Round 4 – electrifying news!

John Emms

50+
England 1 beat the favourites USA 2.5-1.5! They now have 8/8. All 8 players are GMs. Only Joel Benjamin was not originally USSR. 

Shabalov drew with Jon Speelman; Benjamin lost to John Emms; Ehlvest drew with James Plaskett; Kudrin drew with Keith Arkell

Keith had an early draw, possibly exhausted by his feat in winning the Blitz Tournament the previous evening. Jon Speelman stood somewhat better, but there wasn’t enough to win. James Plaskett held on grimly against Jaan Ehlvest. So it was left to team captain, John Emms [above], to win a queen and pawn endgame where he had an extra pawn.

Of course there are 5 more rounds and England are only seeded fourth. 

— Stewart Reuben [picture – John Emms at the British 2017; more pictures here]

Round 3
50+
England 1 3 – 1 SC Grobenzell; Liechtenstein 1 – 3 England 2; England 3 3.5 – 1.5 SG Priestewitz; SK Kaltenkirchen 1 – 3 England Women; Suomi Konigsbae 3 – 1 England 4     

65+
England 1 3 – 1 Norway 1; Grand-Munster 1 – 3 England 2; TuR Dresden 1.5 – 2.5 England 4; Mongolian Women 1.5 – 2.5 England 3

That both English first teams had 6/6 after 3 rounds was the big news. Later the pairings were published, showing that they were both playing the top seeds in each event, USA (playing for the first time) in the 50+ and Russia in the 65+.

The big news of the day though was that Keith Emerton won on board 4 for England 4, thus enabling him to win the match. England 3 played the most exotic team in the whole event, the Mongolian Women. They are the only women’s team in the 65+ and it was suggested they move to the 50+. This would have done away with the byes in both events, but they decided to stay put. Our only winner in that match was our lone woman player in the 65+, Julie Denning. Her win enabled England 3 to win and thus escape the dreaded bye – at least for the moment. Both these wins demonstrate that rating isn’t everything and that it is possible to enjoy these events, even though a somewhat weaker player. 

Round 4
50+ (did I mention that England 1 beat the USA?)
England 2 2 – 2 Post SV; TU Magdeburg 2 – 2 England 3; England Women 1.5 – 2.5 Rheinland Platz; sadly England 4 had the bye

65+
Russia 2.5 – 1.5 England 1; England 2 2 – 2 Switzerland; England 4 1 – 3 Sachsen-Anhalt; England 3 1.5 – 2.5 Wales Dehoubarth

— Stewart Reuben