Monday, 10 September 2012

Armenia triumph

Lev Aronian celebrating victory after the tournament
The last round of the 2012 Chess Olympiad was particularly exciting, with 3 teams tied for the lead. China, Armenia and Russia were all on 17 points, with China ahead on tie-break. As they had all met, they played different last wound opponents, which add an extra complication to their games. Not only did they have to watch their own games, but at least be aware of what was happening on the other boards.
As the round unfolded, China cracked first. They had defending champions Ukraine, and were clearly losing while the other games were in progress. Eventually Ukraine won 3-1 leaving it between Russia and Armenia. In hard fought matches both teams won (Armenia 2.5-1.5 against Hungary, Russia 3-1 against Germany), but Armenia took gold on superior tie break.
One result of their win meant hastily rearranged travel plans. As is now tradition, the President of Armenia has sent the winning team a government jet to take the team back to Armenia if they are victorious. So as of a few minutes ago, the Armenian team are in the foyer of my hotel, waiting for transfer to the airport. In a few hours they will be touching down in Yerevan for an official welcome and state celebration.
In the Womens Olympiad, Russia was a little for fortunate (and China once again unlucky), with a crushing 4-0 over Kazakhstan. The margin of victory gave them a better tie break than China, who finished on the same number of match points.

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