European Senior Team Championships 2012


The 11th European Senior Team Championship (Official Site) has finished and Wales finished in 24th place, four places above their seeding after some great matches. 

4th April 

Round 9




 tn gerGERMANY




1 - 3 



tn wls  WALES



15.1   Niebuhr, Gerd   2079  1/2  -  1/2 CM   Jones, Iolo C   2246 
15.2   Hellwege, Werner   2029  0  -  1   Thornton, John D   2036 
15.3   Juergens, Peter   1993   1/2 -  1/2    Miles, Richard   2083 
15.4   Fritsch, Juergen Dr   1979  0  -  1   Van Kemenade, Rudy     1984 


All Results Round 9

Report Round 9 from Rudy

The third time, draw with Bl, and win with Wh.
The team strategy since after a tough preceding round we played one of three teams weaker than us, was to sit on the position and wait for someone to break through. It didnt quite work out like that.

First to finish was Richard. Playing against a solid London System various minor pieces were swapped on e4, and his opponent offered a draw. Unfortunately Richard wasn't at all sure what was happening in Rudy's game, so continued after 10 mins consideration, however, since things might have been drifting against him, he decided to offer a draw himself, which was accepted.

Rudy chose the Dutch Leningrad reversed again, since he had met the same opponent, Dr Jurgen Fritsch at the EU Seniors teams in Dresden two years ago, losing that one despite having established what should have been a winning central pawn mass. All the more so since Bl had gone down the same route in Rd1 of this tournament. Trying for activity with a pawn break on e5, this lost the B on standing on f5. Wh could have just won a pawn on the K side, but there are styles in chess, so Rudy chose a line where Wh gathered material for his Q. Those materialists in the team reckoned that Bl's Q plus 3 K side pawns were equal to Wh's R, B, & N.
However Rudy had judged that the Q was inactive on the Q side, a R unable to contest an e file, a passive Bl N & B.While Bl gobbled up two more pawns, Wh won an exchange and then the 4 Wh pieces around the K forced mate (even, to the team's satisfaction in lines not played)

John had a good position from that English that became more a Catalan. When the pressure piled up against d5 and Bl's underdeveloped Q side, Bl succumbed as one does in an inferior position, dropping two pieces for a R. coupled with a passed d pawn, Wh's R, B & N soon forced a decision against the two passive rooks, giving John a win.

Given the state of the match, Iolo settled for a draw when John had won. His usual Old Indian had lead to a rather blocked position, in which, however, Bl had a protected passed pawn on c5. This might have been enough to win in the long run, but it seemed not completely necessary since Iolo had scored a good draw the previous round.

Wales3  Germany Freibauern Niedersachsen 1

Although we finished on 24, seemingly only 4 places above our initial ranking of 28, a closer inspection is worth doing.

We finished with one more match point than last year. We are 1 match point behind England 2, Austria1, Germany1 and Belgium. We are level with the best performing Dutch team Netherlands VAS from Amsterdam, and 1 match point above Scotland1.
Thanks to beating Austria 1 in Rd1 we played teams ranked Nos 5,7,9,15,17 & 21, which finished in places 6,7,14,16,21, 27.
Colin could have won against Michael Yeo, who ended up ranked No2 on % points in the whole tournament. Rudy had the best overall performance of the Welsh team being ranked No36 on % points (a default not counting either for him or Michael Yeo of England1).

A special mention should be made of Russia2, composed of Women players who only narrowly lost to Russia St Petersburg in the last round.

The Final ceremony took place in the Rogaska Cultural Centre in the presence of its Major and MEP.




3rd April 

Round 8

Bo. 28
tn wls WALES

1 1/2 - 2 1/2 

11.1 CM  Jones, Iolo C  2246  1/2 - 1/2  IM  Donchenko, Anatoly  2376
11.2  Thornton, John D  2036 0 - 1 FM  Isserman, Ryhor  2309
11.3  Miles, Richard  2083 0 - 1 FM  Haubt, Georg  2215
11.4  Van Kemenade, Rudy   1984 + - - FM  Zunker, Reinhard Dr  2177

( Rudy's opponent was unfortunately unwell )


All Results Round 8


Report Round 8 from Rudy

A tricky round

Due to our draw yesterday we got to play a stronger team. Despite them being a player short they still presented a formidable challenge as 9th ranked team. (Dr Reinhard Zunker was forced to withdraw a couple of rounds ago due to illhealth. Colin is also not that well, which makes his performance thus far even more impressive).

So, one game up to start with.

Iolo played surely and efficiently from a Reti with Closed Sicilian overtones to neutralise any chances his IM opponent might have by welltimed exchanges. And when all the Rs were coming off as well, Bl accepted the draw.

Richard played for a complex line against the Chigorin, that he had been analysing on behalf of Colin, but Georg Haubt had some previous experience with it, plus some helpful anaysis by GM Rustem Dautov, and headed for a line with only one exemplar. Richard then played an innovation,0-0, the move recommended by Fritz13, but after Qxh4, despite a longish think failed to find the Fritz13 followup of 18.Qa4! when Wh maintains some advantage. Instead Bl was able to finish off with a raging attack against the Wh K.(All this for one pawn, as Georg said in post game analysis). So no luck on this one.

Nor on the other. John got a decent position from a Reti/Queen's pawn game, but despite a potential Q side pawn majority, he had a N offside on a5, and a B on b7. Bit by bit his 2300+ opponent increased the pressure onto the weakened K side, leading eventually to the win first of one pawn, then another. When the last tactical chances proved to be of no use, John resigned.


Wales 1.5  Germany-Hessen 2.5.


The consolation was that a draw would have left us facing an even stronger team in the last round with a risk of losing, thus only gaining one match point. Whereas now we have a weaker team, with good prospects of a win to end with.( Keeping everything crossed).

4 people went for another walk up the hill trails behind our hotel, to enjoy the sunshine and the excellent Slovenian hospitality in a pub along the way. We would all like to say we very much appreciate that people here have gone out of their way to make it a memorable experience.




2nd April


Round 7  










 2 - 2



tn wls  WALES



13.1   Jongsma, Alexander   2193   0 - 1 CM   Jones, Iolo C   2246
13.2   Ghijsen, Pim   2191   1/2 - 1/2     Thornton, John D     2036
13.3   Van Oosten, Arend   2186   1/2 - 1/2    Miles, Richard   2083
13.4   Van Dongen, Rob   1968   1 - 0   Gilbert, Colin   1795


All Results Round 7

Report from Rudy Round 7

The first draw- the draw that didn't slip away.

Richard was first to finish, facing a Closed Sicilan setup, Wh seemed unsure of how to continue, with a slightly misplaced Nf4 move.
Exchanges left Wh with some Q side space, but that would need to be abandoned in order to get any K side attack, while Bl meanwhile could get pressure against the Wh centre. A draw as a reasonable result.

Colin got an excellent position, offering a B on g5, when Bl went h6 with h4, an offer Bl could scarcely accept. Perhaps it should have been left there a little longer, though Colin got in a g4 move (opposite side castling in an Old Indian defence). Unfortunately Wh played g5 too soon (Rdg1!) letting a B into g4, and losing a pawn. In the end Bl won by threatening to tripple on the d file and mating the K standing on c1.

John ( perhaps heading some observations made in Mihalchishin's talks) played a Botwinnik English. Some very complicated manouevres ensued, with plenty of alternative opportunities for both sides (which kept them happy for an hour or two in analysis afterwards). The exchange of all minor pieces led to a position where Bl had a little more play, perhaps,with just heavy artillery left, any form of mobilization can be spotted well in advance. Drawn.

Iolo's opponent Alexander (Lex) Jongsma is a known 1.Nc3 specialist but chose instead to prepare a leesser known line against Iolo's trusty Petroff. Wh got a good game, with Bl's pieces a little passively placed. However, when he tried to storm the Bl position with an f5, it was slightly overpressing, and Bl won a pawn and an exchange. Not the end of the road, because Wh held two dominating Bs vs R&N. But Bl untangled and got rid of one of the the Bs and was about to win the other (with the K to follow, when Wh decided to call it a day. (Rudy, who was watching, saw a mate in two for Bl that both players, down to a few minutes missed. But then kibitzers always know better ,don't they?) .A tough fighting game.

Netherlands VAS 2  Wales2

In these days of intertextuality and hyperlinks, the Official Tournament Website (listed on the Welsh Chess Union website) now contains a link to these comments that are to appear on the Welsh site. Byd bach (small world) as they say in Wales.



1st April


Round 6 




  tn wls  WALES




 3 - 1



  tn aut  AUSTRIA - WIEN 2



16.1  CM   Jones, Iolo C  2246   1 - 0   Danner, Lambert  2090 
16.2   Thornton, John D  2036   1/2 - 1/2   WIM   Mira, Helene  2083 
16.3   Miles, Richard  2083  1 - 0   Teichmeister, Sven  2039 
16.4   Van Kemenade, Rudy   1984  1/2 - 1/2   Titz, Herbert  2024 


All Results Round 6


Report Round 6 from Rudy

On track again.

After yesterday's loss, Rudy with another Bl played safe with the Petroff vs a cautious 4.Nc4. Despite getting a good development and opposite sides castling, both sides protected all the entry points and a draw was agreed. Even Iolo,when asked afterwards, thought there was not much chance of making any headway.

In any case in a complex Accelerated Dragon, Richard was by now a sound pawn up. However a little inaccuracy gave his opponent some counterplay, with both sides trying to maximize their R activity. A Bk K move when checked to the wrong square, h6 rather than f6 as played, dropped the h pawn, and with Richard's h pawn advancing to h7, the end was a pretty mate with the K on f5.

John's Dutch Stonewall didnt move very far, and initially Bl stood much worse as Wh obtained a protected passed p on e5. However some neat play by Bl yielded a 2 to one majority on the Q side, enough to lure the Wh K away. Despite John winning both the e and f pawns, it was down to B & 2 vs B and 1. The problem was the B was the wrong colour for John's h pawn, so a draw was agreed with John relying on increments to survive onto move 70+. (there may be a tactical trick found by Iolo that saves crucial tempo and keeps the Wh K from f1).

Iolo won a long endgame, lasting 84 moves, again needing the increments of 30 sec per move, when his opponent was an hour ahead on the clock. In a complex Dutch position Iolo found a way to win a pawn, but there was counterplay. Faced with the disruption of his K side, Bl chose to sacrifice the exchange, which eventually boiled down to R & b pawn vs B & e pawn, with the Bl K on the b file. Iolo found the way to drive the Bl K towards the back rank and death. ( those so minded can check out Iolo's technique with that found in the Nalimov Endgame tables)

So a classic style of winning matches, draw with Bl and win with Wh. Wales 3 - Austria Wien2  1.

Tonight features the second of two lectures by Mihalchishin, the Russian National Trainer, commemorating recently deceased great players.



31st March

Round 5






tn scoSCOTLAND 1




3  :   1



tn wls  WALES



12.1 FM    Jamieson, Peter M     2251  1/2 - 1/2    Thornton, John D   2036  
12.2    Bonner, Gerald 2197   1/2 - 1/2      Miles, Richard 2083
12.3    White, Alastair F 2097 1 - 0    Van Kemenade, Rudy   1984
12.4    Borwell, Alan P 2085 1 - 0    Gilbert, Colin 1795


 All Results  Round 5


Report Round 5 from Rudy

Another might have been.

Iolo took a deserved rest day, so it was the lower 4 boards battling it out.

On top board John got his usual Dutch Stonewall, and came under a bit of pressure after Q's were exchanged, but then further exchanges eased his position, and a draw resulted against a higher rated opponent.

Something similar happened on board two. Richard was happy to face a Chigorin defence, since he had been helping Colin prepare for that eventuality in an earlier round. However in the 3.cxd4 line Bl declined to go down the sharpest route with a Bxf3. The resulting position, with just 2 R's and some pawns left nothing much to play for. Drawn.

Colin had another go with a King's Indian attack, but was a little slow in mobilizing his K side for attack, allowing his higher rated opponent to unravel and threaten to infiltrate. A desperation sacrifice by Colin failed to avert the end.

The might have been was Rudy's game. Alistair White as White had focussed on a 4NCL game where Rudy had played an inferior d3 (albeit via a Petroff rather than as here, a Bishops opening.) A near cousin of the Max Lange arose when Rudy played dxc3 instead, where Bl was minus a d pawn, but Wh minus a g7 pawn. In order to shake off the attack Rudy returned the pawn, ranging two B's and Two R's against the Wh K side. When Wh held on, Bl took a pawn on b2 creating a passed c4 pawn, Wh then  doubled R's on the 7th,Bl gave up an exchange to keep two Bs vs R & N plus running Q side pawns. With Bl missing several winning chances, fatally the Wh K got to b6, where both the Bl Q side pawns went before a mate on move 50. Giving Whites first win & Bl's first loss.

So, Scotand1  3  Wales 1 (but...)

The delay in writing a report was that 4 of the team went on a trip further up in the hills to an old Monastery and other buildings in Olimje, via a couple of trains that ran along the road (rather like the one at Mumbles). The Slovenian hills are unlike the Welsh one's, more circularities around circularities, with houses and churches perched high up at or near the tops. Almost everywhere there are planted vines, and we can vouch for the excellent quality of Slovenian wines. The weather has been kind as well.




Rudy has added commentary for his Round 5 game.



30th March

Round 4 






tn wls  WALES




3 - 1 



tn swe  SWEDEN 3



18.1  CM    Jones, Iolo C   2246   1  -  0   Grahn, Lars   2058
18.2    Miles, Richard   2083  1/2  - 1/2    Andersson, Kaj   2058
18.3    Van Kemenade, Rudy     1984  1  -  0   Andersson, Sven-Olof     2037
18.4    Gilbert, Colin   1795   1/2 -  1/2   Johansson, Per   2031


All Results Round 4


Report Round 4 from Rudy

Back on track, and the 50% mark.
In  out first match against a lower ranked team,cthings worked out in the end. Winning with Wh and drawing with Bl.
Colin was first off the Mark, getting a Benoni against an inferior line with Wh playing g3(scoring in the process only 11% from 13 games) Bl got into a slight tangle at first. However the higher rated  Wh player was unable to make much of any opportunities and soon offered a draw.
Richard started well with a Hyperaccelerated Dragon and got good play against a passive response. Failing to make the most of it, he drifted into dangerous waters, where he then had to find 6 accurate moves on the trot to ensure equality. Happy then to draw although he might have had some chances in continuing.
Rudy continued in good form. Playing a King's Indian Attack vs a Sicilian (just to confuse the opposition) he was able to get a good position by making developing moves that had some possibility of winning tactics, when Bl put pieces on slightly odd squares. It might still have been a draw, but with Bl short of time (Rudy his customary hour ahead on the clock) Bl failed to appreciate that Wh could infiltrate on a8 wiith the Q and come down the h file with a R. Bl actually lost on time on move 38 (even with increments on offer), though there was no saving the position.
Iolo finally got into his stride, playing like the old Iolo to get his first win. A position from a Staunton vs Dutch leading to Wh having Q and B vs Q & N, but with 6 pawns each still on the board.After 20 moves of patient probing backwards and forwards, Wh finally got a decisive g4 in on move 50. A desperate piece sac failed to save Bl, so it was all over on move 60.

There was some superb action on table two where Russia1 faced Switzerland, with Korchnoy vs Vasiukov. (Russia1 had had to concede a draw to Italy in Rd3). A complex Dutch was played. 1.d4, f5 2.Bg5,g6 3.c4,Nh6. Vasiukov followed up a little later with a Na6 as well. All K side pawns disappeared and it was 4 pawns to 3 for Bl, but with a tangle of pieces around the K side and centre. By now the crowd was not just around board 1 but surrounding the entire table of 4 players as spectators craned their necks to get a look in. Vasiukov found a decisive exchange, so, without looking at his opponent, Korchnoy disdainfully flicked his K over and signed the scoresheet.

As a consequence of mature planning ahead our Captain has ensured that his first rest day occurs the day after tonight's Wine tasting of Slovenian wines, to take place shortly.


round4 hall2
  Round 4   Playing Hall



29th March

Round 3 






tn eng  ENGLAND 1




3  -  1  



tn wls   WALES



11.1   Stebbings, Anthony J    2241 1 - 0 CM   Jones, Iolo C  2246
11.2 CM   James, Geoffrey H  2215 1/2 - 1/2     Thornton, John D  2036
11.3 CM   Norman, Kenneth I  2175  1/2 - 1/2      Van Kemenade, Rudy    1984
11.4   Yeo, Michael J  2135 1 - 0   Gilbert, Colin  1795


All Results Round 3


Report Round 3 from Rudy


A near miss(almost a triumph).


The game of the match and the best played so far was that of Colin. Playing against one of the youngest players in the tournament (some 350 points higher graded) his King's Indian Atack initially held Michael Yeo. When Bl began to put his pieces on some slightly unusual squares seeking tactics, Colin sidestepped all of these and began to dominate the board. Playing safe Colin then offered the draw, which realistically Michel should have taken. Colin continued playing vigourously, but both sides ran into extreme time shortage with less than half a min in Colin's case, being saved by the increments. Then tragedy struck. Coming up to the time control, instead of taking a B and giving up a N, he went for a mating attack, missing a crucial Bl defence, and shortly after the time control had to accept defeat. If he had simply taken the B then his Q & B would have been far superior to Bl's Q & passive N, especially with a line of Bl pawns on c6, b5, and a4 ripe for the picking. An unfortunate end to what should have been an excellent win.


Before Colin's game ran to its conclusion, there were two earlier results.


In a Fianchetto King's Indian Ken Norman and Rudy played quite quickly in the opening to reach a position both were comfortable with. Rudy then played an agressive f4, ceding all the wh e4 square for Wh, but strongly barricaded on all the bl squares. Wh pressurised d6, Bl kept an eye out for K side chances. A slight misstep meant Wh could have won an exchange for a messy position, but then it looked as if Bl had winning chances, until Wh started swapping of the dangerous pieces.There was play possible , but risky, so a Q swap lead to peace.


John's game featured a Ruy Exchange with a rare Na3 move. When things cleared Bl was behind in development and it looked good for Wh. However exchanges brought it down to heavy artillery only battle, Wh being slightly better, but a draw most likely result anyway.


As usual the captain leads from the front, and endures the heaviest gunfire. Lately returned to active chess, Anthony Stebbings chose not to play his normal e4 and have to face Iolo's sturdy Petroff. Instead it went to and Old Indian. It looked as if Bl was getting good K side chances, but these were contained, and instead attention turned to the Q side where Iolo was unable to hold the a6 pawn, leaving Wh with a passed B pawn. And despite struggling for counterplay, Iolo had to admit there was no preventing a Wh K march to b7 picking up a B on b8.


So, England1  3 Wales 1 (but ....)


The team is not disheartened because we have now faced teams no's 5, 7, and 19 to our no 28. And tomorrow we face our first lower ranked opponents.














28th March

Round 2






tn wls  WALES




 1 - 3



tn den  DENMARK 1



11.1  CM     Jones, Iolo C   2246   0 - 1  FM   Sloth, Jorn   2351 
11.2    Thornton, John D    2036   0 - 1  FM    Sorensen, Bent   2312 
11.3    Miles, Richard   2083    1/2 - 1/2     Rosenlund, Thorbjorn    2286 
11.4    Gilbert, Colin   1795    1/2 - 1/2     Kolbak, Jens   2278 



All Results Round 2


Report Round 2 from Rudy

Luck can't last forever. We had a downfloat to a Danish team, who on paper are slightly lower than yesterdays Austria, but whose players are more closely graded, providing strength in depth. So everybody was again facing far stronger opposition. Added to which every player seemed to be able to avoid our preferred opening lines.

John's game was the first to finish, featuring an unusual 2.b4 against the Dutch. A complex Stonewall Dutch resulted when a slight misjudgement meant that the base of the Stonewall collapsed on e6. After that, faced with a Space Invaders array of pawns coming through the centre, John resigned. Colin on bottom got a solid position against his opponents cautious English opening, and and after some pieces had swapped off, Colin decided to turn his attention to the Wh K side, which induced his opponent to sue for peace. An excellent result against an opponent rated nearly 500 points higher! Meanwhile in an odd Q side Opening Iolo 's opponent found a neat way of piling pressure onto Iolo's K by a Rf6-h6 manouevre, and a later pseudo sac of a piece lead to Bl being a couple of pawns up. But Wh held on and it got done to both sides at less than 2 mins, relying on the increment to keep afloat.Then a nasty exchange sac by Sloth succeeded in gaining access to the Wh K. Richard continued the saga of long games, though this time he was not the last to finish. A Gurgenidze CaroKann structure had at one stage a diamond pattern of Bl pawns on e4,d5,e6 and f5. That e pawn was passed, and Richard fought his way to activate his R behind the enemy lines. In the end despite Bl having passed pawns on e4 & d4, he had to concede that Wh's pawn on a6 was a sufficient counterweight. So, in the end a 3-1 loss, but it still leaves Wales well ahead of expectations.


Playing Hall




27th March

Round 1 - Wales beat 5th seed Austria !






tn aut AUSTRIA 1




 1.5 - 2.5  



tn wls  WALES



5.1 IM    Danner, Georg   2402  1/2 - 1/2    Jones, Iolo C   2246
5.2 IM    Wittmann, Walter     2286   1/2 - 1/2    Thornton, John D   2036 
5.3 FM    Singer, Hans   2265   1/2 - 1/2    Miles, Richard   2083 
5.4 FM    Roth, Peter   2262   0 - 1    Van Kemenade, Rudy     1984 


All Results Round 1


Report Round 1 from Rudy

A good day for Wales. Due to some last minute adjustments our seeding was increased by one, so drawn against no5 seeds Austria1 instead of the expected Switzerland (with Korchnoy on no1). So each was facing an opponent at least 200 to almost 300 points ahead. Rudy was the first to score. Playing a Dutch reversed (and why not?) his opponents pieces started drifting towards the K side, and the Wh pieces started heading towards the K, with the added problem for the Austrian defence of being an hour behind in time. Resisting several times to play a Nxf7, Wh instead chose to sacrifice the enemy pieces instead (as recommended by Tartakover). Bl resigned when his K got driven into the centre with at least loss of Q to start with, John on bd2 got a good position from a Botvinnik English, and gradually increased the pressure. However some exchanges followed and his higher rated opponent was pleased to be able repeat moves, otherwise he would be far worse. Meanwhile Iolo was defending his favourite Old Indian against Georg Danner, IM. Wh got some space, but Iolo grabbed and held a pawn, albeit with Wh having some compensating pressure. With time running out rapidly, Wh was happy to accept the offered draw. That left Richard. From a promising King's Indian for Bl, Wh as usual held more space, but conceded 2 Bs vs 2 Ns. As the other games had now finished, the Austrian player required a win to draw the match overall. With a 30 sec increment per move the game could carry on a long time and it did, till 5 past 7, the last game to finish. Wh managed a swap of one N for B, leaving Richard with a baddish bl B and a c7 pawn to defend. After many twists and turns, finally Richard managed to activate first R and then b, losing pawns. but winning them back again, until the last one was exchanged, leaving R&B vs R& N. It's actually more difficult to play a successful defence, than following through with a winning attack. And So Wales became the only lower ranked team to win a match in the first round.


rudy  iolo

Geog v Iolo (nearest board)

Iolo and Rudy before the game


The PGNs for all the games can be found on the official site.

Rudy has added his own commentary on his first game.  



Good luck to the Welsh team who are seeded 28th out of 46 teams.


29. WALES (RtgAvg:2087 / TB1: 0 / TB2: 0)
Bo. Name Rtg FED Games
1 CM Jones Iolo C 2246 WLS 0.0
2 Miles Richard 2083 WLS 0.0
3 Thornton John D 2036 WLS 0.0
4 Van Kemenade Rudy 1984 WLS 0.0
5 Gilbert Colin 1795 WLS 0.0




playing building



Pairings and results will appear on        The photos on the reports will be from the official site and those sent by the team.