Monday, November 17, 2008

Never Leave a Man Behind

GM Ian Rogers likens the nightly press conferences, hosted by GM Susan Polgar, as being like a "talk show". Hard to disagree with this assessment, but even talk shows are at least exciting! After 2 or three of these press conferences, I was beginning to wonder if it was actually worth attending them. No disrespect intended, but some of the guests are way too unknown and, therefore, uninteresting. So far we've been treated to only two super grandmasters (China's Wang Hao and Wang Yue), although the language barrier didn't exactly help. Yesterday, RP's GM Wesley So was scheduled for a conference but simply failed to appear.

For the round 3 session, however, GM Rogers himself got into gear. With France's GM Vladislav Tkachiev on stage, Rogers switched to Kerry O'Brien mode. The Australian grilled the French grandmaster on certain aspects concerning the so-called "World Chess Beauty Contest" that was held a couple of years back and won, believe it or not, by Australia's Vaness Reid. Tkachiev was on the back foot. The poor guy signed up for an Olympiad press briefing and here he was having to desperately find answers to questions about an old event!

Then last night, as if to tease the press, the organisers invited chief arbiter Ignatius Leong. Naturally, I expected fireworks from Ian. But nope, the grandmaster was his usual Mr Nice Guy. Perhaps he was just happy about Australia's performance yesterday. Instead, direct questions to Leong were left to the Jamaican Chess Fed boss Ian Wilkinson.

Wilkinson, unhappy about the visa problems faced, especially, by a number of African countries, wanted to know what Leong can do about this situation in the next Olympiad. He also pressed Leong on the absence of tournament bulletins. Apparently, in Torino these were supplied by the organisers in a CD. To both questions, Leong was short and sweet, using the usual line here in Dresden: "I'll look into it" or "I'll talk to the organisers".

And that was that. Yet another mainly uninteresting press conference. I think I'll have to do something about this pretty soon. By the way, note that GM Ian Rogers is currently engaged to blog for the US Chess Life online crew along with FM Mike Klein, who sits just across from me.

Yesterday's action at the board came with some luck for the Aussie women, particularly for Dekic. Rogers' call on her game earlier on was that she was worse. Dekic, however, lived up to Rogers' description as the women's Solo, as well as aided by her opponent's errors, and eventually hauled in the point. Caoili was hardly test, while Moylan and Oliver both essayed the Dragon. Moylan lost the point, but the latter, after momentarily losing her way, eventually found the right plan to end the game peacefully. Shannon's play featured some nice touches, bravely executing exactly what Rogers' had predicted - 28....Bxg4.

As for the men, well, here's a question: can anyone remember the last time when Australia had won 4-0 twice in a row at the Olympiad? Today, these guys take on our neighbours Singapore who are led by ex-Pinoy IM Enrique Paciencia.

Once again, good luck to the teams. I hope, too, that the Kiwis can get their house in order. Remember the old lesson: never leave a man behind . . . at the hotel!

1 comment:

Kevin Bonham said...

Not sure anyone actually formally won the "World Chess Beauty Contest" - I recall there being a lot of fuss about the organisers extending deadlines for finishing it up and ultimately never paying out any prizes and the whole thing going into limbo. Also while Vaness was leading for a long time I recall she temporarily withdrew which had the effect of resetting her score.

Whatever grilling Rogers gave Tkachiev over it I'm sure it was thoroughly deserved.