Monday 12 September 2016

2016 Chess Olympiad - Round 9

With two rounds to play USA and Ukraine hold the lead in the 2016 Chess Olympiad. Both are on  16 points, with Russia in third place on 15. As all 3 teams have met each other, results against other opponents will determine who ultimately captures first place.
Australia had another good win, beating Kazakhstan 3-1. Anton Smirnov looks to have secured a 20 game GM norm with another win, taking his score to 7/8 (+6=2-0). This leaves the Australian team tied for 20th, and they play France in round 10.
New Zealand drew 2-2 with Luxembourg, but a loss by Scott Wastney has put a dent in his chances for an IM norm. Fiji scored an emphatic 4-0 over a fellow Oceania team, Palau, while Guam score a nice 3-1 win over Bermuda.
PNG drew 2-2 with Togo, but it was a match that got away. At one stage we were equal or better on the top 3 boards, and worse on board 4. However Stuart Fancy made a one move blunder to lose material, while boards 2&3 missed chances to gain decisive advantages. Then the Togo player on board 4 played the wrong move, giving Nigel Marko a chance to win material, but sadly he missed the right move order. After the smoke had cleared there were wins for PNG on 2&3, losses on 1&4 and a point for each team.
The Australian Women's team finished 2-2 with Tajikistan, which they might consider a little disappointing.  New Zealand were outplayed by Albania 3.5-0.5, Fiji had a narrow 1.5-2.5 loss to Guyana, and Guam lost 4-0 to Angola.

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