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Istanbul Diary

Daily report by GM Alexander Baburin from Turkey

Day 1  Day 2 & 3  Day 4 Day 5
Day 6 & 7 Day 8 & 9 Day 10 Day 11 
Day 12 Day 13 & 14 Day 15

Day Four, 31st October 2000. After 4 rounds at the men's Olympiad Germany and Israel are in the lead. Germans beat Hungary 3-1, winning on boards 3 and 4 (Lutz-Polgar 1-0; Portisch-Luther 0-1). Israel beat Cuba with the same score. Russia managed the same result against France although it looked that the score could be even higher as Khalifman failed to convert his considerable advantage. In the match Netherlands-England all games were drawn. Tomorrow Germany will play Israel, while Russia meats with Brazil. Although the Brazilians will be the underdogs in this match, this young team is capable of delivering surprises, as earlier they crashed a strong team from Slovakia. In the women's event Georgia beat Russia 2-, which is a great result for the Georgian team.

Both Irish teams had a pretty miserable day: our ladies lost -2 to New Zealand, while our men's team lost -3 to Yugoslavia. After drawing with Byelorussia we hoped to get a good result in this match too, but it was not to be. I drew against GM Damljanovic in a game where I was under some pressure at some point. In the end my opponent made a serious error, but unfortunately I immediately returned the favour...

Tomorrow we will play against our neighbours - Wales, while our women's team will meet with Morocco.

Irish Women's TeamThe Irish Women's Team (Photo courtesy Mark Orr.)

Today I received the first two bulletins for the Olympiad. Though they were much delayed, I was not impressed with the output: there are no photos in them and mistakes are numerous. For example, consider the following game:

1 e4 e5 2 b4!  White obviously wants to gain time after 2...Bxb4?? 3 c3, but Black is alert and comes with a brilliant counter-attack:

2...a5!! 3 c3   Seeing that White is stubborn and just won't make any concessions on the queenside, Black decides to attack on the other wing:

3...h5!?   This is an interesting idea, but should Black have foreseen White's reply, he probably would have second thoughts about playing this aggressively. White called his bluff:

4 g4!! (See diagram at right.)

White eventually won in this game, which showed how gambits should be played. Alas, the rest of this wonderful encounter is missing. I assume that Black did not resign on move 4, although, being in his shoes, I might have done just that! Do not blame the players (White is a GM!) - this entertaining game was produced courtesy of those wonderful electronic boards. To please them we must not adjust pieces before the game and for them we have to restart our games occasionally. Looking at the example above, I am terrified even to think what kind of game they will produce, should somebody touch his or her pieces before the game starts! :-) These boards are bringing some fresh ideas in the opening. For example: 1 c4 e5 2 Nc3 d5!! 3 Nxd5 Nf6 4 Nxf6+, but despite Black's innovative play, she lost. But who said that chess should be fair?! By the way, if you try any of these ideas in your local club and they do not work, don't even think of suing me. I had little to do with this report - it was written by an electronic board connected to my PC!

More to follow tomorrow - stay tuned!

All text Copyright Alexander Baburin unless otherwise noted