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Chess Olympiad Dresden 2008 12 November 2008
The 38th Chess OlympiadThe 38th Chess Olympiad will take place in Dresden (Germany) from 12 till 25 November. This year each team consists of 4 regular and 1 reserve players and form of the tournament is now an 11 rounds swiss. 156 teams are announced in the men tournament, and 119 in the women one. ChessOK would commentate each round using Rybka 3 Aquarium.
Round 1 with Rybka 3 Aquarium live comments Below you would find a quick review of the event and our forecast. The official site of the tournament Men team members Women team members The official schedule of the 38th Chess Olympiad The schedule of the 38th Chess Olympiad will be as follows:
Wednesday 12 November Opening
Thursday 13 November 1st Round
Friday 14 November 2nd Round
Saturday 15 November 3rd Round
Sunday 16 November 4th Round
Monday 17 November 5th Round
Tuesday 18 November Free Day
Wednesday 19 November 6th Round
Thursday 20 November 7th Round
Friday 21 November 8th Round
Saturday 22 November 9th Round
Sunday 23 November 10th Round
Monday 24 November Free Day
Tuesday 25 November 11th Round
Closing Ceremony All rounds except last starts at 15.00 CET Team places are distributed according to the number of gained team points. There are some additional indicators used to determine the winner in case of equality of points: 1. Sum of the Zonnerborn-Berger points; 2. Sum of the game points of all rivals minus the points of the worst one (short Buchholz) 3. Sum of the individual points, gained by each team members.

State of affairs on the start line

In several days in German city Dresden the main biennial team event in chess world, the 38th Olympian Chess Tournament, will take place. Our kind of sport is not yet included to the list of summer or winter Olympic Games, that is why we enjoy our own Olympian Tournament, where the best chess players of the world compete with each other upholding the honor of their countries.

The regulations of the tournament

One can notice that the form and the regulations of this Olympian Chess Tournament have been changed. In the past tournaments the structure of a regular team was 4+2 (four main and two reserve players) for men and 3+1 for women. Beginning from this year the structures are equalized, so that both men and women have the same team structure 4+1. This change was expected for woman teams, because additional white color in a game of three boards is a great advantage. The change in man teams was made first of all to pull up rear echelon teams, where the “tails” yield to the leaders. Decreasing the number of players will make physical training much harder for five chess players, so more attention will be paid to this aspect. However the time will show how effective this change is. Also, the trend toward decrease in rounds started in Turin, Italy continued its way down making 11 game rounds in this Olympian Tournament instead of 13, as it was two years ago. The trend toward decrease in chess is typical, first it was time control, now – the number of rounds. Perhaps, very soon some unnecessary pieces will also be removed from the board. Now, let’s “get to business”. The goal of this review is to make an overall survey of the teams, participating in the upcoming event. At first glance one can notice that this year most of the teams were able to propose their best chess players. The only exception is absence of the newly fledged champion of the world Viswanathan Anand in the India team, but this is understandable, no doubts he deserved this rest. However, all of his competitors (Nielsen, Wojtaszek, Kasimdzhanov) are here, and only Rustam is announced to play on the first board. Of course the world championship took a lot of their strength. Anand’s historic rival Kramnik and his long-time competitor Topalov will also take part in this tournament. Notice that at the present time Topalov takes the first place in the FIDE rating list. Both Topalov and Kramnik are announced to play on the first board, so the performance of their countries (Bulgaria and Russia accordingly) will first of all depend on them. Their participation will bring refinement to the upcoming Olympian Tournament. Let’s take a look at the statistic data. There are: 9 players (all except Anand) from the Top 10 rating 19 players from the Top 20 rating! 27 players from the Top 30 rating! (Ponamarev for Ukrain and Alekseev, who just had no place) Of course this numbers are impressive. Perhaps these are the most powerful teams on the Olympian Chess Tournament for the last ten or even more years. That makes the event more spectacular for chess-lovers who will watch these chess battles. In the end I will try to look forward and make a short forecast for this tournament. It is not a secret that every team has its own specific goals, which depend on the structure of the team. For some teams to be in Top 100 rating will be a success, for others everything besides taking the first place will be a failure. Of course we are interested most of all in the teams that have a real chance to take the gold in this Olympic tournament. In my humble opinion these teams are: Russia, Ukraine, China, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Bulgaria, France, Israel, Armenia, USA, Germany, Spain and India. The other team can also show great results, but comparing to the listed ones, their chances to take the first place are much lower. Let’s consider the teams-contenders for the gold medals: Russia

1.Russia, average rating 2756

Russia (USSR in the past) is a priori considered as the main challenger for the gold medal. However failures on the last two Olympiad Tournaments have shaken convictions about its total leadership. Especially dramatic was the failure in Turin, when Russian team led by Vladimir Kramnik ended up 6th. That is why Russia is eager to show everyone “Who is who”. As always the team is very strong: Kramink, Morozevich, Svidler. There are no doubts that these brilliant chess players are the best elite players with the highest class level. However, the situation is not that simple as it seems to be. Kramnik has just lost very important game versus Anand, Morozevich didn’t show any tremendous results in the Russian Super Finals and Svidler is not a very stable player. Will they be able to pluck up their courage and to beat everyone else? This is one of the main questions of the Olympiad… ChessOK’s Forecast: one of the places in Top3.

Ukraine2. Ukraine, average rating 2729.

The champions of the Olympiad Tournament in 2004. On the board number one plays Vasiliy Ivanchuk, who is definitely on the rise at the present time. His amazing performance in the first round of super tournament in Sofia (5 out of 5) has impressed the whole chess community. On the team tournament in Dogamys, Russia (April 08) Vasiliy played very confident leading his team “TPS” to the 3rd place. The other players – Karjakin, Eljanov, Efimenko, Volokitin are also very strong. The team is missing FIDE ex-champion Ruslan Ponamarev, who is finishing up with his chess activity. ChessOK’s Forecast: Struggle for gold, one of the places in Top3…

China3. China, average rating 2714.

Chinese chess traditions have reached a new level! Success of woman team is not a surprise for the chess comunity, however the real strength of man team was seriously considered not so long ago. Today, the Chenese team is strong as it never was and it is obvious, that they will do everything possible to take the first in history of Olympic gold in chess. In my humble opinion, they have real chances to do this. ChessOK’s Forecast: China will be the champion!

Azerbaijan4. Azerbaijan, average rating 2709.

Young ambitious men from Baku will try to conquer the Olympics one again. Maybe 3 of 4 years ago, this team was considered as unpredictable due to great play by Radjabov and Mamedyarov. At the present time the situation calmed down and the community got used to their style and skill. Now they need to find something new and creative to win this tournament. Are they able to do this? I’m not really sure… ChessOK’s Forecast: Though I like this team, I don’t think that they have real chances to struggle for the gold medal. I will be glad to be mistaken.

Hungary5. Hungary, average rating 2692.

For a long time Hungary is one of the strongest chess. This year the team consists of the best brilliant players, led by Peter Leko. However the “tail” of the team is not so strong, so it can do a bad turn in a long distance. ChessOK’s Forecast: Struggling for a place in Top5, maybe in Top3.

Bulgaria6. Bulgaria, average rating 2691.

Another team with a pronounced leader – Vaselin Topalov. He is one of the most striking persons of the last years. His last performance in Bolbao allowed Vesko to return on the first position in the FIDE rating list. Bulgaria’s result will directly depend on his performance. Will Topalov be able to lead his team to the first place? It is known, that leader is the example for the rest of the team, so if Vaselin will start to beat everyone on his way, may be the others will do the same. Прогноз ChessOK’s Forecast: Depends on Vaselin. Both 1st and 21st are equally possible .

France7. France, average rating 2690

This strong team will obviously take the middle place of the first 10th. I don’t think that they will be able to reach higher than their start number, but in some games they can be very dangerous. ChessOK’s Forecast: Won’t go higher than their starting number.

Israel8. Israel, average rating 2682.

The Israeli, chess “magicians”, strong as usual. Even despite the absence of Emil Sutovsky the can show some tricks. ChessOK’s Forecast: Place in Top10..

Armenia9. Armenia, average rating 2677.

Weakened by death of Olympian champion Karen Asrian, the Armenian team has forfeited their positions. It was impossible to find an equal replacement for Karen. However their team spirit is very powerful and the can make “wonders”. ChessOK’s Forecast: Place in Top5. Any place.

USA10. USA, average rating 2673.

I think that Americans have made a mistake in the application. It was necessary to change the first and the second boards. Hikaru is on his rise, he has beat Ivanchuk lately, in addition to that he is young and ambitious that makes him a very dangerous chess player. At the same time Gata could easily beat everyone on the second board. However, it is only my subjective opinion. ChessOK’s Forecast: Struggle for the 3rd place; place in Top5.

Germany11. Germany, average rating 2647.

The hosts of the tournament are dangerous as usual. However, according to the rating their team is definitely weaker than the first ten teams. Home atmosphere can really help them, so everything is possible. ChessOK’s Forecast: place in Top10.

Spain12. Spain, average rating 2644.

Shirov and his partners has already stormed the Olympics several times and the team was not practically changed. Last time they took the 10th place and this time, I think the position will remain the same. ChessOK’s Forecast: place in Top10.

India13. India, average rating 2634.

The motherland of chess is experiencing a new chess “boom”, caused by Visi Anand. His have a great example to follow. That is why they are very dangerous opponents for all teams! ChessOK’s Forecast: The team can strike unpredictable .

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