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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 Eight, 4th November 2000. After a day-off it was logical to see some hard-fought matches and this was indeed the case in round 7. Germany drew 2-2 against Slovakia and remained in the lead, as Russia also drew against Israel (all games drawn, but Svidler missed a win against Smirin). Hungary drew against Ukraine, while Armenia beat Denmark 3-1. Tough Danes finally lost some games and now only Germany has not lost a single game. There were some big results in this round, for example Switzerland crashed Chile 4-0. Netherlands beat Georgia 31/2-1/2, which a big surprise as Netherlands is seeded 9th, while Georgia is seeded 10th. Philippines won 21/2-11/2 against China, while England only drew against Croatia. USA also drew - against Yugoslavia: on board 1 Seirawan beat Damljanovic, but Nick de Firmian lost to Kovacevic. Nick is not having a good tournament here...

So, before round 8 Germany is leading on 201/2 points. Russia is in the second place with 191/2, while Netherlands, Armenia, Switzerland and Slovakia have 19 points. England and USA are on 171/2 points (equal 12th place).

Irish men's team had a bad day, as we lost 1-3 to Azerbaijan. I drew with Black against a young IM, rated 2510. I stood slightly worse in the game, but gradually solved my problems. In the end I was a bit better, but unfortunately it was not enough. Irish women's team did very well today, winning 21/2-1/2 against Zambia. As in round 6 they won 3-0, our ladies have improved their standing dramatically.

Day Nine, 5th November 2000. Another bad day for our men's team as we lost 1-3 to United Arab Emirates - a team, which is seeded below us. I had a big advantage after my opponent played the opening horribly, but when I made some mistakes, he started to play with a lot of energy. I had to defend most of the game, but held my position. So far my result is OK - I've played 6 games against average opposition of 2523 and scored 4 points, which equals to 2640 rating performance.

Our ladies had another good day, beating Iraq 2-1. They are now playing really well and I hope that they will keep winning.

On the top tables Germany was lucky against Netherlands and won 3-1. But luck may have a lot to do with the fact that Germany has a very good team spirit. So far in this respect they look better than any other team. Russia also won 3-1 - against Slovakia. Russians quickly drew on boards 1 and 3 with Black and scored with White (Morozevich and Sakaev won). Israel drew against Hungary, England drew against Poland, while USA beat Brazil 3-1. Armenia beat Switzerland 21/2-11/2, while Bulgaria crashed Croatia 31/2-1/2. Ukraine scored an even bigger victory against Philippines: 4-0, which elevated them very close to the leaders.

The standing before round 9 is: 1. Germany - 231/2; 2. Russia - 221/2; 3. Ukraine - 22. The key matches tomorrow are: Germany-Ukraine, Bulgaria-Russia, Armenia-Spain, Romania-Switzerland and USA-Israel. England plays against Iceland.

There were no organising problems in the past few days. The quality of the bulletin improved dramatically, as we now have a complete list of all players (with titles and ratings). I heard that some players have problems with stomach, some with a moderate flu, but this sort of thing can be expected at such a big event.

More news from Istanbul tomorrow - stay tuned!

All text Copyright Alexander Baburin unless otherwise noted