Australia at the Olympiad

August 15, 2014 at 4:34 am Leave a comment

Talk about the king is dead, long live the king. The Australian selectors went out on a limb and decided the old vanguard was not the way to go. The 2012 team including the top three boards of the 2014 team: Smerdon, Ly and Illingworth, but rather than Wohl and Solomon (or players of that generation) who went to Turkey, Norway saw instead the debuts of Ikeda and Smirnov.

Board 1 GM Smerdon David 2513
Board 2 IM Ly Moulthun 2426
Board 3 IM Illingworth Max 2439
Board 4 FM Ikeda Junta 2402
Board 5 FM Smirnov Anton 2334

The last round saw the boys paired against a vastly stronger German team – 200 points per board higher ranked – and for the Aussie supporters it was a thrilling conclusion. Ly blundered early but Illingworth put together a swashbuckling performance against GM Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter, rated 2689, never putting a foot wrong once Nisipeanu ‘castled into it’, a decision of which the computer took a very dim view indeed. Meanwhile, draws from Smerdon and Smirnov which both looked on the scary side, but I’m the world’s worst worrier as a kibitzer. And there it was. A draw with the 12th seed and Australia, seeded 60th, finished in a creditable 31st. The other point to make special note of is Smirnov’s rating gain of +44.4. Great result guys.

Notably, Australia was denied the financial support by the organisers handed out to many, including NZ. It seems ironic to me that Australian players’ willingness to make financial sacrifices to play penalises them, when already they are penalised so much all the time for living so far away from Everything. I don’t really want to give Norway a hard time when it’s all they’ve received lately, but still. Meanwhile at least one entire team took the money to go to Norway and then literally disappeared very early in the event. Surely a better investment in the future of world chess would have been to give that money to our young team.

On top of the expenses of getting to the tournament, one might also add that the team went early, playing a warmup in Denmark first.

For more on the Olympiad and Australia’s performance, including lots of pics, go to Smerdon’s blog.

And here is an interview with Smerdon and Smirnov:

For a meandering chat between the commentary team on chess24 at the Olympiad and David Smerdon:

Fast forward to about the 8 minute mark to see him talk about Smirnov.

And for full details of the Olympiad go here.

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Entry filed under: chess.

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