The venue was in the most glorious setting of Lake Bled, Slovenia at Grand Hotel Toplice in November 2018. They hosted many top tournaments, including an Olympiad in 2002. The likes of Tal, Bobby Fischer, Smyslov, Petrosian, Nimzowitsch, Tartakower, Alekhine, Kasparov have played at the venue.
Most players were staying in the Sava hotels. Several were upgraded free, as Susan and I were, to the 5* venue for no extra charge due to a Doctors’ conference wanting the Rikli Balance Hotel. We had a suite with balcony overlooking the lake, the castle across the water on a rocky outcrop, Bled island to the left and all around the distant snowy peaks of Mount Triglav and the Julian Alps. Many chess players walked the 6kms around the lake and visited the island by boat and the castle. The excellent Slovenian white wines and Bled cream cake went down well! Susan managed about 80 miles of walking up into the mountains and swam in the pool.
There were 324 competitors from 57 countries (177 65+, 103 50+, 24 W65+, 20 W50+). As usual, it was a very sociable gathering, seeing many old friends/past opponents and with an excellent opening and closing ceremony, including US FM Nathan Risika singing some opera, accompanied by a German on piano! The playing facilities were excellent and spacious, even with a view of the lake for inspiration. I was lucky enough to play opponents from 11 different countries, ranging from Canada to Australia.
The 50+ championship was won by GM Karen Movsziszian of Armenia with 8.5 points/11 ahead of GM Giogi Bagaturov of Georgia on tie break. There were 4 players on 8 points and 6 on 7.5 points of which GM Keith Arkell took 9th place and the final prize, on tie break. Terry Chapman scored a very good 7 points to finish 17th on tie break.
Other English scores – Peter Gayson 5.5 points, Owen Phillips 4.5 points, Hassan Erdogan 3.5 points.
The 65+ championship was won by my first-round opponent, GM Vlasimil Jansa from Czech Rep with an impressive 9.5 points/11 ahead of GM Yuri Balashov of Russia on tie break. GM Nukhim Rashkovsky was clear third on 8.5 points.
English players did well, gaining FIDE rating points – Ken Norman 6.5 points, Ivan Myall 6 points, Ian Reynolds, Brian Hewson and Davis Bray all scored 5.5 points.
The 50+ Women championship was won by WGM Elvira Berend of Luxemburg with 8.5 points/11. England’s WIM Ingrid Lauterbach came 7th with 6 points and WFM Petra Fink-Nunn scored 5 points.
The 65+ Women championship was won yet again by GM Nona Gaprindashvili of Georgia with 8.5pts/11. England’s WCM Dinah Norman scored 5.5 points.
All the results and PGNs can be viewed at http://wscc2018.european-chessacademy.com/index.php/en/
— Brian Hewson