Guernsey Chess Club and Federation Reports

Guernsey at the 37th World Chess Olympiad in Torino, May/June 2006 written by Fred Hamperl.

The Guernsey team: Captain (non playing) Robert Bellin (IM), Board 1 Peter Rowe (2047), Board 2 Peter Kirby (2047), Board 3 Mark Ozanne (1960) , Board 4 Fred Hamperl (2010), Board 5 Garry Forbes and Board 6 Toby Brookfield (CM).

Day -2 18/05/2006 - Storms

I travelled to Torino by train the TGV line has recently been extended to St Malo. The new station has been built right by the old one. Storms were forecast in the British Isles so I had to leave a day early because it was likely the boats would all be cancelled the next day (and indeed they were).

Day -1 19/05/2006 - Travelling

I stay overnight in Paris and travel down from Gare de Lyon the next day.

The Alps still have snow on them. The TGV isn't able to use its speed through the mountains and slowed somewhat. The rest of the team were flying from London and probably were passing over me as I entered the mountains. All we needed was one of us to drive as well and we could have had a "Top Gear" type race.

When I arrived in Torino my taxi driver didn't understand my instructions to take me to the Olympic Village even if I said "Villagi Olympico". I phoned Toby and Mark already arrived from the airport and they sprinted back to the accreditation point and got the proper street address, via Giordano Bruno 159 (una, cinque, neuve), and that did the trick. The brand new Olympic Village is very colourful. Our accommodation had been completed just a few months earlier for the 2006 Winter Olympics also held in Torino. We presumed the reason why the Chess Olympiad was being held early in May (normally October every 2 years) was because they wanted to turn the village into commercial lettings and wanted us to use the place directly after the Olympics had finnished.

The rooms are clean and the bed comfortable so we're all set, now where's the nearest bar?

Day 0 20/05/2006 - Torino

We had the area to ourselves as we'd arrived a day early. Toby and I (Fred) stayed out socialising with the locals a bit too late. On the way back we discovered the new Olympic bridge which had been cordened off pending tomorrows offical opening ceremony. Well we had to climb over and check it all out, this is Toby having a wound tended the next day that he'd pick-up from our adventure the night before.

We travel into central Central Torino.

The enormous historical buildings seemingly go on forever it's really impressive.

All the teams, officials and arbiters travel over the bridge (over the railway tracks) to get the opening ceremony. The Lingotto old Fiat factory is the other side. It had a car test track on the roof.

The opening ceremony was a bit hard to follow because the translator speaking English was a bit mumbly. They announce there are a record number of countries competing 146. The famous Italian composer Ennio Morricone (he did "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly") had written some special pieces for the Chess Olympiad and a childrens orchestra performed them. Flags of the competing countries were taken on stage and the name called out, Guernsey got a big cheer and some wooo-ing but that may have mainly come from me. Jersey's flag was missing and they therefore didn't get their name called out, shame.

Our captain and coach Intenational Master Robert Bellin (twice British champion) arrived. Here he's explaining to Toby that this room is where the teams need to be registered each morining between 8:30am and 9:00am. When the match each day starts at 15:00 we're all a little stunned at how early in the morning the teams have to be registered. But it was put to the vote at the team captains meeting earlier that evening and the strong countries wanted it earlier so the board orders for the pairings would be announced earlier and they then had more time to preapre, naturally we went along with what the top teams wanted. Peter Rowe in our team agreed to get up and register our team most days so Robert could lie-in.

A typical rabble in the dinner queue in the canteen.

The Olympic Village admin buildings are extensive.

The playing hall the Lingotto Oval is the size of 5 football pitches.

Inside the playing hall there is plenty of room for Mens and Womens events as well as another tournament area, big screen viewing area and shops and cafes etc.

Day 1 21/05/2006 - Chile

Now the serious stuff starts. The first round draw is always going to be the hardest, we often meet very strong opposition at the outset, with everyone on zero points we're in equal first position. Guernsey are paired with the 60th seeds Chile. Chile have 2 Grand Masters in their team but both are rested for the game against Guernsey. They field a 4 player team lead by International Masters. Maybe they have underestimated the 134th seeds Guernsey. We registered the following team in the morning Peter Rowe, Peter Kirby, Mark Ozanne and Garry Forbes in board order. Toby and Fred get the day-off. Chile proved to be too strong, and as expected in the first round Guernsey suffered a 0-4 defeat.

A typical day would go as follows: 1) 08:30-09:00 Register team 2) 10:00-11:00 get-up, have breakfast and find opponent you're playing 3) 11:00-13:00 See coach and do prepartation for game 4) 13:30-14:30 Lunch in canteen 5) 14:15-14:45 Go over bridge to venue 6) 15:00-19:00 Play game 7) 19:30-20:30 Have evening meal in canteen 8) 21:00-23:00 Travel to nice location to analyse games played with coach 9) 23:00-23:30 Find out which team playing next day and hold meeting to decide on team 10) Few drinks and then bed.

Day 2 22/05/2006 - Guatamala

Guernsey were paired against 101st seeds Guatamala and registed their four player team as Peter Rowe, Peter Kirby, Fred Hamperl and Toby Brookfield. Guatamala had rested one of their stronger players but we all have very tough opposition. Peter Rove lost a Skandinavian, Toby loast an Alekhines defence from white, Peter Kirby drew in a c3 sicilian defence and Fred Hamperl eventually drew with Guatamala's Fide Master defending an English opening with black. 1 point is the most number of points have had after two rounds. Guernsey did exceptionally well against such a relatively strong country.

Day 3 23/05/2006 - Papua New Guinea

Guernsey were paired against 140th seeds Papua New Guinea and registered their top four players as the team, Peter Rowe, Peter Kirby, Mark Ozanne and Fred Hamperl in an attempt to win our first match. Papua New Guinea only have 4 players here that were quite well known to us from previous Olympiad ecounters so we knew who we'd be playing early on.

Peter Kirby clocked-up an early draw and Fred Hamperl followed-up with an win. Mark Ozanne won in spectacular style with a fantastic sacrificial combination. Peter Rowe outplayed his opponent and Guernsey had their first team victory of 3 1/2 - 1/2.

Team score so far 4 1/2 made up of Peter Rowe 1, Peter Kirby 1, Mark Ozanne 1, Fred Hamperl 1 1/2, Garry Forbes 0, Toby Brookfield 0.

We analyse our days work in Torino city centre and then celebrated Mark Ozanne's birthday at our favourite "red" bar near the Olympic Village.

Day 4 24/05/2006 - Palestine

Because of our outstanding performance in round 3 we were bound to have a difficult pairing for round 4, Palestine (111th seeds) had a Grand Master as their top player and then one other strong player but after that all the other palyers were within Guernsey players reach. The Team for Guernsey would be Peter Rowe, Peter Kirby, Mark Ozaane, Toby Brookfield.

Peter Rowe was ground down by Grand Master Evgenij Ermenkov. Peter Kirby looked like he would hang on for the drawn but unfortunately his opponent found a way to win. Mark Ozanne was forced to go material down and pin all his hopes on a passed c-pawn on the 6th rank but it wasn't enogh and he too lost. Toby Brookfield played a King's Gambit and had ways to win but in terrible time trouble he made a mistake which cost him the game. Palestine won 0-4, a dissappointing result for Guernsey, but we're still way ahead of where we normally are at this stage.

Having just got two Fiat Panda hire cars we drive off in the dark south of Torino in search of somewhere not a concrete jungle to analyse our games. We arrive in Moncalieri and find it all dark and we're directed to the grotta bar and restaurant which doesn't sound too great. However it turns out to be this amazing converted mansion with a chapel where do our post mortum of our games, the ecoustics are amazing. The owner gives us wine and chess made by the hosts mother, the hospitality is second to none.

The building had a grotto hence the name. We were taken in after midnight for a private tour. The host had to whistle loundly to scare the rats away from our path.

Day 5 25/05/2006 - Afghanistan

The Guernsey team will be Peter Rowe, Peter Kirby, Fred Hamperl and Garry Forbes. Afghanistan have fielded a team of all unrated players, which doesn't necessarily mean they are not so good. Their team score of 5 points is a half point above Guernsey must mean they a reasonable players. Guernsey score two wins from Peter Rowe and Fred Hamperl to tie the match.

It's the first rest day the next day so we relax a bit. We drive to the lovely old town of Rivoli to the West of Torino that evening and have a mega meal in a restaurant in the old town, Garry watches us devour many courses of superb Italian cusine. Our meals at the Village are paid for but they get a bit sameish so eating out is a nice change.

Our mates at that run the "Red" bar.

Robert Bellin in his rest day outfit talks to Maria from the Austrian ladies team. Peter Kirby polishes off another Grappa, he regretted that the next day and never touched another drop ever again very wise.

Rest Day 1 26/05/2006

On the rest day we go into Torino centre and visit the Mole tower (pronounced Moley).

We eat ice cream at the famous Pepinos gelateria.

Later we drive (in the rush hour traffic) to meet Fred's friend Karen in Pinerolo. Karen worked at Reads in Guernsey for many years and recently emigrated to to Pinerolo near Torino. Karen's son Alessio pictured here played some games with Mark and could be a Guernsey (or Italian) player of the future.

Day 6 27/05/2006 - Ethiopia

The Guernsey team will be Peter Rowe, Peter Kirby, Mark Ozanne and Garry Forbes. The top three boards drew their games but the bottom board lost, so we also lost the match.

We analysed our games at our local Coffee 'n' Roses bar. Peter Kirby is pictured with Shelly the dog.

Day 7 28/05/2006 - Surinam

The Guernsey team will be Peter Kirby, Mark Ozanne Fred Hamperl and Toby Brookfield. Surinam is a south american country, used to be known as Dutch Guyana. Guernsey lost on the top board but Mark Ozanne won in impressive fashion on board 2. Fred Hamperl won his game on board 3. Then in an up and down battle Toby Brookfield manage to draw to win the match overall 2.5 - 1.5. Fred Hamperl had secured his candidate master title having gained 3.5 points out of a possible 4. So we celebrated this as well as the match win.

To analyse our games we went to Moncalieri (again) through the hills behind the Lingotto near where the Torino football team had all perished in a plane crash many years ago. A landlord opened up his beer garden for us. We found the Italians really loved the game of chess and often when they found out we were a visiting team they pulled out all the stops for us.

Day 8 29/05/2006 - Namibia

The Guernsey team will be Peter Rowe, Mark Ozanne Fred Hamperl and Toby Brookfield. This was the first time we'd fielded this in form "flare" team. We'd played Namibia several times in past Olympiads and very confident going into the match. Peter and Toby drew and Fred lost for the first time and Mark lost too. Defeat 1-3. Turned out to be a distress flare.

The Russian team with Kramnik on top board.

Day 9 30/05/2006 - Macau

The Guernsey team will be the same Peter Rowe, Mark Ozanne Fred Hamperl and Toby Brookfield. The "flare" team did considerably better. Peter Rowe drew on board 1. Mark Ozanne played an astonishing game full of agression and tactical complications that he won in style. This win gave Mark his candidate master title. Fred Hamperl played his most commanding game so far to win well. Guernsey win 2.5-1.5. That's a third team victory for Guernsey.

Tiger Hillarp-Persson for Sweden is tested in the opening and has a long think.

Day 10 31/05/2006 - Hong Kong

The Guernsey team will be Peter Rowe, Peter Kirby, Mark Ozanne and Toby Brookfield. Peter Rowe played the Women's Grand Master Anya Corte. The Bermuda team will hold their traditional Bermuda party at the Hiroshima Amour club that night as it was the night before the second rest day. The Bermudan rum was strong that night, GM Danny Gormally hit the world number 3 Aronian over an Australian lady player. He had to return home after the whole Armenian team set upon him the next day.

The bridge over the railway tracks looking from the oval.

Stewart Conquest walking off the bridge after a days play.

Rest Day 2 01/06/2006

Naturally we all rise a little late after the Bermuda party. It is commented by other teams that our Captain Robert Bellin has been the last to leave the Bermuda Party two Olympiads in a row now. Fred hadn't planned where we should go as he normally did, so he asked the travel agent lady passing for a suggestion. So we go for a spontaneous trip to Venaria in the north of Torino close to the Alps. Maria from the Austrian ladies team joins us.

The town had a famous hunting castle (more like mansion) built in the 17th century. The tour guides said we had to book a tour in English, but then it typical Italian generous style took us round anyway. The brazilian book shop lady translated the Italian guides stories. They did a great job.

The main hall was very impressive.

Apparantly this statue was making a jesture of fertility to the statue of Maria opposite him. It seemed to help our Maria's chess as she played us in the square.

That night we return to our Grotta Restaurant in Moncalieri for great evening meal.

Day 11 02/06/2006 - Jersey

The Guernsey team will be Peter Rowe, Peter Kirby, Mark Ozanne and Fred Hamperl. We could have easily won the match and end up losing 1.5-2.5. We go into central Torino for the evening. In the town they're holding "Notte Bianci" again, where night is day, bars stay open and lots of people stay out to enjoy themselves. It was originally held during the Winter Olympics and was a great success so we pay it a little visit at the Shakespeare but return early as we have games the next day.

Kirsan wins the FIDE presidential election 96 votes to 54.

Day 12 03/06/2006 - South Korea

The Guernsey team will be Peter Kirby, Mark Ozanne, Fred Hamperl and Toby Brookfield. Match tied 2-2. Fred Hamperl wins and on 6 out of 8 is guaranteed a Fide Master title as long as he plays the last round the next day. Fred is the first Guernsey player to ever receive such a high chess title.

We go with Robert's Italian friends to central Torino to visit the magnificent Torino chess club.

Gueppo Ponzetto holds the world record for composing a position with the most consecutive checks for both sides, he demonstrates it to us.

Later we have a lovely meal with them.

Day 13 04/06/2006 - Chinese Taipai (formerly Taiwan)

The Guernsey team will be Peter Rowe, Peter Kirby, Mark Ozanne and Fred Hamperl. We decide to put out our strongest top 4 boards for the last round and it means we don't need to put the team in for the early 10:00 start. We have some early draws as the early start takes its toll. Unfortunately Mark loses when he had great winning chances and we lose the match 1.5-2.5.

Most of us travel home on 05/06/2006. What a really fantastic Olympiad! Bring on Dresden 2008. Thanks to Robert Bellin for teaching us so much. For me the best part was all the teams being together in the same village, truly multi cultural. And of course not forgetting the warm hospitality of Italy and its people.

Written by Fred Hamperl ("der Fred Meister")