The chess Olympiad at Baku is approximately two-thirds through now and the Singapore teams are doing extremely well. The women’s team – seeded 55th of 140 teams – is currently playing on table 14 and is placed 34th after 7 rounds. The men’s team – seeded 59th of 180 teams – is playing on table 12 today and is placed 24th.

In the men’s team, GM Zhang Zhong has been a tower of strength on Board 1, scoring 5 points from 6 games – no losses – with a performance rating of 2802 (the current world champion, Magnus Carlsen, has a rating of 2857 but has performed only at 2753 so far). IM Goh Wei Ming had an unfortunate loss in Round 6, but has so far put in a solid performance. He will need to start winning in order to have a shot at his final GM norm.

A remarkable position that arose during the game between IM Goh and the Greek GM. Wei Ming had to find the rather inhuman Kd8 to reach a better position. He captured the bishop instead, and the game ended in perpetual check.

IM Tin Jingyao has had a spotty tournament, and appears somewhat off-form. IM Shanmugam Ravindran has only played three games so far, losing two against GMs. Ben Foo is playing the tournament of his life, beating players rated far higher than himself to reach a score of 4.5/5 and a performance rating of 2552.

The Olympiad is held over 11 rounds and if the Singapore teams continue playing with their current form, the men’s team will certainly improve over the previous best of 33rd in 1986 (albeit during a period where Soviet Union only had a single team, rather than the dozen or more strong ex-Soviet republics and Russia that are currently playing). Singapore has participated in 22 chess Olympiads to date, since 1968.

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Chess, Singapore