Monday, 27 September 2010

Rest Day in Khanty-Mansiysk… A Welcome Break Indeed!

After 5 rounds of play, we have our first day off and it is welcome indeed! From the way I played in my last game, I for one could have done with the day off a round earlier and the 11 games I will eventually have to looks even more challenging!

Khanty-Mansiysk is indeed a wonderful place and the organisers have pulled no stops to make this, if not the best, then certainly one of the best Olympiads ever!

Not only is the city beautiful and the facilities excellent, but the weather this time of the year is superb, and no expense was spared be it in a veritable feast daily at meal times or at the numerous official and social events, and all this was supported by an extensive and on time fleet of buses. But most of all was the hospitality that is without precedent and which can only be described as out of the world!

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In the morning the team joined in Russia’s annual run that was held all over the country and in the evening we took a walking tour and the sights were varied indeed but the main thing was everyone had fun!

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Monday, 20 September 2010

Stop Over in Moscow

We left Kuala Lumpur mid morning on 18 September after a 5 am start and 24 hours later via Dubai found ourselves in Moscow!

Our chartered flight would only depart for Khanty-Mansiysk early on 20 September so what else but to head to Red Square for some serious sightseeing!

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Friday, 10 September 2010

Thoughts on the Olympiad & FIDE Elections

Let's start with the Malaysian team. I think with Nicholas and Yee Weng out, both with new jobs, we all hoped that Chern Ee and Ronnie would somehow be able to play and when that did not materialise either, I for one had hoped and proposed Evan (last year's national champion) and the currrent national champion to be selected but it was only Khai Boon got the nod and I think if it was certain that Li Tian could travel by himself and that funds permitted a separation of officials and players, then he too might have been included.


So I will have to play some 11 games at the coming Olympiad and even though I had to miss my last two games at the Pichay Cup, I think I did manage to play myself into some form as evidenced by three successive and rather well taken wins before my work commitments got in the way. Now, if only my openings and aging body can hold up....

Returning in time to watch the start of the Malaysian Open was a bonus when I concluded my business early and this was part of my strategy to try to be as engaged with chess as much as possible before going back to work (so I could try and keep a decent level in the three weeks before I would be playing again) and so I was taking every opportunity to analyse games with the participants.

Of course I was doing my best to not to be involved with anything FIDE elections as while I absolutely have big problems with the self serving Asian leadership as "dumped" on us year after year in the form of Ignatius Leong and the likes of Casto Abundo Jr, I certainly have reservations of what a Karpov-Kasparov alliance would bring to chess especially when so many formerly who were part of the problem in FIDE (but not currently which says something as to their motives) are now being reinvented as "change agents", "activists", "ethical", etc.

I believe that real change will come after 4 more years, either from a renewed Karpov team who would have learnt from their mistakes should they have won, or from a new grouping of absolutely principled individuals should the Kirsan team manage to hang on (as they could short of losing a legal fight or be betrayed by one or more of their own less than savory team members) but for now it would seem it is the better option to choose change for the sake of change!