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

European Teams: round by round

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The European Senior Team Championships finished yesterday at Terme Catez in Slovenia.

To supplement our main report, here is a round by round summary of what happened, in the top matches and the results of the British teams.

There were 21 teams in the 50+ Championship and 31 in the 65+, which unfortunately meant a bye (worth 1MP and two game points) in each round in both events.


Day 1, Tuesday 7 May

65+ championship: The main surprise was that Scotland beat Sweden-1 3-1 while Belgium held the higher-ranked Finland-1 team to a 2-2 draw but the other matches went with seedings. England-1 beat Germany Women 4-0 to top the standings. England-2 beat Sweden-3 but England-3 lost to German club Kreuzberg.

On board 3 for England-2, the octogenarian 1965 British Champion Peter N. Lee won his game. This is his first FIDE-rated tournament this century (!) having largely concentrated on Bridge, where he is also a former British champion. We are told Dr Lee made his chess comeback at the Michael Basman memorial tournament last year.

50+ championship: One match was drawn but most ended in wins by the higher-ranked team according to seeding. England-1 beat Scotland, England-2 beat England Women and Iceland beat England-3.


Round 2, Wednesday 8 May

65+ championship: England-1 beat Kreuzberg, but the other British teams lost.

50+ championship: England-1 suffered a shock 2.5-1.5 defeat to fifth seeds Montenegro. Four other teams also won to reach 4MP. Keith Arkell won his game but the top two boards lost. England-2 and Scotland also lost their matches but England-3 beat England Women.


Round 3, Thursday 9 May

65+ championship: England-1 beat Germany while top seeds Slovenia drew with France. Also on the maximum 6MP were Slovakia who beat the Croatian team SESVETE AGROPROTEINKA. England-2 beat France-Normandie while England-3 and Scotland drew their matches. 

50+ championship: The top matches, Hungary v Italy and Montenegro v Iceland, were drawn which enabled England to reduce their deficit by a heavy win against Denmark. England-2 drew with Slovenia-Kralj while England-3 lost to the much highe rranked Slovak team. Scotland beat Monaco and England Women had the bye.


Round 4, Friday 10 May

65+ championship: England beat Slovakia 2.5-1.5 to take the sole lead. Peter Large scored the crucial win on board 3 after early draws in the other games. England-2 drew with Sweden-1 and England-3 beat Finland-4 but Scotland lost.

50+ championship: Iceland took the sole lead with 7MP by beating Hungary, while Nontenegro held top seeds Italy to a draw. This enabled England to move up to joint second by beating the Dutch club LSG. England-2 had a good 3-1 win against the German club Dinslaken although Stephen Dishman lost on top board to the well-known chess coach IM Christof Sielecki. He was scoring well in this tournament but Dinslaken's other players are rated below 2100.

Scotland beat Polish Amateurs but England-3 beat Finnish club Stadin Hemmot and Monaco beat England Women.

Round 5, Saturday 11 May

65+ championship: England-1 beat Slovenia thanks to Chris Baker's win on board 4. England-2 lost to Germany but Peter Lee maintained his unbeaten record. Scotalnd lost to Germany Women and England-2 were beaten by France-Normandie.

50+ championship: The lead changed again because Iceland lost to top seeds Italy and England's win against Slovakia meant they were now joint first. England-2 beat Austria-1 while Engalnd-3 drew with LSG but Scotland and the English women lost thie matches. Their board 2, WIM Natasha Regan, finally arrived but was unable to improve the team's fortunes.


Round 6, Sunday 12 May

65+ championship: England-1 were held to a 2-2 draw by France but retained their 2MP lead as the Slovakia-Slovenia match also ended 2-2. England-2 beat the Swiss club SG Riehen (Lee winning a crazy game) to move up to joint third place. Meanwhile England-3 beat Scotland 2.5-1.5 thanks to a win by Stewart Reuben.

50+ championship: England-1 beat Italy to take the sole lead. There were three draws and GM Keith Arkell had a nice win on board 3 when (surprise surprise!) a rook ending arose very quickly and it was all over before move 40. England-2 maintained their good record by making four draws against Hungary, while Iceland restored their challenge by beating Slovakia 3-1.


Round 7, Monday 13 May

65+ championship: England-1 defeated Finland 2.5-1.5 thanks to a win by Peter Large on board 3. England-1 now had 13MP out of a maximum 14. In the second match, all four games were drawn between Germany and Hungary.

Slovakia beat France 2.5-1.5 ato go into sole second place on 11MP. Slovenia beat the Croatian team, winning board 2 by default but their third board IM Vojko Mencinger of Slovenia spoiled his excellent record by losing.

Slovenia (the hosts and top seeds), Germany and Hungary were thus all on 10MP.

England-2 beat Austria-1 3-1, thanks to wins by John Quinn and Kevin Bowmer on the top two boards. Peter Lee remained unbeaten, playing every round since this team has no reserve.

England-2 joined the group on 9MP along with Finland-1 and Sweden-1, while England-3 have 7 and Scotland have 4.

England-3 beat Germany Women 2.5-1.5 thanks to wins by Michael Stokes and Stewart Reuben. Scotland had the bye.

Scotland had the bye in this round. Since the Scots began the tournament brightly with a 3-1 win against higher-rated opposition, their subsequent results have been surprisingly disappointing. Ian Robertson remained their only player on a plus score.


50+ championship: England-1 beat Iceland 3-1 to maintain their lead, now with 12MP while Iceland remained on 9 and fall back to joint fourth. The wins, unusually, came in England's two games with Black. Their number 3, GM Keith Arkell was rested for this match. The games are being shared out fairly evenly among the five team members.

On board 2, Margeir Petursson played aggressively against Glenn Flear, sacrificing two pawns for a kingside attack but failed to break through and after a miscalculation he reached a lost endgame. On board 4, Bjorgvin Jonsson suffered a similar fate against Stuart Conquest whose Caro-Kann Defence withstood a sharp attacking line.

In the second match, top seeds Italy won 3-1 against England-2 for whom Stephen Dishman and Philip Crocker made draws. Italy, on 10MP, are now in joint second place with Hungary, who defeated Denmark 3-1. Montenegro, the team that surprisingly beat England earlier, won against Netherlands LSG and join Iceland on 9MP.

England-3 lost 1.5-2.5 to Dinslaken; John Guilfoyle won on board 4. Scotland won against Austria 2.5-1.5 thanks to a victory by Neil Farrell. This put Scotland in the group on 8MP with Slovakia, England-2 and Dinslaken.

The English women lost again, this time by 1.5-2.5 to the Finnish club Staddin Hemmot. There was a consolation win for WIM Natasha Regan who missed the first five rounds.


Round 8, Tuesday 14 May

65+ championship: England-1 beat Hungary 2.5-1.5 in the top match. Dr John Nunn was finally rested after playing every previous round on top board against mostly GM opposition. The games on boards 3 and 4 (involving IMs Chris Baker and Nigel Povah) were drawn after 9 and 10 moves respectively but the top games were hard fought.

On top board, IM Peter Hardicsay played GM Tony Kosten who equalised fairly easily with Black and gradually obtained a positional advantage. The pressure eventually led to decisive gain of material just before the move 40 time control and White resigned.

On board 2, Peter Large's opponent played the Petroff Defence and after 27 moves a fairkly equal position with queen and bishop each arose. This situation continued untila draw was finally agreed at move 61.

In the second match Slovakia beat Germany, while Slovenia beat Sweden and Finland-1 defeated England-2. In that match there were three draws but GM Heikki Westwerinen ended Lee's good run.

England-3 also lost (to Austria-1) but Scotland won 4-0 against the weaker of the two Croatian teams.


50+ championship: The fight for all the medals in the 50+ was blown wide open because all five British teams in the 50+ lost in round 8.

Most significantly, the leaders England-1 suffered a setback, losing 1.5-2.5 to Hungary. They still led on tiebreak but this set up a grandstand finish for the final round.

In the top match, England-1 were playing Black on odd numbered boards, lost 1.5-2.5 to Hungary, which is the second time England-1 had lost a match in this tournament. Keith Arkell's game on board 3 was quickly drawn in 10 moves leaving his team-mates to fight it out.

Unfortunately the slight advantages that the players with White (Glenn Flear and Stuart Conquest) were able to achieve fronm the opening did not lead to any significant gains and both games were drawn. The top board game, where IM Csaba Csiszar played the London System against GM John Emms was complicated but resolved to an ending with rook and opposite coloure dbishops where White had an extra pawn. For a long time a draw seemed likely but time trouble often decides such long games. Emms went wrong around moves 96-97 and had to resign at move 113.

Italy beat Scotland; kudos to George Neave who prevented a whitewash by drawing with Black on board. Iceland beat Dinslaken, with GM Johann Hjartarson inflicting a first defeat on IM Christof Sielecki. Slovakia beat Montenegro thanks to a top board win.

In other matches, England-2 lost to Netherlands LSG, England-3 were beaten by Denmark and the English women to Slovenia Kralj.


Round 9, Wednesday 15 May

65+ championship: 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 a drawn match would have been enough. Even a loss might have seen them placed first on tiebreak.

There was little likelihood of that, though, since GM Dr John Nunn (twice World 65+ champion) returned to battle and duly won his game. There was also a win on board 3 with White from IM Peter Large. GM Tony Kosten and team captain IM Nigel Povah drew their games with Black.

So in the end this was a comfortable and expected victory for the English but the fight between the teams hoping for the silver and bronze medals was much less predictable.

In the end Slovakia won on top board to win 2.5-1.5 and thus ensure second place. Slovenia inflicted a heavy 3.5-0.5 defeat on Hungary to take bronze, so no tie-breaks were required. Thetre were wins for France and Germany which brought them up to fourth and fifth respectively, relegating the Finns to sixth,

Lower down the field, England-2 suffered a heavy defeat to Switzerland, but England-3 and Scotland won their last round matches.


50+ championship: With three teams tied on 12MP going into the last round, it was always likely that tiebreaks would decide the final standings, but England-1 had (on paper) the easiest pairing and Hungary the hardest. There is no rule to say that teams from the same country cannot be in the last round (or that they must meet earlier.)

The top pairings for the final round were: Slovakia (10MP) v Hungary (12); Italy (12) v LSG (9); England-2 (8) v England-1 (12); Denmark (9) v Iceland (11).

The three teams on 12MP all won their matches to finish on 14, and England-1 took gold, being ahead on both criteria. Keith Arkell and Stuart Conquest on boards 2 and 4 brought home the points that secured gold; Stephen Dishman and Chris Duncan scored half points for England 2.

Hungary were ahead of top seeds Italy on tiebreak-2 (we are not sure what calculayion that was) so although they were just behind on tiebreak-3 (game points), they took silver and Italy had to be satisfied with bronze.

Iceland won their match too but remained in fourth place on 13MP. At least they didn't lose the medals on tiebreak. At one point they had been leading the tournament outright, so they can have no complaints.

Scotland drew their last match, so finished on 9MP. England-2 and England-3 (who had the bye in the last round) ended on 8. England Women had a hard time in this tournament and scored 3MP. At least they drew their final match and can hope to do better in the World Senior Teams in July.


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