At the start of the Engineering Construction Incorporated (ECI) chess competition two Saturdays ago, this column enquired whether the tournament should be considered the elimination one for the selection of players for 2016 Chess Olympiad. President of the Guyana Chess Federation (GCF) Irshad Mohammed responded and noted that the ECI, in addition to other tournaments, would be used as the determining factor to field a men and women’s Olympiad team. The selection of players would be based on the consistency of results. The response was difficult to understand and manifestly incomprehensible.
One would have imagined that a much publicized chess competition would have been held to determine the participants. Much publicized’ because the ECI competition was sprung as a surprise on players. It was the Thursday prior to the Saturday commencement of the ECI chess competition that some players were notified. Therefore, it stands to reason, the ECI competition cannot be used as a yardstick to select our Olympiad personnel. In chess, choosing the participants for the Olympiad is vital.
If we cannot reach the level of the World Chess Championship, and no Caribbean nation with the exception of Cuba has been able to achieve that distinction, then the most influential competition is the chess Olympiad. We should be immensely careful, therefore, who, and how, we choose. For example, some of the nation’s prolific players, either were not aware of the ECI tournament, or could not play owing to other commitments. Loris Nathoo, Kriskal Persaud, Glenford Corlette, Alexander Duncan, all among the best in Guyana, did not participate. An elimination competition should pit the best against the best. Only in this manner can we progress.
It is still not clear how the 2014 Olympiad team was chosen. There was no elimination tournament. A relatively unknown chess player appeared on the Guyana Olympiad team; the nation’s number one chess player was prevented from travelling and one of the nation’s most capable players was hand-picked to function as a chess coach. In the meantime, news of the next annual general meeting continues to be scarce.
At the ECI tournament, Anthony Drayton, FIDE Candidate Chess Master, is playing well. He has amassed the maximum three points from his three games. In the second positions are Taffin Khan and Meusa. Today, the final games would be contested.
The following games were played at the Norway Chess Tournament in Stavanger and feature world champion Magnus Carlsen, Kramnik, La Grave, Giri, Aronian and Harikrishna. The first round has been completed. The tournament ends on April 29.
White: Magnus Carlsen
Black: Pentala Harikrishna
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Nbd2 Bb4 6.Qa4 c5 7.a3 Bxd2+ 8.Bxd2 O-O 9.dxc5 bxc5 10.Bg2 Qb6 11.O-O Nc6 12.Be3 Rfc8 13.Rfd1 d5 14.cxd5 exd5 15.Bxc5 Qa5 16.Qc2 Bxe2 17.Qxe2 Qxc5 18.Rac1 Qb6 19.b4 h6 20.Qe3 Qb7 21.Bh3 Re8 22.Qc3 Ne7 23.Nd4 Ne4 24.Qc7 Qa6 25.f3 Ng5 26.Bd7 Red8 27.h4 Nxf3+ 28.Nxf3 Qxa3 29.Kg2 Qb2+ 30.Rd2 Qxb4 31.Re1 a5 32.Rde2 Ng6 33.h5 Nh8 34.Bf5 a4 35.Ne5 Qd6 36.Qc2 Re8 37.Bh7+ Kf8 38.Qf5 Re7 39.Bg6 Kg8 40.Nxf7 Rxf7 41.Bxf7+ 1-0.
White: Vladimir Kramnik
Black: Nils Grandelius
1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 d5 3. e3 e6 4. c3 c5 5. Nd2 Nc6 6. Bd3 Bd6 7. Bxd6 Qxd6 8. f4 cxd4 9. cxd4 O-O 10. a3 Ne7 11. Ngf3 Qb6 12. Qb3 Qxb3 13. Nxb3 b6 14. Rc1 Bd7 15. Ke2 Nc8 16. Ne5 Ba4 17. Nd2 Nd6 18. b3 Bb5 19. Bxb5 Nxb5 20. a4 Nd6 21. Rc6 Rfd8 22. Ra1 Nfe8 23. a5 f6 24. axb6 axb6 25. Rxa8 Rxa8 26. Nd7 b5 27. Nc5 Kf7 28. e4 dxe4 29. Ndxe4 Nxe4 30. Nxe4 Ra2+ 31. Kf3 Rb2 32. Nc5 g5 33. Rb6 gxf4 34. Rb7+ Kg6 35. Nxe6 Kf5 36. Nc5 Rc2 37. Ne4 Nc7 38. Rb6 Nd5 39. Rd6 1-0.
White: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Black: Li Chao
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be7 7. Be3 Nc6 8. Qd2 Be6 9. O-O-O Qd7 10. b3 a6 11. h3 h5 12. Be2 O-O-O 13. Rhe1 Kb8 14. Kb2 d5 15. Nd4 Bf6 16. f4 g6 17. Bf3 Rhe8 18. Nxc6+ Qxc6 19. Bd4 Bh4 20. Bf2 Bf6 21. Bd4 Bh4 22. Bf2 Bf6 23. g4 hxg4 24. hxg4 d4 25. Bxc6 dxc3+ 26. Qxc3 Bxc3+ 27. Kxc3 bxc6 28. g5 Rxd1 29. Rxd1 Bf5 30. Bd4 Re2 31. Rd2 Rxd2 32. Kxd2 Kc8 33. c4 Bb1 34. Kc1 Be4 35. Kd2 Bb1 36. Kc1 Be4 37. Kd2 Bb1 1/2-1/2.
White: Anish Giri
Black: Pavel Eljanov
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. c3 O-O 7. Re1 a5 8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 g5 10. Bg3 Ba7 11. Na3 Bg4 12. h3 Bh5 13. Nc2 Bg6 14. Bh2 Nh5 15. d4 Nf6 16. dxe5 Nxe4 17. Ne3 Nxe5 18. Nxe5 dxe5 19. Ng4 h5 20. Rxe4 Bxe4 21. Qxd8 Rfxd8 22. Nf6+ Kg7 23. Nxe4 f6 24. g4 h4 25. a4 c6 26. Kf1 Kg6 27. Ke2 Rab8 28. Be6 Kg7 29. f3 Re8 30. Bc4 Red8 31. Bd3 Kf7 32. Nd2 Ke7 33. Nc4 Rd5 34. Be4 Rc5 35. Nd2 b5 36. Bg1 1-0.