Friday, November 14, 2008

A Post-Rogers Olympiad

WIM Arianne Caoili yesterday began her Olympiad campaign, and her first board duties, with a win over no less than WGM Anna Sharevich of Belarus. Giang and Moylan drew their games, while Dekic lost to WIM Tatiana Berlin - the women's only blemish. Later that night Dekic drowned her sorrows over a €5 (AUD$10) beer with the men's team, but two of her teammates celebrated their fine start with the most appropriate cocktail - "sex on the beach".

On the other hand, the Aussie boys, in their first post-Rogers Olympiad, managed just a half point courtesy of GM Zhao. The rest were beaten. Over drinks, there was much discussion, especially, over Smerdon's choice of Nf6-Nh5-Ng3 maneouvre against Zbynek Hracek. Should he have preferred the Karpovian Nf6-Ne8? All the serious talk about plans and ideas were peppered everywhere with recollections of past games, stories from previous Olympiads and sometimes comedic bursts from GM Johansen that had even the usually straightfaced IM Solomon in a fit of laughter. Sadly for you lot, as I am emphatically informed by the men's skipper, exact details of these team talks stay firmly in the Olympiad.

While the boys are relax in their approach (Manuel Weeks, their captain, is so relaxed that he can even manage to complete an entire business transaction with a well-known GM in less than 2 minutes), the girls hold their team meeting behind closed doors. That's fair enough I suppose as this being his first try at the captaincy, IM Andras Toth might prefer to get into a groove with his charges away from unnecessary observation, especially from pesky bloggers. I understand that he's received ample advice from the boys, so hopefully things will be alright for him and the girls. Still, I hope to bring more light to goings-on in the women's side in later posts.

Today, the men's team has an "easier" assignment against El Salvador. Johansen comes in while George Xie stays partly in order to give him some momentum. The women take on Lithuania. Caoili - Cmilyte on board 1 is expected to attract a crowd.

Turning to the RP boys (for now, as I didn't have time observe the girls yesterday), their 1.5-2.5 loss to China yesterday shouldn't really surprise anyone. I'm also not even surprised by So's victory over the 2710-rated GM Ni Hua! The Pinoy wunderkind's current trajectory clearly has him heading towards the 2700-mark himself. Perhaps the only surprise would be to the captain, Eugene Torre, who reportedly said that his team expects a "walk in the Dresden park" in the earlier rounds. I bet he didn't expect the powerhouse Chinese right from round one. Today, Eugene's team will take on Algeria. Except on board 1, where the Algerians enjoy the services of GM Rizouk, round 2 should be Eugene's expected walk. I just hope that they won't stop and sit on one of the benches to breathe some fresh air.

Finally, there is some talk about a Swiss protest over their opponent's (Russia) last minute change in line up. GM Ian Rogers asked about this in yesterday's press conference and all he got for his trouble was a reply from a seemingly surprised moderator, Susan Polgar, that she and her team were not aware of any such protest. She promised to uncover more info.


ejh said...

the men's team has an "easier" assignment against El Salvador

Or not

Anonymous said...

Well done,Amiel!
An excellent reporting with nice photos!
Please send my best wishes to all our players.