ALEXANDER KENTLER. CROSSROADS
World Chess Olympiad! What a wonderful phrase! The achievements of our men’s team seem to be unique indeed. The USSR team took part in nineteen chess Olympiads since 1952 to 1990 and won eighteen of them. The team Hungary was the only that managed to beat Soviet chessplayers in 1978. Two years before (1976) the politics refused sending our team to Israel. Russian team also won six tournaments since 1992 to 2002. Only two years ago Russian chessplayers yielded to Ukraine. All in all, our team won 24 chess Olympiads and became the silver medal winner twice. It is really unique result, isn’t it?
The women’s team of USSR had no equal since 1957 to 1986 – 11 first places! Afterwards Polgar sisters appeared, the Soviet Union broke up and the sovereign Georgians came to the fore. Well, later on it was the turn of Chinese women. The women’s team of Russia won medals only five times: they had silver medals twice and bronze medals three times.
One shouldn’t doubt that the Russian teams will be satisfied only with first places in Turin. The men’s team consists of all the strongest chessplayers of Russia. Nobody doubts the inclusion of Rublevsky, the champion of Russia. The team surpasses the opponents to such extent that the order of players is not of great importance, one can even rank them according to height. Nobody will understand if Russian chessplayers (Kramnik, Svidler, Grischuk, Morozevich, Bareev and Rublevsky) don’t take first place.
Russian women also have very high chances to clinch the victory. It is not only because of the strength and the youth of our chessplayers but also because there is no world champion Xu Yuhua in the team of China and multiple world champion Chiburdanidze doesn’t take part in the Olympiad. I doubt whether other teams will be able to claim the victory.
Let’s recall those who defended the honor of Soviet and Russian chess at the men’s Olympiads.
All in all, 50 chessplayers played for Soviet and Russian national teams since 1952 to 1990. Only two of them – Kasparov and Bareev – managed to play both for the Soviet Union and Russia. It may seem strange but Karpov has never played for Russian team.
You can see in this table how many times the grandmasters played in the Tournament of nations and how many gold medals they won. Let me make a reservation: for some reason the figures I prepared differ from those published on the official website of the Olympiad. I didn’t find neither Kasparov’s ninth participation in the Olympiads, nor Tal’s 101st game (it seems to me that he played precisely 100 games). There are also other divergences. One should check them up. I would like to draw attention to the fact that two teams played for Russia at the chess Olympiad in Moscow in 1994. One of them was the youth team, which came out third. Morozevich and Rublevsky were at the head of that team. Two Russian teams also took part in the chess Olympiad in Elista in 1998. Let me add that we don’t take account of the team of Kalmykia that wasn’t formed by Russian Chess Federation. So there are names of chessplayers, their first and last participations in the Olympiads, number of tournaments and number of victories in these tournaments.
I have a lot of interesting statistics for the chess Olympiad. But we'll return to it later.