European Senior Team report – from Stewart Reuben

SLOVENIA, 27 March to 4 April
As you will see later, Michael Yeo was the big star of the whole congress. Despite the fact that he slipped on ice and broke his pelvis in Moscow in February, he made the biggest score of all at the event – 8/9, albeit including winning a game by default.
The event was held in a spa. There wasn’t much there; just some hotels set in the hills and a very attractive park. All very pleasant and it was probably conducive to concentrating on the chess. Certainly Michael found it to be so. He was on crutches and never left his seat while in play. Several people pointed out this gave him an advantage! Five of the 13 members of our team hadn’t taken part before. It is easiest to show the bare statistics and those of the Scottish and Welsh teams in order to explain our results. There were 46 teams in all in a 9 round Swiss, a far cry from the first year when there were just 7 …

Final Place

 

Team

Match points

Game points

Original seeding

1

Russia 1

15/18

25/36

1

2

St Petersburg

15

22½

 

3

Montenegro

14

23

 

14

England 1

11

19

17

19

England 2

10

18½

22

24

Wales

9

18

28

27

Scotland 1

8

18

15

35

England 3

7

17

38

41

Scotland 2

6

14

42

As you will see all English teams did better than their original seeding. This is the only useful way to gauge the success of teams who aren’t expected to win a medal. Scotland 1 had a disappointing time; they were seeded above England 1 and yet finished below them, England 2 and Wales. But chess is an individual sport and we need to look at the performances of our players.

England 1

 

Score

Rating change

 

Anthony Stebbings

4½/9

+8.6

 

Geoff James

3

-24.2

 

Ken Norman

3½/8

-6.6

 

Michael Yeo

8

+38.0

England 2

 

 

 

 

Tony Ashby

-9.6

 

Paul Habershon

6

+15.3

 

John Quinn

+9.2

 

Stewart Reuben

3

-48.9

England 3

 

 

 

 

James Scholes

+2.7

 

Paul Kendall

4½/8

+8.0

 

Roger Scowen

2½/7

-4.5

 

Peter R Wood

5

+30.6

 

Dinah Norman

½/3

-11.3

As you can see, I had a dreadful result, actually 2/8 in rated games as one of my wins was against an unrated. Had we succeeded in passing England 1, it would have been totally unfair. They played far stronger opposition and even looked like contenders for medals at one point. Of course, this was due to Michael’s result which should net him some votes for Player of the Year. We were concerned that Tony Stebbings would find it very hard going on board 1 in his first appearance in this event. But he held his own and even had a winner position against Korchnoi – for one move. Paul Habershon and John Quinn achieved very steady results. Another newcomer, Peter R Wood, also did very well.

Players were already talking of returning next year. Quite apart from Dinah, three wives brought our party up to 16. Some Scottish wives also came. It hasn’t been decided where it will be yet. But, provided it is an attractive venue, we should be able to send a bigger party. My original idea in 2002 had been that we would play Bridge as well as chess. It is only now that Paul Habershon has joined us, and organised the Bridge, that this has come to pass.

– Stewart Reuben

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