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Dresden Open Olympiad Rounds 1 to 5

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Welcome Olympiad Fans to Rampant Chess' coverage of the open team's first five rounds. This page will be updated frequently so bookmark it and come back often - we always enjoy your company. Live games are available on the official website and full results for the Scottish teams will be posted on Chess Scotland's main page so here we'll focus on discussing the games.

Women's Olympiad Coverage Available Here
Round 2
Round 3
Round 4
Round 5
Captain's Report
Rounds 6-11

Opening Ceremony

Our spies have been out in force in Dresden and we hear the distrurbing news that the Scottish team did not make it to the opening ceremony. The official excuse is that their hotel is too far away from the opening ceremony venue but my secret suspision is that they had heard that a Freddie Mercury impersonator was going to be performing. If that sounds like your idea of fun then check out the official Olympiad site where there is a TV show available so that even those not playing at the Olympaid have the opportunity to 'experience' this performance.

Some other highlights from the opening ceremony which our correspondent describes as "a bit boring but some nice show acts" (hope he's not talking about our Freddie there...)

photo: Harald Fietz

Note that this serious moment of the opening ceremony has been disrupted by hoards of protesting schoolchildren waving their placards. You can't see the writing from here but I'm told that this demonstration was organised by Dougie Bryson (placards: "Freedom to Write Down Your Move Before Playing It") and Joe Redpath ("No to the No Draw Rule"). Now who says Scots have no say in the FIDE laws?

Despite what I've said, I must confess that this part of the opening ceremony looks alright...

photo: Harald Fietz

Many, many thanks must go to Harald Fietz for taking the time out from his busy schedule watching Freddie Mercury to send us all the photos you see here - thanks Harald! Now, let's get down to business...

Open Olympiad Round 1

A dream draw for the Scots to kick off their Olympiad adventure. A first round pairing with eleventh seeds and host nation Germany!

Scotland ½-3½ Germany
J. Rowson (2596) b 0-1 A. Naiditsch (2678)
J. Shaw (2469) 0-1 I. Khenkin (2647)
K. Grant (2448) 0-1 J. Gustafsson (2634)
C. McNab (2455) ½-½ D. Baramidze (2557)

Our top three boards preparing for battle

photo: Harald Fietz

Needless to say, playing the Eleventh seeds was always going to be a challenge with all the Scots facing higher-rated opposition. With the top three boards failing to score, the nation's hopes and pride rested on the shoulders of board 4, the in-form Colin McNab.

Colin achieves a slight advantage early in the opening as you can see...

photo: Harald Fietz

Notice how Colin calmly ignores his opponent's death stare and just thinks to himself "We'll see if you are still staring when I get my queen to h6!"

Fresh from his fantastic victory at the Glasgow Congress Colin played in his usual cunning style. A quiet opening encourages Black to try to wrest the initiative but as soon as he commits himself to a kingside attack Colin immediately strikes back in the centre leaving Black's king as draughty as Geoff's wallet when it's his turn to go to the bar.

A few more accurate moves and we find ourselves looking at this promising situation...

The paradoxical 32.h4! is very strong here. At first sight it looks suicidal to trap your own queen on h6 with the black knight ready to fire into f5 with devastating effect however 32...Nf5 is impossible because of 33.Re8+ and White intends to follow-up with Bh3 and h5 with a powerful attack.

Difficult to spot and no-one can blame Colin for playing the very promising looking 32.f5 instead. A few moves later it looks all over for the exposed Black king but by some kind of miracle there was always a defence available and even the endgame expertise of GM McNab couldn't win such a drawish queen endgame. A fascinating game and one that prevented the whitewash.

[Click here to replay the game]
C.McNab (SCO 2455) - D.Baramidze (GER 2557)

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 c6 3.Bg2 Bg4 4.d3 Nf6 5.h3 Bxf3 6.Bxf3 e6 7.Nd2 Nbd7 8.e4 Qc7 9.Qe2 Bd6 10.Bg2 Rd8 11.0-0 h5 12.d4 dxe4 13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.Qxe4 h4 15.Bg5 Be7 16.Bxe7 Kxe7 17.Qe3 Nf6 18.g4 b6 19.c4 Rd7 20.Rad1 Rhd8 21.Rd2 c5 22.d5 Kf8 23.Rfd1 exd5 24.cxd5 Nh7 25.f4 Nf6 26.Qf2 Kg8 27.g5 Ne8 28.Re2 Nd6 29.Rde1 g6 30.Qxh4 Kg7 31.Qh6+ Kg8 32.f5 gxf5 33.Qf6 Rf8 34.Re5 c4 35.Kh1 Qc5 36.R5e3 Qc7 37.h4 Ne4 38.Bxe4 fxe4 39.Rxe4 Rxd5 40.g6 fxg6 41.Re8 Qf7 42.Rxf8+ Qxf8 43.Qxg6+ Kh8 44.Re8 Rd1+ 45.Kg2 Rd2+ 46.Kh3 Rd3+ 47.Qxd3 Qxe8 48.Qxc4 Qd7+ 49.Kg3 Qg7+ 50.Kf4 Qxb2 51.Kf5 Qf2+ 52.Ke6 b5 53.Qd5 Qxh4 54.Qa8+ Kg7 55.Qxa7+ Kh6 56.Qe3+ Qg5 57.Qh3+ Kg6 58.Qd3+ Kg7 59.Qc3+ Kg6 60.Qc2+ Kg7 61.Qc7+ Kh6 62.Qh2+ Kg6 63.Kd6 b4 64.Qc2+ Qf5 65.Qg2+ Qg5 66.Qe4+ Qf5 67.Qc4 Qf6+ 68.Kc5 Qf8+ 69.Kb5 Qb8+ 70.Ka4 Kf6 71.Qxb4 Qxb4+ 72.Kxb4 ½-½

Check back soon for more Rampant Olympiad Chess.

Open Olympiad Round 2

The magnificent playing hall complete with main stage and giant display screens. Looks super duper doesn't it?

Photo: Harald Fietz

A strange influence is at work with the Scottish pairings. In the first round we get the host nation and in the second we get the IBCA. IBCA? I hear you squeal, what's that all about? Well, in this year's Olympiad there are three teams that are not representing nation states and the IBCA (International Brailee Chess Association) is one of those. And of course the big connection is that our very own Stephen Hilton is the Secretary General of the IBCA which is another huge step forward for Scotland on the International Chess scene.

A surprise development today as the round was delayed for an hour due to "unforeseen errors". I should like to make it clear that this had absolutely nothing to do with a delay to a certain bus containing a certain high-ranked team and the new rule defaulting anyone not at the board in time. NOTHING AT ALL! Jacob decides to while away the extra minutes by reading "The Wind in the Willows" out loud to Jonathan seemingly unaware that JR has countered with a pair of earplugs...

Photo: Harald Fietz

Enough hilarity, doon tae the games!

Scotland 3.5 - 0.5 IBCA
J. Rowson (2596) b 1-0 V. Berlinsky (2325)
J. Aagaard (2528) 1-0 S. Krylov (2388)
K. Grant (2448) 0.5-0.5 S. Wassin (2325)
C. McNab (2455) 1-0 D. Pribeanu (2232)

The IBCA team prepare for battle...

Photo: Harald Fietz

The first two rounds may hint at the classic Swiss yo-yo effect but there is no denying that today's solid win will be good for team morale. Jacob joins the fray for his debut in the Scottish squad so we had a formidable team against the outgraded IBCA fellas. Logging on to the matches this afternoon after about 30mins play I noticed that one of the big advantages of higher graded players is not so much that they get superior positions, but rather that they seem to be able to get positions they like to play. Our Sicilian experts Keti and Jacob got their wish, Jonathan got the type of strategic position in which he is as strong as anyone in the world, and Colin got his favourite Pirc set-up...I was rubbing my hands with glee.

Keti's opponent played very well I thought and managed to draw. The other games went well for us.Jacob's game was the first to turn with him employing a typical Jacob style tactic.

In the above position Jacob played ...d4! and was soon on top.If you find this impressive then I'd recommend you check out his latest book "Attacking Manual I" to find out how to do it yourself...
Jacob's Attacking Manual

Here's the full game

[Click here to replay the game]
S. Krylov (IBCA 2388) - J. Aagaard (SCO 2528)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f4 e6 7.Be2 Be7 8.Be3 Qc7 9.0-0 0-0 10.a4 b6 11.Bf3 Bb7 12.g4 Nc6 13.g5 Nd7 14.Nde2 Rfe8 15.Qd2 Bf8 16.Rad1 Rac8 17.Bf2 Nc5 18.Bg2 Nb4 19.Ng3 Red8 20.Bd4 Nc6 21.Be3 d5 22.Qf2 d4 23.Bxd4 Nxd4 24.Rxd4 Rxd4 25.Qxd4 Rd8 26.Qe3 Nd3 27.Qxd3 Rxd3 28.cxd3 Qd6 29.e5 Qd4+ 30.Kh1 Bxg2+ 31.Kxg2 b5 32.axb5 axb5 33.Rf3 b4 34.Nge2 Qc5 35.Na2 Qc2 36.Nac1 Qxb2 37.d4 g6 38.Kf2 Qc2 39.Rd3 h6 40.h4 h5 41.Kg3 Be7 42.Kf2 Kf8 43.Rg3 Qe4 44.Rh3 Ke8 45.Nb3 Kd7 46.Nd2 Qf5 47.Rg3 Kc6 48.Nb3 Qc2 49.Re3 Qd1 50.Rh3 Kb5 51.Nbc1 Kc4 52.Kg2 Bd8 53.Re3 Bb6 54.Kh2 Qd2 55.Rb3 Bxd4 56.Kg3 Bb2 0-1

Colin continues his streak of great play with another highly entertaining game, using his beloved Pirc, the following position was reached and Colin continued 20...Nd4+ and went on to win easily, though 20...Nxb4+! is even stronger as the White king gets amusingly stuck on the b3 square from where it surely cannot survive long.

Check out the full game below.

[Click here to replay the game]
D. Pribeanu (IBCA 2232) - C. McNab (SCO 2455)

1.e4 g6 2.d4 d6 3.Be3 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Qd2 c6 6.f3 Qa5 7.g4 h5 8.g5 Nfd7 9.h4 b5 10.Nge2 0-0 11.Ng3 e5 12.0-0-0 b4 13.Nb1 Qxa2 14.f4 exf4 15.Bxf4 c5 16.Bxd6 Bxd4 17.c3 Be5 18.cxb4 Nc6 19.Nc3 Qa1+ 20.Kc2 Nd4+ 21.Qxd4 cxd4 22.Rxa1 Bxd6 23.e5 Bxe5 24.Nce4 Bb7 25.Rg1 Bxg3 26.Nxg3 Rfc8+ 27.Kd2 Ne5 28.Bg2 Nc4+ 29.Kd3 Nxb2+ 30.Kd2 Bxg2 31.Rxg2 d3 32.Ke3 Re8+ 33.Kd2 Rac8 34.Rc1 Nc4+ 35.Kxd3 Ne5+ 36.Kd4 0-1

Open Olympiad Round 3

Or, as this round will henceforth be known, the WHITEWASH round! Oh yes my patriotic readers, the team headed off to the sunny Carribean today and returned with a fantastic 4-0 smash of Puerto Rico!

Puerto Rico line up for a tough match.

Photo: Harald Fietz

Three time British Champion, Jonathan Rowson, produced another classic positional crush. In this final position, he has just played 29.gxf5 whereupon his opponent realises that it is all over because if he recaptures on f5 then 30.e6 wins a piece due to the g7 square weakness

Here is the full game.

[Click here to replay the game]
J. Rowson (SCO 2596) - S.Velasco (PUR 2287)

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.b3 Nbd7 6.Bb2 Bd6 7.Bd3 0-0 8.0-0 Qe7 9.Ne5 Rd8 10.Qe2 Nf8 11.Nd2 Ne8 12.f4 f6 13.Nef3 f5 14.c5 Bc7 15.b4 Bd7 16.a4 a6 17.Bc3 Nf6 18.Nb3 Ne4 19.Be1 Ng6 20.Kh1 Kh8 21.Rg1 Rf8 22.Rb1 Qe8 23.Rb2 Rf6 24.Ne5 Rf8 25.g4 Bd8 26.Qg2 Nxe5 27.dxe5 Qf7 28.Nd4 Be7 29.gxf5 1-0

In John Shaw's game, an interesting fight arose but eventually the pressure told on his opponent in the following position

White missed the threat and played 38.Rd2 allowing John's knight to hop into d3 with devastating effect. White didn't last long after that.

John Shaw with strategically placed hand. It's no good John, we can still see your beard!

Photo: Harald Fietz

[Click here to replay the game]
J. Santa Torres (PUR 2233) - J. Shaw (SCO 2469)

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c3 c5 4.dxc5 e6 5.e3 Bxc5 6.b4 Bd6 7.a3 a5 8.Bb2 0-0 9.Nbd2 Qe7 10.b5 e5 11.Be2 Nbd7 12.c4 e4 13.Nd4 Nb6 14.cxd5 Re8 15.h3 Nfxd5 16.Nc4 Nxc4 17.Bxc4 Nb6 18.Be2 Qg5 19.g4 Be5 20.h4 Qe7 21.Qc2 Be6 22.Nxe6 Qxe6 23.Bxe5 Qxe5 24.Rd1 Qe7 25.Qb3 h6 26.Kf1 Nd7 27.Kg2 Nc5 28.Qb2 Rac8 29.Rd4 b6 30.h5 f5 31.gxf5 Qg5+ 32.Kf1 Qxf5 33.Rg1 Rc7 34.Rg3 Kh7 35.Bg4 Qf6 36.Rd2 Qf7 37.Rc2 Rf8 38.Rd2 Nd3 39.Qa2 Rc1+ 40.Kg2 Qf6 41.f4 exf3+ 0-1

Keti's opponent seemed to have the advantage for quite a while and then we reached the following position...

When he creatively sacrificed with 25...Rf3!. After a series of forced moves we reached the following...

Alas, an impressive Scottish scalp was not to be had as Black missed the very strong 32...Bf4! and Keti doesn't need any more chances, wrapping things up nicely.

Keti scores her first win for Scotland - here's to many more.

Photo: Harald Fietz

[Click here to replay the game]
K. Arakhamia-Grant (SCO 2448) - A. Montalvo (PUR 2223)

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.dxc5 e6 5.Nf3 Bxc5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 f6 8.Qe2 fxe5 9.Nxe5 Nf6 10.Nd2 Nxe5 11.Qxe5 0-0 12.Nf3 Bd6 13.Qc3 Ng4 14.Qd4 Rxf3 15.Qxg4 Rf7 16.c3 e5 17.Qg5 Qc7 18.Bc2 Be6 19.h3 Raf8 20.Qh5 e4 21.Be3 Rf5 22.Qe2 Qf7 23.Rfd1 Bb8 24.Bb3 Qc7 25.g3 Rf3 26.Bxd5 Rxg3+ 27.fxg3 Qxg3+ 28.Qg2 Qxe3+ 29.Kh1 Bxd5 30.Rxd5 Rf3 31.Rd8+ Kf7 32.Rf1 Ke7 33.Rxf3 exf3 34.Qd2 Qe5 35.Qd7+ Kf6 36.Rf8+ Kg6 37.Qd3+ Kh6 38.Qd2+ Kh5 39.Rxf3 g5 40.Re3 Qf5 41.Qe2+ Kh4 42.Qg4+ Qxg4 43.hxg4 Kxg4 44.Re7 h5 45.Rxb7 Bf4 46.Rxa7 Kf3 47.Rh7 h4 48.a4 g4 49.Rxh4 g3 50.Rxf4+ Kxf4 1-0

I'm pleased to report that Colin continues his good run with a very efficient demolishion of their board 4 in another text-book Pirc defence. The momentum is now with the Scots - bring on round 4!

Open Olympiad Round 4

If you thought Canada was just a place God invented to give Sarah Palin some International Relations experience then think again old chum. In fact legend has it that when God was creating Canada he told Gabriel "This is going to be great, they will have beautiful scenery, a wealth of natural resources and some of the friendliest people on Earth". "Don't you think you're being a bit generous to these Canadians?" asked Gabriel. "Not really just wait until you see the neighbours I'm giving them". (Don't worry dear reader, we weren't planning to sell Rampant Chess in the US anyway).

They play Chess in Canada too! Definitely the closest match we've had so far with a similar average grade for both teams. It's tight matches like these that can make all the difference to Olympiad success so, even though this is only round 4, this is an important day.

The Scots and Canadians do battle...

photo: Harald Fietz

Of course, both teams in this match are used to the cold so Dresden in Novemeber is nothing unusual. Some players from other countries would perhaps wish that the Germans turned up the heat a bit...

photo: Harald Fietz

First blood went to the Scots with Jonathan Rowson producing a sparkling 22 move miniature...with Black! This game is a perfect example of the principles of development with Black increasing his initiative move by move until move 17 when White was already under a lot of pressure in the following position

Obviously White is uncomfortable here but his choice of 18. Bxe4 smacks of total desperation. You don't need to be Mystic McGregor to guess than an accident might now happen on the White squares. Jonathan wastes no time in wrapping things up...beautiful stuff! When Jonathan plays well like this he has the knack of making 2550+ Grandmasters look very ordinary.

[Click here to replay the game]
M.Bluvshtein (CAN 2557) - J.Rowson (SCO 2596)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Nh5 7.g3 f5 8.e4 d6 9.f4 Nf6 10.e5 Ne4 11.Ne2 b6 12.Bg2 Ba6 13.Qb3 Nc6 14.c5 d5 15.cxb6 cxb6 16.Qc2 Rc8 17.Bb2 Na5 18.Bxe4 dxe4 19.0-0 Qd5 20.Bc1 e3 21.Bxe3 Bb7 22.Kf2 Qf3+ 0-1

"Quick lads, get your elbows off the table it's that photographer again. Hope he's not one of the Rampant Chess spies."

photo: Harald Fietz

Unfortunately, another miniature was soon forthcoming, but this time for the bad guys. Jacob never seemed to get going today and, uncharacteristically for him, had soon lost the initiative which his opponent then used to devastating effect.

With the match now balanced at 1-1 focus turned to boards 3 and 4. Keti was next up in the battle of the double-barrelled names, producing her second win in a row in a highly complex and tense game. In the following position Black obviously cannot take on h4 due to the knight fork on g6 but came up with a clever and unclear exchange sacrifice: 25...Rxc2.

This sparked a tough positional and tactical fight where Keti gradually outplayed her opponent and made the extra exchange count. This puts us 2-1 up and with John Shaw in a rook endgame at this point (John has never lost a rook endgame) things are looking good...

[Click here to replay the game]
K.Arakhamia-Grant (SCO 2448) - T.Roussel-Roozmon (CAN 2486)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.c3 g6 7.Bg5 Bg7 8.Nbd2 h6 9.Bh4 0-0 10.Nf1 Bd7 11.Ne3 Qe8 12.0-0 Rc8 13.Re1 Kh8 14.Bc2 Nh5 15.d4 f5 16.exf5 gxf5 17.dxe5 dxe5 18.Qd2 e4 19.Rad1 Be6 20.Nd4 Nxd4 21.cxd4 Qg6 22.d5 Bd7 23.d6 cxd6 24.Nd5 Qg4 25.Ne7 Rxc2 26.Qxc2 Be5 27.Bg3 Nxg3 28.hxg3 Qg7 29.Nd5 Rc8 30.Qd2 Be6 31.Rc1 Rc6 32.Rxc6 bxc6 33.Nb4 c5 34.Nc6 Bd4 35.Rd1 Bxa2 36.Nxd4 cxd4 37.Qxd4 Qxd4 38.Rxd4 d5 39.Kf1 Bc4+ 40.Ke1 Kg7 41.Kd2 Kf6 42.Kc3 Ke5 43.Rd1 Be2 44.Rh1 h5 45.Kd2 Bg4 46.Ra1 h4 47.gxh4 f4 48.Rxa6 d4 49.Ra5+ Ke6 50.h5 1-0

Indeed, John Shaw's rook endgame record was not to be upset today as he drew his game. Thus giving the Scots a fantastic 2.5-1.5 victory over close rivals. Happy days.

Open Olympiad Round 5

Scotland 1½-2½ China
J. Rowson (2596) b ½-½ Y. Wang (2736)
J. Aagaard (2528) ½-½ X. Bu (2714)
J. Shaw (2469) 0-1 H. Wang (2696)
C. McNab (2455) ½-½ C. Li (2622)

Scotland at war with China

Photo: Harald Fietz

So close, so so so close! What a magnificent performance from our team today. Vastly outgraded on all boards everyone really stepped up to the challenge.

Jonathan Rowson was paired against Wang Yue on top board. The Chinese player is currently ranked number 11 in the world and has been improving rapidly.

Now, let me see, does Jonathan have everything he needs for the game...
Little yellow box of mysterious 'pep' pills...errr, maybe I should have airbrushed those out?

Photo: Harald Fietz

The mystery of the little yellow box has been solved, as JR himself has now told us...

"When I played against China in Liverpool last year, I noticed that they were all sharing a little pot- some sort of ointment that they put on their temples during the game- something that smelt like vix vapour rub. When I asked Bu what it was he said "it make you no want to sleep". Turns out it is probably Tiger Balm.
This is the first time I have used something similar myself, though in this case I was using Ayurvedic Pain Balm (using my Indian connections to neutralise the Chinese threat), which has a similar pungent and refreshing smell. I have no idea if it works, but you can only drink so much caffeine, and this seems to be a slightly healthier way of staying alert. And if the Chinese players all do it, I doubt it can be bad for you."

To hold a draw against such a player is always a great achievement. To do it with Black is even better and to do it in the following manner is better still. The fun and games start with Jonathan to play in this position.

Where Black played the entertaining 18...Bc5 starting a stream of mind-blowing complication which he continued a few moves later with...

22...d4! and so it went on. I could explain what's going on but of course I have no idea. It has to be said that holding your own in such complications with one of the strongest players in the world is a sign of deep chess talent. 2600 here we come!

Enjoy the full game, I did.

[Click here to replay the game]
Wang,Yue (2736) - Rowson,Jonathan (2596)

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 e6 6.e3 c5 7.Bxc4 cxd4 8.exd4 Be7 9.0-0 0-0 10.Qe2 Nc6 11.Rd1 Nd5 12.Bd2 Ncb4 13.Rac1 b6 14.Nxd5 exd5 15.Bb3 Ba6 16.Qe3 Nd3 17.Rb1 Re8 18.Ne5 Bc5 19.f4 f6 20.dxc5 fxe5 21.Bc3 Kh8 22.Bxe5 d4 23.Qxd4 Qxd4+ 24.Bxd4 bxc5 25.Bc3 Rab8 26.Bd5 Nxf4 27.Bf3 Bd3 28.Ra1 c4 29.Re1 Ne2+ 30.Bxe2 Bxe2 31.a5 a6 32.Kf2 Bd3 33.Rxe8+ Rxe8 34.Ra4 Rb8 35.Ke3 Kg8 36.Kd4 Rb5 37.Ra1 Kf7 38.Re1 g6 39.Re3 h5 40.g3 g5 41.Re1 g4 42.b4 Rf5 43.Bd2 Rf2 44.Bg5 Re2 45.Rxe2 Bxe2 46.b5 axb5 47.a6 Ke6 48.Ke4 ½-½

Board 2 saw Jacob return to his usual self with a very nicely played game. Sometimes when two strong players meet there is just no way for either to get ahead and this very acurately played game demostrates that well. Again, the Scots contain another 2700+ Grandmaster. Check out the neat final drawing combination...


White's rook is under attack but note that he does not just automatically withdraw it. Oh no dear reader, the only time Jacob pulls a rook back is when he's setting up the board for another game. Instead 37. Bxd4 Rxd4 38. Qe8 sets up a perpetual - nice!

[Click here to replay the game]
Aagaard,Jacob (2528) - Bu,Xiangzhi (2714)

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Bg6 7.Qb3 Qc7 8.Nxg6 hxg6 9.Bd2 Nbd7 10.h3 Be7 11.Be2 Rd8 12.cxd5 Nxd5 13.Rc1 N7f6 14.Bf3 Qb6 15.Qc4 0-0 16.Na4 Qc7 17.Nc5 Nd7 18.Nxd7 Rxd7 19.0-0 Rfd8 20.Rfd1 e5 21.dxe5 Qxe5 22.Qb3 Bd6 23.g3 Be7 24.e4 Nc7 25.Be3 Ne6 26.Rxd7 Rxd7 27.Bg4 Qxe4 28.Bxa7 Bf6 29.Bxe6 fxe6 30.Be3 Rd3 31.Qb6 Kh7 32.b3 Be5 33.Kh2 g5 34.Qc5 Rd5 35.Qe7 Bd4 36.Rc4 b5 37.Bxd4 Rxd4 38.Qe8 bxc4 39.Qh5+ ½-½

Jacob's opponent is noteable for the fact that when he became a grandmaster in 1999 he was the youngest player ever to achieve that title at the time (not even 14 years old). Mind you, the only real interest I have in 14 year olds is if they come in a bottle marked 'Whisky'.

Nothing easy today but John Shaw had perhaps the toughest task, at least judging by grade differentials - and the Black pieces didn't help. White played strongly and aggressively and it seemed as if John was always fighting a rear-guard action.

[Click here to replay the game]
Wang,Hao (2696) - Shaw,John (2469)

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Ne5 Nbd7 7.Nxc4 Nb6 8.Ne5 a5 9.g3 e6 10.Bg2 Bb4 11.0-0 0-0 12.e3 h6 13.Qe2 Bh7 14.Rd1 Nfd7 15.Nd3 Qe7 16.e4 Rfd8 17.Bf4 f6 18.Be3 Kh8 19.f4 c5 20.dxc5 Nxc5 21.Nxb4 axb4 22.Qb5 Nb3 23.Rxd8+ Rxd8 24.Re1 Nc8 25.Na2 Nd4 26.Qxb4 Nc2 27.Qxe7 Nxe7 28.Re2 Nxe3 29.Rxe3 Rd4 30.Nc3 e5 31.fxe5 fxe5 32.Rf3 Bg6 33.Bh3 Nc6 34.Rf8+ Kh7 35.Be6 Rd2 36.Bg8+ Kh8 37.g4 Nd4 38.Bd5+ Kh7 39.h4 Ne2+ 40.Nxe2 1-0

Finally, the impressive Colin McNab continues his hot streak by holding another super-GM. Today seems to have been a day for opposite coloured bishop endgames, a safe port in the storm.

[Click here to replay the game]
McNab,Colin A (2455) - Li,Chao B (2622)

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.e4 Bb4 5.d3 d6 6.g3 Bg4 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Nd4 9.Qd1 c6 10.Bg2 a6 11.0-0 Bc5 12.Rb1 b5 13.b4 Bb6 14.a4 0-0 15.Kh2 a5 16.axb5 axb4 17.Ne2 cxb5 18.cxb5 Nxe2 19.Qxe2 Ra4 20.Bg5 Bd4 21.Qd1 Ra2 22.Rxb4 Rxf2 23.Rxf2 Bxf2 24.Qf3 Bb6 25.h4 h6 26.Bxf6 Qxf6 27.Qxf6 gxf6 28.Ra4 Rc8 29.Ra6 Bc5 30.Bh3 Rc7 31.b6 Rb7 32.Bc8 Rxb6 33.Rxb6 Bxb6 34.Bf5 ½-½

A great team effort and, as we move into the first rest day, we can look back on some of the best performances by a Scottish team ever. Roll on next week!

The eve of the rest day. A time for relaxation and enjoyment at....the Bermuda party!

Jacob takes a leaf out of the Homer Simpson/Keith Ruxton beer drinking school "Mmmm, beeeeer"

Photo: Harald Fietz

" Ho!, big man! get in the picture....yeeee-haaa!"

Photo: Harald Fietz

Captain's Report

Olympiad 2008

The first half of this event is over, and today is a rest day. And we do need it.

This report is the first of 3 that I will do. The content is designed to enable you to look over our shoulders as it were and give you a feel for what is going on all around us.

We left Glasgow just after mid-day on Wednesday 12th and arrived in our hotel just after 9.00pm. Plane, 3 trains, and taxi. It was a long journey. The Reception area was full of players from all over the world: white, black, brown, yellow. Languages from the four corners of the Earth filled our ears as we carried our bags in to check-in. We added our voice to theirs, and were made welcome.

As our hotel is 6 km from Dresden city centre Steve (Mannion) and I were up good and early on the Thursday to attend the Captains meeting at 9.30am. We were only two in amongst the hundreds of other captains from so many nations. Hardly surprising then that the meeting lasted over 3 hours.

We raced back to the hotel to give our players the information they needed before play commenced at 3.00pm. Two rules in particular are difficult. The first is that any player not seated when the klaxon sounds at 3.00pm will default that game. This was enforced yesterday (Round 5) when a player was 1 minute late as he had got back from the toilet just too late. The other rule is that once a player or captain enters the playing arena they may not leave! If they do, they are not allowed back in. The playing sessions are intense and with thousands of people in the one arena, very hot: already hundreds of thousand of litres of water have been needed by those in the arena.

When I look around at this event I am frankly mightily impressed by the organisation that has went into this. Thousands of players, hundreds of volunteers, an army of organisers and arbiters, thousands of meals each day, accommodation throughout the city, trams and busses devoted to the Olympiad, cleaners, catering staff, free venues, sponsorship. It is all here. Yet this city was a pile of smoking rubble 60 years ago. As one young lady told me when I said how beautiful the city is, “ It was much more beautiful before World War II.” Yes, I am impressed.

Typically a player’s day begins just after 7.00am when they are already preparing for the days game. At this time they can only take best guess as team lists do not get submitted until 9.30am, and they go up on the website just after 11.00am. The preparation is serious, the games themselves are intense, and then there is the analysis afterwards. We do not get back to the hotel until 9.00pm and then spend 3 hours going over the games played. The professionalism demonstrated by our players is something which any Scot could be proud of, and it is coming through in the games they are delivering.

It is tough, but very worthwhile. I am struck by the respect shown to our teams by the other nations. This respect has been earned over the years. It is a very real asset.

What does the Olympiad mean to the ordinary player? I wish that I could bring this to Glasgow or Edinburgh, or indeed anywhere in Scotland so that each person could see it for themselves. This is very worthwhile in my opinion. We aspire to be something bigger when we join Chess Scotland, and that something bigger is to connect to the world’s chess players. We are indeed connected.

John Dempsey (Team Captain)

Stephen Mannion (Team Captain)

Finally, how could I resist sharing this with you all....

See you in Round 6!

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