Indian men and women chess teams have begun the Istanbul Olympiad Chess Olympiad with 4-0 victory over Wales and FYROM, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. P Harikrishna, Parimarjan Negi, Abhijeet Gupta and G N Gopal beat Wales’ Richard Joneslost, Tim Kett, Richard Dineley and Lolo Jones respectively.
In the women’s section, D Harika beat Bojana Bejatovic, Eesha Karavade beat Monika Stojkovska, Tania Sachdev beat Dragana Nikolovska and Soumya Swaminathan beat Simona Lakinska.
There were no major upsets in the first round except top seeds Russia dropped a half point when Evgeny Tomashevsky drew with William Puntier of Dominican Republic. Third seed Armenia gave a full point to Bolivia to win the match 3-1. Oswaldo Zambrana caused the biggest upset of the first round by beating Sergei Movsesian. Syria beat Romania 2.5-1.5 and Slovenia lost to Jamaica in the team upsets of the first round.
A record breaking 158 teams compete in the Open Section, while the Women Section has 124 teams participating. Most of the world’s best players participating in the Olympiad sat out of the first round. Nevertheless, world #4 Teimour Radjabov played on the first board for Azerbaijan, scoring an important victory against IM Michael Wiedenkeller of Luxembourg. Azerbaijan won convincingly 4-0.
In the Open Section Ukraine began by defeating Iraq 4-0, in a reprise match of the opening of the 2010 Khanty-Mansiysk Olympiad, where Ukraine won the gold medal. Is the history repeating itself for Ukraine?
USA secured a perfect 4-0 score against Jordan, while Armenia scored 3-1 against Bolivia. Bolivia’s first and only Grandmaster, Oswaldo Zambrana, stunned the much higher rated GM Sergei Movsesian.
Russia gained a quick 3-0 against Dominican Republic, but in one of the longest games of the day FM William Puntier held GM Evgeny Tomashevsky to a draw. In the Women’s Section the top seed teams signed convincing victories. China, Russia, Georgia, USA, India and Poland scored 4-0 against Bandgladesh, Bolivia, Guatemala, New Zealand, FYROM and Dominican Republic, respectively.
However, WIM Lougain Dahdal of Jordan defeated IM Lilit Galojan of Armenia to reduce the losing margin to 1-3. WFM Gabriela Maria Avelar Bonilla from El Salvador snatched a draw from the much higher rated IM Anna Ushenina from Ukraine, however Ukraine still was victorious with 3,5-0,5 match score.
Published with permission from Chess Magazine Black and White.