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It is time for the Chess Olympics!
Click HERE for the Official site. All links will always open in a new window.

Over a 160 nations take part in the Chess Olympiad this year – and with the London 2012 Olympics – about 205 countries are taking part. I agree that Chess should be part of the Olympics. The IOCC acknowledges it as a sport – since 1999. During the 1936 Olympics – in Berlin – Art was seen as a ‘sport’. You can click here to see the countries who took part and the results table too. What a youngster said about Archery as an Olympic sport: ‘These people are not getting exercise, how can it be a sport?’ – coming from an eight year old girl. So, if you stand still on one spot to shoot – you can do the same with Chess. -hmmm…I can see what you think. Chess has its own Olympics…why not merging the two – and voilá!

Here are the entries for the South African team. Good luck and bring us back some ‘gold’! We want another Grand Master!

South African team – Open

South African team – Women

SA Chess Moving Up!

Posted by Kenny on September 10th, 2012

We have come to the end of the 40th edition of the World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul which also marks the beginning of a new era for South African Chess! The Open tournament went down to the last round with Russia & Armenia coming out on top to share the Gold. Russia also won the Women’s section by narrowly beating China on a tie-break in the end.

Our Men Ladies have done us tremendously proud with great overall perfomances from both sides and many individual brilliancies! We take a moment to once again congratulate Kenneth Solomon for his sterling performance on board 1 for SA achieving himself his 3rd GM norm and becoming a GM elect.  Woman’s Grandmaster Melissa Greeff scored an outstanding 7/11 points at number 1 for the Ladies which makes her SA’s best performer in Turkey.

The men lost to France in the last round placing them in overall 62nd position and our ladies at 65th. Other notable performances include Henry Steel’s 5.5/9 (board 3), Daniel Cawdery with 4/6 (board 5) & Cecile van der Merwe 3/5 (board 2). This year SA have taken more GM scalps at the Olympiad than in any other year. Watu Kobese had some amazing results in the end when he beat  GM Kirill (2682) and drew to Super GM Fressinet Laurent (2717) Source: Chessbuddy
Please click HERE to access the chess games in PGN-files

South Africa at the Olympiad – Source: Chessa

I would like to extend me congratulations to the SA Men’s Olympiad team who played excellent chess at the 2012 Olympiad.

South Africa achieved 62nd position after it was initially ranked 73rd. This however does not tell the full story. We did not lose against any team seated lower than the South African team. In fact we achieved excellent results against teams seated higher than the South African team.

In round 2 we defeated the team of Singapore seated 55th with a score of 2½ – 1½. In round 6 we drew with the team of Switzerland seated 43rd with a score of 2 all. In round seven we drew with the team of Chile seated 46th with a score of 2 all. In round 8 we defeated the team of Columbia seated 47th with a score of 2½ – 1½.

The South African team narrowly lost to strong teams such as Turkey seated 31st to whom we lost 2½ – 1 ½ and Brazil seated 24th to whom we lost 2½ – 1½. We took one point from the team of Bulgaria seated 10th when Watu Kobese played his game of the Tournament defeating Grand Master Kiril Georgiev.

Watu was again impressive in the last round where he drew against Grand Master Lourent Fressinet of France regarded as a Super Grand Master.

These teams would have expected to beat South Africa 4 – 0.

It is clear that South African Chess at this level is improving and that the powerhouses of chess no longer consider the team from South Africa as a walkover.

Kenny Solomon scored 5½ points on board 1 beating 3 Grand Masters and drawing 3 more games against Grand Masters. With this performance he insured that he will be awarded the coveted title of Grand Master of Chess. Congratulations Kenny we all look up to you as you did extremely well under difficult circumstances. Your performance on board 1 inspired the team.

FIDE Master, Henry Steele, will be awarded the title of International Master based on his performance at the 2012 Chess Olympiad. We have high hopes that the youngster may attain the title of Grand Master in the near future.

I must comment on International Master, Watu Kobese’s performance. The score line indicates that he had initially struggled in the Tournament. He was however not outplayed by his opponents but lost against himself as we say in the Chess World. In the matches against Brazil and Turkey, Watu had the better position but managed to lose the game. He was certainly not outplayed by his opponents.

Watu however bounced back and scored 2 points in the last 3 matches, 1½ points against teams of the caliber of Bolivia and France both seated in the top 10. Despite criticism on Facebook etcetera, Watu showed his class and I believe quieted all those who commented on his performance early in the Tournament.

Johannes started well, but ran out of breath in the second halve of the tournament. It would have served us well to rest Johannes after the demoralizing loss against GM Flores Rios of Chile in round 7. Cawdery roped in the points while he played. His opponents found his aggressive style difficult to deal with. I do not wish to comment at this stage on the events which lead to his withdrawal from the tournament, suffice to say that SA felt the loss.

On a personal note, I am thankful for the opportunity to be at the side of the SA team. I had however arranged to return to SA after the first week which in hindsight I regret. There are so many positive aspects to be taken from the tournament that I do not believe we should place too much focus on the negative side of things.

This was certainly the best Olympiad ever for South Africa and despite the final placing of 62nd I believe that we exceeded all expectations.

Marius van Zyl

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