Armenians repeat their success
Little Knight meets big rook
The technical Olympiad spirit


Surprises Among the Top Tier On Day One

Dresden, 14/11/2008
The 38th Chess Olympiad got off to a rare surprise start Thursday as new rule changes created more competitive matchups than usual. Four of the top eight seeded open teams failed to win their matches in the new accelerated pairing system that essentially pairs teams for the first game that would normally have met in round two.

The fifth through eight seeds could not overcome a few determined squads. Iran, 40th seed and without a player over 2600, held heavily-favored Hungary to four draws and a tied match. Germany's second team (the host country gets to enter more than one squad) pulled off a bigger shock by defeating the Bulgarians, ranked 6th. The young GM Georg Meier expressed surprise that Bulgaria sat its top player, GM Veselin Topalov. Meier dispatched GM Ivan Cheparinov in a wild affair to lead his team to a 2.5-1.5 victory (Germany's top team also won in style over Scotland).
The next two teams in the seeding also failed to win, as 7th seed France could only tie Montenegro, and 8th seed Israel only managed the same against the Latvian team.
In other top-level action, number one Russia sat GM Vladimir Kramnik but used a win from GM Alexander Morozevich to get by Switzerland. Morozevich is actually the highest-rated player on the team at 2787 but is playing board three for the Russians. Ukraine and China also won 2.5-1.5 while Azerbaijan swept Macedonia, 4-0. Armenia and the United States, the 9th and 10th seeds, also won.
The women's division was slightly less bloody at the top. Argentina held 2nd seed Ukraine to a tie, but the Iranian women continued their country's impressive start with a 2-2 tie of Germany's first team. met in round two.

FM Mike Klein