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FM Stojic: USA and China Win Gold, Aussies Win Final Rounds

FM Stojic: USA and China Win Gold, Aussies Win Final Rounds


The 42nd Olympiad in Baku finished with USA winning gold in the Open, with Ukraine getting silver by the narrowest of margins. In the Women’s, China defeated Russia to take out gold. The Australian teams finished brilliantly, with the Open team defeating the Philippines 2.5-1.5 and the Women’s team winning 3-1 against Japan.

The Final Round of the Australian Campaign

The Aussies were in good spirits on their way to the final round, despite the tension and the early start

Round 11 was a difficult match-up for Open team, who thus far have had a successful event: the Philippines, lead by the veteran Eugenio Torre.

Anton Smirnov, who won the GM norm already, incredibly won again – this time in a rook endgame. Anton finished the Olympiad with a score of 8.5/10, and a performance rating of 2740. Anton’s score of the two Olympiad’s he played in is now an astounding 16/19, with no losses.

Torre won against our GM-elect Moulthun Ly, which also won the former an individual bronze medal on Board 3 (with 10/11). Zong-Yuan Zhao won his game in great style, and David Smerdon held an important draw. So our boys only just won: 2.5-1.5. You can replay Zong-Yuan’s game below.


The Open team finished 30th (starting seed 46), and improvement on the previous Olympiad in Tromso, where we finished 31st!

Our Women’s team (below) won 3-1 against Japan. Heather Richards crushed her opponent quickly in an unusual line of the French Winawer. Giang Nguyen blundered in a complicated position and lost. Emma Guo and Alexandra Jule (below, right) both managed to win tough games.

womens   alex

The girls were very relieved to win the last round. They won’t be happy about the overall result (starting seed 54, finished 64th) – but hey, we did beat the Kiwis in the Head-to-Head. (By the way, Scott Wastney, Board 2 for New Zealand, achieved a double IM Norm.)

Photo Finish for Gold

The two leaders in the Open section going into the final round, USA and China, beat Canada (2.5-1.5) and Slovenia (3.5-0.5) respectively. But due to the (overly) complicated scoring system*, no one knew who the winner was until some of the other matches were finished.
The United States won their first Olympic gold since 1976 (in a year boycotted by the USSR and many other nations). Wesley So was the hero of the team, scoring 8.5/10 and also winning the individual gold for Board 3. You can replay his final round game below:
Russia won their game against Italy 3-1, winning Bronze.

Ukraine (silver), USA (gold) and Russia (bronze) for the Open.

In the Women’s section, all eyes in Round 11 were on the showdown between the top two seeds, China and Russia. Despite a strong challenge, China won the match 2.5-1.5 and the gold medal. Russia missed out on the medal altogether, with Poland winning silver and Ukraine bronze.One of the big individual clashes was between Anna Muzychuk, winner of individual gold on Board 1, and the former World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova:


Poland (silver), China** (gold) and Ukraine (Bronze) for the Women’s.

Closing Ceremony

The venue of the Closing Ceremony was the same as that of the Opening Ceremony: the National Gymnastics Arena. We were seated high up, and my phone camera struggled. For better pictures, see the final round Chessbase article.
After some dancing, it was time to present the prizes. And there were quite a few to present: the rating category prizes, all the individual medals, and of course, the team medals and trophies.
Full list of Open section individual medalists:
Board 1
Rk. Name Rtg Team Rp Pts. % Games
1 GM Jobava Baadur 2665 Georgia 2926 8,0 80,0 10
2 GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2720 Cuba 2839 7,5 75,0 10
3 GM Caruana Fabiano 2808 United States of America 2838 7,0 70,0 10
Board 2
Rk. Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1 GM Kramnik, Vladimir 2808 Russia 2903 8 6,5 81,3 2652
2 GM Kovalyov, Anton 2617 Canada 2852 10 8,0 80,0 2612
3 GM Cori, Jorge 2609 Peru 2810 10 8,0 80,0 2570
Board 3
Rk. Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1 GM So, Wesley 2782 United States of America 2896 10 8,5 85,0 2600
2 GM Almasi, Zoltan 2684 Hungary 2845 9 7,5 83,3 2572
3 GM Torre, Eugenio 2447 Philippines 2836 11 10,0 90,9 2453
Board 4
Rk. Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1 GM Fressinet, Laurent 2664 France 2809 8 7,0 87,5 2425
2 GM Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2740 Russia 2804 10 8,0 80,0 2564
3 GM Indjic, Aleksandar 2548 Serbia 2786 10 8,5 85,0 2490
Board 5
Rk. Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1 GM Volokitin, Andrei 2647 Ukraine 2992 9 8,5 94,4 2548
2 IM Khader, Sami 2373 Jordan 2932 8 8,0 100,0 1978
3 GM Aleksandrov, Aleksej 2547 Belarus 2760 8 6,5 81,3 2509

indjic    kramnik

Aleksandar Indjic of Serbia scored Bronze on board 4, whilst Vladimir Kramnik of Russia scored Gold on board 2.

Full individual medalists for Women’s section:
Board 1
Rk. Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1 GM Muzychuk, Anna 2550 Ukraine 2629 10 7,5 75,0 2436
2 GM Hou, Yifan 2658 China 2547 8 5,5 68,8 2404
3 GM Cramling, Pia 2444 Sweden 2537 11 8,5 77,3 2326
Board 2
Rk. Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1 GM Gunina, Valentina 2520 Russia 2643 10 8,0 80,0 2403
2 GM Ju, Wenjun 2583 China 2501 11 7,5 68,2 2366
3 IM Daulyte, Deimante 2421 Lithuania 2481 10 8,0 80,0 2230
Board 3
Rk. Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1 WGM Mammadova, Gulnar 2304 Azerbaijan 1 2559 9 7,0 77,8 2331
2 WGM Szczepkowska-Horowska,Karina 2409 Poland 2547 8 6,5 81,3 2279
3 WGM Nguyen, Thi Mai Hung 2316 Vietnam 2442 11 8,0 72,7 2256
Board 4
Rk. Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1 WGM Tan, Zhongyi 2475 China 2565 11 9,0 81,8 2287
2 IM Batsiashvili, Nino 2474 Georgia 2533 10 9,0 90,0 2130
3 WGM Kulon, Klaudia 2346 Poland 2506 11 9,0 81,8 2241
Board 5
Rk. Name Rtg Team Rp Games Pts. % RtgAvg
1 IM Guo, Qi 2417 China 2394 8 5,5 68,8 2232
2 WIM Navrotescu, Andreea-Cristiana 2235 France 2285 10 7,0 70,0 2115
3 IM Gara, Anita 2355 Hungary 2277 8 5,0 62,5 2164

Ukraine won the Nona Gaprindashvili Cup, for the best combined performance in Open and Women’s.

Saying Goodbye to Baku

My first Olympiad has certainly been an amazing experience. The city of Baku has exceeded my expectations, in terms of things to do, and especially the Azeri hospitality. I would recommend anyone to visit who has a chance, and I would try to come back at least once more.
As a chess event, the Olympiad itself has been a wonderful thing to be at (and in a small way, a part of). Witnessing the inner workings of the Aussie Olympic team have made me more optimistic about the future of Australian chess as a whole. I believe the future is bright (see star Anton Smirnov below), though there are many things that need to change.
I hope you have enjoyed my musings, dear reader. I do intend to keep blogging, perhaps weekly. My “wanderings” will turn more into “ponderings” about the Aussie chess scene in general.
Need to catch a flight (final leg from Singapore). 🙂
* Which is a weighting of the opponents’ scores by the corresponding points scored against each team, discounting the highest and lowest scoring opponents. (What’s wrong with just having the board points as the first tie-break?)
** Notice China’s flag was held the wrong way, but they did turn it around in time for more photos.

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