Wednesday, 19 September 2012

My thoughts on the Olympiad - Part 1

The first part of this article would be purely my analysis of my own games which I think were all pretty interesting both from the theoretical and practical perspectives. Interestingly, I scored 4/4 with Black and lost my only game with White (in a rather lame manner) which is both worrying and exhilarating at the same time. I believe one of the hallmarks of being a GM is that he should be extremely solid with the White pieces and for me, I have been losing far too many games with White!

 I was also pleasantly surprised by the huge amount of interest in the Olympiad from a large number of my chess friends. The timing certainly helped (games were broadcast at 10pm Singapore time daily) but it is still something that our ex-national players would follow the games virtually on a nightly basis, discussing not just the Singapore games but also the Malaysians' and on the top boards.

 Round 1 was against South Korea, and we took the decision to rest our top board to give the younger members an early run-out. My opponent is the solid and underrated Lee Sang Hoon who I drew with during the Asian Nations Cup Blitz event.


In round 2, we faced the severely underrated South African team. My opponent was the dangerous Henry Steel:


My opponent is easily one of the nicest, and most sporting players I have ever met. It was the first time in my life that my opponent actually said that he really enjoyed the game after losing and I was pleased to see that he went on to score an IM norm after playing superb chess for the rest of the tournament.

The less can be said about round 3, the better. I was completely off the tracks for this one but even though I played badly in the opening, I could still have saved the game had I seen some, on hindsight, rather obvious tactics:


I was really annoyed with myself for missing so many chances and had trouble sleeping for the rest of the night. I badly wanted to win since I lost to Krgystan in 2008 and I already knew by then that I had to return home after the 5th round. Ultimately, I had to brush it off as a bad day in the office and move on.

 Round 4 was a smooth win in the Sicilian Dragon vs Panama:


And in round 5, I was extremely lucky to survive and even managed to win:


It was unfortunate that my tournament had to end prematurely but I did gain a few rating points, met some old friends and learnt some new things about chess so it wasn't all bad news.

 My next post would be my evaluation of Team Singapore's performance and what I think can be done to achieve better results in future.

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