WSTCC Round 9

England move into the sole lead with one round to go on Sunday. We again won 4-0 this time against a Leipzig team. Lasker lost to the USA, who now move into second position. In the last round we will play Germany 1 and, if we win will win the World 50 team championship. If we draw, then the USA can still overtake us by winning more individual games. The worst we can now do is get the bronze medals.  

2. England 1 2444 – Schachfreunde Leipzig 1 2219
1. GM Jon S Speelman 2493 – CM Steffen Weitzer 2288 1-0
2. GM H James Plaskett 2455 – Andreas Schultz 2211 1-0
3. GM Mark L Hebden 2423 – FM Manfred Schoeneberg 2199 1-0
4. GM Keith C Arkell 2406 – FM Thomas Gempe 2178 1-0

Surely the main news of the day is that in the 65+ England 4 beat England 3 2.5-1.5. That’s my team and we now have 8/16 and in the British Isles Improvement in Ranking are +13. Ireland in the 50+ are +30.

ROUND 9 RESULTS

50+
         
Board Team Points/16 Team Points/16 Score
1 Germany 1 12 England 1 15 2.5 – 1.5
2 USA 14 Canada 12 3 – 1
6 Germany 2 10 England 2 10 2.5 – 1.5
14 England 3   8 USA 4 Brothers   8 1.5 – 2.5
22 Wales S   7 England Women   7 0.5 – 3.5
26 Priestewitz   3 England 4   4 1.5 – 2.5
65+          
1 France 12 Russia 16 1 – 3
2 St Petersburg 13 England 1 12 2 – 2
3 Switzerland 11 Germany 12 1.5 – 2.5
15 England 4   8 USV Tu Dresden   8 1.5 – 2.5
26 Saxon   6 England 3   6 2 – 2

Going into the last round, both England and the USA had 25 game points. We knew that the USA were heavy favourites to win against Canada, and that a draw against Germany 1 would be insufficient. We needed to win the match to secure gold, despite beating the USA in our individual match. Jon Speelman and John Emms drew quite quickly. Mark Hebden stood much worse but managed to wriggle out to draw a queen and pawn endgame where he was two pawns down. James Plaskett had much the worst of it throughout and eventually lost. He was very upset because he didn’t understand that a draw would still have left us with the silver medals ‘only’. That was the only game we lost in the whole event.

Thus there was some disappointment at the end, but we had only ever achieved bronze before and the opposition was stronger than previous years. It was generally agreed that the first team gelled better together than previously.

I wrote earlier that the most exotic team in the competition is the Mongolian Women, but the team that England 3 50+ played in Round 8 runs it close. This is the USA 4 Brothers. Their name is Jhunjhnuwala and they came originally from Hong Kong, where five brothers once represented Hong Kong in the Chess Olympiad.  Presumably they now live stateside.  

Results and medals

50+       Match points     Game points     Medal
USA       16               28              Gold
England 1 15               26.5            Silver
Lasker    15               26              Bronze    

Board     Medal            Name            Rating performance
2         Silver           John Emms       2549
4         Bronze           Mark Hebden     2420
5         Gold             Keith Arkell    2585

W50+      Match points     Game points     Medal
Russia    11               19              Gold
Germany   10               18              Silver
England   9                18              Bronze

Board     Medal            Name            Rating performance
1         Bronze           Sheila Jackson  2068

4         Silver           Petra Nunn      2078

This was the first time we had managed to field a women’s team. The women played in open competition against the other teams. Some women, like Julie Denning, played for an open team. We must hope that, in due course, this event will become more like the Olympiad where there are nearly as many women’s teams as open.

65+              Match points     Game points     Medal
Russia           18               27              Gold

St Petersburg    14               23.5            Silver
Germany 2        14               22              Bronze
Germany 1        13               22              Fourth
England 1        13               21.5            Fifth

There are cash prizes down to fifth place. We played St Petersburg in the last round and drew 2-2. Had we won 2.5-1.5, we would have finished second. All the games were drawn. Had Tony Stebbings managed to win his game, the last of ours to finish, we would have secured silver!

Nigel Povah, playing on board 3 and team captain, won the gold medal with a rating performance of 2572. Was that his best-ever performance?

Ireland 50+ won the new trophy for Best Improvement by a British Isles Team, gaining 18 places over their original seeding. A fuller report on all the teams and players will appear later.

— Stewart Reuben