2016 BAKU OLYMPIAD UPDATE
By GM BONG VILLAMAYOR (ASSIGNED SCF COACH)
updated 16 Sep 2016
The following is the final report of the player's performances in the 2016 Baku Olympiad in Azerbaijan.
A. FIDE Rating Improvements:
Team composition for Federation SIN - Open
Board Pairings - Open
Team composition for Federation SIN - Women
Board Pairings - Women
updated 14 Sep 2016
MEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Sri Lanka 3.5-0.5
WOMEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs England 2.5-1.5
Singapore Crushes Sri Lanka (3.5-0.5)
The Singapore men’s team whipped Sri Lanka 3.5-0.5 to place 63rd overall in a tie for 58th to 75th position out of 180 teams.
Top board GM Zhang Zhong overwhelmed IM Weerawardane Romesh in 50 moves of a Ruy Lopez Opening in just under two hours.
Board 4 Benjamin Foo relying on good opening preparation checkmated Lamawansa Yasas in 36 moves of a Benoni Defense to make it 2-0 for Singapore.
Handling the white pieces on 3rd board, IM Ravindran Shanmugam’s powerful exchange sacrifice pulverized Priyankara Chamil in 48 moves of a Closed Sicilian.
IM Tin Jingyao found Kavinda Akila a tough nut to crack settled for a draw in 74 moves of a Reti Opening.
In 11 rounds Singapore’s tally of 13 match points is composed of 6 wins and 5 losses.
Singapore Trips England (2.5-1.5)
The Singapore ladies’ team made a huge final round upset of 32nd seed England (2.5-1.5).
An underdog on all four boards, Singapore struck first with a win by Emmanuelle Hng on board 4 against highly rated WFM Bhatia Kanwal in 33 moves of a Sicilian Defense.
A missed opportunity by Tin Ruiqi could have given Singapore a 2-0 lead, but time trouble spoiled the endgame and settled for a draw against FM Kalaiyalahan Akshaya in 42 moves of a Sicilian Defense.
Fighting draws was the menu of the day as IM Li Ruofan battled fellow IM Houska Jovanka in 71 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Declined.
While WIM Gong Qianyun had to carefully thread an inferior endgame to equalise against IM Ciuksyte Dagne in 58 moves of a French Defense.
Singapore seeded 55th finished a very respectable 38th position (in a tie for 30th to 43rd) out of 140 teams.
updated 13 Sep 2016
MEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Bosnia & Herzegovina 1.5-2.5
WOMEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Syria 3.0-1.0
Singapore Edged by Bosnia & Herzegovina (1.5-2.5)
The Singapore men’s team continued to tumble down the standings as it lost a close 1.5-2.5 in round 10.
Having a 3GM + FM line-up, the former Yugoslav Republic Bosnia & Herzegovina started strong taking advantage of the white pieces winning over IM Kevin Goh Wei Ming and Benjamin Foo on boards 2 & 4.
On board 3 newly rested IM Tin Jingyao came back to outplay veteran GM Emir Dizdarevic in an endgame to win in 58 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Accepted.
Top board GM Zhang Zhong tried all avenues to squeeze the extra pawn advantage in a rook ending, but GM Predojevic Borki defended accurately to secure the draw in 67 moves of a Scotch Four Knights Opening.
Singapore tied for 54th position is having white against Sri Lanka in the 11th and last round.
Singapore Beats Syria (3.0-1.0)
The Singapore ladies team improved their standings as it downed Syria 3-1 in the penultimate round 10.
WIM Gong Qianyun made a short workout of Alkaseir Roaa in 23 moves of a Sicilian Defense on board 2. Third board Emmanuelle Hng gave Singapore’s 2nd point by checkmating Al-Mahmoud Rola in 46 moves of a Closed Sicilian.
While top board IM Li Ruofan dismantled Farha Doha in 45 moves of a Queen’s Indian Defense to make it 3-0 for Singapore.
Last board Siew Kai Xin lost to Manar Khalil in 79 moves of a Queen’s Gambit.
In a tie for 43rd spot, the Singapore ladies battles 32nd seed England in the last round.
updated 12 Sep 2016
MEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Poland 1.0-3.0
WOMEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Croatia 1.5-2.5
Singapore Defeated by Poland (1.0-3.0)
7th seed Poland flexed its muscles to rout Singapore in the 9th round.
Boasting a formidable all GM line-up, the Polish juggernaut absorbed an initial shock as 2nd board IM Kevin Goh Wei Ming produced Singapore’s lone point upsetting highly rated GM Duda Jan-Krzysztof in 43 moves of a Sicilian Defense.
The Polish top junior and prodigy blundered at the critical moment missing a tactical twist that simplified to a won pawn endgame in favour of Singapore.
But IM Goh’s early inspiring win did not last as Singapore’s lower boards failed to stop Poland’s comeback. IM Ravindran Shanmugam and Benjamin Foo dropped both matches against super GMs Bartel Mateusz and Dariusz Swiercz.
Top board GM Zhang Zhong playing superbly after 8 rounds suffered his first loss to GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw in 61 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Accepted.
Singapore men’s team playing white confronts former Yugoslav Republic & 41st seed Bosnia & Herzegovina in round 10.
Singapore Edged by Croatia (1.5-2.5)
The Singapore ladies team lost narrowly to 34th seed Croatia in round 9.
4th board Emmanuelle Hng played a fighting draw against higher rated Vujnovic Patricija in 36 moves of a Larsen’s Opening. With both kings dangerously exposed, Emmanuelle missed a tactical blow that could have gained a huge advantage. This forced the Croatian to seek a perpetual check and escape.
Time troubled Tin Ruiqi playing board 3 capitulated in a difficult position to WFM Deur Saric Zrinka 37 moves of a Sicilian Defense.
A very complex position forced top board IM Li Ruofan too use too much time and lost to WGM Golubenko Valentina 34 moves of a Symmetrical English.
WIM Gong Qianyun scored Singapore’s only win outplaying WIM Franciskovic Borka in 64 moves of a Queen’s Indian Defense.
Team Singapore ladies’ round 9 match is with Syria.
updated 11 Sep 2016
MEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Chile 1.0-3.0
WOMEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Azerbaijan 2 1.0-3.0
Singapore Loses to Chile (1.0-3.0)
Singapore’s run of upsets came to a halt as Chile dropped a 3-1 bomb against the men’s team in round 8.
A miscalculation in a difficult middlegame cost IM Tin Jingyao the exchange and surrendered to IM Henriquez Villagra Cristobal in 44 moves of a Two Knights Defense.
IM Kevin Goh Wei Ming’s pawn sacrifice for kingside pressure seemed going well. But the follow up lacked precision and tilted the balance to favour Chile’s GM Vasquez Schroeder Rodrigo in 40 moves of a Scotch Opening.
Board 4 Benjamin Foo playing a much higher rated FM Perez Gormaz Matias fought back from a lost position, but missed a draw in a rook endgame. Benjamin resigned after 83 moves of a Bishop Opening.
Top board GM Zhang Zhong continued his brilliant performance as he defeated GM Ivan Morovic Fernandez in 57 moves of a Pirc Defense. Undefeated and posting his 5th win in 7 games (TPR of 2841!), GM Zhang Zhong’s 6/7 is currently in a tie for gold medal honors.
Singapore men’s team as black takes on 7th seed Poland in round 9.
Singapore Bows to Azerbaijan 2 (1.0-3.0)
The Singapore ladies team absorbed a 1-3 reversal against an all titled Azerbaijan Team 2.
4th board Siew Kai Xin was unable to neutralise WGM Umudova Nargiz’ initiative and lost a Sicilian Rossolimo in 32 moves.
Emmanuelle Hng’s daring two-knight sacrifice for Rook plus 2 pawns created a unique imbalance. But a misstep in an equal position handed the advantage to WIM Fataliyeva Ulviyya. Singapore went down 0-2.
WIM Gong Qianyun using the French Defense was unable to get enough compensation for a sacrificed pawn and yielded to WIM Khalafova Narmin in 52 moves.
Singapore’s lone point came from a brilliant exchange sacrifice coupled with nice tactics. This was IM Li Ruofan’s third win in 4 games demolishing WGM Abdulla Khayala in 42 moves of a Symmetrical English.
Singapore ladies’ team having white in round 9 is paired with 34th seed Croatia.
updated 10 Sep 2016
MEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Kazakhstan 2.5-1.5
WOMEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Switzerland 2.5-1.5
Singapore shocks Kazakhstan (2.5-1.5)
A huge upset by the Singapore men’s team over 27th seed Kazakhstan has made heads turn in this 7th round.
Clearly the underdog and facing 3 GMs, board 4 Benjamin Foo struck first by beating GM Petr Kostenko in 52 moves of a Ruy Lopez Opening. The veteran Kazakh GM resigned as mate in two was apparent. This pushes Benjamin’s tally to 4 wins and 1 draw with a 2552 TPR en route for a possible GM/IM norm.
Top board GM Zhang Zhong took advantage of GM Rinat Jumabayev’s inconsistency and won a pawn. His flawless endgame technique won in 57 moves of a Ruy Lopez Opening. GM Zhang Zhong’s score of 5/6 is a stunning 2806 TPR against 5 GMs and 1 IM.
A possible 3rd win was in the air, but IM Kevin Goh Wei Ming missed some winning opportunities as higher rated Utegaliyev Azamat escaped with a draw after more than 6 hours in 139 moves of a French Defense.
Plagued by time trouble in a difficult middlegame, youthful IM Tin Jingyao lost to GM Kazhgaleyev Murtasplaying in 75 moves of a Slav Defense.
After defeating two former Soviet Republics in succession Singapore is in a tie for 15th position together with defending Olympiad champion China, powerhouses Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, and Cuba.
Singapore playing black is paired against Chile in round 8.
Singapore topples Switzerland (2.5-1.5)
Singapore brings down an all-titled Switzerland as the ladies team made it two the upsets in last night’s round 7.
Siew Kai Xin’s patient play gave her some advantage in the late middlegame, but accepted WFM De Seroux Camille’s draw offer after 31 moves of a Bogo Indian Defense on board 4.
WIM Gong Qianyun playing board 2 outplayed WIM Heinatz Gundula in 39 moves of a Sicilian Defense to score Singapore’s 1st win. Qianyun now tallies an unblemished 5.5/7 games.
Playing under time pressure IM Li Ruofan’s aggressive play netted material as she outduelled WGM Mueller-Seps Monika in 44 moves of a Torre Attack to score the all-important 2nd point.
Tin Ruiqi in an equal and promising position blundered a rook against WFM Georgescu Lena in time trouble. She resigned after 39 moves of a Bishops Opening.
The ladies team is currently tied for 20th position and will play 28th seed Azerbaijan 2 as white in round 8.
updated 09 Sep 2016
MEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Estonia 2.5-1.5
WOMEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Turkmenistan 1.0-3.0
Singapore defeats Estonia (2.5-1.5)
The Singapore men’s team edged former Soviet Republic of Estonia in round 6.
Top board GM Zhang Zhong playing creatively sacrificed a pawn for a counterattack outplaying GM Aleksandr Volodin in 38 moves of a Pirc Defense by transposition.
On board 2 IM Kevin Goh Wei Ming, nursing a strained shoulder, lost footing in the opening as he misplayed a move order in a Sicilian Defense. As complications set in, the initiative passed to Black and went downhill against fellow IM Ottomar Ladva in 30 moves.
Good opening preparation paid off as fourth board Benjamin Foo notched his third win in four games. With careful play and transposing to the endgame, Benjamin defeated higher rated FM Andrei Shishkov in 65 moves of a Sicilian Defense.
Sealing the match is an endgame save by IM Tin Jingyao. An exchange down for a pawn, Jingyao forced a draw after 5.5 hours of play and 106 moves of a Reti Opening.
After six rounds Singapore is currently tied in 27th position and will face 37th seed Kazahkstan next round.
Singapore loses to Turkmenistan (1.0-3.0)
Team Singapore suffered a reversal against Turkmenistan in round 6.
Promising positions on all four boards were spoiled as inconsistent play marred the ladies team. Emmanuelle Hng playing board 4, misplayed her queenside attack giving the initiative to WFM Bahar Hallaeva, she resigned after 36 moves.
Gaining material after a nice combination, Tin Ruiqi’s follow up became passive and lost to WFM Gozel Atabayeva in 67 moves of a Center Game.
IM Li Ruofan playing board 1 missed chances for advantage and settled for a draw against WGM Geldiyeva Mahri in 60 moves of a Queen’s Indian Defense.
WIM Gong Qianyun playing white made no headway against WFM Ovezdurdiyeva Jemal in board 2. Splitting the point after 101 moves of a Sicilian Defense.
Singapore playing Black matches Switzerland in Round 7.
updated 07 Sep 2016
Today, 7th Sep 2016 is a rest day. It may be a rest day, but they still can't get away from chess.
updated 07 Sep 2016
MEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Greece 1.5-2.5
WOMEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Belarus 2.0-2.0
Singapore bows to Greece (1.5-2.5)
The Singapore men’s team gave a good fight but narrowly lost to 27th seed Greece in round 5. Facing an all GM line-up, GM Zhang Zhong having the white pieces gained no breakthrough as he settled for perpetual check against GM Papaioannou Ioannis in 28 moves of a Sicilian Defense on board 1.
A similar scenario ensued on board 2. As IM Kevin Goh Wei Ming’s queenside play became threatening GM Mastrovasilis Dimitriosto forced a perpetual check in 29 moves of a French Defense.
On the lower boards IM Ravindran Shanmugam was not able to hold GM Halkias Stelios’ queenside pressure in a Queen’s Gambit. The loss of an important b6 pawn paved the way for a decisive attack.
A chance to tie the match was almost in the bag, but IM Tin Jingyao’s time trouble made it very difficult to find the correct winning sequence. GM Banikas Hristos escaped with a draw in 68 moves of a Benoni Defense.
After five rounds Singapore slid to 40th position in a tie with Hungary, France, Israel, Cuba and Vietnam. Round 6 match is with Estonia and Singapore playing black.
Singapore holds Belarus to a tie (2.0-2.0)
The Singapore ladies’ team held 26th seed Belarus in an all fighting mood. Disaster struck on board 4 when Siew Kai Xin misjudged an exchange that gave the opponent a huge advantage. She fought to the end before bowing to WFM Bogdan Ekaterina in 43 moves of a Slav Defense.
With a point down top board IM Li Ruofan evened the count as she smothered fellow IM Ziaziulkina Nastassia with a direct attack on the king. Winning material and simplifying to a won endgame in 43 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Accepted.
Boards 2 & 3 ended in fighting draws as WIM Gong Qianyun clashed with FM Stetsko Lanita in 49 moves of a French Winawer. Tin Ruiqi’s extra pawn was stymied by Badelka Olga who forced the draw by perpetual check in 48 moves of a Sicilian Defense.
With 3 wins, 1 draw & 1 loss Singapore is in a tie for 17th position and will face Turkmenistan on round 6.
updated 06 Sep 2016
MEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Monaco 3.5-.5
WOMEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Ecuador 2.5-1.5
Singapore Beats Monaco (3.5-.5)
A confident Singapore men’s team trampled Monaco as it moved up the standings with 3 match points together with powerhouses Russia, England, Poland and France in a tie for 14th position.
Cool and focused IM Kevin Goh Wei Ming kept his composure in time pressure to outsmart FM Pierre Villegas in 40 moves of a Gruenfeld Defense. On board 3 IM Tin Jingyao’s imaginative play surprised veteran GM Igor Efimov in 37 moves of a Benoni Defense to score his first GM win.
Top board GM Zhang Zhong playing a seemingly equal position took advantage of GM David Marciano’s endgame error to nurse an extra pawn scoring Singapore’s 3rd point in 68 moves of a Sicilian Defense KIA and winning the match.
Being a pawn down in a difficult opposite coloured bishop endgame, Benjamin Foo held his ground and frustrated GM Algimantas Butnorius in 60 moves of a Blumenfeld Gambit.
Tomorrow’s round 5 Singapore men’s team battles Greece.
Singapore Brings Down Ecuador (2.5-1.5)
The Singapore ladies’ team toppled Ecuador in one of the few upsets in the round. Seeded ten rungs higher and having an all title line-up, Ecuador started strong with a win on board one by IM Martha Fierro Baquero against IM Li Ruofan.
But board two WIM Gong Qianyun immediately evened the score by outplaying fellow WIM Evelyn Moncayo checkmating her in 47 moves of a Sicilian Defense.
The lower boards were the heroines of the day. Emmanuelle Hng playing board three defended well against WIM Abigail Romero’s kingside attack forcing her resignation in 53 moves of a Sicilian Defense.
A pawn down in a heavy piece endgame, a focused Siew Kai Xin battled to a draw WFM Jacqueline Bosch (who is 400 rating points higher) in 61 moves of a Queen’s Indian Defense.
After 4 rounds Singapore is tied for 13th position together with Georgia, United States, Poland and Hungary.
Singapore having white faces 36th seed Belarus in round 5.
updated 05 Sep 2016
MEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Puerto Rico 3.5-.5
WOMEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Paraguay 3.5-.5
Singapore Overwhelms Puerto Rico (3.5-.5)
The Singapore men’s team looked like a house on fire as they demolished Puerto Rico in the third round. IM Kevin Goh Wei Ming quickly punished the opponent’s opening mistake in a Trompovsky to drive home the point in just two hours of play on board 2.
GM Zhang Zhong followed suit with strong tactics in a Reversed Benoni to make it 2-0. While on board 4, Benjamin Foo’s complex attack forced the opposition to use up too much time and won by forfeit making it 3-0 settling the match.
A clean sweep was almost there, but IM Tin Jingyao missed a winning opportunity and had to settle for a drawn rook endgame.
Singapore having white plays Monaco next round.
Singapore Routs Paraguay (3.5-.5)
The Singapore ladies’ team did well in their preparation and was hugely rewarded. WIM Gong Qianyun playing board 2 was first to score using the London System. The opponent collapsed as Qianyun’s queen-side attack became unbearable.
On board 3 Emmanuelle Hng’s counterattack in a sharp Sicilian Kan netted large material forcing the opposition to quickly raise the white flag. On the last board, Siew Kai Xin’s patient manoeuvring bore fruit when her tactical threat was overlooked, winning the exchange and transposing to a won endgame making 3-0.
IM Li Ruofan playing Black, tried to squeeze Paraguay’s top board. But she was quite solid and escaped via endgame of two bishops each, the draw averted a shutout.
Singapore playing black collides with Ecuador in round 4.
updated 04 Sep 2016
MEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Serbia 1-3
WOMEN’S TEAM: Singapore vs Iran 1-3
Singapore Loses to Serbia (1-3)
The Singapore men’s team yielded 1-3 to Serbia in round 2. The former Yugoslav Republic boasting an all GM line-up came hard against Singapore’s lower boards to score full points. IMs Tin Jingyao and Ravindran Shanmugam manning boards 3 & 4 were unable to stem the tide and capitulated after four hours of play.
Facing higher rated opponents, GM Zhang Zhong and IM Kevin Goh Wei Ming fought well to attain hard earned draws in their respective board assignments. IM Goh Wei Ming’s draw was achieved just after the 1st time control extinguishing all threats and transforming to a drawn rook endgame. While GM Zhang Zhong had to thread a precarious opposite- coloured bishops with queens.
Singapore men’s team faces Puerto Rico in round 3.
Singapore Bows to Iran (1-3)
The higher seeded Iranians overpowered the Singapore ladies’ team 3-1 in the 2nd round. Emmanuelle Hng playing board 4, hesitated to capture back a pawn in the opening. This led to a difficult position and surrendered after 3 hours of play.
IM Li Ruofan playing white made no headway against Iran’s solid defense on board 1 and agreed to a draw. While WIM Gong Qianyun added another half point in a drawn rook endgame.
For Tin Riqui, playing for more than 6 hours(!) and 140 moves (and being one of the very few left playing) made a tremendous impression from the spectators (arbiters & officials waiting) saw her fighting spirit as she battled in time pressure almost to a draw. But the persistent WIM from Iran (who is 400 rating point higher than Riqui) patiently manuevered and toppled the Singaporean fortress.
Singapore ladies’ team plays Paraguay in round 3.
updated 03 Sep 2016
MEN'S TEAM: Singapore vs Guam 4-0
WOMEN'S TEAM: Singapore vs Guyana 4-0
Singapore Blanks Guam (4-0)
The Singapore men's team started strong with the wallop of Guam 4-0. First point was achieved by International Master Kevin Goh Wei Ming who led the onslaught on board one. This was followed by a fine attacking game by Benjamin Foo who caught the opponent's king in the center with a vicious attack making it 2-0.
Next to score was IM Ravindran Shanmugam on the third board in a double rook endgame. Completing the sweep was IM Tin Jingyao on second board. Having a bye in the opening round is Singapore's top player, GM Zhang Zhong.
Singapore Crushes Guyana (4-0)
The Singapore ladies' team outclassed Guyana on this initial round of the 42nd Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan. While top board IM Li Ruofan took a rest, WIM Gong Qianyun carried the reins with a smashing kingside attack to nail Singapore's first victory in barely two hours. Following up the pace were twin wins by Tin Riqui and Emmanuelle Hng on boards 2 & 3, now tallying 3-0. And making the clean slate was Siew Kai Xin in a winning pawn endgame.
updated 29 Aug 2016
Olympiad Baku Selection
The 42nd Chess Olympiad will be held in Baku from 1 to 14 September 2016. This is the most prestigious chess team event (being the chess world's equivalent of the Olympics). Singapore, currently seeded 66th out of 178 countries will be fielding a strong team for this event.
The members representing Singapore will be:
Zhang Zhong and Kevin Goh has been our top two active players for the past few years. Zhang Zhong has performed well in various events such as the 2015 Qatar Masters which he finished 22nd out of 132 players as well as his 6th placing in the 2016 HDBank International Open in Ho Chi Minh City. Kevin Goh has also represented Singapore for the past many years and has consistently performed well in previous Olympiads.
Tin Jingyao, at 15 years old, is an exciting prospect for us and has displayed a maturity in the game beyond his years, having 1 GM norm scored at the last AAG in Singapore. Benjamin and Shanmugam are also youths with tremendous potential for the future of Singapore chess.
Our initial primary selection criteria was based on the National Championships held last December. However, after feedback from the players and having discussed with SportSG, we accepted their feedback that such a criteria would not be able to garner the most suitable players for such a prestigious competition.
As a result, we have reconsidered our initial selection and decided to include Zhang Zhong and Kevin Goh on the basis of their strong performances in the recent past, as well as them being our top two rated players. Jingyao, Benjamin and Ravindran had fared well in the last National Individuals held last December.
On the Women's front, Singapore shall be represented by
IM Li is our top rated player whilst the other 4 were the top finishers in the 2015 National Women's Championship. Singapore's last appearance for the Women's was the 2010 edition in Khanty-Mansiysk.
We believe that these are the best players to represent Singapore at the coming Baku Olympiad and we wish them all the best.
updated 11 Aug 2016
The 42nd World Chess Olympiad 2016 is to be held at Baku, Azerbaijan from 01 Sep to 14 Sep 2016.
The flag presentation ceremony for the Olympiad Team was conducted on 06 Aug 2016, at Bukit Merah Community Centre, graced by Mr Wong Luck Jaen, BBM, Bukit Merah CCMC Chairman.
Mr Wong Luck Jean, accompanied by SCF President, Mr Leonard Lau (White), and Mr Vickneswaran, and Mdm Kavitha.
Flag Bearer, Benjamin Foo.
Emmanuelle Hng reciting the Players' Oath on behalf of the team.
(Left to Right) IM Tin Jingyao, Foo Zhi Rong Benjamin, IM Goh Weiming, IM Ravindran Shanmugam.
GM Zhang Zhong, IM Li Ruofan.
(Left to Right) Hng Mei-Xian Emmanuelle, Gong Qianyun, Siew Kai Xin, Tin Ruiqi.