The Chess Olympiad is a team competition for nations, first held in 1927 at London, England and held every 2 years since 1950. The event is sanctioned by the World Chess Federation (FIDE)
. In 2008 at Dresden, Germany, there were 144 teams from 139 countries. The 39th Chess Olympiad will be held at Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, from September 19th - October 4th, 2010.
Canada first participated in the Olympiads in 1939 at Buenos Aires, Argentina, where 14-year old Abe Yanofsky of Winnipeg, Manitoba attracted the world's attention. In 1964 at Tel Aviv, Israel, Yanofsky secured the first Grandmaster title for a player raised in the Commonwealth. Canada has sent a team to every Olympiad since 1964. Canada's best finish at the Olympiad was tied for 7th in 1978 at Buenos Aires, Argentina. Canada finished tied for 8th in 1976 at Haifa, Israel and in 1980 at Valetta, Malta.
Canadians have won individual medals 9 times - Gold: D. Abraham Yanofsky, Board 2, 1939; Frank Anderson, Board 2, 1954; Silver: Peter Biyiasas, Board 2, 1978; Kevin Spraggett, Board 2, 2000; Bronze: Peter Biyiasas, Board 4, 1972; Jean Hébert, Board 3, 1982; Lawrence Day, Board 3, 1986; Deen Hergott, Alternate 1, 1990; Yan Teplitsky, Board 4, 2002. Other excellent individual results: Frank Anderson had the best percentage, Board 2, Olympiad 1958 (+9 =3 -1), but did not receive the FIDE award, which was given only for best point total; Roman Pelts had the 2nd highest score among masters, Board 4, Olympiad 1984 (8/11). Lawrence Day represented Canada at the Olympiads 13 times, followed by D. Abraham Yanofsky (11 times).
The Women's Olympiad was first held in 1957 at Emmen, Netherlands. Canada first participated in the Women's Olympiad in 1974 at Medellin, Columbia, and has sent a team every time since 2000. Canada was 1st place team, Group 'B', Women's Olympiad 1976 (Marie-Thérèse Chaput, Angela Day, Nava Starr, Smilja Vujosevic). Canadians have won individual medals 4 times - Gold: Nava Starr, Board 2, 1976; Céline Roos, Board 2, 1984; Bronze: Smilja Vujosevic, Board 1, 1976; Nava Starr, Board 1, 1982. Nava Starr represented Canada at the Olympiads 12 times.