The 22nd Chess Olympiad, organized by FIDE, took place between October 26 and November 10, 1976, in Haifa, Israel. For the first time, the event comprised both an open and a women's tournament.
Another first was the change in format. The growing number of teams (74 at the previous Olympiad) had made it impossible to continue with the previous system of round-robin preliminary and final groups, so beginning in Haifa, the open event was played as a Swiss system tournament (the women's event had fewer participants and did not use the Swiss system until 1980).
The first Swiss system Olympiad ended up with significantly fewer teams, however. International politics once again interfered in the world of sports, as a large number of FIDE member nations withdrew in protest against the Olympiad being held in Israel, a country many of them didn't recognize. Among the nations that stayed away from Haifa were all of the Arab countries, some of which took part in the alternative Against Chess Olympiad instead. Other absentees were the entire Eastern Bloc, including most of the usual medal candidates. A number of Eastern European players had recently defected, however, and now represented various Western countries.
In the absence of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Hungary, the US team had the highest average rating and had to be considered favourites, even without Bobby Fischer. In the end, they lived up to expectations and won the gold medals, by half a point. The Netherlands and England took home the silver and bronze, respectively.
Forty-eight nations played 13 rounds. In the event of a draw, the tie-break was decided first by match points, then by using the Buchholz system.
|1||United States||Byrne, Kavalek, Evans, Tarjan, Lombardy, Commons||2535||37|
|2||Netherlands||Timman, Sosonko, Donner, Ree, Ligterink, Kuijpers||2490||36½|
|3||England||Miles, Keene, Hartston, Stean, Mestel, Nunn||2463||35½|
|45||Papua New Guinea||2200||18|
|46||United States Virgin Islands||2200||15½|
|47||British Virgin Islands||2203||13½|
Twenty-three nations took part in the women's Olympiad. From four preliminary groups the teams were split into three finals. Israel, led by former World Championship challenger Kushnir, proved to be bad hosts by claiming the gold for themselves, ahead of England and Spain.
|1||Israel||Kushnir, Kristol, Podrazhanskaya, Nudelman||2182||17|
|2||England||Hartston, Jackson, Pritchard, Caldwell||2115||11½||8|
|3||Spain||Ferrer, García, Pino García Padrón, Canela||1890||11½||7|