Chess Mail logo Friend of ICCF award  
Editor: Dr Tim Harding
  Dr. Tim Harding   J. H. Blackburne     Paul Morphy   Correspondence Chess history book   Captain W. D. Evans

Akopian leads US Senior Championship

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

 

The 10-player Senior Championship of the USA (50+) is in progress at the St. Louis Chess Club alongside the American junior championships (open and girls).

All these tournaments are closed 10-player round robins. In theory you can find pairings and other information here but the link to pairings and crosstables seems to be rather clunky. Round 5 is on today and tomorrow, Sunday 21st July, will be a rest day.

Perhaps the best option is to watch the senior games on chess.com. There (at least in round one) the progress of all the games could be followed with optional commentary by IM David Pruess and another master (and sounds of birds in the background!). You can if you wish mute the sound on that page and just follow the positions and moves.

There is also commentary by GM Yasser Seirawan and others, starting 20 minutes after play begins. However, as it is shared with the other events, it can be frustrating to try to catch their analysis of the seniors. On that site you can only see the position they are discussing, not the other games.

Unfortunately there is no coverage on Lichess. We really miss the old quality presentation of the late lamented chess24.

Three of the gold medal winning American team from Krakow last week are in the Seniors field: GMs Shabalov, Khachiyan and Novikov along with GM Vladimir Akopian (the top seed) who had originally been listed for Krakow but did not in fact play.

The standings after four rounds are: Vladimir Akopian 3.5; Larry Christiansen 2.5; Gregory Kaidanov, Julio Becerra Rivero, Melikset Khachiyan and Jesse Kraai 2; Igor Novikov, Joel Benjamin, Douglas Root and Alexander Shabalov 1.5.

Round 5 this evening sees: Root v Shabalov, Benjamin v Khachiyan, Novikov v Rivero, Akopian v Kraai, and Christiansen v Kaidanov.

The prize fund is $75,000 US, making it by far the most lucrative senior chess tournament to win. Nine of the field are GMs; the exception is IM Douglas Root. We believe most of these players qualified on rating, while Khachiyan is the defending champion. We understand that Kraai qualified from the 2023 Open Senior Chanpionship (which is a weekend event) and that Rivero received a wild card.

You can also see from our calendar that there will be a Senior championship later this month which is restricted to the nominated champions of each US state. The 2024 Open Senior Championship was held a few days ago in Illinois but our searches have so far failed to find any website listing the results.

There does not seem to be any 65+ championship in the USA which is somewhat surprising to us.

We finalised our pages for the 2024 World Senior Team Championships which ended earlier this month. Please follow that link to read our detailed reports.

The 2024 British Championships will start soon in Hull, the various sections being played between 24 July to 4 August. These are open to a much wider group of players. Scottish, Welsh and Irish players and long-term UK residents with other FIDE national registrations can enter championship events while anyone can play the Major Open.

The 7-round senior championships (50+ and 65+) will begin on Monday 29 July. As last year, the first six rounds will be played in the afternoon with a morning start for the final round. Full details can be found on the ECF website.

A list of entrants (to 19 July) can be found there. GM Keith Arkell heads the 40 cpompetitors for the 50+ while FM Terry Chapman and IM Craig Pritchett currently top the large entry of 59 for the 65+.

FIDE's decision to award the 2024 World Senior individual championships to the remote Atlantic venue of Porto Santo is looking like a big mistake. Eight weeks after the event was announced, it is still impossible to book direct flights to or from the island on the relevant dates. We certainly won't be going.

Porto Santo is situated in the Madeira archipelago, an autonomous region of Portugal west of Morocco and north of the Canary islands. It is about 42 sq. km. in size with, apparently, some beautiful beaches and a hilly interior. The climate should be warm and the venue looks very attractive.

On the other hand, this is the first time we have seen an important event of this kind announced when it was virtually impossible to make travel arrangements because airline schedules were yet to be finalised.

Although we cannot advise anybody to enter unless this situation is resolved, we do note that some people have decided to go anyway. A set of linked chess-results pages shows the names of the 20 players who (as of the last update on 13 July) have already paid their entry fees.

Last month we received several emails from Paulo Rocha of the Portuguese Chess Federation assuring us that direct flights will become available from Lisbon (and Billund in Denmark) in addition to the twice-daily flights between Funchal (Madeira) and Porto Santo with the airline Binter Canrias which are guaranteed by a contract with the Portuguese government. We hear that has been renewed but the schedule remains unpublished; it is as yet not possible to book flights on the required dates.

We don't doubt the organisers' assurances that it will be possible to reach Porto Santo via Funchal in Madeira, but right now only the ferry can be booked. This is becoming a fiasco for FIDE and the Portuguese Chess Federation who will, we suspect, end up having to charter flights.

Mr Rocha's email claimed there will be flights with the Portuguese airline TAP and British low-cost airline Easyjet but the former still offer no November flights as yet. When we searched yet again today on the Easyjet website for their flights from Lisbon (or anywhere else), we still received the same message "No flights between 5th Nov & 13th Apr."

While in Krakow we had a brief conversation with Gunnar Bjornsson of Iceland, who is on the Events Commission. He seemed rather surprised (and not very interested) to hear from us that there is a serious issue over flights. Maybe he will investigate now he is home.

The main information file (regulations in PDF), including the schedule, prizes, accommodation and other essential facts, can be downloaded from our calendar page. There is already an official website for the championships and the FIDE News announcement page includes a press release and short invitation letter.

Players will not be allowed to bring personal pens or watches or any kind of electronic devices to the playing hall, except for medical devices approved by the chief arbiter.

So far as the 2025 FIDE senior championships are concerned, we already reported on the bids which appear to have been accepted. The dates are in our calendar but it is much too soon to expect detailed information.

Next year's World Senior Team Championships will be organised by Jan Mazuch's well-established company that runs the Czech Tour events annually. They will hold these tournaments at the Olympik Hotel in Prague from 16-27 February 2025, just prior to their usual Prague international festival.

That is earlier in the year than usual but the event should be popular, especially with the continental teams that can easily go to Prague by road or rail. Of course we know from past experience that there can sometimes be a change of date or hotel but we judge that this is probably quite a firm decision.

The 2025 individual championships will be hosted by Arcoworldchess, at Gallipoli in Apulia (the far south-east of Italy) which is a new seaside venue and should be quite warm.

The European Senior Team Championships, held in Slovenia during May, finished in English victories though it was very close in the 50+. Please visit our separate pages reporting on those tournaments.

We have now removed some older items from this page to clear the way for summer 2024 news.

 

If you have Seniors chess news you would like posted here, or announcements of future events, please email Tim Harding.

 

Back to our Seniors introduction page