The Italian job
Yes the Italians brought out GM Caruana to play our secret Italian Kenny Solomon. Kenny sacrificed a pawn against the world number three but Caruana showed why he is so highly rated. He squeezed everything out of the position.
In Steel‘s game he was placed under pressure by his opponent and succumbed to a tactic.
Watu was contemplating the traditional sacrifice on f7 but alas he decided against it and then blundered when he left one rook vulnerable.
On board four Donny had real chances but his opponent who had recently won the Italian championship took home the full point in Donny’s time trouble. It was an all GM line up. Watu told us at dinner table that this is the first four nil in three Olympiads!
The girls came unstuck against Nicaragua. Denise lost in an objectively drawn endgame but her opponent kept pressing. Tough one Denise.
Anzel saved a draw on board two whilst Tshepang got to a opposite colour bishop ending which ended in a draw.
Robyn lost on board four to a tactic but I am sure she will bounce back.
The ladies team is playing Palua in the next round. For those who need to consult their maps it is an island in the Pacific.
The open team is playing Malaysia. The guys have started their preparations whilst the girls are analysing their games of today.
Our intrepid president Mr. Eldo Smart proved very handy today. He rode on a bicycle to the tournament venue in true European style and thereafter proceeded to assist Gunther by taking various photos of the top players on the top boards as Gunther could not leave the top match where he was the arbiter. He was the arbiter at Guam vs Nepal. For those who are interested in these things Guam is one of the lowest lying islands in the Pacific whilst Nepal is one of the highest lying countries in the world. There must be karma in that!
As we were in the top section I took a moment to have a look at everyone around us. I spotted Nigel Short and Gawain Jones playing for England. It is amazing when one thinks that both players have played in the SA open and jointly won it in 2011 and Jones being sole champion in 2006 in Nelson Mandela Bay.
On the way to the hall I walked with the Zambian team and chatted to 2003 SA champion Stanley Chumfwa. He wishes to play a few more events in SA as well.
I bumped into Marany Meyer who is now playing board two for New Zealand! Small world indeed.
Eldo and David went to watch the musical Chess at six pm while the rest of us slaved in the tournament venue.
Today all the countries that wanted received Kasparov bags. In the bag was a lovely sweater and one of the Predecessor books. The SA team is currently paging through those lovely books. I was happy as I received book number six in the collection.
GM Niaz Murshed is playing for Bangladesh and was happy to see all of us.
This morning a Serbian player brought me a gift from GM Strikovic. He sent me all the way from Serbia a poster of each of the world champions. I shall indeed treasure that gift. Thank you GM Strikovic.
I shall now visit my Namibian friend Otto as he is also staying in this hotel. Apparently he wants to speak about the Greek god Bacchus.
Captain Lyndon Bouah
Reporting live from Tromso, Norway