Norway. I had actually planned to head over, but the cost of getting there from Tokyo was going to seriously put me in the red, especially since I already have two OS trips scheduled for later in the year. So I shall have to put off my next Olympiad holiday until 2016. Although, I am not too hot about going to Baku if I'm honest!

Anyway, about this time the Australian Chess Federation begins the selection process for captains and players. For the pundits, like yours truly (yep, I still follow the Australians whenever they play), it is always fun to speculate and nominate as to who should put on the Aussie colours.

Thankfully the ACF actually publishes the names of applicants and you can see their names here. Without further ado, here is my pick.

David Smerdon
Max Illingworth
Moulthun Ly
Junta Ikeda
Stephen Solomon

Captain: Manuel Weeks

All in all, I really like the names in this lineup. Except for Solo, these are young guys who have recently been in hot form. I'm only picking Solo over IM Ari Dale for a couple of reasons. First, looking at Solo's results over the past year, I see that he can still handle himself. He finished high'ish in this year's just completed Doeberl Cup and took out a couple of big guns in last year's edition as well. And secondly, Solo is a veteran campaigner and I think the team can do a bit of his presence there.

Irina Berezina
Arianne Caoili
Giang Nguyen
Emma Guo
Biljana Dekic

Captain: Ian Rogers

I think that this is pretty much a safe selection. The only question is who gets to be board one. If we go with ACF ratings, which I suspect is more reliable than these gals' FIDE, I reckon the ACF will go with Giang. She's currently top female with a local rating of 2281 (although no recent games). Give Giang a go on top board, I say; or at least back up to board 2, which she had already managed back in 2008 (her debut for Australia) and again in 2010.

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