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Australian Chess Federation
No. 613 - 6 August 2022
Editor: Keong Ang
Usually Published in the Second Week of Each Month
Content Contributions are Most Welcome
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by IA Keong Ang

Welcome to the fourth ACF Newsletter of a series spanning the 44th Chess Olympiad. This series would collate and publish contributions from those who are on the ground at the Olympiad in Chennai, India.

Live games on Chess24 for round 8
Open, Australia vs Finland and Bangladesh vs New Zealand
Women, Australia vs United Arab Emirates and Denmark vs New Zealand

Useful Links

Official website

44th FIDE Chess Olympiad, Chennai, India.

Chess Results

Australian Open team
Australian Womens team

New Zealand Open team
New Zealand Womens team

Olympiad Report

by Paul Power in Chennai

Day 7 of Olympiad
Australia faced strong challenges today in Chennai.

Temur Kuybokarov continued his strong form for the Open Team, paired with Iran’s #2, Tabatabaei, with a draw, playing White in a 52 move Spanish. However, losses to Smirnov, Cheng and Zhao gave the match to Iran. 0.5 - 3.5

Australia are paired with Finland in Round 8.

The Women’s Team got off to a good start in their match with Latvia, with a win to Chi Phan on board 4. Julia Ryjanova continued her solid Olympiad with a draw on board 1. However, there followed wins to Latvia over Jilin Zhang on board 2 and Heather Richards on board 3. 1.5 - 2.5

Australia are due to meet United Arab Emirates in Round 8.

At the top of the Open table, Armenia drew with USA, India defeated India 3: 3-1, Netherlands drew with France and Germany defeated Serbia 2.5-1.5.
Armenia remain at the top with 13 match points, followed by Uzbekistan, India 2, India, USA, Germany and Kazakhstan on 12.

Round 8 sees Armenia paired with India and USA with India 2.

At the top of the Women’s table, India defeated Azerbaijan 2.5-1.5, Georgia defeated Romania 2.5-1.5 and Ukraine defeated Netherlands 3.5-0.5
India are two points clear at the top on 14, from Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia on 12.

Round 8 sees the top two seeds India and Ukraine vying for the match.

The 2022 World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India
An Arbiter’s Perspective

by IA Alana Chibnall

Greetings from Chennai!

This is the second time I have attended an Olympiad after also going as a match arbiter to Batumi in 2018. I didn’t apply to be an arbiter this year (I wasn’t really interested in going to India, plus I don’t like spicy food!). So, I was quite surprised when Laurent Freyd, the amazing French Chief Arbiter of this year’s event, contacted me less than four weeks beforehand saying I had an email to check. And sure enough, I had been selected as a Match Arbiter for the 2022 Olympiad – even though I hadn’t applied! (They instead took my 2020 application). A very quick phone call to my boss at work asking for three weeks of leave soon followed, and within days I was booking my flights and organising my visa!

About the Arbiters

You are possibly wondering how being an Olympiad Arbiter differs to a regular event in Australia. For such a huge event, there are a lot of different types of arbiters. This includes the Chief Arbiter, two Deputy Chief Arbiters, four Technical Administration Panel (TAP) members, twelve Sector Arbiters, approximately 20 “Fair Play” arbiters, and approximately 150 match arbiters. The Chief, Deputies and Sector Arbiters are all assigned by experience and “category” of their title, whereas the Fair Play and Match Arbiters are both a mix of (mostly) International Arbiters and FIDE Arbiters from countries around the world.

Oceania has been quite lucky this year, with six arbiters selected (Gary Bekker, Peter Tsai, Shaun Press, Anastasia Sorokina (under Australia but lives in Belarus), Ying Wang (from New Zealand) and me, plus also Elsa Yueh from Taiwan who also lives in Victoria! I’m assuming this is because the Olympiad is within our “Asian” region this year (or maybe it’s just because we are just that good!

Match Arbiters (such as Peter, Elsa, Ying, and I) are responsible for looking after one match per round of four boards. This includes everything from setting up (clocks, boards, pens, scoresheets, and name cards), checking accreditation for each player and captain, handling any disputes, and making sure scoresheets are completed at the end. Any disputes we cannot solve, as well as things like three-fold repetition and 50 move claims, are then escalated to our Sector Arbiter (our supervisor) who can handle the issue or bring to the Deputy or Chief Arbiter if required.

Fair Play Arbiters (including Gary this year) are appointed to enforce rules regarding no electronic devices (or pens and watches), including using portable scanners to check players both before and during the rounds as required. TAP (including Shaun) is then responsible for making sure pairings are correct and published on time with the right players, as well as printing out the results sheets and time sheets and doing lots of other things!

The Hotel

The arbiters are split between four hotels this year. My hotel, Hotel Halez, is about 40 minutes’ drive away from the Olympiad venue and has all the foreign match arbiters staying (about 80 of us). I am sharing a room with a Kazakhstani FA named Katie, who is very nice. Our hotel is great with very nice food (including good non-spicy options), a swimming pool, gym, friendly staff, and comfortable beds. However, it is too far away from the venue for us, unfortunately doesn’t sit on a nice resort or beach like some of the other hotels, and allows smoking!

Day 0

Waking up slightly jetlagged and with little sleep, all arbiters were then shipped off by bus to the hall for some training. The bus rides are a bit crazy due to Indian traffic – they can be very bumpy over roads and around bends, and the buses have a lot of fun honking at cars to get out of their way. Every day our bus has a police escort so they can help direct traffic if needed.

We were then able to practice the processes for setting up, managing our games and what to do when our match was completed. The training (which also comprised of two online Zoom sessions in the weeks before) is new this year, but it is much better than in previous years when we have found out about our Sector arbiter, teammates, and processes all on day 1!

We were broken into our sectors and met our teammates and our Sector Arbiter for the first time. I am in Sector 11 (the lowest boards of the Open Olympiad section within Tournament Hall 2) and my sector arbiter is IA Jirina (Joanna) Propkova from Czech Republic. She is lovely! As with the other sectors, ours is a mix between experienced and less experienced arbiters from both India and overseas.

Sector 11 (Credit: AICF, All India Chess Federation)
Day 1

India have gone crazy with the number of freebies that players and arbiters are getting. The morning of round 1 we were given our goodie bags, comprising of two polos, a cap, two pairs of tracksuit pants, a notepad and clipboard. We were also able to collect tracksuit jackets from the venue as well. As you may have noticed from the photos, arbiters must wear the two polos during the tournament (purple and yellow) and our colour changes every day to match everyone else. We have a very good washing service at our hotels so we can get three items per day washed for free. This is much better than previous years when there hasn’t been a uniform. Arbiters also received the player bag as well, including an umbrella, an Olympiad face mask, a chess set, a book about Chennai, a statue of Mamallapuram and other things. Some arbiters (including myself) have also been lucky enough to get a chess tie!

(Credit: Bauyrzhan, Kausar)

Day 1 we were required to be at the playing hall two hours in advance, for last minute training and preparation before the round. There is a running joke in India about “Indian time” and the fact that Indians don’t understand the concept of time. Whenever you ask a question, they quite often say two minutes. By the looks of it, two minutes seems to mean about 10, five minutes seems to mean about 20 and if they every say 10 minutes you should be quite scared! So, when we got on the bus and the bus took over 30 minutes to leave (“Two minutes, two minutes!” they would say), we were quite concerned that we weren’t going to make it to the venue on time! But we did make it on time, the tournament started mostly on time with very few issues, and off we went.

Other Rounds

Every round during the event, we follow a similar process, wake up at around 8am (or earlier for those keen enough to go to the gym or swimming pool!), go to breakfast, rest for a few hours (or maybe explore the local streets), get ready, have lunch, and go to the venue. At the venue we would report to our Sector Arbiter at least an hour before the match, then are given our match to prepare. Our matches are usually mixed, so we aren’t getting the same teams multiple times. I’ve been lucky enough to get two Oceania countries, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea, so far.

Once the round starts, we manage our match for however long it takes (from under an hour to 5+ hours), including answering questions, resolving issues, taking the clock times every 30 minutes, and signing scoresheets once games are finished. Different arbiters have different levels of activity during the game – some arbiters will try and sit down for as long as possible on the provided chair; others will be standing for the whole game! I try to go for a “5 minutes standing, 5 minutes sitting approach”, but will stand more when the time control is approaching, when the games are interesting or when I’m starting to nod off!
Taking the move times on clocks. Being an Olympiad arbiter is serious stuff! (Photo by Lana Chess Photography (Facebook)).
Smiles before round 3. (Photo by Alon Shulman).
Given our sector are the lowest boards, the main things we usually do are making sure scoresheets are kept up-to-date, dealing with illegal moves, and answering questions about the rules. In particular, the time control is a popular question, using the long 40 moves in 90 minutes + 30 minutes to finish, with 30 seconds per move from move 1 (same time control as the Australian Championship and Zonal events). In this tournament, the “move counter” is not in use, so instead the 30 minutes extra is given when a clock goes to 0. This can be scary to players watching their clock run down, and arbiters must make sure that a player has made 40 moves when it ticks over, otherwise they lose on time.

Once all our games are done, we are generally free to leave for the day, though may be requested to help with other matches first if required. When we finish, we can look around the expo, hope we see a famous player in passing, or jump on our bus and wait for it to leave… (which takes anywhere between 5 minutes and over an hour!). The bus is usually a good trip back, as we can talk to the other arbiters about their experiences and catch up on some of the issues from other matches (such as the threefold repetition claim from Norwegian GM Aryan Tari’s Mongolian opponent which was incorrectly awarded as a draw – read more about that here). Then, dinner, sleep, and repeat.

The Bermuda Party

As a tradition with the Olympiad, the Bermuda Party was one once again on the night before the rest day. This was originally organised by the Bermudans at a previous Olympiad, but is now hosted by the Olympiad team. The Bermuda party is free for ladies (woohoo!) but costs around $40 AUD for men and includes food and drink. It’s just an excuse to party and to get drunk for those who wish to do so, but also (if lucky) to get some photos with famous players! It was a great night.
Meeting some famous players! Previous World Champion, GM Viswanathan (Vishy) Anand from Chennai, India, and the legendary GM Judit Polgar from Hungary who was my idol growing up.

The rest day!

Being 11 rounds of course the Olympiad is quite long, but thankfully there is a rest day as part of the tournament to go exploring Chennai (or sleep!). Elsa, Ying and I opted to join an all day tour, which included an unexpected boat ride on one of the lakes, a visit to a cultural museum to watch a performance, the crocodile park, and Mamallapuram city. Chennai has been covered in chess for the Olympiad down many streets, on footpaths with both paintings throughout, statues of the mascot Thambi, and signage everywhere promoting the event. All in all, a very good day off.

Some of the arbiters enjoying the sites on the rest day L-R Ying Wang (NZL), Elsa Yueh (TPE), Olivia    Madhavan (MAS), Alana Chibnall (AUS), Martha Underwood (USA), Andre White (BAH) (Photo: Tamil Nadu Tourism)


Overall, I have really enjoyed my time in India at this Olympiad, and would put this one ahead of Batumi’s event. The organisers have done such an amazing job putting this event together in just over 4 months. I hope the event continues to be amazing for the final four rounds that I am here. As you can imagine it is quite difficult to be selected as an Olympiad arbiter as most arbiters will be among the best in the world, so it’s an honour to be selected for the second time. I’m not looking forward to returning to Australia in less than a week, but hopefully I will have been able to put my extra learnings from this tournament to work in events back in Australia.
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