Monday, November 10, 2008

NZ's First Olympiad

New Zealand's first Olympiad was in 1970. I am not a history buff so if I am wrong feel free to correct me. New Zealand finished first in group E, the team consisted of R.Wade, B. Anderson, G. Kerr, E. Green, O. Sarapu. Sarapu won the NZ Championship in 1969/70.

19th Chess Olympiad information
from Wikipedia, the link is:

The 19th Chess Olympiad, comprising an open team tournament and the Annual Congress of the Fédération Internationale des Échecs, took place between September 5 and September 27, 1970, in the small town of Siegen, Germany.

Tournament report
Held at the Siegerland Hall venue, a total of 64 nations applied to enter the tournament. Unfortunately, space constraints and FIDE 's intended model format meant that only 60 could be accommodated. Rather too conveniently it was then found that 4 teams were to have their applications rejected on the grounds that they had missed the deadline or some such technicality.
The tournament was run as a 2-stage round-robin. Six preliminary Groups determined the composition of five Finals Groups, denoted A to E, the strongest qualifiers ending up as Group A and so on. There were several unsatisfactory aspects of this system however and they manifested themselves in a variety of ways.
Firstly, the pressure was raised to fever pitch at a very early stage in the proceedings. A poor result in the prelims would condemn a team to a low Group. All this proved too much for England's top player, Jonathan Penrose, who in his crucial final prelims match, blundered a piece and fainted from the shock. A nervous player at the best of times, he was retired from the rest of the contest on medical grounds and England ended up adrift in Group C, which they won by a hefty margin.
The Sunday Times reported instances of cheating. For example, in the Indonesia vs. Switzerland prelims match, a player moved his queen next to the opponent's king with check. KxQ was forced and so the player made the move for his opponent, declaring stalemate and shaking hands all in one movement. His dazed opponent ended up signing the scoresheet, before recovering his wits and realising (too late) that it wasn't stalemate at all.
It was possible for strong teams, sitting comfortably in favourable qualification spots, to not try as hard as they might have in other circumstances. Such actions undoubtedly influenced the qualification process below them and as a deliberate ploy, could have assisted in relegating a strong rival to a lower Group.
Then there was the whole question of apartheid. Albania decided to forfeit their game against South Africa as a protest against racial segregation and so lost 4-0. Naturally, this meant that the whole group dynamic was lost and the resulting placings, somewhat distorted. There were some teams and a small number of strong players who did not compete at all.
The teams competed for the Hamilton-Russell Cup. Matches were scored by game points, with match points being used in the event of a tie-break. The Chief Referee was International Arbiter (IA) Harry de Graaf. 360 players took part, including 35 grandmasters and 66 international masters.
As was customary, A FIDE congress was held during the Olympiad and the major news concerned the retirement of President Folke Rogard after 21 years of service. He was to be replaced by former World Champion Max Euwe and this appeared to be a universally popular decision. Another important issue was the presentation of a proposed new system for the award of FIDE Grandmaster and International Master titles; the congress adopted in full the report submitted by a committee comprising Svetozar Gligoric, Professor Arpad Elo and the Vice President, Mr Dorazil.
The tournament was very well attended by the public, particularly on the day that Boris Spassky played Bobby Fischer, with an estimated 3000 spectators turning up ( - Spassky won).

Individual performances
World Champion Boris Spassky took the best score on board one (79.17%) and won a suit as a prize. Bobby Fischer finished a close second with 76.9% and Bent Larsen a close third with 76.5%.
Tigran Petrosian extended his amazing run of unbeaten Olympiad games to 90 (won 58, drawn 32).
Viktor Korchnoi lost only one game - as a result of oversleeping he defaulted to the Spaniard, Diez del Corral. There was no satisfactory explanation as to why team captain Paul Keres or one of Korchnoi's team-mates could not have telephoned his room when noticing he was a few minutes late.
Oscar Panno drew a record 15 games; however this may be partially explained by his accommodation. Siegen is a small place and many competitors were housed in the surrounding area. When Korchnoi asked Panno where he was living, his reply was "in a pure field".

Final Groups B-E
Of the remaining Final Groups, the top 3 finishers were as follows;
Group B ... 1st Israel 2nd Poland 3rd Australia.
Group C ... 1st England 2nd Philippines 3rd Iceland.
Group D ... 1st Switzerland 2nd Albania 3rd Peru.
Group E ... 1st New Zealand 2nd Rhodesia 3rd Turkey.


Anonymous said...

The Olympiad Dresden has 152 registered nations, over 275 teams.

As for sporting events, the Dresden Chess Olympiad is second only to the Summer Olympics with the most participating nations worldwide.

Anonymous said...

will Kiwi Chess be covering the Olympaid ?