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History of Chess Olympiads
The first world team competition, Paris 1924, was called the Chess Olympic Games.

Olympic Games, Paris 1924: In his first tournament after winning the World Championship title from Emanuel Lasker, Jose Capablanca won a master tournament at London in 1922, where he was followed by Alexander Alekhine and Akiba Rubinstein. During the event, part of the British Chess Federation Congress, Eugene Znosko-Borovsky, a Russian master living in Paris, announced that the French Federation would host an international team competition in 1924 to coincide with the Olympic Games in the French capital.

First Chess Olympics and the Formation of FIDE: That first world team competition was called the Chess Olympic Games. It is not counted as an official Chess Olympiad, because it was not organized by FIDE and because the scoring was not the same as for later events. The year 1924 is important in chess history, not because of this competition, but because of the formation of FIDE by the players present in Paris. Founded on 20 July 1924, the protocol was signed by the delegates of 15 countries.

The Greatest Chess Show on Earth: The 37th event in the 80-year history of this team tournament was held in Turin, Italy. Its 150 men's teams and 108 women's teams made it the largest Olympiad ever. The participants across all of the men's teams (four players and two reserves) plus the women's teams (three players and one reserve), make the modern chess Olympiads the greatest gatherings of chess talent in the world.

First official event: London 1927: By comparison, when the first official Olympiad took place in London 1927, only 6 of the 16 teams could muster a reserve to complement the four player teams. That event was won by Hungary, ahead of Denmark and England. There was no separate women's event.

Unofficial events: Paris 1924 and Budapest 1926: The 1927 Olympiad was preceded by two unofficial events. The first, Paris 1924, was organized to coincide with the 8th Sports Olympics. It was an individual event where the scores of the best players representing each country were combined to calculate a team score. Czechoslovakia won. Budapest 1926, was also considered unofficial because only four teams participated. Hungary was the winner of this 'Little Olympiad'.

More official events: After London 1927, the next two official events were held in The Hague (2nd Olympiad, 1928) and Hamburg (3rd, 1930). These were followed by events held every two years from Prague (4th, 1931, 19 teams) through Buenos Aires (8th, 1939, 26 teams). The Buenos Aires event, won by Germany, was the first held outside of Europe and the last held before the Second World War.

After World War II: Since 1950, the Olympiads have been held every two years. The 9th Olympiad was held in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia (now Croatia), in 1950, and was won by the host country.

A Microcosm of Modern World History: Along with the Dubrovnik 1950 and Bled 2002 events, two other Olympiads have been held in Yugoslavia -- Skopje (now in Macedonia) 1972, and Novi Sad 1990. Novi Sad saw the last participation of Yugoslavia before the country's breakup. It did not compete at Manila 1992, but returned for Moscow 1994, where it tied for 15-18th. Bosnia/Herzegovina won the silver medal, while Croatia and Macedonia also competed separately.

More Unofficial Events: Unofficial events have also been held in Munich 1936, when Germany was no longer a member of FIDE, and Tripoli 1976, in support of a boycott against the official event in Haifa, Israel.

Other Facts of Interest:

Skopje 1972 was the first time that the men's and women's events were held simultaneously. The first women's event was Emmen (Netherlands) 1957. That event plus the next three were held independently of the men's event.

Before the Second World War, the Women's World Championship coincided with the Olympiad. The first championship, London 1927, was won by Vera Menchik. She also won the 2nd (Hamburg 1930) through 7th (Buenos Aires 1939) championships.

Helsinki 1952 saw the first participation by the USSR, which finished ahead of Argentina and Yugoslavia. The team won every event up to and including their last participation at Novi Sad 1990, except Haifa 1976, which the Soviets boycotted, and Buenos Aires 1978, where they finished second, one point behind Hungary.

Continuing the Olympiad tradition of the Soviet teams, the first Russian team took gold at Manila 1992, and has won every event since, except in 2004, when it finished 2nd behind the Ukraine. The second Russian team captured the bronze medal at the Moscow 1994 event.