The 2019 FIDE World Senior Individual Championships in Bucharest, Romania, concluded last weekend.
See our final report for details of the last round, final scores, tie-breaks, and photographs of the winners. For the full details of round-by-round results in all four tournaments, see chess-results.com and for more photographs, see the official website.
In the Women's 50+ championship, WGM Elvira Berend successfully defended her title by drawing her last game. As expected, GM Nona Gaprindashvili also successfully defended the Women's 65+ championship, which she had regained last year after losing the crown in 2017.
The other two tournaments saw new World Champions being crowned, but only on tiebreak in the case of the Open 65+ championship, which was the most closely contested in the final round. Three players tied on the same score, 8.5/11, with GM Rafael Vaganian (Armenia), who was the top seed, taking the title for the first time, on tie-break. The silver medal went to a previous winner, GM Anatoli Vaisser (France), and the bronze to Yuri Balashov (Russia). Seven players who finished on 8/10 shared lesser prizes.
In the Open 50+ championship, GM Vadim Shishkin (Ukraine) went into the last round a full point ahead. The defending champion, GM Karen Movsziszian (Armenia) pressed him hard in a long game, but it was eventually drawn and Shishkin took the title for the first time with a fine score of 9/11. The silver medal went to GM Vladislav Nevednichy (Romania) on 8.5 points, on tiebreak ahead of GM Ivan Morovic Fernandez of Chile. Movsziszian took fourth prize with 8 points and there were many players winning smaller prizes with 7.5 points.
We gather that several players were unhappy with the venue this year for various reasons. A city can have advantages but the hotel venue was located on the edge in an industrial zone of Bucharest with no options for pleasant walks or alternative restaurants. On the other hand, playing conditions were reportedly excellent.
FIDE usually hosts the Seniors championship in smaller towns; we have many happy memories of Bled and Marianske Lazne, and would gladly go back to either (once), although the playing conditions in the latter were not ideal. Having been twice to the Italian town of Acqui Terme, we do not think it should be chosen again in the next few years. Players (and their non-playing partners) need some variety.
Unfortunately our editor was unable to compete in the championships this year, due to illness in the family, so our reports have been based on online information and emails from one of the competitors who prefers to remain anonymous.
We hope it will be possible to compete again in 2019 when the venue will be Assisi in Italy. We have heard that next year the championships will be reduced to nine rounds, but that rumour was also going round last year, and we do not know if any definite decision has been taken by FIDE's events commission.
In the meantime, Senior players' thoughts may turn to future events and in particular the World Senior Team Championships in Prague next March.
Please see our updated calendar for details of future tournaments. We recently added the dates for many 2020 Seniors events, and even one more event that starts in Germany next weekend.
Other Seniors Chess News
We have now stripped out most old reports from this site as 2019 is nearly over.
If you have Seniors chess news you would like posted here, or announcements of future events, please email Tim Harding.
Russian teams won both tournaments at the 2019 European Senior Team Championships at Mali Losinj, Croatia. Their 65+ team won every match while Sweden took silver on tie break from Germany. The 50+ competition was closer as the host nation's first team drew with Russia and both won all their other matches, so that only a tiebreak could separate them. The Slovenian team European Chess Academy Maribor took bronze.
Information about senior tournaments in Germany can now be found at this German Chess Federation web page. Note that the age qualification rule for German Senior events is usually 60+ for men and 55+ for women, but they may be changing to the international age groups.
Moves began in 2017 to establish a FIDE Seniors Commission to improve conditions for 50+ and 65+ players in future FIDE competitions. A website was developed for this purpose; please read the statement there by former European Senior Champion, IM Jan Rooze. So far as we are aware there have been no recent developments.
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