Uzbekistan win Chennai Olympiad

With Russia prevented from participating and China choosing not to, there were probably quite a few teams that quietly fancied their chances of finishing among the medals in the recent chess Olympiad in Chennai, India. I’m not sure how many people expected Uzbekistan, who started as 14th seeds, to win the Open event, but that they did, sealing the gold medals with a last round victory over the Netherlands. 12th seeded Armenia finished in second place. It is customary in Olympiads that the host country can field a second team and in fact India fielded three teams and India 2, which was made up of junior players, took the bronze medal. It shows the strength in depth of Indian chess that their second team went close to winning the event.

The main story of the Irish team was Conor Murphys spectacular performance on board 2. He scored six points from his first six games (including wins in successive rounds over two 2600+ players) and 7.5 from 9 overall, to make a GM norm and was among the best performing players on board two in the Open. Irish champion Tarun Kanyamarala also gained some rating points scoring 6.5 from 10 while the other players, Alexander Baburin, Tom O’Gorman and Mark Heidenfeld held their own more or less. The Irish team were seeded 59th in the Open and finished in 60th place.

The womens event went along more predictable lines than the open as the top 3 seeds all finished in the medals. The second seeds Ukraine won the event, with a traditional power house of womens chess Georgia finishing second and India finishing in third. Alice O’Gorman was top scorer on the Irish womens team finishing on 7 points from 9 on board two. The team were initially seeded 51st and finished in 59th place.


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