NICK BAR­NETT CHESS

Saturday Star - - L I F E S T Y L E -

THE RISE (and rise!) of China is the theme of the last few years on the world Chess stage.

Its gen­e­sis was in 1974 at a meet­ing which aimed to raise the tech­ni­cal level of chess in Asia in order to reach the high­est lev­els. The plan came to be known in Asian chess cir­cles as the “Big Dragon Project” and the man be­hind it was Dato Tan Chin Nam, a wealthy Malaysian busi­ness­man. He was in­stru­men­tal in gain­ing China en­trance into FIDE in 1976 and has since backed Asian and Chi­nese chess in par­tic­u­lar fi­nan­cially. The plan was for the Chi­nese to reach world-class sta­tus by the end of the cen­tury and China’s win on the 5th Oc­to­ber at the 185-na­tion chess Olympiad in Ba­tumi was the sweet re­sult!

It might have been oth­er­wise: lead­ing scores af­ter 11 rounds were China, USA and Rus­sia all at 18/22 match points, Poland and Eng­land at 17. A nail-bit­ing set of of tie-breaks clinched the vic­tory. Even though Hou Yi­fan did not play, China also won the women’s Olympiad ahead of Ukraine and Ge­or­gia.

China’s re­sult was achieved de­spite Wei Yi scored only 50%. Ding Liren, the top board and world No 4, played the en­tire Olympiad on crutches as he had still not fully re­cov­ered from break­ing his hip in a cy­cle ac­ci­dent dur­ing the Sta­vanger tour­na­ment at the end of May. De­spite this hand­i­cap he to­talled 5.5/8 and is now on an un­beaten run of 88 con­sec­u­tive games. Yu Yangyi, scored 7/11, and Bu Xiangzhi with 7.5/10. In the fi­nal gold medal round against the Amer­i­cans, China played it can­nily, keep­ing all four po­si­tions level and confident in their su­pe­rior tie-break. Where to from here?

FIDE ELEC­TION

Af­ter months of elec­tion­eer­ing, Arkady Dvorkovich fi­nally de­feated the pre­vi­ous FIDE head Ge­or­gios Makropou­los by 103 votes to 78. Af­ter with­draw­ing as a can­di­date Nigel Short en­dorsed Dvorkovich and was sub­se­quently ap­pointed as Vice Pres­i­dent.

Dvorkovich a former deputy prime min­is­ter, earned his badges as the chief or­gan­iser of this sum­mer’s Fifa World Cup, and in 2014 or­gan­ised the Carlsen v Vishy Anand chess world ti­tle match in Sochi.

Dvorkovich promised a larger bud­get, more out­side spon­sors, and a trans­par­ent and ef­fi­cient ad­min­is­tra­tion. His crit­ics will be ready to pounce, but many will hope that he can sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove Fide’s cur­rent low stand­ing.

SOUTH AFRICA

We came back with heads held high, hav­ing im­proved our Olympiad rank­ing from a start­ing place of 84 to 70. In the Open sec­tion Calvin Klaasen im­proved his rat­ing from 2262 to 2407 and in the Women’s sec­tion Jesse Fe­bru­ary ad­vanced from 1933 to 2040. Denise Bouah also had a good tour­na­ment, start­ing at 1780 and end­ing at 1906. For com­ment or news please write to thechess­nik@ gmail.com

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.