Tonight sees one of the great traditions of the Chess Olympiad – the Bermuda Party before the first rest day – but for chess fans the party will start hours earlier! The pairing system has come up with some of the most eagerly anticipated battles in world chess: no. 1 Magnus Carlsen takes on no. 2 Levon Aronian, while arch rivals Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov will once again lock horns. In the women’s event Lagno-Dzagnidze is the top pairing of the first big match – Russia-Georgia.
Although Bulgaria are flying high with four wins in four matches, they’re heavy underdogs in their match against top seeds Russia. All eyes, however, will be on Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov. Neither player has made any secret of their feelings about the other (see, for instance, Kramnik’s interview during the Norway Chess tournament), which stretch back to “toiletgate”, the unseemly scandal that almost derailed their 2006 World Championship match after Topalov’s team accused Kramnik of cheating.
Before this morning there was some speculation that Kramnik might be dropped since this year he’s already suffered two painful defeats at the hands of Topalov. That might have been a sign of weakness on the part of Russia, however, and in any case Kramnik hasn’t lost with White against Topalov since their match – in fact the player with White has won five of their last six games.
Elsewhere there was no question whatsoever that Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian would head their teams in a mouth-watering encounter between the world’s top players. On paper Carlsen might need to win with the black pieces to give his team good chances in the match, but that's easier said than done.
Other big matches include China-Netherlands and Israel-Cuba,
while we once again have a string of top games: Wang Yue-Giri, Ivanchuk-Kasimdzhanov,
Gelfand-Dominguez, Le Quang Liem-Adams, Leko-Vallejo and more.
The top pairings are as follows:
Full pairings can be found on our Current Pairings page.
The top pairings are: