Saturday, September 18, 2010

Malaysian Olympiad Team departs

The Malaysian team will leave for the 39th Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk today. Khanty-Mansiysk is a town deep in Siberia, Russia.

Teams should arrive by Sunday, 19th September. The next day is the opening ceremony followed by the start of the first round on Tuesday , 21st September. The eleven round tournament ends on 3rd October and the team is scheduled to arrive back home on the 5th October.

My guess for the board order is Mas, Mok Tze Meng, Peter Long, Tan Khai Boon and Gregory Lau in that order. The team manager is Hamid Majid. I suspect Hamid will hand over manager responsibilities to Greg once they touch down in Khanty-Mansiysk and Greg will play less than three games.

I am still in the dark as to how this team was selected and who can qualify to manage the team despite MCF proudly pronouncing to the whole country that they have finally formed a selection committee as well as laid down guidelines on how selections are made for important tournaments such as the olympiad.

Some interesting facts:

India will be competing without the services of World Champion Anand in the men and Honeru Humpy for the ladies. India can have an outside chance at a medal with Anand onboard. Anand's last olympiad was Turin 2006. He had a shock defeat to Canada's Pascal Charbonnneau in the last round.
For this event, GM Sasikiran, GM Harikrishna, GM Ganguly, GM Gopal, and IM Adhiban will carry the Indian national flag.

Philippines have dropped GM Antonio proving that their chess politics is even stronger than Malaysia. Apparently the reason he was dropped was for missing the Pitchay and Campomanes events in his home country. Philippines line-up is GMs Wesley So, John Paul Gomez, Darwin Laylo and the very experienced Eugene Torre.The latter makes a welcome return to the Philippine player's list after missing out in Dresden 2008. Nevertheless he was present  in Dresden as team captain. Not many will remember that Eugene Torre once qualified for the quarter-finals of the Candidate stage - when there was still such a thing as Candidate matches - an amazing achievement in 1983, losing to Zoltan Ribli.

I will miss watching Morozevic's games as he has not been included in Russia's line-up. Let's hope there will be some live games telecast.


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