Singapore at the 42nd Chess Olympiad – End
The chess olympiads are finally over, with the very strong men’s USA team powering to its first ever Olympiad gold since 1976 (which the Soviets boycotted). They were seeded second behind the Russian team, but had fielded a team comprising three of the top 10 players in the world (Caruana, Nakamura and So) – the Russians in contrast had only 2 of the top 10 players (world championship challenger Karjakin and former world champion Kramnik). The women’s olympiad gold was won by China, finally regaining the title after a hiatus of 12 years.
Singapore had a mixed showing. The men’s team crashed down to earth after reaching 24th position after Round 7, losing 3 matches in a row to Chile (1-3), Poland (1-3), and Bosnia and Herzogovina (1.5-2.5) before redeeming themselves with a final round victory over lower-placed Sri Lanka (3.5-0.5).We finished in a big tie between 58th and 75th, ending up in 63rd position after tie-breaks (Singapore was seeded 58th). Both IM Goh and Ben Foo were unsuccessful in their respective GM and IM norm attempts, unfortunately, although both made rating points. GM Zhang Zhong consistently played well throughout, losing only to the higher rated GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek (FIDE 2736) of Poland.
The women’s team, however, performed brilliantly, defeating the higher ranked England team in the final round to finish 38th on tiebreak (we were seeded 55th of 140 teams). The lower boards Emmanuelle Hng and Siew Kai Xin performed well above their current ratings and made astonishing rating gains of 67 and 31 points respectively.