November 4th – Round 9
England 50+ 1st team are European Senior Team Chess Champions!
The England 50+ 1st team celebrated their status as the new European champions with a 3-1 victory over England 2, thanks to wins from Keith Arkell and Glenn Flear, respectively over Steve Dishman and Clive Frostick, with the other two games drawn. England 2 finished in 8th place in accordance with their seeding, with Steve Dishman as their standout performer, with 5.5/8 on top board.
England 3 lost 3.5-0.5 to a strong Berlin 1 team, with Ray Tarling securing a most impressive draw against an IM, rated over 570 points above him! England 3 significantly over-performed, finishing in 12th place, well ahead of their seeding in 23rd place! Philip Crocker took the brunt of the pressure on top board scoring a respectable 4.5/9 but his three compatriots, Peter Hasson, Brian Valentine and Ray Tarling all excelled, adding 51, 26 and 48 rating points respectively!
England 65+ 1 could only draw 2-2 with the Dutch team Koninklijke DD and finished in a disappointing 8th place compared with their 4th seeding. The team’s standout performer was IM Peter Large on top board, scoring an impressive 6/9 England 2 drew 2-2 with SV Aufbau Bernburg and finished in 25th place, marginally ahead of their 27th seeding. Steve Orton on top board was their top performer scoring 5.5/9. England 3 lost by 2.5-1.5 to Ireland 2 and finished in 37th place, just ahead of their 40th seeding. Tim Spanton was the star of the team on board 3, with a very impressive, undefeated 7/9!
So as previously stated, England 50+ 1 are the European Senior Over 50 Champions, so a huge congratulations to them for successfully navigating their way through the tournament without losing a single game and finishing with 17 match points and 28 game points from a possible 36.
It’s no surprise that England claimed most of the Gold medal board prizes with Mark Hebden scoring 6.5/8 on Board 1; Keith Arkell scoring 7/9 on Board 2 and John Emms scoring 6.5/8 on Board 3. Glenn Flear’s score of 6.5/9 on Board 4, unfortunately only got him the Silver medal. Special mention should also be made of IM Chris Baker, who agreeably accepted that he would only play in the first and last rounds (scoring 1.5/2), so the team could field its strongest side for most of the tournament, to ensure the title was secured. He leaves the tournament with the appreciation of his team mates for his unselfish support and he was awarded by Mark Hebden with the affectionate nickname ‘Book-end Baker!’
It goes without saying that none of this would’ve been possible without the support of a number of parties. Both the ECF and the Chess Trust contributed significantly to providing the funding to support the teams. Additional funding was provided by Nigel Povah, Ian Reynolds, Natasha Regan and numerous others, so a big thank you to all, for helping England to add the European Seniors Team Chess Championship Over 50 title, to the World Title they secured in June.