Within the world of chess, the name Craig Skehan isn't that well known, except for the collectors of Olympiad statistics (or readers of this blog). For Craig has held the record for the most number of games without a win in the Olympiad. This is a record that stretches back to 1986 and extends over 6 Olympiads. In that time he played 59 games (defaults not counting) for a record of 10 draws and 49 losses.
But game 60 was the charm, and the streak has come to an end. Merely minutes ago his opponent from Sao Tome resigned when faced with running a and h pawns, giving Craig his first ever over the board victory at the Olympiad. Significantly it also sealed the match win for the team, giving PNG its best finish in a number of years. There were some nervous moments towards the end (eg I was convinced he would go to the toilet and lock himself in), but before a crowd of interested spectators (including GM's Bojkov, Rogers and Speelman), he managed to play the right moves to end the game.
Credit for both the teams performance, and Craig's win, should go to GM Dejan Bojkov, who served as this years Captain and team trainer. I'm not sure he realised what he was getting himself into, but he applied himself in an enthusiastic and professional manner.
If you wish to replay this piece of history, the game is available from the Olympiad website. The direct link is http://www.chessolympiadistanbul.com/livegames/games.php?section=0&round=11&match=70