41st World Chess Olympiad 2014, Tormso, Norway (01 Aug to 15 Aug 2014)

updated 16 Aug 2014

Report by Team Manager, IM Leslie Leow:

Today the most successful chess parents in the world are Henrik Carlsen and Sigrun Øen, parents of Magnus Carlsen. Like the Singapore team, they stay at the Rica Ishavs Hotel. I asked Henrik whether he had any suggestions for chess parents. He would take no credit for himself, giving full credit to his son. Henrik explained that Magnus has a mind of his own and does things according to his own timing. When magnus was five, Henrik taught him how to play chess but Magnus was not so interested. When he was eight, Magnus came back to the game on his own with renewed focus. The rest is chess history. Henrik Carlsen's rating is about 2000.

Henrik Carlsen

WGM Abdumalik Zhansaya, third board for the Kazakhstan women's team, is a 14-year old prodigy with a rating of 2333. She is no stranger to Singapore, having spent about two years training with Zhang Zhong between 2011 and 2013. The stay in singapore also allowed her to work on her English. Kazakhstan tied for 4th-6th in the women's section, 6th on tie-break. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhansaya_Abdumalik 

Abdumalik Zhansaya (left) with her mother Alma Ashirova.

On the players' rest day yesterday, FIDE awarded the 2018 olympiad to Batumi, a resort on the black sea in Georgia. In 2012 Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, was awarded the 2016 Olympiad.

Round 11 on 2014/08/14

Bold denotes player with white.

119. Cyprus - 68 Singapore 1 : 3
Kelires, Andreas 2216 GM Zhang, Zhong 2611 ½ - ½
Constantinou, Pavlos 2106 IM Goh, Wei Ming Kevin  2433 ½ - ½
Aristotelous, Vassilis 1946 WIM Gong, Qianyun 2328 0 - 1
FM Antoniou, Antonis 2188 FM Tin, Jingyao 2251 0 - 1

On paper, the match with the 119th seeds should have been a stroll in the park. But while we were clearly favoured, Cyprus had been playing well, beating 86th seeded monaco and 79th seeded south africa in Rounds 9 and 10. Teenage talent Andreas Kelires on top board was going gangbusters with seven wins and three draws. Against grandmasters rated 2544, 2580 and 2615, Kelires had a win and two draws. We decided to field our strongest team again.

As feared zhang had his hands full with Kelires. After 19. Kh1, the position was difficult to evaluate. Black's pawn structure was wrecked, his king not castled and his dark squares weak. But if zhang could place his knight on e3 or f2 he could cause problems for white. In this messy position the advantage swung back and forth. Zhang should have played 28. ... Rh5 threatening of 29 ... Ne3+ 30. Kf2 Nd5. 29. g4 is met by ... Ne3+ 30. Kf2 Ke5! Zhang's 35. ... e3 was overambitious, allowing simplification favourable for white. After 52. Bxh5 Ka3 Zhang looked quite lost but he did not give up hope. Here, white should have considered 53. Bf7 to guard the a pawn or 53. Bg4 and 54. h4. instead his idea of charging up the g pawn starting with 53. g4 was a mistake. zhang was able to miraculously steal a draw with the knowledge that if he could sacrifice his knight for the g pawn, he could save the game with king against king, bishop and h pawn because the h pawn is the wrong coloured rook pawn.

Goh had a slight edge in a Bb5 sicilian, but he played passively after 15. ... f5, with 17. Qe1 even losing a pawn. but constantinous 22. ... b5 weakened his pawn formation and Goh was able to regain the pawn with equality.

The point of Gong's 16. ... c5!? was 17. bxc5 Nxc5 18. dxc5 Bxc3, but the deeper point was 17. Qd6 Re8 18. bxc5 Nxc5! and now 19. Qxc5 Be7 traps the queen. White avoided the trap but Gong seized the initiative anyway. Aristitotelous blundered with 30. Qf3 after which the game was beyond salvage.

Tin and Antoniou traded many pieces early on, leaving an even game. Tin's 26. b5 axb5 27. Nxb5 targeted the c pawn, but Tin missed the resourceful 27. ... Be6! 28. Be2 Rxd1 29. Rxd1 Rc8. If black can consolidate, he can start to attack white's weak pawns. Black's 30 . ... Nd7 was a mistake, allowing Tin to favourably liguidate along the g4-c8 diagonal. Tin was able to enter a rook ending a pawn up. Tin should have played 53. a4 and 54. Re6, exchanging pawns to enter an ending where his connected passed pawns would win the game. Instead he allowed an tricky ending where both sides were in a race to queen their pawns. Fortunately black missed 59. ... Rf8, with the idea of sacrificing the rook for white's pawns. This could have saved the game for black. Instead 59.... Ra1 allowed Tin's pawns to connect, winning easily.

Our final score was 13 match points, tying for positions 35 through 60. On tiebreak, we finished 57th, slightly better than the results in 2012 and 2010. This is singapore's best result since the 2000 olympiad in Istanbul. 
The above link also displays the performance rating for the Singapore team by year. it should be interesting to see how the performace rating for Tromso stacks up to those of previous years.

Looking at the individual members of the team, http://chess-results.com/tnr140380.aspx?lan=1&art=20&fed=SIN&flag=30&wi=821, Zhang Zhong was once again a very effective top board. Considering that his opponent from Cyprus had a performance rating over 300 rating points above his current rating, Zhang played at a level roughly matching his rating of 2611. Playing first board is a major honour and responsibility, with the need to go up against very strong players one after another without a break.

The other members of the team all exceeded scores estimated from their ratings by varying degrees. Goh Wei Ming was within range of a GM norm until losing to Peru in round 10. Gong Qianyun earned a WGM norm. Both she and 14-year old Tin Jingyao had IM norms in their sights until the Peru match. Lee Qing Aun played significantly above his rating expectation as well, but only played four games as his play at 13 years of age is not yet at the same level as that of the other members of the team. He gained some valuable experience, and hopefully will be back in future.

After knocking on the door for several years, the chinese men achieved a major breakthrough by comfortably winning the Open section of the Olympiad for the first time. Russia won the Women's section.

updated 14 Aug 2014

In Round 7, Kateryna Lagno (left) beat Hou Yifan(right) and Russia overcame China 3-1 in the battle between the top seeded arch rivals for the Women's Championship. Barring a major upset in the last round, that critical match will determine the gold and silver medals.

The Olympiad would not be possible without an army of volunteers, arbiters and administrators who come from the four corners of the world. The tournament director for the entire Olympiad is none other than Ignatius Leong, wearing one of several hats in tromso.

There is an arbiter assigned to each match, and i try to chat with each of our arbiters. in an early round I learned that our match arbiter was from Zimbabwe. "Our two countries know each other very well" he smiled. I confessed that he had me at an advantage. I was aware that the long-time leader is President Robert Mugabe, but I have never been to Zimbabwe. He explained that their President is a frequent visitor to Singapore for health reasons.

In a later round, the arbiter was one of the three arbiters from the Faroe Islands, a group of islands north of Scotland that is a self-governing territory within Denmark. including three IMs and an FM, the Faroe Islands team is tied with us after 10 rounds though we beat them in Round 7. Incredibly the population is only 50,000.

Gerald Chan, newly appointed International Arbiter at Tromso, has been helping us with norm calculations, as has Thomas Hoe. My sincere thanks to these gentlemen.

Tthe arbiter for Bahamas-tanzania in Round 8 was Thomas Hoe.

Round 10 on 2014/08/12

Bold denotes player with white.

68. Singapore - 22. Peru 0 : 4
GM Zhang, Zhong 2611 GM Granda Zuniga, Julio E 2663 0 - 1
IM Goh, Wei Ming Kevin 2433 GM Cordova, Emilio 2629 0 - 1
WIM Gong, Qianyun  2328 GM Cori, Jorge 2630 0 - 1
FM Tin, Jingyao 2251 GM Cruz, Cristhian 2553 0 - 1

Through nine rounds, the team had played very well. Even in losing 1-3 to 10th seeded England and 1.5-2.5 to 17th seeded Spain, our score had equaled or exceeded expectations every match based on individual ratings. But in Round 10 we were simply massacred by 22nd seed Peru.

Zhang felt that he could have retained an edge after 23. h3. Instead after 23. Ne4 h3 24. g3 Nd4! black had good play. After 34. Nxe1 white had the better pawn structure by far, but black active pieces more than compensated. After black further activated his bishop with 36. ... d3 and 37. ... Bb6, the game was probably lost already.

Goh had an approximately equal opening as black, but as the game progressed, white developed pressure on the queen side and gained control of the dark squares. Cordova sacrificed an exchange with 36. Rxf5 to attack the weakened black king, and black resigned soon.

Normally an aggressive player, Gong was uncharacteristically passive due to her unfamiliarity with the opening. She should have played 9. e5 with chances for both sides. Instead after 9. Re1 e5, black began to control the centre. the game evolved into a King's Indian in reverse. Unfortunately Gong does not play the King's Indian and gradually ceded more and more space to Cori, who wrapped up the game handily. Despite the loss, Gong earned her third WGM norm and should be ratified for the WGM title.

Cruz-Tin was a Nimzo-Indian with even prospects where it was not obvious how to make progress for either side. Tin began an attack on the king side, but perhaps 27. ... Ng3 28. Nxg3 hxg3 might have been premature. The g3 pawn was potentially a thorn in the white side but it was also a weakness subject to attack as the game developed. With 31. d5 Bb7 32. Qa1, white began to seize the centre and the dark squares. after 38. Qe1 Tin could not save the g3 pawn and desperately sacrificed the exchange to slow down the white attack. The entry of white's rook was the final straw and black could not avert mate.

updated 12 Aug 2014

Report by Team Manager, IM Leslie Leow:

Veteran Filipino GM Eugenio Torre first participated in the Olympiad in 1970 and has played in every one since with the exception of 2008 for a record 22 Olympiads. He was Asia's first GM and dominated Asian chess in most of the 1970s and 1980s until the emergence of India's Anand.

Gao Yiping, 2nd board for Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) here in Tromso, does not attract special attention. Things could be different if she visits a tournament for Chinese Chess (Xiangqi), where she is a former Women's World Champion. Her husband is the top Chinese Chess player in Taiwan.

Round 9 on 2014/08/11

And the winner is ...... Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. The election for FIDE President was held during the 9th Round. The incumbent won 110-61 over Former World Champion Garry Kasparov.

Bold denotes player with white.

72. Indonesia - 68. Singapore 2 : 2
GM Megaranto, Susanto 2527 GM Zhang, Zhong 2611 ½ - ½
IM Farid, Firman Syah 2400 IM Goh, Wei Ming Kevin 2433 ½ - ½
Ali Lutfi, Muhammad 2339 WIM, Gong, Qianyun 2328 1 - 0
CM Steyaki, Azarya Jodi 2186 FM Tin, Jingyao 2251 0 - 1

In Round 9 we were paired against Indonesia, seeded 72nd. Players from both teams had been playing well. That and the seeding numbers and the player ratings suggested a tough match was in store.

Zhang equalised with black against Megaranto, but no more. Once again zhang tried hard but made no progress and the game was drawn.

Goh opened again with the Giuco Piano. Farid did not defend accurately and Goh gained some attacking chances on the king side. Had Goh played 28. Bxd6 Qxd6 29. g5 Nf7 30. Qh5+ Kg8 31. f6, he might have gained a decisive advantage. His alternative still retained an edge, but as material was gradually exchanged, there was not enough to win.

Gong had a playable french defence, but she opened the game incorrectly. After 15. ... f6 16. exf6 she should simply have played 16. Nxf6 with an excellent game. Shortly after that she got into trouble and was not able to recover despite valiant attempts.

Tin achieved a slight edge against the grunfeld defence. In a seemingly quiet position, he enterprisingly sacrificed 23. Nxg5! but missed the best follow-up in 27. Bxb7. As a result black developed a strong counter attack in an unclear game. But setyaki's 32. ... Rxb2? was a major miscalculation that allowed Tin to exchange his queen for two rooks. material was still roughly even after that, but white had all the attacking chances against an exposed king. The bishops of opposite colour further enhanced the attack. With some trial and error, Tin strengthened his grip against the black king and eventually forced black to resign.

updated 11 Aug 2014

These outdoor photos show some of the scenery at Tromso.

Rica Ishavs Hotel

Tromso scenery

Tromso scenery

The observant reader will notice that the lights are on in the photos. The photos were taken around 12:30am, roughly two hours after sunset and two hours before sunrise. Tromso is in Norway's far north, in the arctic circle. At the summer solstice there would be no sunset and sunrise at all. conversely during the winter solstice tromso has 24 hours of night, and the main attraction for tourists is the attempt to see the aurora borealis. One suggestion to those planning a Northern Lights to Tromso or elsewhere is to time your visit to avoid the full moon.


Singapore's games attract a spectator, 2743 rated GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, aka Shak. He plays top board for Azerbaijan which was leading the olympiad through Round 7. in Round 8 they lost to China, so they are now tied for second.

The competition for both Open and Women's sections is in the critical rounds. In Round 7 yesterday, World Champ Magnus Carlsen lost, as did Women's World Champion Hou Yifan in the china - russia match. By defeating the Chinese, the Russian women became firm favorites for the women's title. However the top-seeded Russian men's team may once again be out of the ruinning having incurred a loss and three drawn matches. This general news is beyond the scope of my reports. Readers can follow the olympiad in general on the Official Website or Chessbase.

Round 8 on 2014/08/10

Bold denotes player with white.

68. Singapore - 44. Belgium 2 : 2
GM Zhang, Zhong 2611 GM Michiels, Bart 2535 ½ - ½
IM Goh, Wei Ming Kevin 2433 IM Ringoir, Tanguy 2508 ½ - ½
WIM Gong, Qianyun 2328 IM Docx, Stefan 2491 1 - 0
FM Tin, Jingyao 2251 FM Vandenbussche, Thibaut 2411 0 - 1

In Round 8 we were paired with 44th seeded Belgium.

Zhang-Michiels was roughly equal after the opening. Zhang creatively continued playing for the win as usual, but this time his judgment deserted him and he very nearly lost. the game entered a rook and opposite-coloured bishops ending with a slight edge for black. Zhang did not defend well and got into serious trouble. Black could have played 48. ... h4 49. gxh4 Ke3! and the threat of mate on g1 wins. Instead Michiels allowed Zhang to escape with a draw.

Ringoir - Goh was a very interesting and strategically unbalanced game where both sides had chances for advantage. Pieces were gradually exchanged the game petered out to a draw.

The third and fourth board games were decided quickly after bolts from the blue.

Gong's aggressive king side attack early in the opening may have been premature, but Docx failed to take advantage. the tide turned in gong's favour when black allowed 24. Qe5 and 27. Qf6. Several moves later black totally missed 30. Bd4 Nxd4 31. Qxg6 Kh8 32. Qh6+ Kg8 33. g6 and mate next move.

Tin equalized easily and the game suddenly became sharp. Tin erred with 13. ... Nxb4, which opened the game in favour of white. black further underestimated 19. Nf6+! the knight cannot be captured after 19. ... gxf6 20. Rg4+ Kh8 21. Qf3. But tin's alternative 19. ... Kh8 20. Rh4 failed in view of 20. ... h6 21. Qd2. Tin was forced to lose his queen and the game ended quickly.

updated 10 Aug 2014

Report by Team Manager, IM Leslie Leow:

Security has been very tight at the Olympiad, with all players, officials and spectators subject to airport like security checks before they can enter the tournament hall. The fear is not terrorism but cheating, the result of various suspected cheating incidents. http://en.chessbase.com/post/cheating-suspicion-at-the-zadar-open-in-croatia 

Electronic devices are not allowed in the playing arena at all. If a player is found with a cell phone during the game, he or she will lose by forfeit even if the phone has been turned off the entire time.

One consequence of the lack of mobile phones in the tournament hall is that photos are much harder to come by. Old fashioned cameras that do not talk to the internet are allowed.


Before the start of the Bangladesh match:
(From left) Zhang Zhong, Goh Weiming, Gong Qianyun, Lee Qing Aun.


The team in Tromso by the Kasparov campaign area.

Round 7 on 2014/08/09

Bold denotes player with white.

73. Faroe Isles - 68. Singapore ½ :3½
IM Ziska, Helgi Dam 2507 GM Zhang, Zhong 2611 ½ - ½
FM Berg, Olaf 2320 IM Goh, Wei Ming Kevin 2433 0 - 1
Nielsen, Hogni Egilstoft 2256 WIM Gong, Qianyun 2328 0 - 1
IM Nilssen, John Arni 2322 FM Tin, Jingyao 2251 0 - 1

After beating Bangladesh in Round 6 we expected a stronger opponent. Instead we were paired against 73rd seed Faroe Islands.

Zhang's french defence achieved equality, and black was even able to gain a slight edge. But Zhang was unable to build on that and Ziska was able to hold on for a draw.

Berg defended poorly against Goh's Bb5 sicilian. 17. ... Qc5 began a series of bad queen moves that allowed Goh to gain time and better place his pieces while chasing the retreating queen. within a few more moves Berg could not defend his rook from attack and he resigned.

Nielsen sacrificed the exchange against gong in another french defence but got insufficient compensation. white offered little resistance and Gong had a smooth win.

Tin gained a slight space advantage with the queen's gambit. With 31. e5 Tin was able to plant his knight on d6. Nilssen further erred with 41. ... g5, allowing Tin's 43. h5. This led to the capture of black's h pawn and white h pawn quickly proved decisive.

After the match the team went out for dinner to celebrate the wins over Bangladesh and the Faroe Islands as well as Singapore's National Day.

updated 09 Aug 2014

Report by Team Manger, IM Leslie Leow:

Thursday, 7 August was a rest day. Kicked off by the traditional bermuda party the previous night, the host of the party was strikingly attired in bermuda formal dress and bermuda shorts, naturally. 

With the same host in perhaps the same shorts, the party had gained a measure of fame(notoriety?) in Turin, Italy in 2006.

There is no objective way to allocate teams to hotels, so it comes down to politics and chess strength. at each olympiad, some teams are put in good hotels a short walk from the playing hall, while others might find themselves in less desirable locations a bus ride away. with Ignatius Leong an integral member of the opposition Kasparov team in the FIDE elections, I wondered before arriving in Tromso if Singapore would be rewarded or punished in terms of hotel allocation. As things turned out, we are in one of the best hotels in Tromso, overlooking the water with sweeping views of mountains near and far. Members of the Singapore Team took advantage of the beautiful scenery and cool weather to go for long walks on the rest day. Click on photos in the following link for better views of tromso scenery. http://wikitravel.org/en/Troms%C3%B8 

The playing arena is a 10 minute walk by the water from our hotel. Not coincidentally the Rica Ishavs Hotel is also the HQ for Team Kasparov. Ignatius Leong and Garry Kasparov are staying here too.

The guests in the hotel include World Champion Magnus Carlsen and the Norwegian teams. Why is the Olympiad in Norway this year? The two word answer is Magnus Carlsen. He is a huge celebrity in Norway and has been winning corporate sponsorships not only for himself but also for the Federation. Best of all, chess is booming in popularity. the Olympiad's opening ceremony was broadcast live on Norwegian TV. In Carlsen, the Federation has struck north sea oil.



Photo from the beginning of Round 1:
(from left) Lee Qing Aun, Tin Jingyao, Gong Qianyun and Goh Weiming.

Olympiad 01

Another photo of the team can be seen in Olimpiu Urcan's http://sgchess.net/ with a Kasparov campaign ad in the background.

Round 6 on 2014/08/08

Bold denotes player with white.

55. Bangladesh - 68. Singapore 1½:2½
GM Rahman, Ziaur 2523 GM Zhang, Zhong 2611 0 - 1
GM Abdulla, Al-Rakib 2522 IM Goh, Wei Ming Kevin 2433 0 - 1
GM Hossain, Enamul 2421 WIM Gong, Qianyun 2328 ½ - ½
GM Murshed, Niaz 2453 Lee, Qing Aun 1893 1 - 0

Our opponent today was Bangladesh, seeded 55th. Bangladesh has made significant progress in three decades of Olympiad participation. In 2012, Istanbul achieved the phenomenal score of 14 match points and tied for 19th-33rd, ahead of countries such as India and Spain.

Zhang took advantage of Rahman's inaccuracies to equalize quickly as black, then continued the attack with both kings out in the open. After 20 ... Ng6! black threatened Nf4 and white's position soon collapsed.

Abdulla sacrificed a pawn to goh's giuco piano and achieved reasonable compensation as white's pieces were awkwardly placed. Late in the game Goh managed to untangle his pieces and go on the attack with 39. Qg3!, winning the exchange and the game.

Gong's french defence obtained a roughly equal position. As the game transitioned to the middle game and then the endgame she gained the initiative. both sides missed the tactical shot 45. Ng5 Bxg5 46. hxg5 g3! 47. fxg3 f3! 48. Qg1 Qe2 and the f pawn will decide the game. After that the game was drawn, which fortunately was all we needed to win the match.

Lee obtained a playable game out of the opening, but allowed murshed to close the pawn formation on the king side. at that point Lee should have kept the queen side pawns closed as well with a likely draw. Instead lee miscalculated and opened the queen side with 20 b3?, not realizing that black rather than white was better placed to take advantage of the situation. The veteran GM skillfully found the holes in Lee's pawn formation and white had to resign.

updated 07 Aug 2014

Report by Team Manager, IM Leslie Leow:

The most important chess match in Tromso these two weeks will be fought away from the chess board. The battle for the position of FIDE president between incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Garry Kasparov concludes on 11 August. The SCF's Ignatius Leong is in the thick of the battle.


Round 5 on 2014/08/06

Bold denotes player with white.

68. Singapore - 83. Dominican Republic 2 : 2
GM Zhang, Zhong 2611 IM Munoz Santana, Jose Lisandro 2438 1 - 0
IM Goh, Wei Ming Kevin 2433 FM Puntier Andujar, William Staling 2333 1 - 0
FM Tin, Jingyao 2251 FM Abreu Jean, Carlos Paul 2286 0 - 1
Lee, Qing Aun 1893 Michelen Rodriguez, Victor Isaac 2239 0 - 1

This round produced a 2-2 tie that felt very disappointing as Singapore is seeded higher than the Dominican Republic. However, the average rating of our four players was actually slightly lower than that of our opponents. How is this possible? Some teams are relatively evenly weighted from top to bottom, like the Spanish team we faced in Round 4. Singapore is definitely top weighted. Our average rating differs very substantially if we field 1, 2, 3 & 4 (resting Lee Qing Aun as we did against England and Spain) as compared to if we field 2, 3, 4 & 5 (resting Zhang Zhong as we did against Papua New Guinea).

Zhang startled his opponent by playing 1. e4 Nf6 2. d3. objectively this simple move allows black to equalize easily. But psychologically the strategy worked beautifully. black was taken out of his opening preparation on the second move, and as a result spent too much time only to find inferior moves. The Dominican IM was not able to offer much resistance. He is hardly the only player to play poorly when taken out of his comfort zone. In 1980 English GM Tony Miles famously beat World Champion Anatoly Karpov with the black pieces after 1. e4 a6. http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1068157 

Goh saved the tie by winning the last game of the match to end. His game was dynamically unclear for long stretches. Towards the end both players were in time pressure and white blundered with 25. Qg4? Rf8 26. Kg2?? h5 and white resigned.

Tin was not well prepared against the Benko Gambit, and he would certainly have benefited from reading Junior Tay's recently published book on that opening. When things go well in the Benko, the black side of the game plays itself. Tin found himself on the defence and struggled unsuccessfully to hold the position.

Lee emerged from the symmetrical opening with a reasonable position, then was outplayed by his more experienced opponent. When white played 23. Bxd6, he must have accurately calculated that he would be sacrificing his queen for rook and bishop. his pieces were optimally placed and broke through the black position for a quick win.

updated 06 Aug 2014

Report by Team Manager, IM Leslie Leow:

During the third round match with Barbados, I was approached by Susan Polgar, Former Women's World Champion turned chess organizer and media personality. She asked the age of Lee Qing Aun, our reserve on 4th board against Barbados.

"13", I answered. She explained that she wanted to interview him. I mentioned that Taiwan, playing under the curious political compromise name of Chinese Taipei, had a 12-year old boy in the Open section and a 12-year old girl in the Women's section. A korean girl looked even younger, I added.

"10", Polgar said, clearly having done her homework. She explained her interest in our reserve player very simply. Qing Aun and Singapore were doing relatively well. I wondered if language might also have been a factor.

After his game Qing Aun was agreed to be interviewed, and displayed the poise of a veteran. in the link below, see the third and last video from 04 August.


Round 4 on 2014/08/05

Bold denotes player with white.

17. Spain - 68. Singapore 2½:1½
GM Vallejo Pons, Francisco 2698 GM Zhang, Zhong 2611 ½ - ½
GM Salgado Lopez, Ivan 2620 IM Goh, Wei Ming Kevin 2433 1 - 0
GM Illescas Cordoba, Miguel 2618 WIM Gong, Qianyun 2328 ½ - ½
GM Vazquez Igarza, Renier 2603 FM Tin, Jingyao 2251 ½ - ½

Once again the reward for the overwhelming victory in the previous round was another team of 2600 opponents, 17th seeded Spain. against England we lost 1 - 3. Against Spain we again fielded our top line-up and almost tied the match before losing 1.5 - 2.5, a loss. But considering the rating differences, an excellent result. Tomorrow we are up against the dominican republic, seeded 83rd.

Zhang was being subjected to the Spanish torture, as the Ruy Lopez is nicknamed, by Spainish number one Francisco Vallejo Pons. But Zhang's thematic 18 ... d5 broke free and after that the game was pretty much equal the rest of the way.

Goh on the white side of a Sicilian was doing alright until he miscalculated the complications resulting from 30 ... d5! when the smoke cleared white was quite lost.

Playing aggressively with black, Gong achieved approximate equality with a sacrificial attack and veteran GM Miquel Illescas sacrificed a pawn to slow her down. However, Gong was unable to hold on to the pawn and the game was drawn. gong has kindly annotated her game below.

Tin had a slight advantage as white and also won a pawn. Like Gong, he could not hold on. After that, black had a minimal edge but not enough to win.

Download Game: Illescas Cordoba vs Gong

updated 05 Aug 2014

Report by Team Manager, IM Leslie Leow:

Users are invited to follow the progess of the Singapore team:

Bold names denote white.

Round 1 on 2014/08/02

Singapore - Papua New Guinea 4:0
IM Goh, Wei Ming Kevin 2433 FM Fancy, Stuart 2035 1 - 0
WIM Gong, Qianyun 2328 FM Jones, Rupert 1899 1 - 0
FM Tin, Jingyao 2251 Skehan, Craig 0 1 - 0
Lee, Qing Aun 1893 Marko, Helmut Jr 0 1 - 0

With 68th seeded Singapore opening the campaign against 155th seeded.

Papua new guinea, the decision to rest our top player paid off nicely. This allowed Gong, Tin and Lee to experience their first taste of Olympiad battle against lower rated opposition. our players encountered some resistance but each person was able to win his or her game without maximum exertion. 

Round 2 on 2014/08/03

Singapore - England 1:3
GM Zhang, Zhong 2611 GM Jones, Gawain C B 2665 ½ - ½
IM Goh, Wei Ming Kevin 2433 GM Short, Nigel D 2665 ½ - ½
WIM Gong, Qianyun 2328 GM Howell, David W L 2650 0 - 1
FM Tin, Jingyao 2251 GM Sadler, Matthew D 2653 0 - 1

The reward for the Round 1 triumph was the challenge of facing the mighty 10th seeded England. 

On top board, neither Zhang nor Jones noticed that white could have gained some advantage with 10. c3 with the intention of following up with Nb5 later. After that black developed some initiative but not enough to win.

On 2nd board, Short had a major space advantage against Goh but overlooked black's 18 ... Nc5 easing black's space problem. Short continued to play aggressively, but might have overplayed his hand. Had Goh followed up with 33 ... Bxa4 while in some time trouble. He could have had the former world number two on the ropes. Instead the game petered out into a draw by perpetual check.

Playing white, Gong started the game well but was gradually outplayed by David Wei Liang Howell, whose mother comes from Singapore. 

14-year old Tin was not sufficiently prepared for sadler's king's indian attack and paid the price of inexperience.

Round 3 on 2014/08/04

Barbados - Singapore 0 : 4
IM Warner, Delisle 2243 GM Zhang, Zhong 2611 0 - 1
FM Husbands, Orlando 2118 WIM Gong, Qianyun 2328 0 - 1
IM Denny, Kevin 2261 FM Tin, Jingyao 2251 0 - 1
FM Del Castilho, Martyn 2221 Lee, Qing Aun 1893 0 - 1

Our next opponent was Barbados, seeded 106.

Warner built up a sizable advantage with white against Zhang. But instead of following up aggressively he played with little ambition, allowing a roughly equal endgame. Zhang continued to probe for weaknesses and gradually seized the initiative and eventually the game.

Gong emerged from the opening with a slight edge, then stepped up the pressure and generated a winning attack on the black king.

On 3rd board, Tin was roughly equal for much of the game. After a while, white lost his way in the piece manoeuvres.

13-year old Lee was not familiar with the sicilian variation chosen by black and spent 38 minutes calculating the intriguing sacrifice 10 Bxb5!. This led to an unclear position. after some inaccuracies on both sides, Lee was able to win the game. Lee kindly annotated the game below.

Download Game: Qing Aun vs Martyn Del Castilho

[1] http://chess-results.com/tnr140380.aspx?lan=1&art=20&fed=SIN&flag=30&wi=821 
[2] https://chess24.com/en/olympiad2014/live 

updated 22 Jul 2014

The Singapore Chess Federation is pleased to announce that the following players will be representing Singapore at the 41st World Chess Olympiad 2014:

  1. GM Zhang Zhong
  2. IM Goh Weiming
  3. WIM Gong Qianyun
  4. FM Tin Jingyao
  5. Lee Qing Aun

The 41st World Chess Olympiad 2014 will be held at Tormso, Norway from 01 Aug to 15 Aug 2014.

Interested participants are to submit their names for selection to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  by 25 May 2014

All participants are expected to have read and understood the Rules & Regulations of above stated event. 

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