World Chess Olympiad - Round 1 Report

Baku, September 3, AZERTAC

The long anticipated 42nd World Chess Olympiad began today at the beautiful Baku Chrystal Hall with the games of the first round.

A record breaking 180 teams compete in the Open Section, while the Women Section has 140 teams participating.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev opened the first round of Chess Olympiad by making the honorary move 1.d4 in the game Shakhriyar Mamedyarov - Rodwell Makoto of the match Azerbaijan-Zimbabwe.

Joining the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan were FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and other officials.

During the live broadcast, President Aliyev said: "I am very glad that everybody is happy, that everybody is satisfied. Yesterday we had an excellent opening ceremony. Today the competition starts. The whole world is in Baku. And it is a record number of countries participating at the Olympiad. I am glad that all the organizing issues have been resolved and I hope that during these two weeks all our new guests will also find time to see around, to know the country and to come back as tourists."

As usual in the events run by Swiss pairing system, the top seeded teams faced the lower rated opposition.

Most of the world's best players participating in the Olympiad sat out of the first round. However, Azerbaijan started with the top lineup to convincingly defeat Zimbabwe 4-0.

Russia won by the same result against Nigeria, as well as USA against Andorra.

The biggest upset of the round was produced by Sudan, who held the heavy favorites Bulgaria to a 2-2 tie. FM Tagelsir scored a wonderful victory against GM Nikolov and A.M.Abdalla defeated IM Petrov.

Norway conceded two draws to Wales, with world champion Magnus Carlsen opting out of the first round. Trinidad & Tobago snatched one point from Serbia.

Azerbaijan 2 scored 3½-½ against Mozambique, where FM Alice held GM Durarbayli to a draw. Azerbaijan 3 made a clean 4-0 win against Papua New Guinea.

In the Women Section the top seeded teams scored convincing victories. China, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia and India all signed 4-0 against Luxembourg, Portugal, Scotland and ICCD respectively.

Greece dropped 1,5 points against Sri Lanka narrowly winning the match.

Azerbaijan 1 and 2 were convincing 4-0 against Nicaragua and Japan respectively, while the opponents of Azerbaijan 3, Lesotho, did not appear on time for the first round. Lesotho is expected to arrive to Baku soon.

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