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Third Round: The struggle heats up!
IMG_1328When the first seed is paired against the fourth, it is a signal for hard-fought games and drama. In the match between leaders, India overcame Poland 2,5-1,5 thanks to the wins with white on the first and third boards. Especially Gagare’s prosaic win on the white side of an English game is nice to watch;  as if it is out of a textbook. 

In the match of the day; at one point it seemed like Serbia was up to the job of beating the first seed Russia however in the end it wasn’t to be; the famous Russian endgame wizardry was at work to score two wins in two endgames to win the match with the tiniest of advantages: 2,5-1,5.  Iran and Australia-A have fought hard but a win on the second board didn’t help Australia and Iran emerged victorious with 3-1, decreasing the gap with India to half points. Kazakhstan-Armenia and Turkey Red –Azerbaijan were both drawn in a similar fashion with one wins each and two draws on the remaining boards. Also Turkey-Turkuaz continued their winning ways, scoring almost perfect again, 3,5-0,5 to share the fifth place in rankings with Lithuania who defeated Greece with 3-1.
Second Round: Thirsting for Blood on Thursday!

IMG_1168As ingeniously predicted in the report of the previous round all matches were close today. The first seed Russia beat Lithuania 2,5-1,5 but it was a rather Pyrrhic victory, especially in a tournament where game points are taken into consideration as the first criteria. It was also the same story for Australia-A against Greece on the second board.  The effort of Justin Tan on the second board against Theodorou was especially notable as he forced his opponent's king to a walk in the middle of the board only to be mated at the other side.

Among the leaders it was only Poland who gained an advantage after this morning as they beat the strong Peruvian team which also makes a case for gender equality by having two boys and two girls in the team squad, 3,5-0,5. The only remaining teams with a perfect score, Armenia-Turkey,Red and Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan exchanged two wins apiece to make a friendly tie.
First Round: A round of almost no surprises..yet!

IMG_1116The first round saw a pretty straightforward affair for the favourites. Although the underdogs gave a good fight in the end they succumbed to their higher rated opponents, which would make Arpad Elo a happy man. There were lots of 4-0 results to be seen however occasionally some points were stolen away from the victors too. Such was the case in the matches of Turkey-Istanbul and Turkey-White against Iran and India respectively.

The first boards of both Turkish teams, obviously enjoying the advantage of playing at home, gave hard times to their much higher rated opponents. Cem Gundogan of Turkey-Istanbul playing white gained an exchange and after some adventures brought the point home whereas Baris Guven of Turkey-White played a solid game from the opening to force his higher rated opponent to find the way to a draw.
The Opening Ceremony
IMG_1094World u-16 Chess Olympiad has officially begun with the opening ceremony today.  After a moment of silence in memory of the founding president of Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkish National Anthem and FIDE Anthem were sung before the speakers began with their speeches.

The first speechmaker was FIDE Executive Director Mr. Nigel Freeman who began with a warm welcome to all participants on behalf of FIDE. The Executive Director underlined that organizing two olympiads simultaneously takes a great effort and showed thus his praise. He also added that it is nice for young participants to be in a city like Istanbul and it’s definitely a good chance for them to visit some beautiful sights and making new friends along the way.
Technical Meeting
IMG_1059_200_x_133Today at 3 pm the technical meeting was held where procedures and regulations regarding the u-16 chess olympiad were made clear to the participants. After covering the most important statements in the tournament regulation; the chief arbiter Ulaş Demirci together with the deputy arbiters answered the questions asked by participants about the organization.  Also for pairings of the first round colors were drawn by the coach of the first seed, Russia and the Russian team got white as a result.
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