Reflections 5 from Georgia with love by Dr Lyndon Bouah of South Africa – Batumi Chess Olympiad

Dr Lyndon Bouah in Georgia

The Olympiad is indeed one of the events where one sees the entire world at play. I bumped into grandmaster Maurice Ashley who is the captain of the Madagascar team. We chatted for a short while. On board one for Uganda women is Phiona Mutesi, the queen of Katwe. She is leading her team and I am glad she is playing again. I spoke briefly to GM Nigel Short who is running for FIDE presidency. He informed me that he had a brief chat with Mr Joe Mahomole.

GM Strikovic is known to many countries and it is difficult walking with him in the hall because every second greets him warmly! I saw GM Dorfman who has written some great books and is himself a great player. When we played two of our matches in the main hall it was great watching some of the greats in action. The top players all greet each and respect one another. The top players all play one another frequently and many share clubs in the various leagues in Europe. Some of them are also seconds to others when World Cup matches are played. I noted the Russian captain is GM Potkin who himself was the European champion a few years ago. GM Rublevsky is the captain of the Russian women’s team.

I saw some of our North African countries and chatted with them. Of course the kiss on the cheek embrace is of course known and is very interesting. One must know when to lean the shoulder forward and of course the offering of the cheek! The organiser of the Tanzanian Open is Nurdin from Tanzania. He informed me that the event is being held in December and that he was pleased that Corno Klaver came to play recently. I mentally noted that Kulula and other airlines are sometimes flying to African countries for about R6000 return.

IM Andrew Kayonde who always dresses to the nines drew with Ivanchuk in the first round which was a good result for him and Africa. In my discussions with many senior FIDE officials over the last two decades they always cited the low ratings and quality of African play. I think we are slowly putting to bed these aspects with our performances as African countries. And one day we will go from 41 participating countries to the full 54 of the continent!

I chatted briefly with QC Ian Wilkinson who came to take lots of snaps yesterday when SA played Jamaica. They also take their chess seriously and he is releasing a second book which is largely for beginners. For someone who started at the age of thirty to play chess he is making up the time rapidly!

The noted Scottish author GM Jacob Aagard is also here with a team. He of course is a prolific writer. I enjoy his books quite a lot. GM Pablo La Fuentes is the coach and captain of the Bolivian team. He spent a considerable number of years in Nelson Mandela Bay. I met the Nigerian board two IM Adu who reminded me that we met back in 1994 when he played his first Olympiad and when I played my second Olympiad. He is still going strong and it is always nice to chat to old friends. My friend Patrick Li Ying is the captain of Mauritius but his open team is hurting without him who has played ten Olympiads for Mauritius and who has also played over 100 games for Mauritius. I saw Joseph Mwale the highest rated player in Malawi sitting on board four. I teased him about it and then he pointed out that his Belgian opponent on board four was also the highest rated in their team!
The arbiters from South Africa here are Gunther Van Den Bergh and Ben Winnaar from Free State. IA Gunther is very respected here and this is his eighth Olympiad. He has been a captain at the 2000 Olympiad and subsequently an arbiter at seven of them. He is often assigned the top boards and was recently involved in the Russia match. Ben is at his first Olympiad and yesterday did the Canada match. One of the intriguing things about the Canadian team is that their board four appears to be higher rated than the rest of the team. He is GM Evgeny Bareev who was a force in the 1990’s. The
Angolan team has many International Masters but board one is a candidate master who is higher rated than the other players.

I have been reading the Georgian newspapers that are available in English. The following stories have received some prominence:

Georgian women who marry foreign spouses generally marry Turkish men while the Grorgian men marry Ukrainian women. The statistics given were very specific! A total of 481 Georgian women were married to foreign men and 277 foreign women married Georgian men this year.

The next big issue was a surprising one: Cannabis, the talk of the world. In the Georgia Today of September 21-24 the writers mention that “Georgia is a classic country of radical attitudes. This is part of our national psyche, but that’s ok, we fine with it. The current apple of public discord here is marijuana: should we grow it or not in the remains of our beautiful land? The problem is that the government wants it and the nation doesn’t. In essence, cannabis is a very lucrative business and will be for decades, in line with current hemp appreciation”. So it seems that this issue is a world-wide one. Perhaps we should send our recent constitutional court judgement here to them? The article gives all the medical benefits and other medical matters. The article ends with the startling revelation that Coca Cola made a statement the other day that it is closely watching the growth of CBD, the non-psychoactive component in marijuana, as an ingredient in what it called “functional wellness beverages”. This gives a whole new meaning to the term wellness!!!

One of the headlines in the press

Some statistics that is of interest:
Grandmasters. – 264
Woman grandmasters – 64
IM. – 199
WIM. – 102
FM. – 158
WFM. – 126
CM. – 103
WCM. -72
Total titled players. 1090

I shall continue to update you on these and other stories next week again but now we go to the games! The women’s team is playing Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad and Tobago is a dual Island Caribbean nation near Venezuela, with distinctive Creole traditions and cuisines. Trinidad’s capital, Port of Spain, hosts a boisterous carnival featuring calypso and so a music. Numerous bird species inhabit sanctuaries such as ASA wright Nature Centre. The smaller island of Tobago is known for its beaches and the Tobago Main ridge Forest Reserve which shelters hummingbirds. Two of the most famous people South Africans would know are Billy Ocean the singer and the cricketer Brian Lara who was the first cricketer to score 501 in a single innings in a first class match.

The ladies team won their match 3.5 to 0.5. Rebeccah Selkirk drew while the others won. WIM February on board one played an aggressive line and had her opponent against the ropes early on. WIM Charlize won her game which is a good portent for her. WIM Denise Bouah defended well and was able to bring the point home after many adventures.

The men’s team is playing Surinam that described earlier in a reflection when the works team played. The open team won with a massive four nil. IM Daniel Cawdery won probably the shortest game of a South African Olympiad player that I have ever seen. The game was finished in 16 moves and he took about 8 minutes to finish! Have a good look at the game to enjoy the aggression from Cawdery.

The send game to finish was IM Mabusela who played a cool controlled game to easily win at the end. IM Kobese played aggressively and quite fast on the white side of a Ruy Lopez. It was interesting even when his opponent was in time trouble Kobese still played calmly and took his time with the win. Many lesser players would try to push the opponent but the Centurion simply played as usual his moves. IM Van Den Heever played a good positional game in which he had the better ending of two minor pieces and queen against a rook and queen. I thought I was going to be in a long grind when the game ended suddenly when IM Van den Heever found a weak back rank and that settled the game as his opponent simply resigned. So a four nil victory for the Open team.
The younger players are on their way to the Bermuda party tonight. Perhaps that inspired the aggression today. South Africa thus picked up 7.5/8 points today, a good day in the field! I have decided to type out the Cawdrey game from memory for your enjoyment.

1. e4 c5 2. Ne2 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. ed Nd4 6. Nxd4 cd 7. Nb5 a6 8. Nxd4 e5 9. de e.p Qxd4 10. ef check Kxf7. 11. Qe2 Qd5 12. f3 Bg4 13. fg4 Re8 14. Rg1 Rxe2 + 15. Bxe2 Bc5 16. b3 Re8 Resigns

Regards

Dr lyndon Bouah
Reporting live from Batumi, Georgia

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