38th Chess Olympiad

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Logo of the Chess Olympiad 2008

The 38th Chess Olympiad, organized by FIDE and comprising an open[1] and a women's tournament, as well as several other events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between 12–25 November 2008 in Dresden, Germany.[2] There were 146 teams in the open event and 111 in the women's event. In total, 1277 players were registered.

Both tournament sections were officiated by international arbiter Ignatius Leong (Singapore). In a change from recent Olympiads, the number of rounds of the Swiss system were reduced from 13 to 11 with accelerated pairings. For the first time, the women's division, like the open division, was played over four boards per round, with each team allowed one alternate for a total of five players. In another first, the final rankings were determined by match points, not game points. In the event of a draw, the tie-break was decided by 1. Deducted Sonneborn-Berger; 2. Deducted sum of match points; 3. Game points.[3]

The time control for each game permitted each player 90 minutes their first 40 moves and 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an additional 30 seconds increment for each player after each move, beginning with the first. As a new rule, no draws by agreement were permitted before 30 moves had been completed. Yet there were games drawn as soon as the 16th move, formally drawn by repetition against which there was no rule.[4] In addition, players who were not present at the board at the commencement of a round automatically forfeited the game. This rule was implemented to align chess with other sports events.[5]

Open event[edit]

Dresden Olympiad Scene

The open division was contested by 146 teams representing 141 nations. Germany, as hosts, fielded three teams, whilst the International Braille Chess Association (IBCA), the International Physically Disabled Chess Association (IPCA), and the International Committee of Silent Chess (ICSC) each provided one squad. Morocco were signed up, but never appeared for their first round match and were disqualified.

Defending champions Armenia, once again led by Levon Aronian, clinched their second consecutive title. Despite being seeded only eighth, they won nine out of eleven matches, drew against fourth-placed Ukraine and lost only (1½-2½) to runners-up Israel, captained by Boris Gelfand. The Israelis finished one point behind Armenia. The United States, led by Gata Kamsky, took the bronze medals on a better tie break score than Vasyl Ivanchuk and the rest of the Ukrainian team after defeating Ukraine (3½-½) in the last round.

Once again, the Russian team under captain Vladimir Kramnik were the pre-tournament favourites but finished disappointingly in fifth place. Kramnik, having recently lost a world championship match, performed well below his rating, as did the rest of the team, except alternate Dmitry Yakovenko who won the reserve board.

Arguably the biggest surprise of the tournament was Vietnam, who weren't even seeded in the top 30, but still managed to finish in ninth place, aided somewhat by the new tournament structure which allotted them some weaker opponents, although they did manage a 2-2 result against China. The German hosts finished 13th, while India, without World Champion Viswanathan Anand, had to settle for 16th place.

Open event results, #1–#10
# Country Players Average
rating
MP dSB
1  Armenia Aronian, Akopian, Sargissian, Petrosian, Minasian 2677 19
2  Israel Gelfand, Roiz, Avrukh, Postny, Rodshtein 2682 18
3  United States Kamsky, Nakamura, Onischuk, Shulman, Akobian 2673 17 362.0
4  Ukraine Ivanchuk, Karjakin, Eljanov, Efimenko, Volokitin 2729 17 348.5
5  Russia Kramnik, Svidler, Grischuk, Morozevich, Yakovenko 2756 16 375.0
6  Azerbaijan Radjabov, Mamedyarov, Gashimov, Guseinov, Mamedov 2709 16 359.5
7  China Wang Yue, Bu Xiangzhi, Ni Hua, Wang Hao, Li Chao 2714 16 357.5
8  Hungary Lékó, Polgár, Almási, Balogh, Berkes 2692 16 341.5
9  Vietnam Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, Lê Quang Liêm,
Dao Thien Hai, Nguyen Van Huy, Tu Hoang Thong
2539 16 340.0
10  Spain Shirov, Vallejo Pons, Illescas Córdoba,
Khamrakulov, San Segundo Carrillo
2644 16 337.5

Group prizes[edit]

In addition to the overall medals, prizes were given out to the best teams in five different seeding groups - in other words, the teams who exceeded their seeding the most. Overall medal winners were not eligible for group prizes.

Group Prizes
Group Seeding
range
Team MP dSB
A 1-29  Ukraine 17 348.5
B 30-58  Vietnam 16 340.0
C 59-87  Paraguay 13 220.5
D 88-116  Luxembourg 11 177.5
E 117-146  Pakistan 11 234.5

Individual medals[edit]

For the first time, all board prizes were given out according to performance ratings. Accordingly, there was no overall prize, although Sargissian on the third board had the best performance of all players at the tournament:

Women's section[edit]

The women's division was contested by 111 teams representing 106 nations. Germany, as hosts, fielded three teams, whilst the International Braille Chess Association (IBCA), the International Physically Disabled Chess Association (IPCA), and the International Committee of Silent Chess (ICSC) each provided one squad.

Georgia won their fourth title, 12 years after the third one, narrowly defeating Ukraine on tie breaks. The two teams didn't meet during the tournament, but when the Ukrainians only drew their penultimate match against Serbia while the Georgians defeated former champions China (2½-1½), the gold was Georgia's to lose. In the last round they record a win (3-1) against the Serbian, who thus came to play a crucial role in the fight for the title, despite finishing in seventh place themselves. The Georgian team were led by former World Champion, 47-year old Maia Chiburdanidze, who delivered a stellar performance, winning the top board with the best performance of the tournament.

The United States clinched the bronze medals on tie breaks, just ahead of Russia (with newly crowned World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk) and Poland. The German hosts finished in 21st place.

Women's section results, #1–#10
# Country Players Average
rating
MP dSB
1  Georgia Chiburdanidze, Dzagnidze, Javakhishvili, Lomineishvili, Khukhashvili 2476 18 411.5
2  Ukraine Lahno, Zhukova, Ushenina, Gaponenko, Zdebskaya 2486 18 406.5
3  United States Krush, Zatonskih, Goletiani, Rohonyan, Abrahamyan 2396 17 390.5
4  Russia Kosteniuk, T. Kosintseva, N. Kosintseva, Korbut, Pogonina 2495 17 367.0
5  Poland Soćko, Rajlich, Zawadzka, Majdan, Przezdziecka 2386 17 364.5
6  Armenia Danielian, Mkrtchian, Aginian, Galojan, Andriasian 2397 16 353.0
7  Serbia Marić, Bojković, Stojanović, Chelushkina, Benderać 2386 16 318.5
8  China Hou Yifan, Zhao Xue, Shen Yang, Ju Wenjun, Tan Zhongyi 2486 15 392.5
9  Israel Klinova, Borsuk, Igla, Vasiliev, Efroimski 2304 15 325.0
10  Belarus Sharevich, Popova, Azarova, Berlin, Klimets 2278 15 317.5

Individual medals[edit]

For the first time, all board prizes were given out according to performance ratings. Accordingly, there was no overall prize, although reborn ex-champion Chiburdanidze on the top board had the best performance of all players at the tournament:

Overall title[edit]

The Nona Gaprindashvili Trophy is awarded to the nation that has the highest toal number of match points in the open and women's divisions combined. Where two or more teams are tied, they are ordered by the same tie breakers as in the two separate events.

The trophy, named after the former women's World Champion (1961–78), was created by FIDE in 1997.

# Team MP dSB
1  Ukraine 35 755.0
2  Armenia 35 753.5
3  United States 34

Bibliography[edit]

  • Harald Fietz, Josip Asik, Anna Burtasova: Olympiad United! Dresden 2008. Verlag Schach Wissen, Berlin 2009. ISBN 978-3-9813348-0-7

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Although commonly referred to as the men's division, this section is open to both male and female players.
  2. ^ FIDE Calendar 2008
  3. ^ FIDE Handbook Retrieved on 2012-09-03.
  4. ^ http://schachlive.dresden2008.de/games/m/9/2/2/index.eng.html#autoresize
  5. ^ Let the Games Begin in Dresden uschess.org, Mike Klein, 13 November 2008