There’s a strong sense of the chess being overshadowed today. What’s been an ugly contest to become World Chess Federation President for the next four years reaches its inglorious conclusion at the University of Tromsø, a bus trip away from the Olympiad venue. We should know whether Kirsan Ilyumzhinov will extend his 19 years in power, or former World Champion Garry Kasparov will take over the reins, at some point during Round 9. Fortunately, though, we’ll have more than enough chess action to distract our attention in the meantime!
7th seeds China are unbeaten and lead the Olympiad by a
point despite the absence of 2730-rated Wang Hao, but today they face a true
test – 2010 Olympiad gold medalists and 2nd seeds Ukraine have shrugged off a
poor start to fight their way back to the top table, and outrank the Chinese on
all but board two - Ding Liren (2742) – Ruslan Ponomariov (2717).
Down on board 11 pre-tournament favourites but 19th placed Russia
have again rested Vladimir Kramnik after his two losses in a row. Their
opponents are the over-performing Norway 2, which will delight Norwegian
television and the local audience. Frode Urkedal has already beaten one mighty 'chuk, Ivanchuk – can he defeat another, Grischuk?
Magnus Carlsen will also be in action against Turkey’s
Dragan Solak, in a match the Norwegian first team are favourites to win. Other games to watch
include Francisco Vallejo (Spain) – Alexei Shirov (Latvia) and Julio Granda
(Peru) – Le Quang Liem (Vietnam).
Perhaps the day’s best contest will be between 5th seeds India and 3rd seeds Ukraine. Harika Dronavalli takes on Anna Muzychuk on top board, while Tania Sachdev takes on Anna’s sister Mariya on board two (see our interview with Tania here). 12th seeds Germany vs. 13th seeds Hungary is another closely matched contest, with Elisabeth Paehtz-Hoang Thanh Trang on top board.
Breaking news: Perhaps we can announce the result of the election already so everyone can concentrate on the chess!
Or perhaps not The first link below has the full pairings for the day's play, with handy clickable flags so you can find your own team.