Malaysia, Ireland, Scotland, Bolivia and Venezuela all seem to have their groups controlled and, barring any unforeseen circumstances, should advance to Division 2 after tomorrow’s final three rounds.
However, the rest of the qualifying spots – the first three teams of each group will advance to the next stage of the Olympiad – are still very much in the air, and there are quite a few direct pairings that will decide the lucky teams.
Division 3 - Pool A
Having played six of the nine rounds, Malaysia is the clear favourite to win Pool A and advance to Division 2. They have won all of their matches (12/12) and most of their players are in great shape, specially the female contenders.
WFM Azhar Puteri Rifqah Fahada has won all six of her games and WCM Chua Jia-Tien is on 5/5. Even the two top boards, FM Lim Zhuo Ren and FM Subramaniam Sumant are playing around 50% and holding their own against tougher opposition.
The dangers of leaving your king too long in the centre can be observed clearly in the following diagram from the match between Nepal and Chinese Taipei.
Black is pinned on the e-file and therefore her pieces lack mobility. White cashed in with 31.Rg8+ Kd7 32.Ne5! checkmate!
South Korea still occupies second place in the standings, although not with 100% anymore. Currently on 9/12 points, they have dropped three points against Chinese Taipei by a very close 3.5-2.5 and a 3-3 draw against third place contender Sri Lanka, also on 9/12.
However, there are still three rounds left and although Malaysia seems to be a lock, the other two qualifying spots are still up for grabs.
The seventh round clash between Sri Lanka and Chinese Tapei will probably de decisive for one of the spots and the last round bout between Malaysia and South Korea might even decide the winner of the group!
Division 3 - Pool B
Ireland had an unbelievable day today, winning their three matches and overtaking Lebanon and Iraq on the scoreboard. Their direct encounters with these teams ended in clear 4.5-1.5 wins for the Irish.
It would be a big surprise for them not to qualify tomorrow - however, other important schedule challenges might be around the corner for them (more to come on that topic!).
Iraq still conserves second place, as they only lost to Ireland but Lebanon had a very bad day, losing to Ireland and only finishing even with Syria and Jordan. They have dropped to third place but are under serious pressure from Jordan, with the same points and better pairings for the last rounds.
The seventh round match between Iraq and Lebanon will be a huge test for the Lebanese team: a loss could easily cost them the qualification.
Top scorer in this pool at the moment is Cape Verde’s board one, IM Mariano Ortega Amarelle (originally from Italy). He has won all of his games, contributing six of his teams nine board points!
Division 3 - Pool C
Both Scotland (12/12)and Angola (11/12) played excellently today and nothing short of a miracle can impede both of them from advancing to Division 2. Fate has it that they will face-off in the last round, very possibly to decide the winner of the group.
In the first round of the day, Scotland landed a crushing 5.5-0.5 win over Botswana and followed that up withanother 5.5-0.5win, this time over Wales, leaving no doubt on their superiority in the group.
Angola alsodefeated the ICCD by 5.5-0.5 and then Palestine by 5-1, but they were stopped in their tracks by Zambia, who were able to tie 3-3.
The third spot is up for grabs: Botswana (7/12), Wales (6/12) and Zambia (5/12) could all make the scoop, although it’s actually Zambia who by far has the better pairings for tomorrow.
With regard to individual performances, ICCD’s second board WCM Annegret von Erichsen is having a great event, scoring 4,5/5 at the moment. Unfortunately, the rest of the team is not doing so well.
Division 3 - Pool D
With their three wins today, Bolivia have made a huge step towards qualification for Division 2. The key match was the victory over Trinidad & Tobago by 5.5-0.5 in the sixth round, demoting them to fourth place.
Meanwhile both Paraguay - who still have to play against Bolivia - and Uruguay had a very good chess day, winning two of their three matches. They both share 2nd-3rd place and are well positioned to accompany Bolivia to the second division. In fact, the seventh round match between Bolivia and Paraguay will immediately clarify the probable winner of the group.
This is definitely one of the most unbalanced pools, with many 5-1 to 6-0 scores. However, the best board of the pool for now is Etienne Angelo from eighth-placed Haiti: with 5.5 out of 6 he is the firm anchor for the rest of his team.
Division 3 - Pool E
Panama was the big loser today. They just weren’t able to recover from the 5-1 defeat to Venezuela in the first round of the afternoon, and two very close defeats against direct rivals El Salvador and Puerto Rico – both by 3.5-2.5 – left them in a tie for 4th place with 6/12 and basically no chance to qualify tomorrow.
The big winner of the day was Venezuela (12/12),whoincreased their lead by two points, essentially winning the group. Their victory over second-placed Jamaica (10/12), by 5.5-0.5 corroborates exactly which of the team’s is the best.
With a total of 32.5 out of 36 points, they have only lost one game, an incredible statistic.
WFM Patino Garcia Corals is their top scorer with 6/6, and three other of their players are on 5/5.
The following position is from the Venezuela-Panama match. Black has just played 10…c5 (10…0-0 would have been safer) and Corals Patino notched up one of her six points with the nice tactic 11.Bxg6!
The point is that after 11…fxg6 12.Qxg6+ Kf8 13.Ng5! threatens mate on f7 and after the forced 13…Qe8 14.Ne6+! Kg8 15.Qxg7 is checkmate.
Jamaica should qualify tomorrow, but they do have direct pairings with El Salvador (in third place with 9/12) and Panama, so it’s not a lock yet.
Division 3: standings after round 6
Pairings of the rounds, live games, PGN files and other useful information can be found on the FIDE Online Olympiad website. Please note that all results and standings remain provisional until the fair play panel submit its daily report.
The games can be followed online on www.chess.com (Events), presented by Wouter Bik, with expert analysis by WFM Alessia Santeramo, GM Roeland Pruijssers, WGM Jen Shahade, WGM Keti Tsatsalashvili and other invited guests. Commentary can also be followed on FIDE’s own Youtube channel.
About the tournament:
Scheduled to take place from August 20th to September 15th, the 2021 FIDE Online Olympiad is a national teams event in which all federations affiliated to FIDE have the right to participate. Team’s consist of six players with a minimum of three female players and two junior players.
Played online on Chess.com, the event features two main stages: the “Divisions stage”, and the Play-offs stage. All games are played with a 15 minutes + 5 seconds increment per move time control. The full schedule can be consulted here.
Chess.com as the hosting platform
Partners supporting the 2021 FIDE Online Olympiad:
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