It’s make or break time today, and nothing less than a convincing win against our opponents will be good enough for us as a result, or good enough for Ioan to get to play a high enough rated individual in the next round.
It’s also a ‘red day’ today, as the team (and they have reminded me this time !) will be wearing Welsh shirts because of the big match back home against New Zealand. We will excuse you just this once (!) if you spend 1.5 hours watching the rugby instead of the Chess Olympiad games live, kick off is 18:15 local time so we will unfortunately miss the match (games start at 15:00 local time).
The closest Wales have come to beating New Zealand at rugby since 1953, was a 12 – 13 loss in 1978 with the infamous late dive by Andy Haden. Coincidentally I didn’t see that match either because I was playing in the Olympiad in Buenos Aires, let’s hope Wales can go one better this time.
Anyway forget about hot favourites Russia losing to Armenia, and already recording their 3rd individual loss in yesterday’s match against the USA, which puts them in danger of not regaining the Olympiad crown, the 2 really big talking points here are:
1. A player in the Spanish Ladies team having been born male and having had a sex change operation …..
2. My imminent return to chess (not a big deal in itself !), always a possibility, has now arrived sooner than anticipated. Whilst discussing the above topic at breakfast with Susan, Julie W and the Irish board 1, Gearoidin Ui Laighleis (with a name like that, she could only have been Irish !), the conversation moved on and the latter asked me if I had ever lost to a female player.
I replied correctly, though on reflection, rather naively, that I had not. I have now been challenged to some rapidplay games by Gearoidin, and no doubt my record will not remain intact for much longer (!). Hopefully the match will be played behind closed doors (but that’s another story !) and I will inadvertently (!) forget to mention the outcome in a future report (!).
Having a bit of fun and making new friends is what these events are all about, although obviously the team and I will do our best to achieve a good result, and finish well above our seeding. More of the serious stuff later …..
2 : 2
Jones Richard S
? - ?
? - ?
0 - 1
1 - 0
Games in the order they finished:
Alan (W) in a favourite Nc3 d5, e4 d4, Nce2 line built up a promising position on the k-side. However, I went to watch the ladies match and when I returned there was a loss for him on the scoreboard, he had tragically played 2 moves out of sequence, blundered his Q and resigned immediately. The game only lasted 20 moves and 1.5 hours.
Ioan (W) needing a win to continue his IM norm aspirations, met a well prepared opponent who quickly reeled off many moves in a Closed Ruy. W had a space advantage in the centre but a lot of pieces were exchanged, then the q-side pawns, leaving only 3 minor pieces each and 5 pawns ‘d’ – ‘h’, and the game was soon agreed drawn. According to Ioan’s calculation, he unfortunately now has no chance of achieving an IM norm at this Olympiad.
Richard (B) tried hard in a KID to create some chances, after W had exchanged a number of pieces, in a Q plus good N very bad bishop position. Qs came off and Richard tried his very best to make something of a N + 4 versus B + 4 all on the same side, but in the end had to concede the draw.
Tim (B) in a QGD Botvinnik, transposed into a type of QGA position, then grabbed the ‘a’ pawn, but at the expense of having difficulty developing his q-side. At one stage W may have been able to win a piece (g4 instead of Nd4), but instead W opted to go into an equalish ending. Tim played this very well, managed to leave W’s ‘e’ pawn without sufficient defenders, then later to win it, to reach a R + 4 versus R + 3 ending. W then somewhat aided and abetted B by giving him (B) a passed ‘e’ pawn, then later allowed a position R + 2 versus R which was hopeless.
So a disappointing result both for the team and for Ioan’s IM possibilities. This is the sort of team we should be putting away with something to spare.
4 : 0
Blackburn Suzie G
1 - 0
1 - 0
1 - 0
Owens Megan R
1 - 0
The women played 19th seeded, Greece, and this was always going to be a very tough match. This proved to be the case, and despite some good resistance by our ladies, a 0 – 4 loss always looked on the cards.
Captain, Wales Men