31st Chess Olympiad: Moscow 1994

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Basic data

31st Chess Olympiad
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 30th November - 15th December 1994
City: Moscow, Russia
Venue: Cosmos Hotel
Head of Organizing Committee: Mr. Andrei Makarov (RUS)
Tournament Director: N/A
Chief Arbiter: IA Yury Averbakh (RUS)
Teams participating: 124 (incl. Russia "B")
Players participating: 716 (incl. approx. 145 GMs, 162 IMs and 58 FMs)
Games played: 3472 (at least 23 games were forfeited)
Competition format: Four board 14 round Swiss.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Buchholz; 3. Match points
Time control: 40 moves in 2 hours, then 1 hour for each next 20 moves
Official logo: MOSCOW 1994
Downloadable game file: 94olm.zip

Tournament review

Only once in the 80-year-old history of the Olympiads was the biennial cycle savagely truncated by the blustery caused by the outbreak of WWII. With weeks left to the scheduled start of the 1994 Moscow Olympiad it seemed like no human hand may yet save it. In an emergency meeting of the FIDE Presidential Board the Russian Chess Federation filled the gap following cancellation of the Olympiad scheduled primarily in Thessaloniki. Garry Kasparov together with head of Russian Chess Federation Andrei Makarov decided to hold the event and managed to achieve their objective in just 55 days. They managed to raise a total of 1 million Swiss frank guarantee and secured a playing hall and accommodation in the "Cosmos" hotel. The organization was far from perfect though, and everyone heaped garbage on the organizing committee complaining about the conditions, the stuffy and tight game hall, poor hospitality and inadequate information. The choice however was between the makeshift and nothing.

The poor organizers had to shoulder the responsibility of hosting an exasperating number of 124 teams that arrived at Moscow. Only Sweden were missing of the major nations. Russia were lead by Kasparov and Kramnik (but no Karpov, who was in conflict with the organizers) and seemed a 100% favourites for gold. Other top odds were England (Short, Adams, Speelman), Ukraine (Ivanchuk) and Hungary with a woman (J.Polgár) at 1st board - the first such case in the history! Of course no one dared to underestimate such teams as Germany, Holland, Russia "B" (the junior team lead by ebullient Morozevich) or silver medal winners from Manila, team Uzbekistan. It seemed like a great rivalry between former Soviet republics (who grabbed all medal positions and number of other top places two years ago) and the rest of the world who were eagerly looking for fierce revenge. The games started on 1st December, in the cold, snowy wintertime.

Russia started with 3½-½ over Singapore saving both Kasparov and Kramnik for more taxing ties. Vietnam produced undeniable shock of the round halving vs Ukraine at table 2 (Romanyshyn lost to Tu). Luxembourg's no. 1 GM David beat Israeli Yudasin to pull Israel down to 50th. Dive of New Zealand produced the surprise of the day beating Anastasian of Armenia. Thirty-six teams were in tied lead with a perfect 4/4. On the second day Hungarian star Judit Polgár suffered quick loss from Poland's top board Kuczyński and England were surprisingly defeated by Kazakhstan. Lithuania went into the nose beating Chile 4-0 to stay the only team with a perfect 8/8 record. In the third round they lost to Yugoslavia and were replaced by the Netherlands who trashed France by unexpected margin of 4-0. Russia "A" beat Turkmenistan to move into 4th tied with their junior team who ran over Denmark on that day. As Holland halved vs Iceland in a top clash of round 4 they levelled on points with the Russian lads who hammered Romania 3½-½. Lithuania moved back to the top beating Bosnia and Russia "A" only drew with Yugoslavia despite Kasparov's debut at board 1. Day 5 brought us series of 2-2 results at top tables. Only Russia "A" managed moderate 2½-1½ vs Belarus. Holland and Russia "B" retained joint lead - 15 pts both ahead of Lithuania - 14½ and the chasing group of seven lead by Russia - 14 pts. On the next day top four tables saw 2-2 draws again (some of them hard fought though, like Argentina-Russia "B" with four decisive games and Cámpora beating Morozevich at top board). Kasparov lost sensationally to Topalov who sealed Bulgaria's sensational win over Russia "A". But it was Bosnia that produced the surprise of the day sending India home with a cold-blooded 4-0 and moved up to tied 3rd. The rest day came after round 6. It boost Bosnian morale so they beat Holland on the next day thanks to Nikolić's stunning win over Timman. Russia "B" managed modest win over Lithuania and Russia "A" finally recovered trashing France. Yugoslavia, Estonia and The Philippines won 3-1 each climbing up the table. Russia "B" became sole leader in the halfway with 19½ points, ahead of Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Russia "A", Estonia and Armenia - 19 points all. Next day saw Estonia-Russia "B" draw at table 1 followed by Yugoslavia's 3-1 win over Armenia which put the Yugoslavs at the very top of the table. Russia defeated Bosnia to move up to 2nd position. On the next Russian youngsters denied the leaders to take over sensational lead ahead of Estonia (who beat Lithuania on that day) and Russia "A" and Georgia who murdered Iceland with a dreadful 3½-½. On the next day the Russian prodigies suffered unexpected loss from Georgian side. Russia "A" modestly beat Estonia and Hungary worked out Yugoslavia with 3 draws and a win by Portisch. The top four were Russia "A", Russia "B", Ukraine, who beat Germany 3-1 and Georgia - all 26. Next day saw Russia "B" beating narrowly Ukraine and Russia "A" winning both games with white pieces played vs Georgia. Kasparov, who had a disappointing 3½/7 record so far ran over Azmaiparashvili. England and Holland moved up the table thanks to 3½-½ wins over Yugoslavia and China, respectively. A brisk four-draw match of round 12 between two Russian teams produced some complains about lack of fighting spirit. England shattered Holland by unusual margin (only Timman managed draw vs Short) to take unexpected lead half a point ahead of Russia "A" and Bosnia, who ran over Ukraine. In top clash of the 13th round England missed the chance of their life (again!) losing to Russia 1-3. Kasparov beat Short and Hodgson lost with white pieces vs Tiviakov. It was all over concerning the problem of gold medals. Russia took the lead clear one point ahead of Bosnia, who halved vs Russia "B". Russia "B" and England lied in tied 3rd, a fraction ahead of Germany and Bulgaria. Hammering the Germans by 3½-½ (yet another stunning win by Kasparov) Russia sealed their win in a good style. Bosnia drew with Bulgaria but this proved ample for silver since England-Russia "B" went on for a 2-2 after fierce battle. This pushed England down to unlucky 4th and preserved historical bronze medals for Russian reserve team. Netherlands wiped out the newly established chess federation of Czech Republic to moved into 4th along with USA and Bulgaria. Hungary, Ukraine and Georgia completed the top 10. China and Belarus produced impressive final efforts - but only enough for 11th and 12th, respectively. We found Germany down in 16th, Latvia in 19th and Uzbekistan, silver medal winners from 1992 down in 23rd after exceptionally drab performance.

The Russian team defended gold medals won in Manila but this was far from perfect. They suffered from a poor performance by their team leader, Garry Kasparov. He started with a 50% record but he redeemed himself by defeating Nigel Short in the crucial Russia vs. England match. Bosnia produced major surprise having virtually just four players in the squad. Russia "B" was a surprise for everyone, hadn't they got tired at the end of the way who knows what could have happened? England missed the medal zone - again, this time mainly because of poor shape of Nunn and Miles. Bulgaria finished as high as in 5th mainly because of Topalov ahead of the Netherlands who managed to recovered from round 12 debacle vs England. The U.S. team had their worst result in the biennial tournament since 1972. Thanks to seven straight wins by Yasser Seirawan of Seattle, the team recovered from a horrible start and contended for a medal. Their last-round 2½-1½ victory over Yugoslavia left them just behind the leaders. Seirawan won the fourth-board prize with a score of 8½/10. Hungary finished 8th, again veteran Portisch was their strongest point. Ukraine leader Ivanchuk's 9½/14 was enough only for 9th position for his new team. Surprisingly, one of players to achieve best ELO performance at the Olympiad was Daniel Cámpora of Argentina who scored 7½/9 with a performed rating of 2776.

The FIDE congress was held concurrently with the Olympiad. Florencio Campomanes, once again elected the president of FIDE, and Kasparov, leader of the rival Professional Chess Association (PCA), announced an agreement to hold a World Championship reunification match in 1996. Both organizations planned separate Championship matches in 1995 before.

Individual medals

Please note the data below is highly inconsistent with official records.
However due to numerous reports of the irregularities in the final stadings' calculations
please consider our data MORE reliable than official ones.

We received personal statements from GM Al-Modiahki, C. Dávila, IM Nielsen,
GM Árnason, IM Williams and FM Agdestein who confirmed our results.

Best Rating Performance
no. name flag code ELOp
1. GM Topalov, Veselin Bulgaria BUL 2781
2. GM Cámpora, Daniel Hugo Argentina ARG 2776
3. GM Portisch, Lajos Hungary HUN 2766

1st Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Cámpora, Daniel Hugo Argentina ARG 9 83.3
2. Müller, Leonhard Namibia NAM 8 10 80.0
3. IM Al-Modiahki, Mohamad Qatar QAT 11 14 78.6
Official standings: 3. Atlas, Valery (LIE) 10/13

2nd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. Dávila, Carlos Nicaragua NCA 11 14 78.6
2. GM Portisch, Lajos Hungary HUN 7 9 77.8
3. GM Ehlvest, Jaan Estonia EST 10½ 14 75.0
Official standings: 1. Dávila, Carlos (NCA) 10½/13

3rd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. IM Arlandi, Ennio Italy ITA 9 83.3
2. IM González Acosta, Bernal Manuel Costa Rica CRC 9 11 81.8
3. IM Nielsen, Peter Heine Denmark DEN 7 9 77.8
González Acosta lost one game by forfeit, which doesn't count for individual prizes.
Official standings: 3. Nielsen, Peter Heine (DEN) 8/10

4th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Seirawan, Yasser United States USA 10 85.0
2. IM Zarnicki, Pablo Argentina ARG 10½ 13 80.8
3. GM Miladinović, Igor Yugoslavia YUG 10 13 76.9
Official standings: 3. Árnason, Jón (ISL) 7½/10

1st Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. Williams, Leighton Wales WLS 6 7 85.7
2. IM Dydyshko, Viacheslav Belarus BLR 9 11 81.8
3. Donguines, Fernie The Philippines PHI 7 9 77.8
Official standings: 1. Dydyshko, Viacheslav (BLR) 9/11, 2. Donguines, Fernie (PHI) 7/9, 3. Al Afoo, Shaker (BRN) 9½/12.

2nd Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. Kelly, Brian Ireland IRL 7 78.6
2. Khouseinov, Rashid Tajikistan TJK 8 11 72.7
3. FM Agdestein, Espen Norway NOR 9 72.2
Official standings: 3. Kamiński, Marcin (POL) 7/10

Interesting games

Stunnnig game full of tactical plots and amazing final shot.
Spangenberg, Hugo (ARG) - Ftáčnik, Ľubomír (SVK) 0 - 1

Famous game that ended in a magnificent finishing touch.
Kasparov, Garry (RUS) - Lautier, Joël (FRA) 1 - 0

Sensational Kasparov's loss after spectacular game.
Topalov, Veselin (BUL) - Kasparov, Garry (RUS) 1 - 0

Quick debacle caused by weakness of f2.
Psakhis, Lev (ISR) - Miladinović, Igor (YUG) 0 - 1

It must be real pleasure to shoot Timman dead in such a way.
Hansen, Lars Bo (DEN) - Timman, Jan (NED) 1 - 0

Black pawn's chain on a queenside proved surprisingly vulnerable.
Piket, Jeroen (NED) - Xu Jun (CHN) 1 - 0

Poor play and unexpected loss by Judit.
Kuczyński, Robert (POL) - Polgár, Judit (HUN) 1 - 0

White won a piece for 3 pawns and paid it back in due time.
Kramnik, Vladimir (RUS) - Georgiev, Kiril (BUL) 1 - 0

Interesting figurine play with mate threats on both sides.
Oll, Lembit (EST) - Topalov, Veselin (BUL) 0 - 1

White Bishop pulled black Queen away from protecting key square.
Hodgson, Julian (ENG) - Van Wely, Loek (NED) 1 - 0

That was hard to find but extremely strong move.
Rodríguez Céspedes, Amador (CUB) - Ionescu, Constantin (ROM) 0 - 1

Shortest decisive game, but...
Volpinari, Danilo (SMR) - Ricky Innes, Recardo (NAM) 1 - 0

... this guy took fierce revenge on the next day.
Ricky Innes, Recardo (NAM) - Silveirinha, Jose Antonio (MAC) 1 - 0

In just 3 moves White converted a Queen deficit into a Queen surplus.
Širovs, Aleksejs (LAT) - Yudasin, Leonid (ISR) 1 - 0

That Rook move was a real thunderstruck.
Dizdarević, Emir (BIH) - Tiviakov, Sergei (RUS) 0 - 1

Squeezed Black pieces left the King undefended.
Rublevsky, Sergei (RUS2) - Onyschuk, Alexandr (UKR) 1 - 0

Well conducted attack leading to a won ending.
Bologan, Viorel (MDA) - Stanec, Nikolaus (AUT) 1 - 0

Black Knight was the major defender of the King so it was worth any money.
Van der Wiel, John (NED) - Babula, Vlastimil (CZE) 1 - 0

This seemed standard sac at first glance but went on for unusual finish.
Adams, Michael (ENG) - Tumurhuyag, Nyamaa (MGL) 1 - 0

Black pieces were scattered at the fringe of the board.
Cámpora, Daniel Hugo (ARG) - Morozevich, Alexander (RUS2) 1 - 0

Heavy pieces destroyed black shield and the Knight dealt the final blow.
Seirawan, Yasser (USA) - Meduna, Eduard (CZE) 1 - 0

An instructive lesson why French needs c7-c5 and NOT Ne7-g6.
Hutcheson, John (BOT) - Afriany, Valery (HAI) 1 - 0

Rook and Knight fighting pair of Bishops.
Kveinys, Aloyzas (LTU) - Speelman, Jonathan (ENG) 0 - 1

Try to find White's 42nd move, a real shock for Black!
Watanabe, Akira (JPN) - Carless, David (HKG) 1 - 0

Black took decisive control over a7-g1 diagonal.
Cedeno, Ahmed (PAN) - Barreno Anleu, Hugo Augusto (GUA) 0 - 1


Chess news has been overshadowed by reports of crime at the streets of Moscow. Two members of team USA (both of them were Soviet expatriates, by the way), namely Alexander Shabalov and Alex Yermolinsky have been robbed once they left the hotel and went for a walk.


The junior team was allowed to play as Russia "B" on a regular basis, since there was no rule stating they are illegible for medals. Surprisingly for all they won bronze (and unlucky to miss more!) settling a unique record -- two Olympic medals for one federation at the same time. Is any country ever able to catch all of three podium places?


Due to thorough split in the Russian chess there were two rival Russian Chess Federations at the time of the Olympiad, one of them supporting Karpov and another one, lead by Makarov supporting Kasparov. The latter as late as in October decided to held the event in Moscow.


There were many complaints about the playing conditions. One of most popular griefs was that most of the games were played at the wooden tins instead of the classical, flat chessboards.


Vasyl Ivanchuk of Ukraine was the only man to have played all 14 games without a single loss.


Teams to have won most games: 26 - South Africa (!!!); 25 - Portugal (!!); 24 - India (!) and Russia.