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Report on Krakow rounds 1 through 6

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


This page now retains our reports (in reverse order) on the first six rounds which were played before the rest day, from Tuesday to Sunday 2-7 July. Round 7 was being played this afternoon and you can find the report about it on our latest round page along with a preview of tomorrow's round eight.


Report on round 6: Sunday 7 July

For the first time, there is a clear leader in both the two championships, in each case with 11 match points out of a possible 12: in other words, five wins and one drawn match so far.

In the 50+ championship, Iceland maintained their pole position with another victory yesterday, while in the 65+ tournament England-1 only drew their match, enabling French club Cercle d'Echecs de Strasbourg to move into the sole lead.

Nevertheless there is still time for other teams to take them down and move into medal contention. Our full reports of yesterday's play are followed by a preview of tomorrow's round 7, taking each tournament in turn.


The Real Seniors (65+)

Israel-1 held England-1 to a 2-2 draw. John Nunn won on top board but Jonathan Mestel lost on board 3. The games in which England had White (involving Tony Kosten and Terry Chapman) ended in draws.

Meanwhile, Strasbourg beat Slovakia 2.5-1.5 thanks to a win on board 4 by Peter Petran. So the French now lead the English not only by 1MP but also by 1.5 game points which could be significant idf tie-breaks are required later.

In match three, Italy won 3.5-0.5 against German team Zaehringen Reloaded, while England-2 beat England-3 by 3-1. Lower Silesia drew with Finland and further down the list, a clash between German clubs saw Eppingen defeat Zaehringen Reloaded by 3-1.

In the next match Ireland-1 had a fine 2.5-1.5 win against Sweden. On top board Paul Wallace held a former European Senior Champion, IM Nils-Gustav Renman, to a draw with Black and Ireland stood better in all the other three games. Eventually boards 2 and 3 were drawn and the match was decided on board 4 thanks to a win by the Irish reserve Eddie O'Connor.

After these results the leading standings are 11MP: Strasbourg; 10MP: England-1; 9MP: Israel-1 followed by a chasing group on 8MP: England-2, Italy, Ireland-1, Eppingen and Slovakia.

Other results are unlikely to have any bearing on the medals. Those of probable interest to our readers are that Scotland drew with Northern Germany, England-4 drew with Israel-2, Ireland 2 beat New Zealand but Ireland-3 lost to a Danish team. The Welsh had the bye.

The Latvian Women, who drew 2-2 with Kiev, are virtually assured of the female title already. They already have 6MP while their nearest challenger, Poland Women, have 3 after beating USA Women 4-0.


The "Junior Seniors" (50+)

The results of the top matches in the 50+ championship went to the higher-rated team in each case: Canada 0 Iceland 4; England-2 1 USA 3, Italy 3 Israel Rishon Lezion 1, and USA Too 1.5 England-1 2.5.

Slovakia, who beat Lubeck Chess Club, and Germany-1, with a heavy win over Oslo, also remain in the chasing group who have an outside chance of honours.

Scores of the leading teams at present are: 11MP: Iceland; 10MP Italy and USA; 9MP: England-1; 8MP: Slovakia, Germany-1, Rishon Lezion, England-2 and Canada.

There were also some key matches for the hotly-contested female honours. England Women beat Germany Graal; Estonia Women beat Lithuania Women; USA Women beat Polish Amateurs. Hungary Women (who drew with Wales) and Germany Women (who lost their match) are perhaps falling out of contention but there are still at least four teams chasing three medals.

In matches lower down the field, Brazil drew with England-3; South Africa beat USA Five Brothers; Scotland beat the local Malopolska Team. Ireland beat a Luxembourg club but Guernsey could only take half a point off England-4.


Rest day: Monday 8 July

Some players opted for the tour of the Auschwitz museum while others went to the historic Wieliecza salt mines, or toured the city. Some even just took it easy.

Maybe a few players even enjoyed the extra time to prepare for the round 7 games although board pairings were not available until mid-morning on Tuesday.


Round 5, Saturday 6 July

The destination of the medals is very hard to call in the 50+ championship where the lead has changed again.

Iceland (who were on 7 match points) now move to the sole lead on 9MP as they defeated Italy who remain on 8MP. Three of the games were won by the player with the White pieces: Helgi Olafsson (board 1) and Margeir Petursson for Iceland and Lexy Ortega (on board 4 for Italy) were the victors but on board two Johann Hjartarson drew with Italy's hero of yesterday, Michele Godena, so Iceland won 2.5-1.5.

England-1 were the other joint leaders but they stay on 7MP because they lost by the same margin to the top seeds USA who came back from their loss yesterday and now have 8. In the last three years the all-GM USA-England match has always proved crucial, seeing those two countries take the top spots, but evidently this year they have more competition.

Michael Adams (Black), the highest rated player in the whole championships, drew fairly quickly with Jaan Ehlvest but the other three games were hard fought. Eventually John Emms and Nigel Davies, who both had White, drew their games but Glenn Flear was defeated by Melikset Khachiyan.

This round was also a big opportunity for the five other teams on 6MP to play themselves into contention for medals, at least for the bronze.

The results of these match-ups were as follows: England-2 beat USA Too 2.5-1.5 thanks to a win on board 4 by untitled M. Paul Townsend. By the same narrow margin, Israel Rishon Lezion beat Slovakia and Canada beat USA Women.These results see England's second team (which has one IM and three FMs) leapfrog their stars in the standings.

Other crucial matches for the female competition were: England Women v Estonia Women (which ended 2-2 after a very long game on top board), Lithuania Women v Hungary Women (also drawn), and England-4 v Germany Women which the Germans won 3-1.

In other results today, Germany-1 scored a 4-0 whitewash against England-3, Wales only managed one drawn game against Lubeck, Ireland lost 1-3 to Brazil after two long endgames and Guernsey scored two drawn games against Scotland.

So the top standings after five rounds are: Iceland 9; Italy, Israel Rishon Lezion, Canada, England-2 and USA 8; England-1 are alone on 7MP.


In the 65+ championship, the only two teams previously remaining on maximum match points had to meet: England-1 and the Cercle Echecs de Strasbourg. This hard-fought match ended 2-2 so they remain tied for the lead. John Nunn, the individual 65+ world champion for the last two years, won a long game on top board to balance Paul Littlewood's loss with Black on board four. The other two games were drawn.

Lower down the field, results included the following: Israel-1 beat England-2; Germany Zaehringen Reloaded drew 2-2 with England-3; Slovakia beat Finland; Italy drew with Lower Silesia.

Leading standings in the 65+ section are as follows: Strasbourg and England-1 9; Israel-1 and Slovakia 8; Germany Zaehringen Reloaded and England-3 7. These are followed by a bunch of six teams on 6MP (equivalent to three won matches and two losses). England-2 are in that group, as are Ireland. Latvia Women remain on 5 but they have no serious competition for the female gold.

Scotland beat Wales but England-4 lost to Rochade Bielefeld from Germany. Ireland-1 beat Northern Germany, Ireland-2 had the bye and Ireland-3 beat USA Women whose team includes an Irishwoman, Elizabeth Shaughnessy, who lives in the States and has changed FIDE allegiance recently. She may be the oldest player in the whole tournament and drew on board 4 in a battle of octogenarians with an opponent two years younger than herself.

Round 4, 5 July

Round 4 featured the first clashes between teams likely to be in contention for the medals.

In the 65+ championship, the French team Cercle d'Echecs de Strasbourg beat Israel-1 and England-1 beat Slovakia. For more details see below.

But we begin our detailed account with the 50+ tournament because it had more drama and surprises. Italy beat the USA, who are top seeds and defending champions, while England-1 hung on for a drawn match with Iceland.

In the 50+ championship, the Italy-USA match yesterday upset the seedings. GM Michele Godena won with Black against American GM Alexander Shabalov on board 2 while the other games were drawn.

Second seeds England-1 drew 2-2 with Iceland but were lucky to do so. Michael Adams won as usual but Keith Arkell lost and on board 3 Jon Arnason missed endgame wins against Glenn Flear who did well to salvage the draw.

So Italy are on 8MP, England and Iceland have 7 and the Americans are in the chasing group on 6.

The fight for the medals has now begun and continues in earnest now.

Looking further down the list of 50+ matches yesterday: USA Too beat USA Women 3.5-0.5 but the latter are still well in contention for the top female honours. Slovakia beat Oslo by the same margin, while England-2 beat Lubeck chess club of Germany 3-1. Israel Rishon Lezion won 4-0 against England Women and Canada beat Wales 3-1.

This means that the five teams which won those matches join the USA first team in joint third on 6MP. Five of the women's teams have 4MP to share their lead with the Hungarians on 3MP so there is everything still to play for among the ladies.

Lower down the list, England-3 drew 2-2 with Polish Amateurs. Ireland drew with Hungary Women, and England-4 drew with the Luxembourg club. Scotland lost to Germany-1 and congratulations to Guernsey who won 3-1 against the local Malopolska (south Poland) team.

In the 65+ championship: as mentioned above, we now have joint leaders after England-1 beat Slovakia and Strasbourg chess club of France beat Israel-1.

In the top match GM Anthony Kosten delivered the match winning point on board 2 by beating Jan Plachetka while John Nunn (with GM Ftacnik), Jonathan Mestel and Terry Chapman drew their games. The French won their match 3-1 thanks to wins on boards 2 and 3 from GM Nikolay Legky and IM Louis Roos.

In the next matches on the list, Sweden drew 2-2 with Italy but Zaehringen Reloaded from Germany won 4-0 against Poland Malopolska VIP. England-2 beat Kiev 4-0, England-3 beat Belgium and Finland beat Brazil.

Lower down the list, Scotland lost 1-3 to German clup Eppingen and England-4 lost to Latvia Women. Ireland-1 beat Wales but Ireland-2's draw with Israel-2 was a personal disappointment for your loyal scribe. Bew Zealand beat USA Women and Ireland-3 had the bye.

The other teams who have already had the bye are Poland Women, USA Women and New Zealand. The Irish hope to catch up with them soon.


Round 3, 4 July

50+: In the matches involving the eight previously unbeaten teams, the all-GM American squad beat USA Too and England-1 defeated England-2. Iceland beat Israel Rishon Lezion and Italy defeated England Women. So now there are four.

There were also significant wins for Slovakia, Canada and USA Women. The Americans and English look like being the top contenders for the women's gold medal but with several other female teams in this tournament, the bronze is certainly well up for grabs.

Lower down the list, England-3 drew with Lithuania Women and there were wins for the Welsh and Scots. Ireland lost heavily because it was the turn of their top board player to rest; Guernsey and England-4 were also heavily defeated.

65+: Match results went largely as expected here also, but on the individual board level we congratulate IM John Pigott who won on top board for England-2 against Slovak GM Lubomir Ftacnik although his team still lost narrowly.

In the other matches involving previously unbeaten teams, England-1 beat German team Zaehringen Reloaded, Strasbourg defeated Finland and Italy beat Israel-1. So here too there are now four joint leaders.

Lower down the list, Wales, Scotland and all three Irish teams lost. England-4 were the happy opponents in one case while England-3 beat New Zealand. The Polish women's team had the bye.


Round 2, Wednesday 3 July

This was a good day for most English teams as they took the lead in both sections. Today saw the the first drawn matches of the championships. In the 50+, the local Malopolska team from south Poland drew with Germany Women. In the 65+ England-4 drew with Danish team SK2024.

The English women's team (15th seeds in the 50+ championship with rating average of 2064) caused Wednesday's upset of the day, defeating the sixth seeds Slovakia (average 2282) who have GM Martin Mrva on top board.

IM Susan Lalic had Black but drew with him and the players with the White pieces, WIM Ingrid Lauterbach and WFM Petra Fink-Nunn drew their games against titled opponents. The match was decided on board 3 where WGM Sheila Jackson scored the vital win against an FM rated nearly 300 points higher than her. (It should also be noted that Sheila could be playing in the 65+ category.)

50+ news: Eight teams now have the maximum 4 match points with England-1 and Iceland leading on 7.5 game points. We already mentioned the success of the female team, but England-3 went down to England-2 and England-4 lost narrowly to Ireland.

England-1 scored 3.5-0.5 against USA Women while the top-seeded USA male team could "only" win 2.5-1.5 against Canada. Other matches also saw 3.5 point victories: Iceland beat Lubeck Chess Club, Italy beat Oslo and USA Too beat Germany Graal by the same margin, as did Israel Rishon Lezion against the Welsh. The only 4-0 whitewash was achived by the Estonian women against the club team from Luxembourg. Scotland lost to the Jhunjnhnuwala brothers and Guernsey lost to Poland Caissa 1-3.

65+ news: Here too there are 8 teams on the maximum 4MP. Three of them have 7.5 game points: Strasbourg, Israel-1 and England-1. England-2 scored the only whitewash of this section, their victims being Polish team Lower Silesia.

In the top match, GM Lothar Vogt of Germany Eppingen had White against 65+ World Champion John Nunn and drew; the English won the other games. It is good to see GM Jonathan Mestel, who is on board 3, making a successful comeback after so many years of playing top Bridge instead.

There were the expected heavy victories also for Israel 1 (v Schachfreunde Mitteldeutschland), for Strasbourg (against Sweden), and for Itay against Poland Zaglebie. Slovakia only beat Belgium by 2.5-1.5 and German team Zaehringen Reloaded made the same score against Ireland-1 in a hard-fought match where there games went well beyond the move 40 time control.

Wales beat Ireland-2 in another closely contested match. Scotland beat Poland Women but Ireland-3 could only manage half a point from their captain.

At the other end of the table, six teams have yet to score a match point and are in danger of getting the bye, or will certainly get it eventually. New Zealand had the round 2 bye and so are on 1MP, as are USA Women who were the team with no opponents in round 1.


Round 1, Tuesday 2 July

The first round is usually unbalanced as teams in the top half of the seedings play the teams in the lower half. Winning teams score two match points, There were no drawn matches in either section but the Welsh 50+ team, thanks to a win on top board and three draws, beat Germany-1 2.5-1.5 despite being outranked on every board. It has to be admitted, though, that the Germans have not come in force to the 50+ tournament.

Except for that result, we did not notice any major upsets against ratings in individual games either.

In the 50+ tournament, four teams including England-1 and USA Women (who beat Scotland) won their matches 4-0 while another six teams dropped just half a point. Top seeds USA were in that category as Brazilian top board GM Darcy Lima held GM Jaan Ehlvest in a long game. By contrast, Krishan Jhunjhnuwala of USA Four Brothers put up long resistance against GM John Emms but eventually he was beaten.

England-2 beat Germany Women while England Women won 2.5-1.5 against England-4.England-3 won their match against the local Polish team and Guernsey managed a draw on top board against Oslo.

Five teams in the 65+ championship won their matches 4-0 and four won 3.5-0.5. There is one team now on 1 MP because the lowest-ranked side, USA Women, had the bye for which they also get two game points.

Danish teams had a day to forget in the top two matches, losing both 0-4 to England and Israel respectively while the strong Strasbourg team whitewashed the Welsh. Ireland-1 was the other 4-0 victor, against the Polish women whose board 4 player failed to put in an appearance. The other two Irish teams faced higher rated opponents and managed three draws from the two matches. Scotland also salvaged half a point from their match.

England-2 and England-3 both won but England-4 went down to heavy defeat. Enough said.


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