SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
159 men and 119 women teams have registered for the Chess Olympiad 2010 that starts in just a few days in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia. A total of 1380 player will compete in the two sections for the medals of the top team event in chess. The statistics are impressive – 772 titled players will be present, out of them 247 GMs, 63 WGMs, 160 IMs, 87 WIMs, 81 FMs, and 80 WFMs.
As well, the FIDE Congress will take place at the same time, during which the FIDE president will be elected. Former world champion Anatoly Karpov is running against incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
I will be covering the election here on this blog, providing my usual insight and humour into the backroom shennanigans of world chess politics. As well, I will be offering some analysis of key games and matches as the top teams of the Olympiad fight for the medals. If you are interested in following the progress of the 2 Toronto teams , then be sure to check out Mark Bluvshtein’s great blog: http://www.markbluvshtein.wordpress.com/ for all of the details. Mark will be blogging daily.
SOME TEAMS ARE MORE
LUCKY EQUAL THAN OTHERS
The number 1 favourite of the Olympiad is , ofcourse–no surprises here, the Russian team. (Infact, it should be plural, since Russia has entered 3 teams!) Curiously, however, it has been a number of Olympiads since this juggernaut actually won! Armenia and the Ukraine have spoiled their party in the recent past! No doubt Russia intends to change things this time! There principal team is very impressive: Kramnik, Grischuk, Karajakin, Svidler and Malakhov.
The ‘B’-team is equally impressive: Morozevich,Tomashevsky, Vitiugov, Alekseev and Nepomniatchi.The “local” Russian team is: Jakovenko, Rublevsky, Inarkiev, Pridorozhni and Kabanov .Finally, the women team is also a favourite to win their division: Kosteniuk, the 2-Kosintseva sisters, Pogonina and Galliamova
But what is even more impressive are the incentives that the Russian government has offered to the team: each member will receive 50,000 dollars should the gold medal be won. Or if only a silver is won, then the amount is reduced to 25,000 dollars. A bronze is worth 15,000 dollars.
For the women team, the incentives are somewhat less: 25k, 12k, and 8k for gold, silver and bronze respectively.
In addition, each member of the team has signed a contract stipulating how much he/she will receive as honorarium, expenses, bonus, etc. A very serious undertaking!
Shulman, Nakamura, Kamsky and Onischuk
The USCF (united states chess federation) has its priorities straight: the advancement of chess in America can not be successful without the promotion and the cooperation of the best American players. As a result, a lot of money is pumped into the US championship to attract the strongest tournament possible and a lot of effort is put into promoting the championship in the media and on the internet. The same thing applies to the US national team. Witness the above glitzy-photo taken from the USCF homepage.
The results have been enormous for US chess: it is not difficult to find sponsors to the US’ most prestigious championships (the women championship had a first prize of 15,000 dollars!). The federation is one of the largest in the world. And the game of chess is much more respected in the US today than in any time since the Fischer boom of the 1970’s.
On top of this, the US team is also one of the teams vying for a medal in this Olympiad. I am not sure of the financial conditions offered to the players, but they are quite good compared to most European teams.
NAMIBIA PROUD TO PARTICIPATE!
The continent of Africa has seen the level of chess organization grow substantially in the past 20 years. While most countries do not have much government support for the game, it is increasingly seen as important to participate at the Olympiad, which brings together the entire chess world under one roof. This year the Namibia chess federation has made enormous efforts to put together a team well representative of its nation.
I know what you are thinking: Toronto is a city, not a country. But you should explain that to the Selection Committee that the CFC chose to pick this year’s team! In anycase, the less said about this year’s Canadian participation, the better! (To spare the CFC embarrassment)
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS