Saturday 3 September 2016

2016 Chess Olympiad - Round 1

The 2016 Chess Olympiad got off to a mixed start,  both organisationally and competitively.  Unlike previous Olympiads the players had less difficulty getting to the playing hall, as the 40 minute queues caused by security checks seemed to have been eliminated. That's not to say there wasn't security, as upon entry I had my camera, notebook and even my pencil placed in storage until the finish of the round.
The start was delayed by 15 mins due to a late arrival of a bus, but again, this is a quicker start than some Olympiads I have been to.
I was making my debut as team captain for Papua New Guinea and we were paired against Azerbaijan 3, which was a junior team from the host country. As is normally the case in round 1 we went down 4-0, but we were handicapped by the fact that our opponents turned up. In our section of the tournament, 8 of the 12 matches ended in 4-0 walkovers due to the non appearance of one of the teams. This included New Zealand who's opponents Djibouti had a coach (Gurevich) but no players. At this stage it seems like there are at least 14 teams missing from the final entry list, but even then they are including teams who are due to arrive today, so that number may change.
Keeping up with New Zealand, the Australian team also won 4-0, although they did it my beating a physically present Oman. Otherwise that were the only points scored by Oceania teams, with Palau, PNG, Fiji and Guam all getting blanked.
In the Women's Olympiad Australia started with a 4-0 win over Chinese Taipei, but NZ, Fiji, and Guam all went down 4-0.

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