Olympiads Round 1-5, Bermuda Party, Canada
November 18, 2008 • General
Good day to everyone out there. In typical fashion, I do not blog directly on days when I am playing anymore as it distracts me from the massive amounts of work which everyone is starting to put into their preparation. Repeating my standard form from the last olympiad, I chose to sit out the first round when we played Iceland. The team scraped by with a 2.5-1.5 victory as Yury Shulman got himself into time pressure and blundered badly against GM Danielsen. However, due to the change in format from game points to match points, this does not particularly matter. It is worth noting that if the format was match points last olympiad we would have won silver not bronze. In round two, we played a very solid Greek team which had Papaioannou,Kotronias,Halkias,Mastrovasilios. This match was definitely a huge disappoint for us as Gata missed a win on board 1 while I blew a huge advantage on board 2. Alex solidly won on board 3, but Var was unable to hold with Black on board 4 so the match resulted in a 2-2 tie instead of a 3-1 victory. In round 3 we played a very weak South African team and won 3.5-.5. Although both Yury and I were in some trouble at some point. This led to a very big showdown against Azerbaijan in round 4. Gata played a very solid game with Black against Radjabov’s queenless Grunfeld and slowly outplayed him. In fact, Gata was clearly winning right before time control when he blundered horribly with Kxe6?? allowing d5!. This resulted in a very tragic loss which definitely swung the match out of our favour. I played an interesting pawn sac in a Grunfeld which occurred in the game Vitiugov-Morozevich from a few months ago. Mamedyarov misplayed it by going Bg7 and Nbd7, however, instead of simply playing on the queenside with an a4-a5 plan at some point, I went badly astray with Ne5 and Bb5. After this is was all downhill and I lost a difficult endgame after a very long struggle. Alex was also in a very unpleasant situation, but he dug in and managed to scrape out a draw. Yury had prepared something very special preparation for Guseinov and got a completely winning position only to blow it in time pressure which resulted in a draw. We then played Hong Kong and won 4-0.
So at the break we currently have 3.5/5 in matches. Of course, there is still plenty of time left to put together a nice streak, but it will not be easy as we probably have very margin of error if we want to medal. Tomorrow we will be playing Cuba which isn’t a bad team as they have Dominguez and Bruzon on their top two boards. Hopefully we can win this match, but its time for everyone to come out of their rut and play well. So far everyone is pretty unsatisfied with their result except for Onischuk. With this first half mess behind us, we will definitely try to make a medal push.
Last night was the annual Bermuda Party. I’ve only had the fortune (misfortune!?) of having been only to the infamous one in 2006 where Aronian and Gormally had a good old fashioned chess boxing match. This time around, the party was held in a much larger disco club where everyone seemed to show up. Since I pretty much hung around the Canadian team and was not busy chasing girls, I do not particularly have a whole lot to mention about any particular gossip. However, just like everyone else, we all had a good time. My dance moves have certainly improved probably due to a course I had in college and just my general ability to just enjoy myself a lot more these days. Most of us got fairly drunk, but that seems to happen fairly often to many people at these chess tournaments. The only negative thing I will say straight up about the party is that I saw plenty of people chasing when they certainly are married or have girlfriends back in their native lands. There were several times when Dina&I did a few cheers to avoiding any of this unfaithful carousing. When I left with the Canadians at 3 AM, there was still a lot of partying going on, so I’m not sure when it actually ended. I know it was definitely going until 5 AM but probably even later.
Today most of us (Canadians) were hung over which meant it took an extra 2 hours before we went on a tour directed by the lovely German girl Alice. We saw many monuments and statues which greatly reminded me of my trip to Vienna just a few weeks ago. The only general complaint which I have about Dresden is the biting cold which seems to be pretty standard just about every day now. Other than that, I cannot complain except about the internet here at the Hotel Maritim which seems to progressively getting slower and slower every day. Therefore, I can only hope that this blog actually ends up posting instead of freezing out. That’s all for now. Go USA, Canada!