An excellent overall event for the UK, with us finishing in 13th place overall and therefore qualifying for the World Team Cup! The highlight of our performances had to be Chris staying unbeaten and scoring a whopping 7.5/9 on top board. That equated to a performance of 2370 and gains Chris 48 Rating Points. We think he may have just missed out on a medal with that, but hey! what a good performance!
Steve Hilton, although losing to the Blind World Champion Sergej Wassin in Round 9, still finished with a 2015 performance of 5.5/9 and gains 30 RPs; Graham Pennington on 1.5/4 had a tournament rating of 1762; and Phil also had a positive outturn, despite losing in the last round to his strong WIM Opponent Zsiltsova-Lisenko. He finished on 2/5, which equates to +26 RPs. Bill had another disappointment to finish with 2.5/9 and a negative of – 33 RPs, but was a good Captain, firing up the troops and keeping us all in good humour!
Our final score was 9/18 Match Points and 19 Game Points, so we finished top of the teams on 9 Match Points. The overall victors were Russia, with 16/18 and 28.5 GPs. Ukraine were 2nd with 13/18 and 26, Poland took Bronze with 13/18 and 23, and Serbia were 4th with 12/18 and 23.5. We played two of the Top 4 teams, and none of those in the bottom bunch, so overall are happy with the performance. The others above us were Germany, Spain, India, Azerbaijan, Venezuela, Lithuania, Bulgaria, and Italy.
We’re now just about to go through a few more of our games, and will then await the Closing Ceremony before the long trek home! It has been a very enjoyable experience for all of our team and coaches. The hotel and food were excellent, the chess highly competitive, the location great, and the organisation good overall too.
Bring on the World Cup!
— Owen Phillips
An epic Round 8 UK match against Italy, which ebbed and flowed and ended up with 3 out of the 4 games being highly complex, and difficult even for a GM to predict! In the end Chris, despite plus two pawns, was held to a draw with opposite coloured Bishops.
Steve ‘Wee Scottie’ Hilton marched on to make it 5.5 pts out of his last 6 rounds, mating his opponent! Meanwhile, and sadly, Bill Armstrong lost an edge, then lost to a pesky and massive passed pawn in the centre. Phil tried hard, and nearly converted a highly complex Queen & Knight and 4 pawns vs Queen and 7 pawns ending, but in the end succumbed to a perpetual check – so the final result was honours even at 2-2.
We dropped to 10th overall, with 9/18 Match Points, and a very healthy 18.5 Game Points, but have a very tough last round match against Ukraine, who are in third spot with 11/18 MPs and 22.5 GPs. Ukraine, of course, will out-grade us considerably. On the boards above us, Italy face Russia, Poland face Germany and India face Serbia.
Meanwhile at the top, Russia marched into the lead with 14/18 MPs and with 25GPs, they lead Poland on 13/18 and 21.5. India are fourth on 11/18 and 17. Because of our superior GPs compared to Spain, Italy and Venezuela, a draw would lift us a lot, and a win could lift us to 4th overall – dream on! 😎
Chris dropped to a (still very good) +42 RPs for the event, and is hanging on to the Bronze Medal position at present, but is only marginally in front of Jorgen Magnusson of Sweden. The Board One honours look like going Silver to Polish GM Marcin Tazbir and Gold to Montenegro’s IM Predrag Nikac.
Steve Hilton, despite his great run, looks likely even with another win to fall just outside the medals for Board 2. However, he is already +32 RPs for the event. Meanwhile Phil added to his positive RP with a draw against an opponent some 257 FIDE points higher!
Overall, a good tournament by the UK team and their coaches, with a great spirit – let’s just hope dreams can come true in the early Round 9 tomorrow!
— Owen Phillips