WSTCC reports from Nigel Povah

The 2023 WSTCC is taking place in the beautiful location of Struga on Lake Ohrid in North Macedonia and the setting couldn’t be more idyllic with fabulous views over the lake with a wonderful mountain range in the background.

Getting to Ohrid was a major challenge as there are no direct flights and so the English delegation (comprising of six teams of 4-5 players) travelled via Vienna, Belgrade, Skopje or Tirana, which meant there were a number of travel cancellations and delays with Glenn Flear (in the England 50+ 1 squad) and Tony Kosten (in the England 65+ 1 squad) arriving a day later than intended.

Stewart Reuben had a particularly frustrating travel experience as he explains: “My trip to North Macedonia proved to be very difficult as it was for some other people. I had intended to stay three nights in Albania before going on to Ohrid by car, thus bringing the number of countries I have visited up to 105. Unfortunately, the flight to Tirana in Albania was first much delayed and then cancelled. There were no seats on the plane for the next couple of nights, so I returned home from Luton and decided to give up on the whole trip. 

But I spoke to Nigel Povah and he persuaded me to give it one more try. How pleased I am that he did so. I changed my route and stayed one night in Vienna, before travelling by air to Ohrid.  Nigel had arranged a number of rooms at the hotel, overlooking the lake. The first night the sky was beautifully clear. I don’t think I have seen such a complete sight of so many stars since I was in Tahiti last century. Moreover, the view of Venus was so bright that at first I thought it must be a man-made satellite. That, together with meeting old friends – all younger than me (!) has so far made this a very special occasion.”

The 50+ event has 22 teams, of which three are Women’s teams to contest the Women’s championship.  England 1 are 2nd seeds behind a strong team from the USA.  England 2 are the 8th seeds and England 3 are 13th and England Women are 14th.

The 65+ event has 26 teams with England 1 being 2nd seeds behind a Strong Germany Lasker team and England 2 are 20th seeds.

Pictures are by Mark Livshitz – a full photo gallery can be found here –

Click here for a press release from Nigel Povah, Manager of Senior Chess

Round 1 – 19th September
This saw England 50+ 1 (Mickey Adams (above), John Emms, Keith Arkell and Nigel Davies) paired against England 50+ 3 (Russell Granat, Phil Crocker, Clive Frostick and Brian Hewson) and the result was quite predictable although not the score, which was 3.5-0.5 as Russell Granat managed an impressive draw with Mickey Adams and may have even stood fractionally better in the final position.

England 50+ 2 (Steve Dishman, Andy Lewis, Gary Clark and Tony Stebbings) beat Scotland 4-0, whilst England 50+ Women (Sue Lalic, Sheila Jackson, Ingrid Lauterbach and Petra Nunn) lost by the same score to a strong Italian team who are seeded third.

England 65+ 1 (John Nunn, Terry Chapman, Chris Baker and Nigel Povah) beat Austria 1 by 3-1, whilst England 2 lost by the same score to Germany (8th seeds).

Round 2 – 20th September
England 50+ 1 beat Poland 3-1 thanks to wins from Mickey Adams and Glenn Flear (who had now arrived). England 50+ 2 lost 2-5-1.5 to the Italians, so although disappointing, not too bad a result as they were heavily outrated. England 50+ 3 beat Uruguay by 2.5-1.5 thanks to wins from Phil Crocker and Brian Hewson. England 50+ Women beat Scotland by 3.5-0.5 with Sheila Jackson demonstrating her ability to win K, B & N v K.

England 65+ 1 beat Kosovo by 3-1 thanks to wins from John Nunn (below) and Tony Kosten who had also arrived by now.  England 2 beat 25th seeds, Sweden Skane, by 3-1, with wins from England’s two oldest players in the delegation, Geoff James and Stewart Reuben, both of whom are in their eighties!

So after the second round, England 50+ 1 and England 65+ 1 are both joint top of their sections with strong matches in round 3 against Italy and Slovakia respectively. England Women are sharing the lead with China ShenZhen women and have a tough round 3 match against 9th seeds Slovakia.

Round 3 – 21st September
A good day for England, as the England 50+ 1st team beat Italy by 2.5-1.5 thanks to a win from Mickey Adams.

England 50+ 2 continued to show their dominance over the other British teams, with a 3-1 win over Wales, whilst England 50+ 3 lost by 3.5-0.5 to Montenegro, with Russell Granat getting the solitary draw against another GM.

England 50+ Women had an excellent result against 9th seeds Slovakia with a 2-2 draw, thanks to a draw from Sue Lalic on top board against GM Martin Mrva and Petra Nunn drawing against an IM on board 4, whilst Ingrid Lauterbach scored an impressive victory on board 3 to offset Sheila Jackson’s reversal on board two.

England 65+ 1 beat Slovakia by 2.5-1.5, securing revenge for their defeat in the recent European Senior Team championships, with Terry Chapman winning a very tense game on board 3 against IM Alois Lanc, who was their sole victor in that European match, so justice was served!  England 65+ 2 lost 2.5-1.5 to Austria Steiermark, with Tim Spanton scoring a good win on board 3.

After three rounds, England 50+ 1 and England 65+ 1 are still both joint leaders of their sections. There are some enticing pairings in round 4, with the England 50+ 1st team playing a solid Iceland team, whilst England 2 face the USA and England 3 are paired against England Women.  In the 65+ section England 1 are playing the top seeds Germany Lasker and England 2 are paired against Italy.

Round 4 – 22nd September
After yesterday’s success, today was much tougher.  England 50+ 1st team only managed a 2-2 draw with Iceland thanks to another win from Mickey Adams to offset Glenn Flear’s defeat.

England 50+ 2 faced the mighty USA team and although they lost 3-1, both Andy Lewis and Tony Stebbings achieved creditable draws against strong GMs.  Meanwhile the all-England clash between England 50+ 3 and England 50+ Women was a very tight contest with England 50+ 3 emerging victors by 2.5-1.5 thanks to a solitary win by Clive Frostick against Ingrid Lauterbach.

England 65+ 1 also had a bad day, losing by 2.5-1.5 to top seeds Germany Lasker, with Chris Baker losing a tough game and Tony Kosten unfortunately overlooking a saving resource for his opponent in a clearly winning position.  England 65+ 2 lost 3.5-0.5 to 5th seeds Italy, with Geoff James getting a creditable draw against an IM, despite being outrated by over 200 points.

England 50+ 1 are still joint leaders and will face the USA in round 5 in what will clearly be a crunch match.  England 65+ 1 are now joint 3rd but are still in with a chance as they have now played the 1st and 3rd seeds and have a much easier game against 10th seeded Belgium. There’s another all-England clash with England 50+ 2 paired against England 50+ 3 and England 50+ Women are playing Canada, whilst England 65+ 2 are playing Austria 1.

Round 5 – 23rd September

England 50+ 1st team unfortunately lost by 2.5-1.5 to the USA in what was a tightly contested match, as John Emms failed to hold a tricky rook and pawn ending a pawn down.

England 50+ 2 beat England 50+ 3 by 3-1 with Steve Dishman and Tony Stebbings securing wins against Russell Granat and Helen Frostick, respectively.  England 50+ Women managed a 2-2 draw against Canada with Natasha Regan winning an exciting game on board 4 to offset Sue Lalic’s defeat on top board.

England 65+ 1 bounced back to beat Belgium by 3.5-0.5, with John Nunn winning a particularly impressive game on top board, whilst Terry Chapman continued his good form to achieve a comfortable win and take his score to 3.5/4.  England 65+ 2 drew 2-2 with Austria 1, who very sportingly agreed to allow us to change our team after the deadline for team-list submissions, as Stewart Reuben unfortunately suffered a nasty fall and wasn’t feeling able to play.  Fortunately, Stewart wasn’t too seriously hurt, although he was clearly somewhat shaken by the episode.

England 50+ 1 have slipped to 4th equal but having played most of the top teams should have an easier run in, after their tricky match in round 6 against North Macedonia. England 65+ 1 have moved up to joint 2nd and are playing France in round 6.

Round 6 – 24th September
It was a day of England match draws in the 50+ section. England 50+ 1 could only manage a 2-2 draw against North Macedonia, with Mickey Adams once again winning on top board to cancel out Keith Arkell’s loss. England 50+ 2 also drew 2-2 with 6th seeded Montenegro, thanks to a good win from Gary Clark after Andy Lewis, who wasn’t feeling too well, suffered his first defeat. England 50+ 3 had a very creditable 2-2 draw with 7th seeded Poland, thanks to an impressive win by Brain Hewson against an IM who out-rated him by nearly 300 points! England 50+ Women drew 2-2 with Sweden, thanks to Natasha Regan winning her second game since her late arrival.

However, it was two wins for our 65+ teams. England 65+ 1 managed to beat France by 2.5-1.5 in a very tight match, thanks to Tony Kosten bamboozling his opponent in their mutual time trouble and England 65+ 2 beat Austria 2 by the same score, thanks to a sole victory by Stewart Reuben who had clearly recovered from his nasty fall.

England 50+ 1 are still lying in joint fourth place but are three match points behind the USA so their best hope now is probably to secure silver. England 50+ Women are joint top of the Women’s section with China who are ahead of them by one game point but as they have yet to play one another, there is still everything to play for.  England 65+ 1 are now in sole 2nd place behind Germany Lasker who are two match points ahead. England play third placed Israel in round 7, so a victory will cement second place and keep the pressure on the top seeds. Monday 25th is a rest day, so the chess resumes on Tuesday 26th.

Round 7 – 26th September
England 50+ 1 managed to beat England 50+ 2 by 3-1, thanks to yet another win from Mickey Adams, this time joined by Glenn Flear.  England 50+ 3 beat Scotland by 2.5-1.5 thanks to wins from Clive Frostick and Brian Hewson but unfortunately England 50+ Women lost 3.5-0.5 to Uruguay.

England 65+ 1 managed to beat Israel by 3-1 with good wins from Tony Kosten and Terry Chapman, who is having a fantastic tournament.  England 65+ 2 had a disappointing day and lost 4-0 to North Macedonia.

Italy had an impressive 3-1 victory over the USA and are now leading the 50+ section, whilst Iceland are also just ahead of the USA who are now in third place, which still leaves England 50+ 1 lying in fourth place and they will do well to secure one of the top medals.  England 50+ Women are now lying second behind China ShenZhen in the bid for the Women’s title and they must hope they can play them in one of the remaining two rounds, in order to have a chance of overhauling them.  England 65+ 1 have consolidated their 2nd place behind Germany Lasker who are still two match points ahead.

Round 8 – 27th September
England 50+ 1 beat Montenegro by 3-1, with Mickey Adams and John Emms winning on the top two boards. England 50+ 2 beat Slovakia by 2.5-1.5 with a notable win from Steve Dishman against GM Martin Mrva.  England 50+ 3 lost by the same score to the women’s team China ShenZhen.  England 50+ Women beat North Macedonia 50+ Women by 3.5-0.5.

England 65+ 1 beat Finland by 3-1 with wins from Tony Kosten and Nigel Povah and England 65+ 2 beat Sweden by 2.5-1.5 thanks to wins from John Quinn and Stewart Reuben to offset Tim Spanton’s loss.

With Italy and Iceland drawing 2-2, the USA are back on top of the 50+ section by a mere half a game point ahead of Italy. The final round pairings of Poland (7th seeds) versus the USA and Italy versus Montenegro (6th seeds) promises to provide a very intense finish.  England 50+ 1 are one game point behind Iceland so the fixtures of Iceland versus England 2 (8th seeds) and England versus China ShenZhen (10th seeds) should determine who gets the Bronze medal.  If the two England teams do well, then England 1 could secure the Bronze and England 50+ Women might be able to overhaul China ShenZhen to secure the Gold medal, if they can score heavily against Finland (21st seeds) and make up for their two-game points deficit.

England 65+ 1 are still in Silver medal position and would require Germany Lasker to lose their final match against another Germany team, which on ratings is highly unlikely. England 65+ 1 should secure the silver if they avoid losing by more than 3-1 to 12th seeded Switzerland SG Riehen.

Round 9 – 28th September
England 50+ 1 beat China ShenZhen 50+ Women by 4-0, whilst England 50+ 2 lost to Iceland by 2.5-1.5 and these two results meant that England 50+ 1 secured the Silver medal behind the USA, who beat Poland 4-0 in the final round to overtake their rivals.  England 50+ 3 lost 3.5-0.5 to the all-GM team from North Macedonia, with Brian Hewson getting the solitary draw. 

England 50+ Women beat Finland by 2.5-1.5, which saw them leapfrog China ShenZhen 50+ Women by just half a game point, to take gold and retain their Women’s 50+ World title!

England 65+ 1 beat Switzerland SG Riehen by 4-0 to confirm their Silver medal in the 65+ section behind Germany Lasker, who drew 2-2 with the German compatriots but they very nearly lost this match as the German board 4 was comfortably ahead before he slipped up and allowed his Germany Lasker opponent to secure the draw. Had Germany Lasker lost this match by 2.5-1.5, England 65+ 1 would have won the gold by one game point, such were the small margins.  England 65+ 2 beat Wales Silures by 2.5-1.5.

Final Results
World Seniors Open 50+

1. USA 15 match points 26 game points
2. England 1 14 match points 24.5 game points
3. Iceland 14 match points 24 game points

Board medals
Mickey Adams – Gold for Board 1 – undefeated with a rating performance of 2761!
Glenn Flear – Bronze for Board 3
Nigel Davies – Bronze for the reserve Board 5

World Seniors Women 50+
1. England Women 9 match points 17.5 game points
2. China ShenZhen Women 9 match points 17 game points
3. North Macedonia Women 1 match point 6.5 game points

World Seniors Open 65+
1. Germany Lasker 17 match points 25.5 game points
2. England 1 16 match points 26 game points
3. Slovakia 13 match points 21 game points

Board medals
John Nunn – Bronze for Board 1
Tony Kosten – Gold for Board 2
Terry Chapman – Silver for Board 3
Nigel Povah – Silver for the reserve Board 5

England 50+ 1:  2nd place, 2nd seeds
1. Mickey Adams 8/9; 2. John Emms 5/8; 3. Glenn Flear 4.5/; 4. Keith Arkell 3/6; 5. Nigel Davies 4/6.

England 50+ 2:  8th place, 8th seeds
1. Steve Dishman 4/9; 2. Andrew Lewis 4/9; 3. Gary Clark 6/9; 4. Tony Stebbings 5.5/9

England 50+ 3:  18th place, 13th seeds
1. Russell Granat 2/7; 2. Philip Crocker 2.5/8; 3. Clive Frostick 3.5/8; 4. Brian Hewson 4.5/8;  5. Helen Frostick 1/5.

England 50+ Women: 13th place, 14th seeds
1. Sue Lalic 3.5/8; 2. Sheila Jackson 2.5/8; 3. Ingrid Lauterbach 4.5/8;  4. Natasha Regan 4/5; 5. Petra Nunn 3/7.

England 65+ 1: 2nd place, 2nd seeds
1. John Nunn 5.5/8; 2. Tony Kosten 6.5/8; 3. Terry Chapman 6.5/8; 4. Chris Baker 3/6; 5. Nigel Povah 4.5/6.

England 65+ 2: 13th place, 20th seeds
1. John Quinn 4/8; 2. Geoff James 3.5/7; 3. Brian Valentine 1/7; 4. Tim Spanton 3/8; 5. Stewart Reuben 4/6.