Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Australia v England

With the Ashes series starting today (for the truly ignorant, a 5 match series between Australia and England in Cricket), I had a look back at how Australia fared against England at the Chess Olympiads. 'Not very well' turned out to be the answer. Unlike the cricket, where Australia has dominated over the last 20 years (2005 notwithstanding), it has been the complete opposite in chess.
Australia first played England at the 1974 Olympiad and lost 1-3 (2 draws). In 1990 it was 0.5-3.5, 1992 0.5-3.5, 1998 1-3 (two draws), and finally a drawn match in 2004 2-2. The other frightening statistic is that Australia has only won a single game against England, and that was by and ex-Englishman, IM Gary Lane in 2004. However it was against former World Championship challenger Nigel Short, and it was quite a nice win. (As an aside I was watching this game from the balcony at the Calvia Olympiad. Towards the end I assumed that Short was winning, but only because Lane's extra material was hidden behind the clock!)

Lane,G (2442) - Short,N (2687) [C03]
36th Olympiad Calvia ESP (13), 28.10.2004

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 h6 4.c3 c5 5.Ngf3 Nf6 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.Nb3 Nd7 8.Bd3 Qc7 9.Bc2 b6 10.0-0 Bb7 11.Re1 Be7 12.Ne5 Nxe5 13.dxe5 0-0-0 14.Qg4 h5 15.Qc4 g5 16.a4 a6 17.Bd2 Kb8 18.Rad1 g4 19.Nc1 Rdg8 20.Be4 h4 21.Nd3 g3 22.h3 gxf2+ 23.Nxf2 Qxe5 24.Bxd5 Bxd5 25.Qxd5 Qxd5 26.Bf4+ Bd6 27.Bxd6+ Kc8 28.Rxd5 exd5 29.Re7 Rh6 30.Bf4 Rhg6 31.g4 hxg3 32.Ng4 R8g7 33.Kg2 d4 34.cxd4 cxd4 35.Be5 d3 36.Rc7+ Kd8 37.Rc3 Rxg4 38.Rxd3+ Ke7 39.hxg4 Rxg4 40.Rd4 Rg5 41.Bf4 Rg6 42.Bxg3 a5 43.b3 Rc6 44.Re4+ Kd7 45.Kf3 Rf6+ 46.Bf4 Rc6 1-0

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