8th IBCA Championships for Blind and Visually Impaired Chess Players

From Chris Ross —

Here’s my interview with ChessBase India during the VIII IBCA World Team Cup, Sofia, 2018.I discuss a few things such as my progression in chess, how to develop myself and how people can open up channels of communication to improve themselves in their game.Grandmaster Neil McDonald was also interviewed and this can be viewed below as well —

Event reports from Owen Phillips are below

Final report

GB won their final play-off match against Bulgaria 2  – 2.5 to 1.5 – and so finished in 13th position overall. Our team did very well to win 4 out of the last 5 matches. The only one they lost in that phase was against Russia – the eventual Gold medallists! Poland finished with the Silver Medal and Ukraine the Bronze, with Germany 4th, Serbia 5th, Venezuela 6th, Romania 7th, India 8th, Spain 9th, Macedonia 10th, Bulgaria 1 11th, Turkey 12th, GB, then Bulgaria 2 14th, Slovenia 15th and Italy 16th. 

Report 6

Unfortunately the final match against Russia did indeed go to form and Russia beat Team GB 4-0. Germany beat Turkey and Venezuela beat Bulgaria 2, but Serbia had a `GM draw’ against Macedonia, with all 4 games shown as a draw within a few minutes of the start of play! With Venezuela winning and Russia beating us that draw did not really have any meaningful effect.

The final Group A positions were 1st Russia 13 match points and 25/28 game points 2nd Germany 11 and 18.5; 3rd Serbia 8 and 16; 4th Venezuela 8 and 12; 5th Turkey 6 and 12.5; 6th Macedonia 5 and 12; 7th GB 4 and 11; 8th Bulgaria 2 – 1 and 5

Meanwhile  in Group B GM Marcin Tazbir continued his 100 per cent record on Board 1 for Poland (a 2898 performance) as Poland beat Ukraine 2.5 to 1.5.

The Group finishing order was — Poland 1st 14 and 23; Ukraine 2nd 12 & 20; India 3rd 8 & 16; Romania 4th 7 & 14; Bulgaria 1 – 5th 6 & 11.5; Spain 6th 5 & 12; Slovenia 7th 4 & 11; Italy 8th 0 & 4.5  

GB now play Italy next and Bulgaria 2 play Slovenia. The winners of each match presumably then play off, as do the two losers to decide World Cup positions 13 – 16. At the top end, Russia face off against Ukraine and Poland against Germany. The winners and losers then play to decide the Team Medals and finishing positions 1 – 4 in this World Team Cup.  

Meanwhile (hopefully) all the participants will have a great rest day – no doubt with plenty of activities planned by the hosts! Hopefully our team will enjoy their well deserved rest – and  will finish strongly to take 13th position overall. If so, that would be an interesting coincidence, as that is exactly the position they finished at in the Olympiad in Macedonia last year.


Interim report

Today, GB face the might of the Russian machine. The parings (with us Black on the odd boards are —

Board 1 – Alexey Smirnov vs Chris Ross (-226 pts!)
Board 2 – Yuri Meshkov vs Steve Hilton (-448pts!!)
Board 3 – Evgeniy Suslov vs Paul Benson (-366pts!)
Board 4 – Ruslan Draganov vs Graham Pennington (-448 pts!!)

Good luck lads – fingers crossed!

Report 5

Sadly the team GB mini-run of success was halted today by Venezuela. Despite Chris Ross getting back on the winning trail Venezuela, fielding an IM on Board 4, beat us 3-1!

With one set of matches to go Group A looks like this —
1st Russia 11 match points and 21/24 game points
2nd Germany 9 match points and 15/24
3rd Serbia 7 and 14
4th Turkey 6 and 12
5th GB 5 and 12
6th Venezuela 5 and 8.5
7th Macedonia 4 and 10
8th Bulgaria 2-1 match points and 3.5 game points

Tomorrow Russia face GB, Turkey face Germany, Venezuela face Bulgaria 2, and Serbia face Macedonia. Theoretically a series of miracles could see us finish 3rd in the group, but it is more likely that Venezuela will leap frog us. 

Whilst Group B is — Poland 12 and 20.5/24, Ukraine 12 and 18.5, India 6 and 13, Bulgaria 1-6 and 11, Romania 5 and 11, Slovenia 4 and 10, Spain 3 and 8.5, and Italy 0 and 3.5.  

With Poland to play Ukraine, Bulgaria 1 to face Spain, Italy to play Romania, and Slovenia to face India, the top position is up for grabs between Poland and Ukraine. Otherwise lots of changes in position can occur. 

Miracles can happen, but rarely against Russia at chess, so it looks very likely that team GB will finish in the bottom half of Group A. That said, fingers crossed, and in particular good luck to Chris in avoiding losing to Russia!

Report 4

Despite Chris Ross being held to a draw today, by an opponent who so far has played some 320 FIDE points above his rating, Team GB secured a  3-1 win against Turkey. With Venezuela beating Macedonia, GB still to play Venezuela and Germany to play Serbia, if we can get a narrow win against Venezuela team GB may yet finish 3rd or 4th in Group A. We currently stand 5th.

The surprise today was that Russia were held to a 2-2 draw by Serbia, but Russia are still way ahead in the group. 

Meanwhile Poland and Ukraine continue to dominate Group B, with Bulgaria in third spot, and with it being very close at the tail end of the group.

Report 3

Round 4, and Team GB at last register a good win – beating Bulgaria 2 by 3.5 to 0.5, with Venezuela surprisingly beating Serbia 3-1, and with Macedonia losing 3-1 to Turkey, as well as Germany losing 4-0 to Russia. The race for 2nd – 5th places has truly heated up!

Lying in 6th place, the next two rounds will largely decide whether Team GB finish in a high-ranking position or a low one – as we face Turkey next and then Venezuela. We have to inflict some damage before facing the mighty Russian machine in Round 7!

At present, Russia head Group A with a magnificent 15.5/16 game points and 8/8 match points! In Group B, meanwhile, Poland, on 14.5/16 and 8/8, narrowly lead Ukraine  with 13/16 and 8/8, with them not playing until Round 7!

Individually, Chris Ross on 3/4 is clearly well-placed to make a charge towards some colour of medal!


Report 2

So far match results have been a bit of a downer – on Day 1, the revised pairings saw us play Serbia and go down to them 3 to 1; then in Round 2, we lost to Macedonia narrowly, 2.5 to 1.5, and in Round 3 we lost to Germany 3-1. However, the news is mixed, as Chris Ross has been on good form, scoring draws against the 2358 Serbian FM and the 2291 German IM, and beating his 1996 Macedonian opponent. Whilst Steve Hilton and Paul Benson have more or less played to their grades, scoring 0.5/3 and 1/3 respectively, Steve in particular has been heavily out-graded, playing against a 2197, 2127, and 2097. Macedonia played the legal, but somewhat tactical, ploy of putting their top two players on Boards 2 and 4! 

Tomorrow at least gives the GB team a chance to pull back and put smiles back on the team’s faces as they play Bulgaria 2, who currently sit at the bottom of the Group on board points. GB sit in 6th position with Russia heading the Group ahead of Germany and Serbia, whilst in Group B, Poland lead Ukraine and India.  

— Owen Phillips, 23rd July 2018


Report 1

Hopes of a BCA (GB team) medal – or at least high-placed finish – rose substantially yesterday as it became clear that the GB team had ended up in Group A, with the top seeds Russia, and with Germany, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria 2, Turkey, and Venezuela – as opposed to the mush stronger Group B, which has Poland, Ukraine, Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, India, Slovenia, and Italy in it. Matches start at 3.00pm each day, and the top two teams in Group A and Group B will move forward to play for the medals with the third and fourth in each Group playing off for places 5 – 8, and so on and so forth. Although Germany and Serbia will out-grade us and of course Russia, for the rest of the Group matches on paper we stand at least an even chance! On Day One, England face Germany and are hoping that meeting them relatively ‘cold’ may help the GB cause?! Chris Ross, our Board 1, will probably face the new IM Oliver Mueller; however, team composition will not be known until the morning of each match. ‘GO GO Rossie and team GB!!’

— Owen Phillips


… in Sofia, Bulgaria from 20th to 31st July 2018. The UK team is Chris Ross, Steve Hilton, Paul Benson, William (Bill) Armstrong, and Graham Pennington, backed up by their trainers GM Neil Macdonald and IM Chris Beaumont. The top 16 teams from the Macedonia Olympiad qualified to play in the World Team Cup, and matches are again played over four boards (with each team also having a reserve player and generally two or more coaches)

Not all the team compositions have been notified as yet, but it appears that, as usual, Russia will be top seeds with a FIDE 5-board average rating of 2359, with Poland 2309, Ukraine 2231, and both Serbia and Germany around 2200. 

The Championship is likely to be hotly contested, judging by last year’s Olympiad (which went to the wire), and judging by Poland having won the European Team Championship in Warsaw in 2016. 

Results here — http://chess-results.com/tnr365065.aspx?lan=1

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