Sunday, 4 September 2016

2016 Chess Olympiad - Round 2

Or "How they sucked all the fun out of the tournament"
Round 2 saw the PNG go 4-0 up against Uganda after 15 minutes, which was a mixed blessing for us. The Uganda team was paired for round 2 (they weren't included for the first round), but just before the round it became apparent that they were not in Baku. However formalities needed to be observed so the PNG players sat down at the board, started the clocks and waited the required forfeit time. After 15 minutes the scoresheets were signed and spent the rest of the afternoon observing the other boards.
The small Oceania teams (Fiji, Guam, Palau) all continue to find it tough going, all getting blanked by their higher rated opponents. This fate also befell the New Zealand team (at the hands of Kazakhstan), while Anton Smirnov's win over GM Ante Brkic picked up Australia's only point against Croatia.
In terms of the overall event, this is shaping up as one of the least fun Olympiads I have been to. Apart from the "no watches, personal cameras, notebook and pencil" rule, players are (as usual) being chased out of the hall once their games have finished. There is no area to socialise after the games either, as the venue seems to lack a coffee shop, bar or even merchandising area (ie no chess books or equipment). You catch the bus to the venue, play chess, and then catch the bus back to the hotel, with nothing else to do. And as the venue is quite a way from the various shopping districts it is no practical to find a local coffee shop or bar to gather at (at least for teams staying at the QafQaz hotel)
Round 3 sees PNG play Belgium all the way up on Board 46, which is a pairing that also occurred in Round 1 of the 2004 Olympiad. IIRC we did get 0-4 in that match, so we can only improve (or tread water) this time.


Anonymous said...

Chess24 has about the toilet rules.

Chess24 correctly described the rule (you don't have to ask "permission", just notify), but still the petition came up with excuses.

Given that there have been multiple times in chess history where the number of bathroom trips was a point of contention (including the "disappearing" video tapes from Elista), I would think that accounting this is wise. OTOH, according to FIDE regulations there should be an arbiter per match, so presumably they can keep track of this w/o the player specifically notifying? Or do players wander around a lot, and no one is sure whether they stay in the area, or head outside?

ThanklessTemerity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ThanklessTemerity said...

I made a comment, but I guess I went over the character limit, and it was deleted.

I don't know if it is worth splitting it into parts or not, unless Shaun is going to comment further. Basically, point #1 is technically wrong (do they mean "playing venue" ?!) and anyway arbiters can require more than the Laws of Chess (the word "absurd" implies to me that it contradicts the Laws, which I don't understand), while points #2, #4, and the final sentence are arguments toward the popular feeling, without any real basis. Have any of these signers ever worked in surveillance? Usually 99.99% of the data is useless, but having the critical 0.01% is more important. Same here, the imaginative idea that FIDE is humiliating or penalising players by making an accurate record (when surely an inaccurate record exists by observation anyway) is a non sequitur.

Points #3 and #5 are more practical matters and Shaun might disagree as he is there, but given the actual history/accusations of toilet cheating in large-scale team events (Bundesliga, 4NCL), I can't think they are that obtrusive, compared to the expected benefit. #5 might be more viable than I think, as it depends on a base comparison to the typical "wandering around" of players (which already gives information to the opponent). I'm just waiting for a player to "pretend" to go to toilet to goad his opponent into making a fast move!

Edited: I guess having arbiters/monitors at the exits of the playing area to record entries/exits (rather than having a "I'm going to the toilet" declaration near the board) would mostly solve point #5.

Garvin said...

Shaun, why are teams allowed to play in round two when they have not played in round one unless they have formally registered and been sighted by the organising team, or chief arbiter?

I think it is a ridiculous situation that teams who were not present for round one, can be paired in round two without having to show that they are actually going to be ready to play in round two.

Anonymous said...

So basically the whiners are repeating their same (non)arguments they made at the captains' meeting? If they were mostly complaining about the implementation of the toilet (and smoking/bar) rules, I might have more respect, but they seem to want to revisit the question of the rule in the first place, which has already been decided.

At the Candidates' matches, they had to be accompanied in the corridor on the way to the toilet. Why couldn't any of these arguments about "humiliation" or "nerves" or "information to opponent" be made by those 8 elite players? The Olympiad is on a big stage, but the majority of participants don't want to live up to that, and want it more like a friendly weekend event.

MachoM said...

I have learned that - outside the playing area - there are some local shops. Weaving workshops, something with the local tea and so on.


Henrik Mortensen

Anonymous said...

Namibia won by forfeit in Round 3 over Eritrea (while Swaziland had a bye). Still no clue from organizers?

Uganda is paired Round 4 against Maldives, and Gambia might crack into action against Palau.

One reason given for no-shows was that flying from Africa is usually routed via Istanbul, and the political situation there is volatile.

Shaun Press said...

Thanks Henrik. I also discovered the Exhibition Hall today, although it was sparsely populated and not obviously located (ie it was in a separate area from the main hall). It does have some chess stands, commentary area and a coffee station, but it does not seem widely promoted

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Anonymous said...

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