Batumi #1

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  • Batumi #1

    I'll post here from time to time some stories about Olympiad in Batumi, not only chess-related.

    It was a long journey Toronto-Istanbul-Batumi. My initial concern was a very short connection time in Istanbul (1 hour exactly). Any delay in the first leg would have created some problems. We (Razvan, Nikolay and myself) got lucky and arrived in Istanbul even ahead of time. Still, we had a 2.5 hours delay for our second flight Istanbul-Batumi, but it wasn't so critical. This flight had many chess players on the board, including Caryana, Kasimdzhanov and Howell. Even the presence of the second-best player in the world couldn't avoid a delay.

    Team Canada stays at the small and nice hotel, called Divan Suites. They give 5 stars to this hotel, I wouldn't give more than 4, which is still good enough. As far as I know, the word Divan (you can spell it like d1, the original location of white Queen) has a strong middle east connotation. I even found something like "the food was prepared according to Islamic rules" in the restaurant. Generally, Georgia is a Christian country, but probably has a lot of visitors from Islamic countries like Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan.

    Georgia was part of Russian/Soviet empire, and was a source of permanent conflicts with Ottomans (Turkey). Somehow Russia was able to win most of these military conflicts, and now Georgia is an independent country and not a part of Turkey. Still, a boarder is just a few kms south. Russian is very popular here, and a combination English+Russian is absolutely enough to communicate in Georgia.

    I remember, Georgia was counted as one of the richest (or maybe the richest) among Soviet republics, but it's completely different nowadays. Long civil war, military conflict with Russia and lack of natural resources like oil and gas are the main reasons for not-so-good economic situation. 30 years ago, Batumi was one the famous resort cities in USSR because of it's great location on the seashore of the Black Sea, which was probably the only warm sea around Soviet Union. Hopefully, I will swim in the Black sea, it's about 5 minutes walking time from our hotel. The last time I swam in this sea was 29 years ago.

    Batumi-2018 is my 4th Olympiad, and the first time we didn't win 4-0 in the first round. As a result oh this underperformance, we will play today in hall #2, and not in hall #1, which accommodates top 33 boards. Hopefully, it will be a short visit and not a permanent residence for the Canadian Team.

    Our next opponent is Venezuela. We played with them in 2014. Anton Kovalyov beat Iturrizaga (2636 FIDE now), Eric won on the 2nd board, Bator and Aman drew and we got a comfortable win 3-1. I would we very happy with the same outcome later today.
    Last edited by Victor Plotkin; Tuesday, 25th September, 2018, 05:53 AM.

  • #2
    Thanks Victor. Good reading. Good Luck to the team rd 2!


    • #3
      Thanks Victor. I assume Canada did not have the same problems as the US team in round 1, which I think was a long line at security, causing them to be late. But since you were in a different room, maybe not a problem.. The opening ceremonies were supposed to be amazing? Venezuala does not look like a push over, especially since their board 3 was able to draw quite easily against Evgeny - I am guessing Evgeny got caught in his opening prep.. The total points are used just for tie break? It is the match result that counts?

      I love your decision to play Anan after his first round loss. As I player, I like to redeem myself right away. Not sure if the sit outs were pre-determined, but if not, I like your strategy.

      Good luck and I promise not to do any 'Monday morning quarterbacking' (second guessing your decisions).
      Thanks for the update.