A Quick Olympics Update: Four Perfect Scores After Four Rounds
Friday, August 31, 2012 at 11:52PM
Dennis Monokroussos in 2012 Chess Olympiad

The first round of the 2012 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul was all about blowouts. Some elite GMs were nicked for draws and, on rare occasions, for the full point. But it didn't matter at the team level: the heavy favorites won heavily.

In round two grandmasters started to meet on a regular basis, but for the top teams this still wasn't too big a problem. Players rated 2750 and 2500 may both be grandmasters, but it doesn't mean they're peers, and the top teams continued to roll.

In round three the matches tightened up a bit, and there were some first signs of drama. Ukraine was in big trouble against Israel, for instance, but with some tenacity on their part and a bit of luck as well in the form of an unforced Israeli blunder allowed the favored Ukranians to escape with a 2.5-1.5 victory.

Finally, round 4 saw some elite teams start to face off on a more regular basis; as a result, the number of perfect scores has already fallen to four as several top teams drew. The U.S.A. split 2-2 with an Anand-less Indian team, as Nakamura beat Sasikiran in impressive style on the white side of a Scotch, but Kamsky lost on board two to Harikrishna and the other games were drawn. England and France drew all their games, and the Azerbaijan-Germany match was drawn as well. The four teams that have won all their matches so far are Russia (who beat China by an impressive 3-1 margin and could have made it 3.5/4 if Kramnik had converted a winning position against Wang Hao [Kramnik also failed to convert a winning rook ending against Shirov in round 3]), Armenia (who struggled to beat the Philippines), Ukraine (they beat Poland 3-1) and Hungary (also 3-1 winners, over Slovakia).

In round 5 those teams will face off with Armenia taking on Ukraine and Hungary challenging the top-seeded Russians. Eleven teams are a point behind. (They're using 2-1-0 scoring, so the leaders have eight points, the teams that have won three and drawn one match have seven, and so on.)

Article originally appeared on The Chess Mind (http://www.thechessmind.net/).
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