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World Senior Teams: USA & England win

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


Greetings from Krakow, Poland, where the World Senior Team Championships (50+ and 65+) have just ended. The final (9th) round was played today. USA won the Open 50+ gold medals and England won the 65+.

There were also awards for the best women's teams and the best individual performances.

This page is a modified version of our origional introductory page for the congress. This is the final update as we travel home tomorrow.

You can now find our final reports, including the full lists of winners, on separate pages for the two tournaments as follows:

The 50+ tournament showdown (rounds 8 and 9)

The 65+ tournament showdown (rounds 8 and 9)

Our earlier reports on separate pages (which have not been rewritten) covered the two sections together: rounds 1-6 and round 7.

The event began on Tuesday 2 July. There was no play on Monday 8th because various tours were organised for players and their companions.

There is an official tournament website while team lists, results and pairings can be found on separate but interlinked chess-results pages:

65+ Championship and 50+ Championship

On the whole this was an excellently organised championship congress, not the best senior event we have played in (Dresden 2022 was superior in most respects) but it was certainly much better run than many of the FIDE senior events we have played in over the past 10 years.

The main criticisms we have heard are that the toilet facilities during play were barely sufficient and the restaurant is rather noisy for conversation although the food was fairly varied and of good quality.

What was truly extraordinary in our experience of FIDE senior events is that every single game was played on a live board and broadcast on Lichess. Soon afterwards they were added to chess-results in PGN format so all game scores soon became readily available.

Anti-cheating regulations were strict. Of course players and spectators were scanned on entrance. Not only were electronic devices like phones and hearing aids not permitted but all personal watches and pens were forbidden. You had to use the pen provided and leave it at the table after your game.

After the games, as we can personally testify, some winners are randomly rechecked by arbiters in case they brought in electronic devices that were not caught earlier.


A total of 65 teams played the two nine-round tournaments: 32 in the 50+ and 33 in the 65+ which unfortunately had a bye in each round. FIDE should try to avoid this happening in future, perhaps by requiring host nations to recruit stand-by teams.

As usual for these events, squads consist of four players with an optional fifth. Only four play each day. As with the recent European Senior Team Championships, teams may represent countries, regions, clubs or just be informal groupings but all players on a team must be members of the same federation.


The official arrival date was 1 July, although some players came a day mostly in the afternoons but finishing with a morning start on Thursday 11 July. There was (unusually for these team events) a rest/excursion day today. The official departure date is tomorrow, 12 July, althoiugh a few players are staying on longer for an extended holiday.


Six all-female teams competed for the women's medals in the 50+ and the rivalry was intense. By contrast there were only three in the 65+ and only one consisted wholly of strong players. (There would need to be ten in the same age group before the women would play a separate tournament and we don't think this has ever happened.)

Both the current individual senior world champions were in Krakow. GM Michael Adams leads England's 50+ team and GM John Nunn the 65+ team. Perhaps not surprisingly, they ended up having the best results on top board in their sections. The English Chess Federation sent nine teams and 43 players to these championships, their largest contingent ever.

Ireland (with three full 65+ teams and one in the 50+) were also here with their largest ever squad. Scotland and Wales each hadone team in both tournaments and Guernsey (Channel Islands) have sent a 50+ team.


Team news in the 50+

The USA were defending champions in the 50+ category and they came in force with an all-GM squad (mostly former USSR citizens) averaging 2480 to win again in Poland. A second IM-strength team named USA Too also participated. The USA also entered a women's team for the first time.

The USA Five Brothers team were also here, averaging 2044. The Jhunjhnuwala brothers, who were formerly Hong Kong internationals but are now U.S. citizens, will return to Europe 50 years after they first played together in the World Student Chess Team Championship in Teeside, England. One brother, Rajendra, no longer plays but always accompanies his siblings to these annual events.

England were 50+ champions in 2022 and runners-up in 2023. As expected they were second seeds at 2470 (Adams, Emms, Flear, Arkell and Davies). Adams replaced GM Stuart Conquest who won a board prize in the recent European senior teams. England-2 (led by IM Graeme Buckley), England Women (led by IM Susan Lalic) and England-3 (led by Philip Crocker) all averaged over 2000 when entries were submitted. England-4 averaged 1903.

Third seeds were the all-GM team from Iceland (average 2439) and Italy were fourth seeds. Slovakia and Israel also sent quite strong teams but Germany have not sent a powerhouse team; instead they have three quite strong club teams and a women's team.

Teams from Brazil, Canada and South Africa helped to give the 50+ a real intercontinental flavour.


Team news in the 65+

England were last year's 65+ winners and are current European champions. With a rating average of 2425 they were clearly top seeds again, led by Nunn and GM Kosten, but the other three players are different from those who played in Terme Catez recently. GM Jonathan Mestel (who mostly plays bridge these days) made a welcome return on board 3. IM Paul Littlewood was on board 4 and FM Terry Chapman, was reserve but played several games with success.

England-2, led by IM John Pigott, were seventh seeds; two of that squad played in Terme Catez. England-4 average 1946 but England-3 were lower seecded because their board 4 has no FIDE rating; one high-rated player was unable to travel.

Second seeds in the 65+ were Israel who had two GMs and three IMs. Then a French team from Strasbourg with four IMs and GM Legky were just behind. After them came Slovakia and Italy, all titled players. In this tournament also the German strength was split between teams and they had only one GM.

Scotland and Wales each sent one team, which were in the bottom half of the seedings but Ireland-1 were just in the top half of the draw.

Brazil, New Zealand and USA Women contribute to a truly global flavour but there is no male team from America. The other women's teams in this section were from Poland and the USA.

Russia remains banned from FIDE team tournaments. In the pre-Covid days they used to send a women's team only to the 50+ while Russia and St. Petersburg regularly challenged for top honours in the 65+, though that was before England sent all-master teams.


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