Rhodes – Silver medal in the World Senior Teams!

England 65+ have secured the Silver medal in the World 65+ Team Chess Championship!

This is an echo of the silver England secured in the World Team Chess Championship quite recently. After 9 rounds, Russia 65+ won with 14/18. England 1, France and Israel all scored 13/18. We got Silver on tiebreak and France bronze.

Team captain and board 2, Nigel Povah, showed us his game afterwards. I thought he stood much worse, but apparently he had it more under control than I had realised. Robert Bellin unsurprisingly had an early draw. We started the last round at 9.30am and this did not suit him at all, as with a number of our players.

England 1 vs Saint Petersburg
4.1 IM Bellin, Robert 2315 – IM Faibisovich, Vadim Z 2302 – ½ – ½
4.2 IM Povah, Nigel E 2319 – IM Karasev, Vladimir I 2281 – 1 – 0
4.3 FM Stebbings, Anthony J 2281 – IM Shushpanov, Vladimir 2180 – 1 – 0
4.4 Snape, Ian L 2154 – IM Blechzin, Igor 2210 – ½ – ½

St Petersburg have often played in this event. It is true we outrated them on every board, but the differences were small. We started out ranked 6 in the competition. 

Rank                    Won  Drew  Lost  Match points  Game points
1 Russia 65+             5     4     0        14           23.5
2 England 1              6     1     2        13           23.5
3 France                 6     1     2        13           22.5 
4 Israel                 5     3     1        13           21.0

The other team medal we achieved was of my own invention last year – the British Isles Team with the Best Improvement in Ranking. England 65+ won this, being 8 places higher after their last round win against Wales. Runners-up were Scotland and Wales 50+ teams with 4 places improvement in ranking. 

English Board Prizes at the WSTCC
50+ ENG 1 Board 2 Keith Arkell 6/8 Silver
50+ ENG 1 Board 3 John Emms 6/8 Gold
65+ ENG 1 Board 3 Tony Stebbings 5/7 Gold
65+ ENG 1 Board 4 Ian Snape 6/8 Bronze 
65+ ENG 2 Board 5 Brian Hewson 4/6 Bronze

That is quite a haul from our 6 teams!

— Stewart Reuben

Download Stewart’s summary of the event in PDF format – Part One | Part Two


50+ Round 8

USA 3.5 – 0.5 Austria
Germany 1 – 3 Italy
Iceland 3 – 1 Russia Women

England 1 vs Athens Veterans
Jon Speelman 1 – 0 Mitradzas 2055
Keith Arkell 1 – 0 Ilandzis 2021
Plaskett 0.5 – 0.5 Hrisanthoploulos 1995
Chris Ward 0.5 – 0.5 Popadimitrios 1943

It is totally inexplicable that such low rated players can have done so well in this event. In board order their 4 players have gained 21.2, 54.6, 28.2 and 59.2 rating points. That is all within the bounds of probabilities, but most unusual for an entire team. Jon Speelman won quite rapidly, BUT James Plaskett had an even quicker draw. Chris Ward could not make much impression, but Keith Arkell eventually ground out a win.

Ireland vs England 2
Delaney 0.5 – 0.5 Andrew Lewis
Wallace 1 – 0 Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell
McElligott 0.5 – 0.5 Sheila Jackson
Lyons 0 – 1 Stephen Homer

England 3 vs Finland Sisu
Tim Thurstan 0 – 1 Pietinen
Nigel White 1-0 Tocklin
Kevin Winter 0.5 Waita

65+ ROUND 8

RUSSIA 2 – 2 France
Israel 2 – 2 Germany
Iceland 0.5 – 3.5 England 1 – at last a resounding victory! The last rounds of a Swiss are always all important.

Iceland vs England 1
Gudmundsson 0-1 Robert Bellin
Viglundsson 0.5 – 0.5 Nigel Povah
Halidorsson 0-1 Anthony Stebbings
Kristinsson 0-1 Ian Snape

Belgium vs England 2
Rooze 1 – 0 Geoff James
van der Wynkele 0 – 1 David Bray
van Herck 0.5 – 0.5 Michael Stokes
Schrickx 0 – 1 Brian Hewson

Of course their IM on board 1 is much their best player. David Bray and Brian Hewson played very well.

England 3 vs Norresyndby Skakkclub (Denmark)
Andrew Baruch 0.5 – 0.5 Pedersen
Stewart Reuben 0.5 – 0.5 Holst
Brian Valentine 0.5 – 0.5 Hvenekilde
Trefor Thynne 0.5 – 0.5 Graylund

Brian had a perfectly reasonable very early draw. The other three games followed in fairly short order. Well, we have played 8 games without a break and they outrated us on every board. Some thought we stood a bit better on boards 1 and 2, but I was not convinced in my case. 

Best Improvement by a British Isles Team seems to have concentrated in the 65+. Scotland in the 50+ are just +2. 
England 1 +3; England 2 +3; England 3 +5; Wales + 3

So my team retains the lead in this local derby, but we are playing Wales in the last round, so there is no certainty. 

Play starts at 9.30AM local time – 2 hours earlier in Britain, and I still have to prepare for my game tomorrow against John Thornton. I have white and it is nearly midnight. 

Rating gains – Nigel White 36.4; Stewart Reuben 35.6; Ian Snape 29.4
There will be a complete list tomorrow … 

— Stewart Reuben


50+ Round 7

Israel 1.5 – 2.5 USA – a bad day for the good guys, assuming they are English – all three of our teams lost
Italy 2.5 – 1.5 England 1
Iceland 2.5 – 1.5 Armenia
Argentina 0.5 – 3.5 Germany
England 2 1.5 – 2.5 Austria – apparently Austria quizzed Andrew Lewis about Brexit before the others arrived. Is that what is called cheating?
Estonian Women 3-1 England 3 

RANKING – USA – 13/14; Italy – 11; Iceland 1, Germany – 10; Armenia, England 1, Amsterdam – 9; England 2 – 7; England 3 – 5

65+ Round 7 

St. Petersburg 1.5 – 2.5 Russia 65+
Germany 3.5 – 0.5 Iceland 2
England 1 3 – 1 England 3 – this was a somewhat surreal match, as one doesn’t expect a third and a first team to be paired together in Round 7.  Robert Bellin won against Andrew Baruch very convincingly. Our boards 3 and 4 drew without too much of a problem. I had white against Tony Stebbings, He foxed me in the opening and, although white, I never fully equalised. So I am a bit despondent, although still gaining 31.0 Rating points with 4/7. 

RANKING – Russia 65+ – 12/14; Germany – 11; France and Italy – 10; England 1 – 9, England 2 – 7, England 3 – 6


50+ Round 6

USA (10) 2 – 2 Iceland (7)
England 1 (8) 2 – 2 Armenia (8)
Austria (7) 1.5 – 2.5 Italy (7)

England 1 vs Armenia
Jon Speelman 0.5 – 0.5 Vaganian
Keith Arkell 0.5 – 0.5 Minasian
John Emms 1 – 0 Movszisian
James Plaskett 0 – 1 Petrosian, Arshak

I was very disappointed with the English crunch match, which may decide the silver medals. I felt surely Jon Speelman stood a lot better in a complex late middlegames. Keith also seemed to have the edge.

Oslo Scachselskop vs England 2
Kristiansen 1 -0 Andrew Lewis
Berg 0 – 1 Clive Frostick
Johnson 0 – 1 Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell – I was impressed by Jeremy’s technique here
Horstead 0 – 1 Sheila Jackson

England 3 vs Uruguay – this is the first time they have played in the WSTCC. It is a very long trip.
Tim Thurstan 0.5 – 0.5 Gentz
Nigel White 0.5 – 0.5 Escafet
Helen Frostick 0.5 – 0.5 Durrante
Ian Cross 0 – 1Barbaroza

After 6 rounds – USA – 11/12; Armenia, England – 1, Italy – 9; England 2 – 7; England 3 – 3.

65+ Round 6

Russia (8) 3.5 – 0.5 Israel (8)
Iceland 2 (8) 2 – 2 Finland 3 (8)
Stiftung BSW (7) 1 – 3 Germany (7)
Austria (7) 0 – 4 St Petersburg (7)

Vienna vs England 1
Opi 1 – 0 Robert Bellin – thus England 1 got revenge for the win Vienna had over England 3 in the previous round
Woebe 0 – 1 Nigel Povah
Strobel 0 – 1 Ian Snape
Danner 0 – 1 John Quinn

England 2 vs Norrasundby Skakklub
Geoff James 0.5 – 0.5 Peduson
David Bray 0 – 1 Holst
Michael Stokers 0.5 – 0.5 Hvenekilde
Brian Hewson 0.5 – 0.5 Grevlund

England 3 vsTurku – a Finnish team
Andrew Baruch 1 – 0 Rantanen
Stewart Reuben 0.5 – 0.5 Ranki
Brian Valentine 1 – 0 Alkkionski
Trefor Thynne 0 – 1 Kauke

The third team match was full of incidents, First of all, I sat in my room to have a short read about an hour before the start of play at 3.00pm. I fell asleep and was awakened by the telephone, warning me it was only 10 minutes before default time. Fortunately my opponent, who had white, seemed to have no ambitions, so we drew in about 20 moves. Trefor was the next to finish. He got a lost position early on and never looked like recovering. Both Andrew and Brian had highly accomplished technical wins.

After 6 rounds – Russia 65 – 10; Germany, Iceland 2, Finland – 9; England 1 – 7; England 3 – 6; England 2 – 5. Thus the third team has overtaken the second. This has happened before in these events and, remember, there are still 3 rounds to go.

Prize for the Best Improvement in Rank for a British Isles Team

I devised this special prize last year and Ireland won. This year England 3 is leading. We were originally ranked 22nd and are currently at 13th, an improvement of 9 places. No other team in the four federations in two sections is greater than +3 currently, but this is very volatile. There is a trophy and medals for all the members of the winning team.

Rating Improvement after 6 rounds – Nigel White 35.6; Stewart Reuben 33.8; Ian Snape 26.2

— Stewart Reuben