This stage of the event runs from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th of August and pairs the 16 qualifying teams from Division 4 with 34 new seeded teams, forming 5 pools of 10 teams each (50 teams total). Team’s consist of six players with a minimum of three female players and two junior players.
Unfortunately, the team from Tajikistan had to withdraw, and Cape Verde was invited in their place, as the best 4th-placed team from Division 4 who were available. For those of you wondering which criteria are used to form the groups, time zones and approximate equal average rating are the two principal ones.
Division 3 - Pool A
Pre-event favourite, Malaysia (rated 1973) including several +2000 FM’s started off very strong in this pool, with important wins against Fiji (5.5-0.5), Chinese Tapei (4.5-1.5) and a very close victory over Sri Lanka by only 3.5-2.5, for a total 6/6 score.
Most of their main boards were available and the two sisters WIM Azhar Puteri Munajjah Az-Zahraa and WFM Azhar Puteri Rifqah Fahada won 3/3 for a 100% score.
South Korea also had a great start with 6/6 defeating IPCA (5-1), Thailand (4-2) and Nepal (4.5-1.5). Provisionally, they share the lead with Malaysia, while Japan and Sri Lanka are just behind with 4/6 sharing 3rd-4th place in the group. Anecdotally, only one game was decided by default in this group.
Division 3 - Pool B
As expected, one of the most interesting groups. It’s still very early to predict which three teams have the best chance to advance, as the leaders basically played against the bottom half of the table.
Division 4 qualifier, Lebanon, have definitely started strong, crushing Cape Verde, Ethiopia and Mozambique with 5-1 or 6-0 results, but Iraq is also on 6/6 after defeating Kenya, Tunisia and Cape Verde, albeit by lower scores.
Ireland and Jordan share 3rd-4th place on 5/6, having dropped a match point after a 3-3 result between themselves. These teams, specially Iraq, are relying heavily on their reserve boards in the first rounds. It will be interesting to see how they will evolve tomorrow.
Division 3 - Pool C
A three-way tie between Scotland and neighbouring African countries Angola and Botswana is the result of Day 4 in Pool C of Division 3. All three teams won their first three rounds with 4+ results and have already put some distance between themselves and the rest of the pack.
Scotland fielded eleven of their twelve players, including two GM and one IM, while Angola and Botswana mostly relied on their main boards. The 4th round clash between Angola and Scotland will definitely start to put things into perspective.
The following diagram illustrates a simple but very typical tactic that you always have to be aware of:
IM Andrew Greet, playing White, clicked out 12.Ng6! with a double attack on the queen and the rook. Note that the key to the tactic is that the bishop on f4 is protected by the knight on g6.
Division 3 - Pool D
On paper this is probably the strongest group but that always depends on which players are selected for each match. After three rounds, Paraguay, Bolivia and Division 4 qualifier Trinidad & Tobago have all started very strong with three wins and share the lead with 6/6.
Paraguay scored a whopping 17 out of 18 match points defeating Malawi and Aruba by 6-0, and Suriname by 5-1. Bolivia and Trinidad also won their three matches although by slightly more modest scores.
The most relevant result was Uruguay’s defeat against Bolivia by 2-4: a huge surprise, as Uruguay has the best team on paper. Even so, with three spots to advance, everything is possible and Uruguay can certainly bounce back during the following rounds.
The next diagram is from the exciting Dominican Republic vs Uruguay match. On board two FM Luis Lorenzo is facing a difficult situation with the pin on the e-file.
He was probably expecting 22…Nxe4 23.Nxe4 Nc5 and he bails out with 24.Qf2! where he is worse but holding. However, veteran GM Alejandro Hoffman spotted that the intermediate move 22… Bd4+! would prevent the Qf2 defence. After 23.Kh1 Nxe4 24.Nxe4 Nc5 Black won a piece.
Division 3 - Pool E
Three teams lead Pool E after the first three rounds: Venezuela, Jamaica and Panama, all of them on 6/6. El Salvador occupies fourth place with 4/6 but has already lost to Venezuela by a huge 5.5-0.5.
Venezuela played with 10 of their 12 players and they only dropped two out of eighteen board points: an outstanding start for them. Top scorer was board four WFM Corals Patino Garcia who won her three games, and several other team members are on 2/2.
Jamaica only played with 7 players but all of them scored very well while Panama also distributed the games between all of the players of the team. Venezuela-Panama will be an exciting match to follow tomorrow, as they face-off in the fourth round of the group. Whoever wins will be in a great position to take down the Pool.
Standings after round three
Pairings of the rounds, live games, PGN files and other useful information can be found on the 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 and WGM Keti Tsatsalashvili. 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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