The tiny chess federation of Guam entered the 2018 Chess Olympiad seeded 181 out of 184. With just one FIDE rated player it would have been understandable if the team struggled to collect many match points. But at the end of the tournament, the Guam team defied the odds to score a very impressive 8 points, and finish in 153rd place, 28 places ahead of their seeding.
Elmer Prudente was the star player, scoring 6 from 11 on board 1. He was ably assisted by Roger Orion on board 3, who scored 5 from 10. Both these results were sufficient for the players to earn the Candidate Master title (subject to fulfilling the rating requirements).
After starting the tournament with a 4-0 loss to Iraq in round 1, the team was able to pick up game points in all their remaining matches. Round 3 saw a 2-2 draw with Gambia, while they scored their first win in round 6, beating Central African Republic 3-1. A win in round 8 against the higher seeded Mauritius moved them to 6 points from 16, and draws against Qatar and Ghana in the final 2 rounds saw them finish with 2 wins and 4 draws, with a total of 18.5 game points.
Guam is looking to build on this good showing, by hosting the Oceania Zonal in February 2019. This event attracts players from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Palau and the host country. Based on the showing in Batumi, visiting players will have to be on their toes to match it with some of the local stars!
(1755) Orio,Rogelio L (1793) – Capella,Rurik (1979) [A45]
43rd Olympiad 2018 Batumi GEO (5.3), 28.09.2018
1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 d6 3.e3 g6 4.c3 Bg7 5.Nd2 0–0 6.Be2 Nc6 7.Ngf3 Nh5 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bh4 Nf6 10.h3 e5 11.0–0 g5 12.Bg3 Qe7 13.Nh2 e4 14.b4 d5 15.a4 Nh7 16.b5 Nd8 17.c4 c6 18.cxd5 cxd5 19.Rc1 f5 20.f3 f4 21.exf4 gxf4 22.Be1 e3 23.Nb3 Bf5 24.Nc5 Qg5 25.Kh1 b6 26.h4 Qh5 27.Nd3 Ne6 28.Ne5 Rac8 29.Rc6 Bxe5 30.dxe5 d4 31.Bc4 d3 32.g4 fxg3 33.Rg1 Kh8 34.Bxg3 e2 35.Qd2 Rg8 36.Bxe6 Rxc6 37.Bxg8 Rc2 38.Qe3 Kxg8 39.e6 Kf8 40.Bd6+ 1–0