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World Seniors Assisi: Sturua and Berend are 50+ champions

For more information about chess for over-50s, please see our Seniors calendar and our Seniors introduction page.


The final round was played on 26 November in the last major senior chess congress of 2022, the World Senior Individual Championships, in Assisi, Italy. This page is about the 50+ tournament and we have separate pages about the 65+ championship and an overview of the Congress.

The last round games began at 2pm local time (1300 GMT) which was an hour earlier than previous rounds. By contrast with the fighting spirit being shown by their elders, several top players in the 50+ chose to "stick" with quick draws rather than "twist" (see below).

After three and a half hours play we had a tie for first but the tiebreak could not be calculated yet.

Since we were not playing in round 11, we updated a few times during the games. Our previous update was at 1644 local time. We said there would be no more updates until the titles are decided as we do not wish to affect the outcomes in any way.

Now, though, it is just a question of tiebreaks to decide the 50+ titles and women's 65+ title so we updated at about 1830 and again after the closing ceremony.

In the "junior seniors" tournament for players born in 1972 or earlier, which began with 148 players, 67 games were scheduled in the last round and at the top everything was still up for grabs.

Former champion GM Zurab Sturua of Georgia had 8/10 and after 15 minutes he had already agreed a draw with White against Vladislav Nevednichy. This was followed almost immediately by a draw agreed between GM Klaus Bischoff v IM Fabrizio Bellia (who both had been on 7.5 /10 points). Bischoff told me later that the tiny chance he might have had to become champion was gone because the tiebreaks would not favour him. As otherresults turned out, if either Bischoff or Bellia had won their game they would have finished second or third; instead they finished fifth and sixth.

Sturua had been beaten in round 4 by GM Lima Darcy but the Brazilian subsequently fell back and Sturua re-took the lead in round 9 when he beat GM Ivan Morovic Fernandez.

The third board game between GM Klaus Bischoff and IM Fabrizio Bellia was then also quickly agreed drawn, so we have: Sturua 8.5/11 and on 8/11 are Nevednichy, Bischoff and Bellia.

In the other crucial game on board 2 there was a real fight. There Morovic (8/10) was playing Black against GM Maxim Novik who started half a point behind. If Morovic could win, he would become champion but eventually Novik won the game, meaning that he joined Sturua on eight and a half points.

Because Novik and Sturua did not meet in the tournament, head-to-head does not apply. The regulation secondfand third tiebreaks (Buchholz cut one, then Buchholz etc.) would not be calculated until all games in the tournament have finished.

The final placings at the top were as follows:

50+ World Champion: Zurab Sturua (Georgia) 8.5/11. He previously won the 50+ world championship in 2014, the first year it was contested, on a very close tiebreak ahead of Keith Arkell.

Silver medal (also on 8.5 pts): Maxim Novik (Lithuania).

Bronze medal: Ivan Morovic Fernandez (Chile) with 8 points. Also on the same score were:

4th prize: Vladislav Nevednichy (Romania).

5th prize: Klaus Bischoff (Germany), and

6th prize: Fabrizio Bellia (Italy).

The women's championship: tiebreak

The lead in the 50+ Women's Championship changed hands several times. The race was led overnight on 7/10 by WGM Elvira Berend of Luxembourg and WIM Sopio Tereladze (Georgia) but they had not played each other; indeed Berend has only had male opponents.

Today Berend followed the example of Sturua and took a quick draw with White in 3 moves, which was probably wise against GM Rogelio Antonio Jr who is rated 117 points above her. So Berend finished on 7.5/10. Two games remained that she hoped would turn out her way.

Tereladze played Black on board 7 against Darcy. She fought to save an endgame where she had a very bad bishop. Eventually she succeeded and joined Berend on seven and a half points. The tiebreak calculation had to await the conclusion of the last game but Berend emerged on top, her fourth victory in this competition (and remember that for two years it was not contested).

The top-rated woman, GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant of Scotland, started half a point behind them but could also reach 7.5 if she won. She had White against IM Uffe Vinter-Schou and would have been third if she had drawn, but over-pressed and eventually lost. So she finished fourth.

The bronze medal for the 50+ women was won by Angela Borsuk (Israel) who overtook Ketevan with a last round victory and thus finished on 7 points.


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