Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Australian Olympiad Team

The selection has been made and yours truly is in the team! Yay!

1 Smerdon 2512
2 Johansen 2433
3 Ly 2386
4 Wohl 2412
5 Solomon 2386

Our highest rated player, Zhao, was selected on top board but had to withdraw as he couldn't get time off Uni. The team is almost in rating order. The only exception is Moulthun Ly who was picked above his rating. This was a good decision by the selectors in my opinion. Young and talented players should be encouraged even if they have some bad results occasionally.

Lower down there was a strange decision. IM Gary Lane was picked last in 10th place despite being 4th on rating! I am not privy to all the information available to the selectors , however checking his ratings card I notice Gary has been active and in good form gaining a massive 25 points in his last two tournaments, the Doeberl Cup and the Sydney international, results the selectors were undoubtedly aware of. Curious.

 The Ladies team is

1 Caoili 2225
2 Berezina 2190
3 Guo 2005
4 Yu 2007
5 Nguyen 2105

Here we have a strange decision. WIM Bilijana Dekic has been selected in 6th spot despite out-rating the three players above her by as much as 100 elo points! I have heard that the Women's team selection has been challenged but cannot find verification online.

I have not posted any games recently mainly because I haven't played any. The reason is that I promised a friend I wouldn't. The previous two Olympiads I was left out of the team due to bad play immediately prior to the selection process.  My friend, who shall remain nameless told me that I will make the team if I don't play and he would really like me to come to Istanbul so made me promise not to play. It worked!

On a completely unrelated topic, a fascinating match took place last week between the second and third rated players in the World, Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik.Lev won the first game, Vlad the fourth and the rest were hard fought interesting draws. According to the match rules, if a game finishes early a rapid game would be played. This occurred only once but what a game!! Blacks play falls into the "don't try this at home" category. First g5, then 0-0, then h5, h4. Do yourself a favour and play through it.

Finally I would like to mention the Olympiad Appeal. Australia is one of the very few countries in the World that does not send it's representatives to the Chess Olympics. We have to pay the Airfare ourselves. Thankfully the Australian Chess Community helps offset some of the expense. The target is $17,280 and so far $6,831 has been generously donated. If you would like to help please go to http://www.acfappeal.aunz.org/   Your donations are listed on the site.

To the Australian Government I would like to say, thanks, for NOTHING!


  1. Congrats, Alex! Play well & have fun!
    p.s. I made a donation of $47 in memory of Greg.

  2. It is true it seems, Americans are the most generous people when it comes to donating. On behalf of the Aussie teams, thanks.

    1. Hopefully it's not gauche of me to have announced the gift; perhaps my nationality makes the occasional socially awkward act inevitable. :) In any case, cheers!

  3. Not at all Ruth, encouraging others I would say. Perhaps personal generosity is a necessary attribute for a society without universal healthcare, minimal public transport.....oh sorry, lefty in me coming out. Shut up me!

  4. Hey, it's Biljana, not: Bilijana!

    1. Sorry Biljana, I must have been tired :-) See you in Istanbul!

  5. Hey Aleks,


    These days I'm an academic and (among others) use historical methods in my research - so I can't resist asking if you've learned from history ...

    Here's a little lesson from the NZ Champs in Wanganui about ten years ago:

    I've learned not to nervously offer draws against highly rated players - especially not to Australian IM's who, if conceding draws, play down to two kings.

    My question is: have you learned to watch out for 2000-ish patzers who play dead but can set nasty little traps?!

    Cheers, Tony

  6. Hi Tony,

    I have forgotten most of the lessons I have learnt unfortunately. What remains is pleasant memories of Wanganui and NZ in general. I know not of a more beautiful country.

    I do remember one annoying loss :-) but that is the price one has to pay if one wants a high percentage against 2000 players. But you are right, am still not paranoid enough.