While the Papua New Guinea team finished below their seeding at the 2018 Batumi Olympiad, the teams performance was an improvement over previous years.
They scored 7 match points (3 wins and a draw) but it was the total number of game points (20.5) that was impressive.
This was the highest total since 2004, where they score 23 points, but that was over 14 rounds, as opposed to 11 this time.
The heavy scoring was based on winning matches by a wide margin (4-0 against Timor Leste, 4-0 against Palau, 3.5-0.5 against US Virgin Islands) while only narrowly losing to other teams ( There were three 1.5-2.5 losses).
FM Stuart Fancy lead the team strongly on the top board. He score an impressive 6.5/10 with 6 wins and a draw, often against higher rated opponents. Tom McCoy made a solid debut for the team, scoring 4/8, including two crucial wins over the final two rounds.
A significant amount of credit for the good performance goes to GM Elshan Moradiabadi, who was able to provide the team with the coaching and preparation needed to perform at this level. The team went into all their matches confident about their opening choices, and both pre and post game analysis provided a much needed boost for the veteran PNG players.
The good result for the team will provide a shot in the arm for chess in PNG, with team members looking to perform well at next years Oceania Zonal in Guam. The PNG Chess Federation is also looking to the future, with more chess in schools activities planned to develop the next generation of Olympiad players.
Fancy,Stuart (1950) – Mctigue,James (2116) [C01]
43rd Olympiad 2018 Batumi GEO (10.1), 04.10.2018
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nf3 c6 5.h3 Bd6 6.Bd3 h6 7.0-0 Ne7 8.b3 Be6 9.Bb2 Nd7 10.Ne5 Qc7 11.f4 Nxe5 12.fxe5 Bb4 13.Nd2 Qd7 14.a3 Ba5 15.b4 Bc7 16.Nb3 b6 17.Qf3 0-0-0 18.a4 g5 19.b5 h5 20.bxc6 Nxc6 21.Bb5 g4 22.Qc3 gxh3 23.Bxc6 Qe7 24.a5 hxg2 25.Rf6 Rdg8 26.axb6 Bxb6 27.Ba3 Qd8 28.Bd6 Bc7 29.Qb4 1-0