May 3rd - 11th
The 10th European Senior Teams Championship was held in Thessaloniki in Greece from May 3rd to May 11th.
Wales was represented by Iolo Jones (Captain), John Thornton, Rudy van Kemenade, Richard Miles and Bob Hurn.
There were 35 teams playing from 20 countries with 52 titled players participating. Wales was seeded 22nd.
Wednesday 11th May - Final/Round 9
|Bo.||Wales (22nd seed)||Rtg||v||Finland 2 (23rd seed)||Rtg|
|12.1||CM Jones Iolo C||2287||½ - ½||Morant Paul||2184|
|12.2||Thornton John D||2065||½ - ½||FM Saren Ilkka J||2190|
|12.3||Miles Richard||2068||½ - ½||Lyly Seppo||1966|
|12.4||Van Kemenade Rudy||1941||1 - 0||Koskinen Veikko||1988|
|2.5 : 1.5|
Final Report from Rudy
The team played its strongest players in the final round.
John’s game finished first. His opponent surprised him by going down a complex line in the Schliemann, where John had plenty of home analysis. However Wh’s piece sacrifice then yielded a draw by repetition.
Rudy’s opponent as Wh played a passive line, setting a King’s Indian against a King’s Indian, but Bl actually had more freedom of movement, as only one Wh piece got into the Bl territorial space on g5. The Wh pieces bunched together around the K and , when an inadvertent advance lost a key pawn, Wh had had enough. The Finland2 team only had 4 players, and the need to play every game had clearly taken its toll.
Richard got exactly the kind of niggling edge he had prepared for against his opponent’s Grunfeld. However, seeing the team was ahead, he offered a draw, which was taken.
Iolo got interesting play, avoiding the Stonewall Dutch his opponent had used to good effect in the previous round. It transposed to a King’s Indian Attack against a French setup, but after various clearances on the Q side, a draw was enough to clinch the match.
Score 2.5-1.5, and Wales end above their initial ranking of 22nd out of 35 with a 50% match result, level with England1 on match points (though game points put us a few places below.)
Tuesday 10th May - Round 8
Blindern Oldtimers (31st)
|Rtg||v||Wales (22nd seed)
|14.1||Mundal Arnold||2049||0 - 1||CM Jones Iolo C||2287|
|14.2||Lerstad Bjorn||1913||0 - 1||Thornton John D||2065|
|14.3||Bergersen Per A||1600||½ - ½||Van Kemenade Rudy||1941|
|14.4||Fossum Widar J||1600||½ - ½||Hurn Robert Aj||1823|
|1 : 3|
Report from Rudy
Wales has broken the logjam with a win after 3 drawn matches.
Norway left out their top player, but perhaps this was compensated for by the strength of their two bottom players. Although officially listed as 1600, they are at the moment ungraded, but actually both have part-ratings in the bag from a previous Senior event, and should both be in the high 2000s in the next grading list.
Rudy played one of these and got a clear advantage on the Bl side of a Kings Indian, but a breakthrough somehow eluded him(and the rest of the team on looking at the game afterwards. On checking the database, Rudy had the exact same position only last year at the Senior team event in Dresden, and played a far better continuation, which led to a win there. A draw occurred here by repetition.
Bob got an excellent position against the Alekhine defence, sacrificing a pawn on e6 to jam in the Bl pieces. He castled long , opened up the h file, and launched a fierce K side attack. However he then missed several excellent chances, won an exchange but his opponent ‘s two Bs and central pawns were enough, so a draw was agreed.
Iolo employed his usual Old Indian, and established a central wedge. When that was loosened, there were too many weaknesses left in the Wh position, which led to a loss of pawns, the exchange, and finally another B as well.
John got an excellent position against a French Winawer with an early b6 . The bl square weaknesses, coupled with Wh’s spatial advantage, meant that John was able to put his pieces into position to demolish the Bl K side. Faced with a number of different mating possibilities, Bl resigned.
Score, back to 3-1 to Wales.
We end with Finland 2, having started with Finland1.
Monday 9th May - Round 7
|Bo.||Freibauer (28th seed)||Rtg||v||Wales (22nd)||Rtg|
|16.1||Niebuhr Gerd||2067||0 - 1||CM Jones Iolo C||2287|
|16.2||Juergens Peter||2012||½ - ½||Thornton John D||2065|
|16.3||Hellwege Werner||2009||½ - ½||Miles Richard||2068|
|16.4||Fritsch Juergen Dr||1979||1 - 0||Van Kemenade Rudy||1941|
|2 - 2|
Report from Rudy
Another mixed bag today.
Richard didn’t quite get the variation in his King’s Indian that we prepared for, and, having had a restless night, agreed to a 3 fold repetition.
John as Wh played a complex line in the Winawer, but, forgot to play the exact move, and was a R down albeit for several powerful pawns, which had his opponent, surprised by this, To offer a quick draw, which was accepted.
Rudy had an unfortunate experience. Playing a Leningrad Dutch reversed, he quickly broke through on f5 and d5, winning a pawn in the process and gaining passed pawns on the e and d file. One slow move, followed by another not quite correct, meant that a loss of an exchange was inevitable. His opponent missed a mate in two and let Rudy struggle trying to get a pawn through until he ran out of them 23 moves later.
This left things up to Iolo. His normal Old Indian defence led to two Bs for Bl, and the Q came in, picking up first the e4 pawn, then mating the K in the corner.
So, 2-2, and in the next round again we have avoided the Bye caused by Belgrade not turning up.
Sunday 8th May - Round 6
|Bo.||Wales (22nd seed)
||Rtg||v||Israel 2 (30th s)||Rtg|
|14.1||CM Jones Iolo C||2287||½ - ½||Blaushtain Boris||2115|
|14.2||Miles Richard||2068||1 - 0||Har-Even Abir||2062|
|14.3||Van Kemenade Rudy||1941||0 - 1||Ben-Zeev Moshe||2006|
|14.4||Hurn Robert||1823||½ - ½||Rave Avraham||1865|
|2 : 2|
Report from Rudy
A tale of mixed fortunes.
Iolo and Rudy ended up after a few transpositions, with the same Catalan position. Rudy missed a chance (Iolo more so as he could have won a pawn early on), and was offered a draw on move 23. Carrying on with a B against a N, he missed several possibilities and ended up losing. Iolo was getting into difficulties, headed for an opposite colour B ending a pawn down, where his opponent had chances of another passed pawn, but after Bl went astray a draw ensued.
Bob played for a mobile pawn attack when the Ks were castled on opposite sides. eventually a complex position wewas reached where both sides had advanced pawns and pressure against both Ks on the backrank. A draw by repetition was reached.
Richard came under some long term pressure in a closed Sicilian, and after some exchanges offered a draw, which was declined.His opponent seeking a quick win, missed a neat inbeteenmove by Richard, so went a pawn down. In seeking to recover it, instead Bl was now able to start a successfull K hunt with Q & R, whereas against the Wh counterattack , Richard's K was able to move out to freedom.
So, 2-2 another draw.
The afternoon saw the team go on a bus trip up to 1,000 metres of he snowcapped Mt Olympus, which rises to 2,900 metres in total.A long winding road with magnificent views, also of the countryside below. On the way back called in at the monastery of St Dionysius, a muliti-leveled quiet site, a little reminiscent of Portmeirion(well some of Clough's ideas did come from around here). Calling in a Litichoro , a town on the lower slopes was a little disapointing- a pleasant enough place, but it being Sunday shops were closed, so had to settle for a taverna. Called in via the coast on the way back to St Pantaleimon. But rather than a traditional Greekvillage with cobbled stones as mentioned ( well it may have been somewhere there) it was more like Blackpool or Great Yarmouth. The more you move around, the more it remains the same.
Saturday 7th May - Round 5
|Bo.||Wales (22nd seed)
||Rtg||v||Denmark 2 (24th s)||Rtg|
|15.1||CM Jones Iolo||2287||1 - 0||Olesen Poul Norgaard||2076|
|15.2||Thornton John||2065||0 - 1||Nielsen Poul Erik||2100|
|15.3||Van Kemenade Rudy||1941||1 - 0||Rasmussen Lars-Bo||2060|
|15.4||Hurn Robert||1823||0 - 1||Preuss Flemming||1991|
|2 - 2|
Report from Rudy
A tale of mixed fortunes against Denmark 2,slightly below us in ranking.
Rudy was first off the mark, finishing after 2 hours play, having played 53 moves in total, 11 more than Iolo who took another hour and a half to reach that. In the end Rudy had more time at the end than he started with.
A positional game where the Wh pieces moved into good squares, and the Bl position just collapsed as the Wh pieces moved further in.
John looked good initially in a Stonewall Dutch, but an incautious f4 lead to Wh having enormous K side chances, finishing off with a Q pawn moving through to Q.
Iolo had excellent pressure thoughout in a kind of Catalan position. Winning a pawn, Iolo finished off neatly when hois K came in onto f6, to join with R on the 7th and the Wh sq B to force a mating sequence.
The tragedy was in Bob's game. In a From G turned to K's G, he won the d pawn with a precise tactic, against a player rated 1990. Wh got some counterplay, holding up the advance of the extra pawn, so Bob offered a draw ,which was declined. Wh then pushed too hards, and reached a losing position, with Bob having a very advanced c pawn. Unfortunately he decided he could give up a b to get the pawn through , but got blocked by the R and N. Eventually Bob found himself in a lost position with R vs R and two pawns.
After lunch the team retired to the taverna, where ,after looking at the games played earlier, a 5 player game ensued, people always alternating colours with each time they got to play. Bare Ks was the final result here.
Friday 6th May - Round 4
|Bo.||Sportfreunde, Katernberg (9th)||Rtg||v||Wales (22nd seed)
|12.1||FM Bachmann Karlheinz||2282||1 - 0||Thornton John D||2065|
|12.2||FM Rosen Willy||2285||1 - 0||Miles Richard||2068|
|12.3||FM Nautsch Werner||2243||0 - 1||Van Kemenade Rudy||1941|
|12.4||Armbruester Juergen||1600||1 - 0||Hurn Robert Aj||1823|
|3 : 1|
Report from Rudy
We are at a sideroute in Greece, looking up at the Olympus mountain range covered in snow at some 9,000 plus feet. It might have something to do with the server continually breaking down, so we only get snatches of elections in Wales and Scotland.
Wales was a little unlucky in the draw. Having lost 3-1 the previous round to the number 11 seeds, the gods sought to challenge us with a pairing against the no 9 seeds, Sportfreunde, Katernberg. Which translates as Sport friends from a place in Germany, 3 of them well into their seventies and Fms clocking in at 2200 plus.Even their bottom board, now at 1600 was playing at 1930 standard only a few years ago. And while us oldsters might be prone to blunder, we might just play that perfect game from long ago.
Rudy was the first to finish. Playing a risky line of the Budapest against a 2243, his opponent failed to force Rudy down a rather dubious piece sacrifice at move 7. The position evened out, but Werner , intent on winning a B on f2 by forcing Bl’s Q away from its protection, missed seeing that 13...Bh3 was mate. (Robert awarded me as many Welsh grading points as the game lasted, so maybe I should have kept it going a bit longer?).
Richard started off fine with a R on his opponents d6 , but felt unable to maintain it there. Almost out of nowhere the Bl pieces began to infiltrate and Richard decided not to wait for the inevitable mate.
Although a little surprised by the exact line chosen, Bob got a good position against his opponents Petroff, and looked to be better with an advanced pawn on e6. However Bl was able to chisel away at the edges, and won a pawn or two when Bob failed to find the most active continuation. The R and pawn ending could not be held.
The last game to finish went nearly the full length. Actually with 30 seconds increment per move they could go on for a very long time. From a Benoni, John’s pieces got a bit hemmed in on the Q side, and a consequent K side raid by Bl merely resulted in the opponent having B and N for a rook.
After a great deal of manoeuvring, with John down to about 2 mins, the Wh central pawns, backed by a potential B check, broke through to Q.
Score, once again 3-1, but on the losing side.
Fortunately lunch is served from 1 to 5 pm.
The team has also discovered a local tavern.
Thursday 5th May - Round 3
|Bo.||Wales (22nd seed)||Rtg||v||Switzerland (11th)||Rtg|
|7.1||CM Jones Iolo C||2287||½ - ½||FM Vucenovic Dragomir||2249|
|7.2||Miles Richard||2068||½ - ½||IM Bhend Edwin||2257|
|7.3||Van Kemenade Rudy||1941||0 - 1||FM Hohler Peter||2157|
|7.4||Hurn Robert A||1823||0 - 1||Illi Hans-Joerg||2141|
|1 : 3|
Report from Rudy
Wales was drawn against a still strong Switserland team, even after missing Korchnoy, who unfortunately has had a little spell in hospital.
Iolo playing a slightly higher graded FM got a nice manouvring position from a Q Indian type game, turned down a draw, but after exchanges a draw ensued.
Richard played the veteran IM Edwin Bhend, facing an odd early Rb1, a3 and b4 against his Sicilian, but his pieces ,though defensive ,were well placed, and he happily accepted the draw offer from his higher rated opponent.
Rudy played a Ruy Lopez with d3, and got good pressure against f7. However Bl got a N in at f4, and, since the K position was untenable, let his opponent finish with a mate.
Robert was also playing against a 2100 + player, and unfortunately missed a Q moving from a4 to h4, losing a R in the process, which then duly won.
We seem to be having a pattern of rain in the early morning, with quite good sunshine later.
Wednesday 4th May - Round 2
|Bo.||Norway 2 (33rd)||Rtg||v||Wales (22nd)||Rtg|
|16.1||Bjorgvik Jan Arne||1921||0 - 1||CM Jones Iolo C||2287|
|16.2||Standal Bard||1889||½ - ½||Thornton John D||2065|
|16.3||Birkestrand Odd||1881||0 - 1||Miles Richard||2068|
|16.4||Bue Gunnar||1814||½ - ½||Hurn Robert Aj||1823|
|1 : 3|
Report from Rudy
It ended 3-1 to Wales, the reverse of round 1. But though on paper Norway2 was an easier team, in practice the gods make life difficult. ( They are looking down from Mount Olympus above us as we go about our destined moves).
Despite his opponent choosing the Qe2 'drawing ' line against Iolo's Petroff, the endgame provided Iolo with pawn after pawn, to safeguard the win against Jan Arne Bjorgvik.
John had more trouble against a solid Sicilian setup, where development was the key. Bard Standal missed a breakthrough(which of course the chess engines spotted easily), and was happy to accept the draw offer.
Richard suffered similarly: a little inferior from the opening, he went for a draw. Odd Birkenstrand turned it down, but then overpressed and Richard's K moved into the centre and Q side ,making further resistence futile.
Robert was fortunate in that his opponent,Gunnar Bue, gave up a pawn ealy. But Robert absorbed any ensuing counterplay easily enough, and looked set to win; however his opponent got some compensation, so a draw resulted.
Walking along the beach alongside the Aegean Richard suddenly found a White Knight chess piece.Maybe this will enable the Welsh Marchog to ride on to victory.
Tuesday 3rd May - Round 1
|Bo.||Wales (22nd)||Rtg||v||Finland 1 (5th seed)||Rtg|
|5.1||CM Jones Iolo C||2287||0 - 1||GM Rantanen Yrjo A||2373|
|5.2||Thornton John D||2065||0 - 1||GM Westerinen Heikki||2350|
|5.3||Miles Richard||2068||½ - ½||FM Hurme Harri||2277|
|5.4||Van Kemenade Rudy||1941||½ - ½||Havansi Erkki E T||2248|
|1 : 3|
Report from Rudy
In the European Seniors Team event, Wales faced a strong Finland side, who were able field two GMs and two middle 2200 players.
The Gms duly struck. Iolo faced Rantanen , who bit by bit increased his space advantage. At the end material was still level, but a Bl pawn on g2 was too powerful.
John faced Heikki Westerinen, who played a passive wh opening, seemingly running scared of any violent counterplay that John might unleash. However an ever so slight imprecission meant the Wh pices succesfully overran the Bl K.
Richard faced a tough 2200 + player, got strange variations against the Swedish version of the Tarrasch defence. The opponent got a extra pawn on the Q side in a R& B ending, John pushed through in the centre, eventually going a pawn up.Unable to hold it, the R & P ending was drawn.
Rudy faced a double fianchetto against the King's Indian, turned it into something resembling a Leningrad Dutch, with a N well placed on f7 to hold up any central advances.When his opponent grabbed an a pawn it took his away from the fray, and a series of tactics in the centre meant that Wh was happy to accept the draw, especially since he was running short of time.
A 3-1 loss in a seeded Swiss where we are lying no 22 out of 37, is a decent result. Most of the other lower rated teams went down 3.5 to 0.5.or even 4-0.
Its quite a superb hotel, but few other local facilities, though there is a pebbly beach.