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Fewer Surprises as Olympiad Enters First Weekend

Dresden, 15/11/2008

Top-level teams mostly took care of business in the open draw in round two; several team in the women's division were upset.



Russian, Ukraine and China continue to proclaim themselves as the class of the open division as all three went to 2-0. GM Vladimir Kramnik made his first entry into the Olympiad with a draw against top board GM Kamil Miton of Poland, but young talent GM Dmitry Jakovenko used a pillaging knight to win his Ruy Lopez game and with it the match.
 
Second-seed Ukraine buffered a loss by GM Sergie Karjakin with wins by GMs Vassily Ivanchuk and Pavel Eljanov to squeeze by Serbia. China rolled Belarus 3-1 as GM Hua Ni recovered from a first-round loss to beat his grandmaster opponent. Tenth-seed United States could only tie Greece as the fourth and final board was decided by GM Varuzhan Akobian's second consecutive queen and pawn endgame. GM Alexei Shirov defended a worse position that also eventually became a queen and pawn ending, but unlike Akobian his position was tenable and the draw pushed his Spanish contingent past a feisty Bosnia & Herzegovina.
 
Accelerated pairings have left a few unheralded federations also at 2-0, including the usually ignominious teams of Malta, Faroe Islands and El Salvador. Things get much tougher for them this round as the fields merge and they face the likes of England, Armenia and India, respectively.
 
In the women's section, 5th seed France and 7th seed United States both lost 2.5-1.5. Fourteen women's teams are now 2-0.
 
FM Mike Klein