May 20 - June 4, 2006
Official website Results analysis Olympiad Photos TWIC
Play over Scots games Play over Scots games (women)
Round by Round match scores Round by Round match scores (women)
Scotland Mens team: 1) Jonathan Rowson (lives London, 2594), 2) Colin McNab (Dundee, 2437), 3) John Shaw (Kilmarnock, 2439), 4) Jacob Aagaard (Milngavie, 2447), 5) Iain Gourlay (Leeds, 2340), 6) Neil Berry (Edinburgh, 2285) – matches are contested over four boards.
Scotland Womens team: 1) Helen Milligan (lives London, 2045), 2) Rosie Giulian (Giffnock, 2050), 3) Amy Officer (Perth, 1712*), 4) Rhian Hughes (Edinburgh, 1562*) - * latest Scottish ratings - matches are contested over three boards.
Armenia finished first on 36 points from a possible 52 ahead of China 34 and USA with 33. The once all conquering Russia were 6th on 32, England 19th on 30.5, Scotland 52nd on 28 points – 146 teams in total. Scotland finished in line with pre-event seeding of 49 with new grandmaster John Shaw of Kilmarnock the top individual performer scoring 7/10, the 7th best Olympiad board performance
The Scotland women's team found a new star in 14-year-old debut player Amy Officer of Perth who surged to 6/9, a performance which gained the woman's FIDE Master title and 10th spot in the Olympiad rankings on her board. Scotland finished 72nd (seeded 73) of 106 teams. Ukraine was first ahead of Russia and China.
Round 13, June 4: Scotland Men 2-2 Argentina, Scotland Women 1.5-1.5 Jamaica
CS FIDE delegate John Glendinning reports: "Amy has scored more than 66% in the olympiad and so gets the Womens FM
title. GM title for John Shaw was confirmed. Congratulations!"
More details to follow.
Olympiad 2010: Was won by Siberia in Russia in a 5 way contest.
Latvia and Poland were eliminated in the first ballot. The second ballot
had Russia first with 53 ahead of Budva in Montengro with 46 and Buenos
Aires in Argentina third on 38. The third vote had Russia on 71 ahead of
Budva on 64. All 5 gave presentations with the Russian presentation
starting by saying don't believe all you've heard about Siberia - the
temperature in September is about 20.
Round 12, June 3: Scotland Men 3-1 Albania, Scotland Women 0.5-2.5 Iceland
Round 11, June 2: Scotland Men 1-3 England, Scotland Women 1.5-1.5 Italy B
Round 10, May 31: Scotland Men 2.5-1.5 Australia, Scotland Women 1.5-1.5 Wales
Jonathan did not feel particular fit for a fight after yesterday's disappointment and accepted an early draw offer from Australia's only really strong player, Ian Rogers.
Colin was a little worse as I saw it, but his opponent allowed him to create sufficient counterplay, and then blundered a few pawns, as far as I could see. Colin accepted, and ruined his opponent's chances for a GM-norm.
John got a sideline of the Sveshnikov Sicilian with Black and had to calculate accurately to fend of an early attack on the light squares. In time he got an attack on the kingside himself, which was sufficient for a draw. Wanting more, John at one point played the wrong rook to f5 (from f3), completely overlooking that White would threaten to exchange queens. Once given a chance, John's opponent, Alexander Wohl, never let go. John lost in an instructive rook endgame excellently played by the opponent, who now needs 1 from 2 to make the GM-norm.
Jacob played what was supposed to be the most dangerous continuation against the Modern according to Tiger Hillarp-Persson, but did not get any real advantage in the opening. At one point a repetition was offered and seemed natural. But Jacob tried a crude pawn sacrifice, which was instantly replied with an even cruder exchange sacrifice. Jacob now had to fight to keep the balance, which he did. Then at some point Black overlooked that White could give back the exchange in a critical line, transposing into a won pawn ending. Not great art, but enough to secure the match points.
Jacob Aagaard (photo by Stephen Hamilton - you lookin' at me?)
Round 9, May 30: Scotland Men 2-2 Peru, Scotland Women 1.5-1.5 Sri Lanka
Jonathan was playing Julio Granda, who is probably the strongest player in chess history not to have an opening repertoire at all. Jonathan lost to him in Bled 2002 and was set up for a rematch.
Despite not knowing anything real about opening theory, Granda managed to move order Jonathan, so they were on even ground so to speak. Jonathan played a very principled continuation and was probably better with rook and two pawns against two minor pieces. But in the eternal time trouble Jonathan simply lost control and ended up in an endgame with rook vs. knight and three connected passed pawns, too big a mouthful for even the best of us.
John got a clear advantage after the opening against a very talented junior, who so far has won against Gallagher and Smirin in this event. John won a pawn and yet another one, but could not contain the opponent's counterplay and had to seek refuge in a drawn rook endgame.
Jacob played one of his main lines and had to see the opponent chop of all pieces. Eventually it was hard to even dream up a scenario where Black could win, and a draw was offered and accepted.
Iain got a Benko gambit with a tempo up. Though this is maybe not enough for an advantage, it suits his style and is significantly complex to outplay a 2200+ player. However, a blunder meant that Iain was close to lost after 6-7 moves. A mixture of good fight from Iain and lacking abilities from the opponent quickly turned this around, and from move 10 and till the finish in move 27-28 Iain simply tore his opponent apart.
2-2 is a slightly disappointing result, but with a lot of bad luck in time trouble, we should not complain too much.
Round 8, May 29: Scotland Men 1-3 Iran, Scotland Women 1-2 El Salvador
We've had some good days and some bad. Star of the show has to be Amy, with her amazing win against El Salvador. I was watching it online with John, Jeremy, Iain, and Rosie. Even veteran GM-elect John was amazed by Amy's skill and presence of mind in the time scramble!
Mopping continues. Here are Rosie and Amy on mopping duty. We look forward to the arrival of John Glendinning, so he can take over!
Captain Steve has been collecting various prezzies for us. The Right Move campaign has given us all bright orange t-shirts, and Kirsan's Fidelity campaign has clearly contributed a number of items to the usual goody-bag that we get at Olympiads - there's a Kirsan watch (bling version for the ladies), in a brightly coloured FIDE shoulder-bag along with a bright yellow FIDE t-shirt, pen, key-ring, baseball cap, and (by far the most useful!) a brand new Informator.
By far the best thing about this Olympiad is the ice-cream. There's a small café in the Village that has a selection of delicious varieties in luminous colours (though nothing quite as striking as the Dundee and Dundee United ice-creams I have seen back in my TAFCA days.). Here is a picture of Amy and Rhian making a difficult choice.
Helen Milligan report and photos
Today's match was just as grotesque as yesterdays. No way we should have lost to these guys.
Jonathan had an interesting game, but the opponent was focussed on a draw, so when Jonathan did not know what to do, the draw was available.
Colin played a sharp line and was in the midst of getting slaughtered when I left.
John got nothing with White and accepted it.
I was close to lost after 12 moves, but my opponent was simply unable to do anything sensible. From move 13-20 more or less all his moves were bad. I had an advantage, but now proved equally unable to play good moves. Soon I was equal, and then worse and finally I simply blundered a piece. So far I have throw two perfectly good points down the drain…
Round 7, May 28: Scotland Men 2.5-1.5 Finland, Scotland Women 2-1 Guatemala
First to finish was Jacob on board three. Not wanting to play was the dominant factor for both players, a mass exchange was initiated and draw agreed.
Neil got some pressure with White and at one point had a win in one move. Unfortunately he did not see it, neither did I, though I was following the game in real time. Not terribly hard, but the focus was elsewhere. Not too dissimilar to what happened in Jonathan's game against Egypt.
Jonathan outplayed the only strong Finn with Black in convincing style, but suddenly got fixated on a silly move (Bf1+) and could not escape its claws, as it also won a piece. Alas, it also allowed perpetual check.
John was maybe better, maybe not, but certainly on home pitch. The opponent got a good dose of Scottish technique and never had an actual chance as I see it.
In the evening we popped the champagne bottles, though John's GM-title will still have to go on the internet for 60 days before approval, so people has a right to complain. Rumours have it that Colin will start a petition…
Round 6, May 27: Scotland Men 1-3 Georgia, Scotland Women 2-1 Botswana
Jonathan got little with White in the QGD and accepted a draw offer.
Colin had magnificient compensation for the exchange and should at least not have lost. Unfortunately he unravelled as the time became short.
Jacob played 3.Bb5+ as John would have done had he played on board three. John had some problems with his stomach and spent the day recovering.
Jacob got some pressure, which the Georgian could not relieve. An exchange of two rooks for the queen occurred and the pressure continued. Now short of time the Georgian failed to find sufficient resources, and had given queen, knight and pawn for the two rooks. Jacob displayed his usual (lack of) technique, and the Georgian got away. Disgraceful.
Iain was well prepared, but the two first moves out of his preparation were unfortunate and after this he was never really in the game.
Tomorrow awaits Finland, a country we can beat if we finally play well…
Round 6, and I was given the day off. This gave me a chance to meet Scotland's fan club, Eric Martin (above in the pink shirt, in the stands). He was thoroughly unimpressed with the way the tournament was being presented to spectators. Results are not up anywhere in the tournament hall, and the boards are not clearly labelled (in fact they still hadn't replaced the labels for the pairings from round five, 15 minutes before the start of the round, which added considerably to the confusion!). Alan Minnican (pictured with Iain, talking to Eric in the stands) is also here, playing in the Open tournament and staying in a nice hotel.
The ladies (pictured) were playing Botswana, an inexperienced but sometimes dangerous team. It didn't go perfectly for us, thanks to spirited defence from their board three.
I found some ladies' matches where the contrasts in what is considered suitable dress for chess playing were quite marked! Check out the combined headscarf-plus-baseball-cap look, from Libya (board three) and Yemen (board two). Board three from Angola looked a particularly dangerous opponent!
One for the Chess Scotland fairy godmother - we are having quite a problem with early morning noise. At six am one morning some chessplayers walked by yelling "Wake up, wake up!". And every morning there are the trains on the neighbouring railway. This morning at 5 there was a particularly long, loud, heavy, noisy one - six miles long I think and carrying something like tanks, judging by the noise! It's hard to get back to sleep once woken, because of the constant noise and the announcements from the railway station (which start about 7am).
Helen Milligan report and photos
Rest Day, May 26:
Today was a rest day so no chess! The ladies, with Steve and Jeremy, took the bus into central Turin. Our ID cards give us free travel on all public transport, which is a nice gesture by the organisers. We arrived at the Piazza Solferino and walked through majestic buildings down towards the river Po. Many of the streets are very narrow, too narrow it seems for the handsome buildings. There is a lot of traffic and the driving leaves a great deal to be desired, even by London standards. Parking is absolutely awful! We saw one Smart car neatly wedged on a corner between two zebra crossings.
We got a big shock in the Piazza San Carlo, a huge square, where there were four different chess areas, representing India, Persia, Arabia and Europe. These areas were supposed to give a history of the world of chess, but more importantly, they had little tournaments, simuls, giant stylish chess sets, and a lot of very happy children. These displays are taking place for most of the duration of the Olympiad, with (and I quote) chess drive, reading sessions, workshops, music and cocktails! Steve and Jeremy pinched a board for a quick game.
Lunch was pizza in a café in the sunshine, with the rudest waiter we have ever met. He was surly, and threw down our pizzas so hard he nearly knocked over our drinks! We certainly won't be going back there in a hurry, even though the pizza was very good.
After lunch we took in a bit of culture at the Egyptian Museum, which has the largest collection of Egyptian material outside Egypt. Most of it was the usual set of broken ceramic jars, painted sarcophagi, and mummies (not for the squeamish), and I was thinking it wasn't much different from the British Museum (which has the advantage of being free). However, what this place has that really sets it apart is its sculptures - two darkened galleries with spotlit statues and cunningly positioned mirrors. We were happily taking photo after photo when a couple of people (not museum staff) said we couldn't. I don't know why! There was nothing anywhere in the museum saying photography wasn't allowed. So, here's a picture of Rhian with one of the friendlier statues.
Helen Milligan report and photos
Round 5, May 25: Scotland Men 3-1 Egypt, Scotland Women 1-2 Brazil
Today was the first day we played the top four, the four GMs on our team (well, I am a sort of GM anyway!). Egypt also played their four strongest cards and away we went.
Jonathan played quite principled and got a winning attack. The opponent definitely has Fritz, plenty of talent (he is 19) and the will to analyse. But maybe he is lacking a bit in chess culture!? Besides a curious moment where the game turned 360 degrees it was steady executed. First Jonathan blundered and could have lost more or less in one move, then the opponent failed to use his 15 minutes to see one move forward. A well deserved win.
Colin was a little worse, maybe, and the opponent offered a draw. His teammates were deeply shocked, angry and gesticulating. Generally the Egyptians are an emotional lot.
I played an awful move (14…Ng4) and was close to lost. I hung in there and took the first chance I got. In the end I was even a little better, but emotionally exhausted.
John had the game of the day. After a decent opening he played as a pack of cornflakes. He was completely paralysed, but was allowed to come out of his hole for a small price of the h2-pawn. Still Black was better, but he did not play better! In the end they got a pawn endgame, deadly drawn. Then something strange happened:
56...Kd5?? (See Diagram) 57 c4+! bxc4 58 Kd2 c3+ 59 Kxc3 a4 60 Kd3 c4+ 61 Kc3 Kc5 62 f6 Kd6 63 Kxc4 Ke6 64 Kb4 Kxf6 65 Kxa4 Kg5 66 Kb5 1–0
After the game the Egyptian was clearly displeased with his effort and indirectly formulated this to John, who in turn told him what he was worth and what he had done to him with words as well as rather brute sign language.
Round 4, May 24: Scotland Men 3-1
Kyrgyzstan, Scotland Women 1-2 Colombia
I managed to get some pictures today, so that is the main part of this report. Rumours that 15 empty beer bottles had to be cleared off the table before I took the shots of the guys are completely unfounded. They are sitting at a large café in the retail area of the tournament hall.
Nearby is the extensive Fiat stand, with giant chessboards and lots of Fiats, beautifully painted with chessy designs. Further over by the spectator entrance are the shops, including a huge chess supermarket from Le Due Torri. There's a live feed of Seirawan's commentary in there, and an endless stream of customers. Those of us representing Quality Chess (John and Jacob) and Gambit (myself) can only wish all chess shops were like this!
A bit about actual chess, for a moment. Yesterday (round 3) Iain Gourlay was able to claim a draw by repetition in a pretty dodgy position, despite protests by his opponent. Today I managed the same in a totally lost rook and pawn ending. I really wasn't sure about it (I knew the position would occur for the third time if I played Kf2, but I wasn't certain the same player was to move each time). So, I claimed, as I was up on the clock and it was basically a case of claim or resign! Our arbiter didn't understand (he couldn't speak English) but a more senior arbiter came and played through the game, and granted my claim immediately. I shook hands, wrote half-half on both scoresheets, signed them - and then the entire population of Colombia started querying it, playing though the game, and generally causing fuss. You feel very helpless in that situation! Fortunately the arbiter wasn't having any nonsense, and made them all go away. You have to have some sympathy for the Colombians though, as the position was totally lost!
Helen Milligan report and photos
Today we finally at a result on par with 3-1 against Kyrgystan, and not slightly below as in the previous rounds. Jonathan won safely on board one, Colin struggled on board two, but drew, Iain won a nice game, ending up with queen against rook, and finally overcome some nerves. Neil was close to having something, but probably misplayed slightly.
Tomorrow we will play the top four for the first time, it appears. We have generally thought that we wanted to keep our resources for the last three rounds, where the final placements are decided.
Concerning norms. It is no longer possible to make 7 round norms, so we probably will not see any norms for the Open Scottish team, but keep your eyes on Helen, she has had a rave of a tournament so far!
Round 3, May 23: Scotland Men 3-1 Yemen, Scotland Women 3-0 Panama
It seems like whatever we complain about on the Chess Scotland website is immediately fixed! (Except the shower.) There was a captain's meeting after round 2 where various problems were discussed. The result is that players are now allowed free access to the red carpet area. Magic! We can now watch all the top guys (and our own teams). So, if we have any more gripes, Chess Scotland will be hearing about them and our website fairy godmother can fix them.
As for the shower, we asked the cleaning ladies for a mop (OK, we are not fluent in Italian; we pointed to the word for mop in the dictionary). It seems we can't have one until they put in a report to Maintenance. Then we can put in a request for one to Accommodation. Whoever plays worst each day will be expected to mop the shower-room floor next morning!
After the Ladies' glorious 3-0 win over Panama, captain Steve bought us ice-creams! Many more 3-0 wins are anticipated as a result of this. It could be said that we blackmailed him into this with tales of Paul Roberts buying us all chocolate!
Helen Milligan report and photos
Might send Steve to photograph the men before they start playing. I'm sorry there's not much about the guys but we don't see much of them!
Today we won 3-1 against Yemen, as reported. John was back after feeling a bit exhausted. The rook endgame was dead drawn, but John won a few square inches at a time. Beautiful.
I won against an Arab champion without any effort. He played too quickly and was lost after 19 moves.
Jonathan's opponent played well, and though disappointed not to win, it was probably no catastrophe.
Ian was always worse and got a draw on three times repetition, that the opponent did not want to approve.
Round 2, May 22: Scotland Men 0.5-3.5 China, Scotland Women 0.5-2.5 IBCA
Some major improvements happened today (round two). First, we arrived at the venue to find a Players' Entrance, much nearer the close end of the building. So that cut our journey time a lot!
Inside, we found that signs had been put up, directing us to more toilets - actually athletes' changing rooms - so things are a bit more comfortable (although the toilets are a long trek from some parts of the huge playing hall).
Once inside, we found that the matches were clearly labelled. Stress levels much reduced! Best of all, we found we'd each been given an amaretto biscuit by one of the sponsors. That is a kind of sponsorship I really appreciate!
We discovered one daft rule. I need to describe the playing hall first - the games take place in fenced areas on blue carpets. Spectators can walk around outside the fences, on red carpets. There are stands, round the edge, from where you can't really see the games (unless, like Jeremy, you take binoculars!). The rule is that players, once they have finished their games, are only allowed in the stands! We're here playing in the biggest tournament in the world, but we're not allowed to watch it!
I have never, ever experienced a rule like this at an Olympiad. It remains to be seen how strictly it will be enforced (given that they have put notices about it up at the doorway of every block of flats in the Village, it does not look good.). Of course, we can go into the red carpet area if we pay, but 20 euros a day to see your own tournament seems a bit steep.
Steve, Jeremy and the Ladies went out for pizza after the game. The Lingotto holds a huge and spectacular shopping complex, with very attractive eating areas under a glass roof along the middle (it's a very long rectangular building - photos will follow in due course!). Also a cinema, and I think a swimming pool. Other levels hold offices (of some quite prestigious companies, I think, like Accenture).
Helen Milligan report and photos
We all played badly today. Jonathan was somewhat better in a not too easy position when he had a sort of meltdown. Colin's game should have been a draw I guess. I could have won in one move and Neil was no worse in the ending and suddenly blundered a pawn.
The atmosphere is good here and I am certain that we will bounce back with some good chess today.
Round 1, May 21: Scotland Men 3.5-0.5 Jersey, Scotland Women 0.5-2.5 Israel
The Olympic village is an attractive complex of brightly coloured blocks of flats, plus an area with various facilities. There have been some problems with huge queues for food (Rosie, our professional dinner lady, says her staff could do a much better job). The organisers have promised more feeding areas so the queues should be gone today (round two). The laundry, sadly, has no machines.
The flats are spartan inside. Bedrooms have bed(s), wardrobe and bedside table; living area has a small number of comfy chairs and a low table. No kitchen. The Scottish Ladies are in a flat with four bedrooms (one of which is meant for John Glendinning but I'm currently squatting in it). Rhian shares with Amy; I'm meant to share with Rosie, and Steve Mannion is sharing with Rhian's father Jeremy. There are two bathrooms side by side; the one with a shower is totally flooded every morning because the shower doesn't drain (the Welsh, in a flat below us, have the same problem and I guess it's widespread!).
There are big sliding glass doors in every room opening onto a balcony that goes all around the building; unfortunately few of these could be locked when we arrived so anyone on this level could have got in. This has been fixed very promptly by the organisers!
We can see the venue (the Oval) from our flat. It is about 5 minutes walk across the railway lines; more like 30 on the route we can actually use, which is across the Olympic bridge. We have to walk all the way to the other end of the building to get in, then back to the closer end to play. Yesterday (round one) there were no labels of any kind at the boards. Even our arbiter hadn't been told what match he was in charge of, and there were no clues. We just assumed we were on board 21 because we were pairing number 21. This, luckily, turned out to be correct!
The authorities have eliminating the problem we reported at Bled (people possibly being given moves over mobile phones in the toilets). Yes, phones are banned, but more importantly, there are pitifully few toilets. Four proper toilets, one hole-in-the-floor, and one urinal, for all the players. Men and women use the same rooms! One can but hope this will be improved VERY VERY SOON! (Sorry to dwell on toilet matters but it is just so irritating).
The weather is very pleasant! The food is perfectly OK; we have been annoyed by the queueing but it's worth it in the end. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, supermarkets, bars etc etc in the surrounding area. The retail area at the venue is superb, with a particularly huge chess shop provided by Le Due Torri. There are a lot of glossy Fiat cars inside and out (Fiat is a major sponsor, and the Lingotto, at the end of the bridge we cross to get to the venue, used to be the main Fiat factory - it even has a test racing track with banked corners on its roof!). Colin says he was offered a shot in one of the Fiats sitting otuside the venue, with chess pieces painted on. The Scots plan to take all of them (half a dozen) and play dodgems in the car park.
Helen Milligan report and photos
Preview: There are three Olympiad debuts in the Men's squad. Jacob Aagaard plays for Scotland after his change of chess “nationality” from Denmark to Scotland. Iain Gourlay, the one time Paisley junior, has maintained a high rating for several years and finally gets the Olympiad call. Neil Berry has recently scored a 2nd IM norm at the 4NCL.
Scotland's top percentage Olympiad scorer Paul Motwani is unavailable due to ill health.
The Women's team is a blend of youth and experience. Rosie Giulian makes a return to the team 20 years after previously representing Scotland in Dubai 1986. Junior internationalist Amy Officer, 14, and Rhian Hughes, who will be 12 at the time of the Olympiad, are the youngest players to represent Scotland in the senior squad.
Not Olympic sport