Sunday, 19 September 2010

England's chances in Chess Olympiad

Although I don't play much over the board chess any more, I still follow chess. Here's a post on my take for England's chances!

England are seeded 12th in this years Olympiad.

I've had a look and a ponder about the teams- I reckon this is the best chance we've had for years at an Olympiad- think I read we got 4th in Moscow 1994 when we should have got 3rd but the Russians fixed the tiebreak- terrible conditions in that one too.

First time I can really remember since 'following' chess Olympiads (starting from 1998 really) that are players all seem to be near the peak of their form all at the same time. We've probably got our strongest available team out there at the moment, and for England it's quite a young team. I think all of the players in there can show good will to win- in fact I'd say overall from what I've seen boards 2-4 in any combination like to press to a win very hard if they're near the peak of their form. When Adams gets into form he has great results too in team comps- I really hope he does continue his good form, although he will have some tough matches. I just hope he doesn't give away easy draws- I want everyone to be fighting for the full point! I personally believe too that how well we do depends to some extent on how much we can get our top four players to play. I'd play Gawain against some of the weaker teams but not against players ranked too far above 2600 if I could help it.

And looking at the teams, a lot of teams have crucial players out. Germany have all their best players out, Romania aren't playing, Azerbaijan have Gashimov out, France have Bacrot out, Lautier too if you count him as 'active', Netherlands have Tiviakov out, Poland have Krasenkow out, India have Anand out, Denmark have Nielsen out... and these are just ones from top of my head!

Depending on how English chess goes, this might actually be the best chance we have for years.

Ratings are one thing, but how England prepare and the conditions they have are crucial. That's why I'm eager to know about them in this Olympiad- another plus this time seems to me is we have a team captain who works hard and likes to communicate with the chess players who help subsdise his team, so I really hope Loz can provide a few updates we can't get from other sources during the Olympiad!

Pithy sayings!

"Try to win it one pot at a time." Chan in World Series of Poker.

Ilyumzhinov (chess boss!): "If Karpov didn’t exist you’d have to invent him. He has no program, no ideas, while 170 countries around the world is no joke! You don’t sit at the controls of a jet, or in a dentist’s chair, knowing that instead of a doctor there’s Vasya the plumber. Therefore I consider his competition frivolous."