Thursday, 7 October 2010

Australia at the 2010 Olympiad

While I was dividing my time between playing and working* at the Olympiad, I did try and keep an eye on the Australian team. At times this was easy as they were often in the same playing hall as PNG (of course on much higher boards), and it was only a short work walk to their boards (both Open and Womens).
Both teams finished on their seedings (the women a little bit higher) and all the players performed at around their pre-tournament ratings (maybe up or down a few points). For the women the tournament may have been a little tougher as they seemed to get caught in the swiss 'bounce'. Apart from close wins against Turkey and New Zealand, they were either winning big or losing big, and such dramatic shifts in the strength of opponents can make match strategies difficult.
The Men's team had a bouncy start, but after round 3 didn't score less than 1.5 in any match. Their best win was in round 5 over 31st seed Moldova, but it was drawn matches against lower seeded Mongolia and Singapore that stopped their drive for a higher placed finish.
In terms of the 'B' Olympiad both teams put in a disciplined performance with team captains Manuel Weeks and Leonid Sandler making sure that the 'A' tournament was a priority. Occasionally I would spot them in the bar at the Olympic Hotel after the round, but it seems their curfews were set much earlier than mine!

(* Turns out I was a paid official at this event, so the usual disclaimers apply)

Bologan,Viktor (2690) - Zhao,Zong-Yuan (2583) [C50]
39th Olympiad Men Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (5.33), 25.09.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.c3 a6 6.Bb3 Ba7 7.0-0 d6 8.Re1 Ne7 9.d4 Ng6 10.h3 0-0 11.Nbd2 Re8 12.Ng5 Re7 13.Ndf3 Qe8 (D)
14.Nxf7 Rxf7 15.Ng5 Nh8 16.f4 h6 17.Nxf7 Nxf7 18.g4 Be6 19.Bc2 g5 20.fxe5 dxe5 21.Be3 Qe7 22.Kh1 Rd8 23.Qd2 Kg7 24.Qf2 Bxg4 25.dxe5 Nxe5 26.Bxa7 Bf3+ 27.Kg1 b6 28.Re3 Bh5 29.Rg3 Ra8 30.Bxb6 cxb6 31.Qxb6 Rd8 32.Qf2 Bg6 33.Re3 Nh5 34.Rd1 Rf8 35.Qe2 Nf4 36.Qxa6 g4 37.Qd6 Qxd6 38.Rxd6 Nxh3+ 39.Rxh3 gxh3 40.Bd1 Bxe4 41.a4 Rf2 0-1

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