Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Off Olympus: Be Sure Not to Miss the Big Deal

Yesterday The 40th 2012 World Chess Olympiad started, in Istanbul Turkey.  In case you didn't know, this gigantic event occurs every two years, and is made all the more special this particular time round, since the host country's chess federation is super strong.

Believe me, I have tried to find out how many persons are in it, how many members they have, and boy, have I ever tried, but whatever it is, is gigantic.  Anecdotally this is put at 300,000, but whether it is, 190k, 305k, the nation has scholastic programs for chess in school put in place, and the message is clear.

Short and sweet--of the top 100 FIDE rated chess players in the world (2837 to 2652 ELO), a full 67 of them are participating (be sure to page down, for hidden table).  This is a team event, country by country, Russia versus France, Germany versus China, etc.  Four persons per team play, with a fifth in reserve, which can rotate in and out to give members well timed rest.

I don't want to get stuck on saying this is the single largest concentration of chess firepower that one can see, a super concentrated, twenty ounce grass fed protean monster of beef, but is certainly among the very fewest, most selective handful of heavy weight competitions.

The other big event is, of course, the FIDE Grandprix, when it was 128 games, pairing down to 64, 32, etc.  But that event quickly converges the data, reducing the competitors, whereas most if not all of the strong players go on to play the 11 round swiss format tournament.

Thus, by rounds three or four, you can pretty much count on one heavyweight playing another.  Proof of the pudding, Russia's team is so utterly strong, that Dmitry Jakovenko at fifth board merely ranks 20th among the 774 participants (156 teams, with Congo duly last), weighing in at a shamefully ridiculous 25th in the world.  Pugilistic combust.

And before I go, as large as this is, it is not the largest team tournament in the world.  I know, because I was in it, in Febuary of this year, which I wrote about in, in April, in my essay 'What Goes Around Comes Around:A Grandmaster Morality Tale'.


Post a Comment

<< Home