Chess Olympiad, day nine: Judit Polgar sensational win against Smirin

ISTANBUL, November 5: In what may be the best game thus far in the Olympiad, Judit Polgar scored a smashing win over Ilya Smirin of Israel. Smirin is rated 2674 and is the number 21 rated player in the world.

Judit Polgar, age 24, who is by far the top rated woman player in the world, played what seemed to be a speculative exchange sacrifice against Smirin. Several grandmasters present were uncertain of her attack, but she proceeded to mate Smirin quickly.

However, her Hungarian team failed to improve its position, as Sax on board three lost to Avrukh of Israel.

Judit Polgar
Judit Polgar

It is said that Avrukh is the last person to have played Grandmaster Tal. Avrukh played Tal blitz chess in the hospital, just before Tal died.

Germany, who entered the tournament ranked number 11, continued her surprising first place run with a 3-1 win over Holland. Russia remained in second place by beating Slovakia 3-1.

In the other top matches, Armenia beat Switzerland 2.5 to 1.5, Hungary drew Israel 2-2, Ukraine beat Philippines 3.5 to .5, Bulgaria beat Croatia 3.5 to .5, England drew Poland 2-2, USA beat Brazil 3-1, Spain beat Lithuania 3.5 to .5, Romania beat Yugoslavia 3.5 to .5, Cuba drew China 2-2, Bosnia beat the Czech Republic 3-1, Uzbekistan beat India 2.5 to 1.5, Estonia beat Kazakhstan 2.5 to 1.5, Denmark beat Italy 3-1, Iceland beat Sweden 3-1, and Georgia beat Azerbaijan 3-1.

After eight rounds and 32 games, Germany leads with 23.5, followed by Russia with 22.5, Ukraine with 22, Armenia and Bulgaria with 21.5, Spain and Romania with 21, Switzerland, Hungary, Israel and USA with 20.5, Netherlands, Slovakia and Bosnia with 20, England, Poland, Uzbekistan, Estonia, Denmark and Iceland with 19.5, China, Cuba and Georgia with 19, Philippines, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and India with 18.5, Croatia, Yugoslavia, Lithuania and Czech Republic with 18.

On the women's side, China wiped out Vietnam 3-0, and increased her lead by a half point, as Georgia beat the Czech Republic by only 2.5 to .5. China is so far ahead and has played most of her serious opponents. It seems that unless the entire Chinese team becomes ill or there is another major earthquake in Istanbul, it is very unlikely that anybody will have a chance of catching China.

On other top boards, Russia beat Greece 3-0, Ukraine drew Holland 1.5 to 1.5, Armenia beat England 3-0, Bulgaria beat Moldova 3-0, Austria drew Hungary 1.5 to 1.5, Lithuania beat Spain 2-1, Poland beat India 2-1, Yugoslavia drew Germany 1.5 to 1.5, Romania beat Estonia 2-1, Israel beat Venezuela 2-1 and Bosnia beat the USA 2-1.

China leads with 19.5 out of 24 games, followed by Georgia with 18, Russia with 17, Armenia with 16.5, Bulgaria with 16, Vietnam, Ukraine and Netherlands with 15.5, Lithuania with 15, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria and Poland with 14.5, Greece, Spain, India, Yugoslavia, Germany, Romania, Israel and Bosnia with 14, England with 13.5, Moldova, USA, Estonia and Venezuela with 13.

The political committee meetings continued today. Jim Eade, the USA zone president, arrived yesterday and today joined the effort to have the norms obtained at the Marshall Chess Club International in June be recognized by FIDE. Kevin O'Connell, who is opposed to recognizing this system, spoke in favor of allowing it this one time, but Toti Abundo came out against it, even though Abundo is from the Philippines, and the person who will not obtain his grandmaster title because of this is Barcenilla, who is also from the Philippines.

It is suggested that the rift that has broken the Philippines Chess Federation played a role in this.

I spoke to the Myanmar team captain. He said that complaints about Myanmar player ratings should be directed towards FIDE, who sets the rating system and calculates the ratings, and not at the Myanmar players, who merely played in tournaments.

This is the first Olympiad that Myanmar has ever attended, and the team almost did not make it. A team in any sport can not go out of Myanmar without cabinet approval. Some cabinet members were opposed to letting this team go because Myanmar had recently lost a football match to a team from another country by an embarrassing score. Finally, cabinet approval was given on October 23. However, some of the players could not get permission from their own companies, which are government controlled, to go. The rest had to get special passports to go, and then had to travel to Thailand to obtain a visa for Turkey. The team that finally arrived in Istanbul was not the A team but consisted primarily of players who were able to pay their own way.

I had a long talk with Suat Atalik. Atalik is not only the strongest chess player in Turkey, but he is ahead of the others by an exceptionally wide margin. He is rated 2552, whereas the top player on the Turkish team is rated only 2397.

Yet, Atalik is not playing in the Turkish team in this Olympiad.

The story is a long one and I will try to explain it on another date.

The grandparents of Atalik were born in Bosnia at a time when Bosnia was part of the Ottoman Empire. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed after the end of World War One, Atalik's family came to Istanbul. Now, because of his problems with the Turkish Chess Federation, Atalik wants to go back and become Bosnian again.

Sam Sloan

[Event "34th Chess Olympiad (men)"]
[Site "Istanbul"]
[Date "2000.11.05"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Polgar, J."]
[Black "Smirin, I."]
[WhiteElo "2656"]
[BlackElo "2677"]
[WhiteCountry "HUN"]
[BlackCountry "ISR"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Remark "3225"]
[PresId "0000108042"]

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. f4 Nf6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be3 b6 7. Qd2 c5 
8. O-O-O cxd4 9. Bxd4 Nc6 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. h4 Bg4 12. h5 Bxh5 13. Rxh5 gxh5 
14. Qd5 Rc8 15. Qxh5 Bg7 16. e5 Qe8 17. Qh3 h6 18. Bd3 Nb4 19. Be4 e6 
20. f5 Rxc3 21. f6 Qb5 22. Qg3 

I am now in Istanbul, where the World Chess Olympiad is taking place. I am issuing daily press reports on the developments in the Olympiad. Here are my daily press reports so far:
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