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  Dr. Tim Harding   J. H. Blackburne     Paul Morphy   Correspondence Chess history book   Captain W. D. Evans

England win both titles - but 50+ was close

For more information about chess for over-50s, please see our Seniors calendar, Seniors news, and our Seniors introduction page.


The European Senior Team Championships concluded on 15 May at Terme Catez in Slovenia. We reported daily during the event; this is our final version.

You can also see what happened in our separate round-by-round summary. This has now been updated to include the final round (9 of 9).

We also see a team photograph and brief announcement on the English Chess Federation website. There they say that England won three of the four available titles. True, but the English Women's 50+ team was the only female team in that tournament; Germany Women won the 65+ female title, also with no rivals.

There were 21 teams in the 50+ Championship and 31 in the 65+, which unfortunately meant a bye in each round in both events. A bye was scored as 1 match point and 2 game points, the same as a drawn match.

England-1 ended up by winning both tournaments but the performance in the 65+ was much more convincing than in the 50+ where they lost two matches and only won on tiebreak. On the bright side for them, GM Michael Adams, the World 50+ Champion, will lead the squad for the World Senior Teams in July when they will hope to regain that title from the USA. They will certainly need him if the Americans come to Krakow with the kind of strength they have fielded in recent years.

England were not top seeds in the initial standings for either event. Slovenia, the host nation, were top seeds in the 65+ but finally finished third. They perhaps suffered from having no reserve player. Their fourth board lost three games, all in matches the team did not win. Slovenia also did not bring a really competitive team to the 50+ though they eventually finished seventh.

Slovakia, who usually take these senior team events seriously, took a well deserved second place in the 65+ but will probably be disappointed with sixth in the 50+.

Italy (top seeds) and Iceland only competed in the 50+ and were always chasing the medals, but uneven results cost them somewhat. Montenegro also had some impressive results in the 50+ but were not consisetnt enough.

Hungary will probably be pleased with the competitive performance of both their teams. They will be able to show off their 50+ silver medals when Budapest hosts the FIDE Olympiad in August.

Germany and France (and probably several other countries) can be expected to bring stronger teams to the World Seniors in Krakow.


Round 9 news: 65+ tournament

The top final round pairings to decide the medals were: England-1 (15MP) v Croatia Sesvete (10); Slovakia (13) v Finland-1 (11); and Slovenia (12) v Hungary (10). So England-1 were virtually certain of winning the tournament already and in the event there were no surprises.

Slovakia won on top board to win 2.5-1.5 and thus ensure silver. Slovenia inflicted a heavy 3.5-0.5 defeat on Hungary to take bronze, so no tie-breaks were required.

England-2 suffered a heavy defeat, so ended on 9MP, but England-3 and Scotland won their last round matches to finish on 9 and 8 respectively.

For a more detailed account, see the round-by-round report.


Round 9 news: 50+ tournament

England-1, having lost to Hungary in round 8, were in a 3-way tie for the lead going into the last round. However they had the advantage of being paired against England-2, having met all the other top teams already. They duly won 3-1 to clinch gold on tiebreak.

Of the three joint leaders going into the deciding round, Hungary had the toughest pairing, it seemed: Black on odd boards against Slovakia. However they rose to the occasion. IM Csaba Csiszar on top board beat a grandmaster for the second day in succession and the otehr games were drawn.

This 2.5-1.5 victory proved in the end just sufficient for the silver medals as Italy could only win by the same margin against the Dutch team LSG, thanks to a win on bottom board. Italy's performance throughout was somewhat less than expected of top seeds: one match lost (to England), two drawn matches and no win heavier than 3-1.

In the fourth match, Iceland beat Denmark 3.5-0.5 but they were one match point behind so could not improve their placing when the teams ahead of them were victorious. Iceland's performance was the most uneven of the top teams: they beat Hungary but lost to England and Italy and drew with Montenegro.

For a more detailed account, see the round-by-round report.

It is still possible to find the games played in the top matches each round on Lichess. 50+ championship and the 65+. These links point to round 8 but you can always naivgate in Lichess from one round to another in an event.

Team lists, pairings and results can still be found on chess-results. There is also an official website.


Best individual performances

The best performance in the 65+ was by former USSR grandmaster Alexander Beliavsky on top board for Slovenia, who was unbeaten with 7/9 and a performance rating of 2550. GM Ljubomir Ftacnik scored 6.5/9 for Slovakia and GM John Nunn made 6/8 for England-1 (TPR of 2541).

On board 2, IM Louis Roos of France had the top performance rating for an unbeaten 5/7. The most points, though, were scored by Patrick Hugentobler of Switzerland with 6.5/9.

On board 3, IM Vojko Mencinger for Slovenia won his first four games but lost once and finished with 7/9. His final TPR of 2381 was well ahead of anyone else on that board.

Chris Baker of England-1 had the best TPR on board 4 (2368) and another former opponent of mine, IM Nicolas Giffard (France), had the best performance by far of the reserve players. Chris had there wins and three draws, nearly all against tough teams, and Nicolas had three wins and four draws.

Worth honourable mentions are Kevin Bowmer on board 2 for England-2 (5.5/9) and Stewart Reuben with 5/6 on board 4 for England-3. Stewart might have won another game but his last round opponent defaulted.


In the 50+ tournament, the outstanding top board performer was Icelan's GM Johann Hjartarson with 7/8 (for a tremendous TPR of 2682, more than 200 ahead of anyone else). The team won all the matches in which he won his games and failed to win the others.

On board 2 Zoltan Varga of Hungary was clearly top of the TPR with 2496. England's Keith Arkell was clearly top on board 3 with 6/7 for a 2540 result but Claudiu Zetocha of Slovakia also did very well (7/9 for 2452). By far the best on board 4 was Fabrizio Bellia of Italy, unbeaten on 6/7 with a 2546 result, while GM Stuart Conquest had clearly the best result of the reserves (unbeaten 6.5/8 for 2484).

Worth honourable mentions are England-2 reserve Philip J. Crocker (5/8) and England-2 reserve John Guilfoyle (5/8).


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