Friday, November 14, 2008

Chess Olympiad trivia

Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THE 38th Chess Olympiad has just started in Dresden, Germany and our first round opponent is the Physically Disabled team (IPCA) whose members are all International Masters.

To recall, we last played IPCA back in Calvia 2004 and it was a draw at 2-2. This IPCA team is much stronger now. Here are some interesting tidbits from previous Olympiads.

The Australian Women team that competed in Calvia 2004 in Spain featured three players who represented another country earlier in their careers. The three players were Arianne Caoli ([Philippines), Anastasia Sarokina (Belarus) and Engela Eriksson (Sweden).

In Turin 2006 English Daniel Gormally punched Armenian Levon Aronian in a jealous dispute over the Fil-Aussie beauty Caoli. This Olympiad has three teams that does not represent a country: IPCA (disabled), IBCA (blind) and ICSC (deaf) .

In Yerevan 1996, IBCA, relying on a delicate sense of touch and hearing, made a lot of noise after a 4-0 win over Guernsey.

In Moscow 1994. IBCA Women team shut out Singapore 3-0 thereby proving the not only love is blind but chess as well.

During the 1937 Olympiad, Dutch player Salo Landua fell asleep at the board against Belgian player Arthur Dunkelblum. The Belgian sportingly shook Landau by the arm to wake him up and suggested a draw which Landau accepted.

Former World Champion Tigran “The Iron” Petrosian played in nine Olympiads between 1958 and1974 and his only loss was to Robert Huebner at Skopje 1972. When he was told that the game was shown live on TV, he said “If I had known that, I would have smashed the clock.” He scored 79 wins, 50 draws and only one loss in his entire Olympiad career.

In Dubai 1986, Guatemala was represented by four brothers all surname Juarez. One of the brothers, Carlos, was Cepca’s guest in 1990 who played a simul here.

In Calvia 2004 USA was represented by six ex-Soviet players: Onischuk, Shabalov, Goldin, Kaidanov, Novikov and Gulko.

From 1956 to 2000 Lajos Portisch played in 20 chess Olympiads, more than anyone else. Eugene Torre would have equaled this record if he was playing in this Olympiad. However he is a non-playing captain of the Philippine team as he opted not to play in the eliminations.

In Leipzig 1960, Fischer had a won game vs. Miguel Najdorf but made a mistake and the game was drawn. In disgust, he swept the pieces of the board and Najdorf said “You will never play in South America again.”

In Buenos Aires 1939, two brothers met for the first time, each playing for a different country. J. Janowsky of Ukraine was reading the list of participants and was surprised and eager to meet one Abe Janowsky who was playing for Canada. He showed the photo of his father and Abe exclaimed “That’s my father too!” They happily embraced each other.

In Munich 1958, Spain was playing the USA and Toran won against Bisguier. Toran said with a smile “I’m so happy, it’s a nice present for my birthday.” “Its alright” said the American politely “Today happens to be my birthday too.”

In Istanbul 2000 two Philippine teams came to compete, even arriving on the same plane. They belonged to the group of Campomanes and Art Borjal. Fide decided that the Campomanes group was the official representative of the Philippines.

In Dubrovnik 1950, Chaude de Silans was the first woman to play in the Olympiad. When asked why men play better than women, she replied “Women can’t play chess because you have to keep quite for five hours.”

In Lugano 1968 the late Cebuano Glicerio “Asing” Badilles played for Hongkong, scored 11.5/14 and received a special award. He was an adviser of Cepca.


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