Chess Olympiad: Hungary takes the lead in Group B
As many anticipated, Pool B is proving to be the most balanced of the four groups. It was clear from the beginning that France, Norway and South Africa wouldn’t go anywhere, but this has been the only fulfilled prediction: other than that, everything is still open. Hungary is the unexpected leader, but there are no less than five teams with chances to advance to the next stage, or even to claim first place.
The day started well for Ukraine, defeating Azerbaijan in the first game of the day (round 4) and taking the leadership. However, the round 5 encounter against Hungary was a carnage: all six games reached a decisive result, and Ukraine took the worst part. The team led by Viktor Erdos won 4 : 2.
The Hungarians were in high spirits, since they had already won by 6 : 0 against South Africa in round 4. They rounded up their day with a third victory, 4 : 2 against their close neighbors of Slovakia, a result that put them on top of the table.
Kazakhstan and Spain did they part to turn the crosstable upside down: both teams won all the three matches, displacing Azerbaijan to the 5th position, tying with Ukraine in second with 9 points.
Round 4 Azerbaijan2½ : 3½UkraineNetherlands2½ : 3½SpainNorway2 : 4KazakhstanFrance1½ : 4½SlovakiaHungary6 : 0South Africa Round 5 Ukraine2 : 4HungarySouth Africa½ : 5½NetherlandsSlovakia1 : 5AzerbaijanKazakhstan6 : 0FranceSpain4½ : 1½Norway Round 6 Hungary4 : 2SlovakiaSouth Africa2 : 4UkraineAzerbaijan2½ : 3½KazakhstanFrance1½ : 4½SpainNetherlands3½ : 2½Norway
This event is FIDE’s response to the postponement of the “traditional” Chess Olympiad, which was planned to take place between Moscow and Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia) in August, 2020. Involving more than 3,000 participants, the event was rescheduled to 2021, shortly after the IOC had also announced the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
With the support of Gazprom as General Partner, the government of the Ugra region as Official Partner, and Chess.com as the playing platform, the first FIDE Online Olympiad is the latest example of how chess has adapted to the coronavirus crisis. Despite having to cancel all official events played over the board -including flagship competitions like the Candidates Tournament and the World Championship match-, chess has thrived during the global lockdown.