The Timor Leste Chess Federation joined FIDE in 2016, and 2018 saw their debut at a Chess Olympiad. With only 4 players in the Open team there was no rest for the newcomers, with every player required to play all 11 games.
Despite the lack of international experience and low seeding, the team made a good first impression, scoring 6 match points and 14.5 game points.
The star of the team was Board 3 player Tito dos Reis who scored 6/11, including 4 consecutive wins in the final 4 rounds.
The team scored their first Olympiad point in round 3 with a 2-2 draw against Eritrea, while in round 9 they scored their first match win in an Olympiad with a 4-0 win over Antigua and Barbuda. The team also scored drawn matches with the Seychelles, Rwanda and Palau.
Having had their first taste of international play, the Timor Leste Federation is keen to take part in more events.
They are looking at sending more players to events in South East Asia, as well as building closer ties with federations in the Oceania region. This will no doubt lead to improved chess standards in the country, with a stronger performance in 2020 expected.
(Report by Shaun Press)