Editor: Dr Tim Harding
© Dr Tim Harding
4 June 2023
For more information about chess for over-50s, please see our Seniors calendar and our Seniors introduction page.
GM John Nunn won the European Senior 65+ title on tiebreak in the Championships which ended yesterday at Acqui Terme, Italy.
While most other top games ended in draws, Nunn defeated chess legend GM Nona Gaprindashvili (Georgia) who allowed her queen to be trapped early in the game. This result opened the door to WGM Gisela Fishdick (Germany) to win the 65+ Women's title.
Five players tied on 7/9 in the Open 65+ tournament including English FM Terry Chapman who drew in the last round with Black against GM Lubomir Ftacnik (Slovakia). Ftacnik finished third on tiebreak; second was GM J. L. Fernandez Garcia (Spain), the only player to defeat Chapman, who was placed fourth on tiebreak after an impressive run of results. The fifth player in the tie was untitled Dr Wolfgang Polster (Germany) who won his last round game.
The new FIDE regulations for direct titles in individual Senior championships seem to be ambiguous so it seems unclear whether Chapman has an earned an IM norm or even title or whether he misses out. At any rate he has gained almost 50 rating points by his fine performance.
Seven players tied for first in the 50+ Open championship, which was won on tiebreak by GM Zurab Sturua of Georgia. IM Fabrizio Bellia (Italy) and IM Jose Lacasa Diaz (Spain) won silver and bronze medals respectively.
English GM Keith Arkell came from behind to finish fourth on tiebreak; he also won the Open Blitz and Senior Blitz tournaments held during the Congress. The other three players on 6.5 points were IM Mark van der Werf (Netherlands), GM Martin Mrva (Slovakia) and FM Peter Wacker (Germany).
The 50+ championship also saw a fine performance by Luxembourg-based English FM Stephen Dishman who had been joint leader going into the last round. He sacrificed a pawn for a kingside attack against Van der Werf but it failed and this defeat meant he slipped to ninth place, althoiugh Dishman too has gained many rating points.
The 50+ Women's Championship (a 9-player round-robin) was already decided with a round to spare on Thursday, after WGM Marina Makropoulou of Greece reached 6/7, a score which none of her rivals could match. She drew her last round game.
You can find results on the chess-results website. When we last looked, the top games from rounds 1-8 were available to download there in PGN but the round nine games had not yet been posted. We hope the organisers will do this soon.
As reported on our calendar page, the individual World Senior Championships will not be held in Buenos Aires after all, but rather in Italy. The venue in north-west Sicily looks attractive but the notice is very late, the dates are not the usual ones, and I doubt we shall be going.
Originally these championships had been awarded to Sochi, Russia, and it was only towards the end of 2022 that FIDE President Dvorkovich admitted that this could not be the venue. More time was lost when a new call for bids was not announced until mid-March and then in April the event was provisionally awarded to the Argentinian capital.
As we announced recently, FIDE made a slight change to the arrangements originally stated for the World Senior Team Championships. These will be played in Struga on Lake Ohrid, North Macedonia, instead of the town of Ohrid as originally announced by FIDE. Moreover the arrival date is now 18 September, a day earlier than previously announced, and round 1 will be played on the 19th of September 2023. As usual there will be nine rounds but there will now be a rest day (with optional excursions) after four rounds.
The invitation and regulations can now be downloaded from our calendar page or from FIDE's own site. The official website for the event is now live (see link in our calendar).
Struga, in the south-west of the former Yugoslav republic, is about 180km from the capital Skopje. It sounds attractive but difficult to get to. Wikipedia says that Ohrid is one of only 28 sites that are part of UNESCO's World Heritage that are Cultural as well as Natural sites.
The Commission recently released its call for bids for various 2024 world championship events including the individual and team world seniors. Prospective organisers should note that the closing date for submitting bids is 14 July 2023.
In March FIDE issued new regulations concerning the World Senior Championships. These can be found in section D/04/03 of the FIDE Handbook. One detail we noted is that the championship could be reduced from 11 rounds to 9 rounds but that is not happening this year, fortunately. Other changes concern offering choices of hotels and meal plans, evidently in response to criticisms of last year's arrangements in Assisi.
The new regulations also state that "the organizer of the competition should ensure representation of all continents and at least 20 (?) players in each of the categories." There was criticism last year of FIDE's late decision not to hold separate tournaments for female players, which was apparently because not all continents would have been represented.
The European Senior Team Championships (50+ and 65+) will be played in the city of Swidnica, Silesia, in July. (This is nearly 400km from the border with Ukraine.)
The full regulations and hotel offers for that event can be found on the ECU website or via our calendar page where the English PDF is available. As with the World Senior Team Championships, teams of four players (plus optional reserve) can represent nations, regions or clubs and as usual there are separate prizes for all-female teams. Teams may represent nations, regions or clubs but all team members must be registered to the same FIDE federation. (Last year the Kosovo team in the European Seniors included one Czech-registered player but, as the man was clearly of Kosovan nationality, nobody protested though we privately advised their captain that the player should transfer his registration.)
There is now an entry list on the chess-results site. At the time of writing there are 22 teams between the two events, including 7 English (including a women's 50+ team), one Welsh and one Scottish. Of course it is early days and entries remain open for several weeks but it looks as if Ireland will not be competing this time. So far there are only three Polish teams while the other nations represented to date are Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Lithuania, and Slovakia. This will surely change.
If you are thinking of playing in the British Seniors Championships (late July in Leicester), note that entry fees rise after 30 June. You must either be a British or Irish citizen or a bona fide long-term resident of either country to enter.
Old rivals, GMs Keith Arkell and Mark Hebden, were declared joint winners of the English 50+ Championship, played earlier this month, after there was a conflict between two different announcements on the ECF website about which tiebreak method was primary.
The game between them was drawn and they both finished with 5.5 points out of 7 ahead of GM Nigel Davies and some other strong players. Natasha Regan won the women's title with 3.5/7.
In the English 65+ Championship, IM Chris Baker (playing in this age category for the first time) won with 6/7, half a point ahead of IM Paul Littlewood. There were 38 competitors in each section. The women's title was won by Susan Selley, a sister of Norman and Paul Hutchinson who also played in the tournament. John Saunders has helpfully posted the final crosstables and all the games of both events on his Britbase website.
During 2022 the Amateur Chess Organisation (ACO) expanded its activities for senior players and their 65+ "Super Seniors Championships" was recently held on the Greek island of Kos. Their 50+ tournament will again be played in Crete in October.
ACO is a German-based commercial company. Note that their tournaments are NOT rated by FIDE although they use FIDE (or national) ratings to determine which tournament entrants compete in. The "titles" they award are not recognised by anyone except themselves.
ACO events are essentially a holiday but they are popular with regular visitors. FIDE need to recognise that they are in competition with ACO for the large minority (or is it small majority?) of senior players who want a good holiday and not just a chess tournament.
The ECU has awarded its 2024 senior events to Slovenia (team championships) and Italy (individuals) in consecutive weeks in October next year. The venues look attractive and geographically quite close; overland travel between the two should take only a few hours. See our calendar for details, which may of course change.
The FIDE Events Commission say they will open bids by 15 May for World events in 2024 so we hope to have more notice about where next year's senior championships will take place.
To make room for new announcements, news of past events which have been on this page for some time are now removed.
If you have Seniors chess news you would like posted here, or announcements of future events, please email Tim Harding.
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