European Senior Team Championship 2014 - Wales (Gwent)

Wales (Gwent) Report on the 2014 European Seniors Championships, Sibenik.

By Mark Adams.

Our target in this tournament was to finish above our seeding and to take some points off some of the titled players. Despite a slow start, both objectives were achieved.

The games started at the very odd time of 15:30 each day, with an earlier start for the last round. This meant that there was plenty of time for preparation, but little time to explore the surrounding area. The Welsh teams came armed to the teeth with electronic goodies – lap tops, ipads, training dvd’s, huge databases – odd for a group of technophobic oldies you might think. The 2MB, intermittent internet connection, limited to the hotel lobby area was of little use.

I was looking forward to play in a tournament with no pesky, underrated up and coming juniors making me suffer for hours on end, with them taking 10 minutes for the game and me taking hours. That said a lot of these players of course, used to be very strong. Many 2100 rated players used to be 2300+ in their day, and even now could easily throw back the years and recapture the form of their best days. My plan to keep the games long and complex, finally capitalising on my tired opponents mistakes had to be somewhat reviewed.

Round1 Italy.Games

Bo.

23

  WALES - Gwent

Rtg

-

5

  ITALIA

Rtg

0 : 4

5.1

Morris, Charles F

2142

-

GM

Garcia Palermo, Carlos

2455

0 - 1

5.2

Powell, Lloyd

2132

-

IM

Bruno, Fabio

2413

0 - 1

5.3

Adams, Mark

1978

-

IM

Bellia, Fabrizio

2409

0 - 1

5.4

Gilbert, Colin

1780

-

FM

Micheli, Carlo

2289

0 - 1


The inevitable tough first round draw followed by the inevitable 0-4 score. The youthful looking, well dressedand preened Italian team was packed with titled players. Only one Italian player was over 65. Charles was squeezed to death by his famous GM opponent. Boards 2 and 3 put up stern resistance. Lloyd missed a tricky drawing line at the end (diagram 1).


1. IM Bruno v Powell. Black played 50…Bb8? and after 51.Kxd3 soon lost. Black has a resource here. Can you spot it?

I should have taken the pawn on move 19 with great chances of holding the game, but paid too much respect to my opponent and declined the offer. In diagram 2After 19.Qxe4 Bd5 20.Qf5 Be4 21.Qc5 white is just a pawn up.


          2. Adams v Belliaafter 18…dxe4 white should just play 19.Qxe4

Colin got a very good opening and had an edge. Over cautious play allowed his opponent to get control of the game.

Diagram 1 solution Black can play 50...d2! (50…Kg4 51.Nf6+ and Ne4 is good for white) 51.Kxd2 Kg4 and g3 must fall. After 50…Bb8 the white king will be closer to the action on d3 e.g. 50…Bb8 51.Kxd3 Kg4 52.Nf6+ Kxg3 53.h5 Bf4 54.Ke4 (see!) Bd2 55.Ke5 Kh4 56.Kf5 Bg5 57.b4! and wins.

 

 

 

 

Round 2 Finland TurkuGames

Bo.

32

  FINLAND - Turku

Rtg

-

23

  WALES - Gwent

Rtg

3 : 1

14.1

Kauko, Pekka

2013

-

Morris, Charles F

2142

1 - 0

14.2

Alkkiomaki, Jyrki

1957

-

Powell, Lloyd

2132

0 - 1

14.3

Rantanen, Veikko

1927

-

Miles, Richard

2065

1 - 0

14.4

Ranki, Martti

1918

-

Gilbert, Colin

1780

1 - 0


A disappointing result. This is where we found out that ratings do not mean much in this event as the Fins played very well.
            The openings on boards 1 and 2 were almost identical for some moves.


Who’s copying who?

Charles just miscalculated and exchange of pieces, losing material, evidence of our slow start. Lloyd played very well, exploiting the weak c5 square very competently getting a deserved win. Richard was a confused by 3.a3 in a Kan and didn’t react in the best way. However, his opponent didn’t follow up well and was close to losing after 15…Nxe4! (Diagram 3). White made things worse with 16.fxe4? Bxh4 and 17.Rxf7??


3.
Rantanen v Miles after 15…Nxe4

 Colin got into a bit of a mess on the d file. Exchanges meant that he had 2 knights for 2 bishops, but the pins by the rooks and powerful bishops proved too much.

Round 3 Finland 2 Games

Bo.

23

  WALES - Gwent

Rtg

-

36

  FINLAND 3

Rtg

3½: ½

16.1

Morris, Charles F

2142

-

Vehkalahti, Veli

1972

1 - 0

16.2

Powell, Lloyd

2132

-

Karppinen, Martti

1880

1 - 0

16.3

Miles, Richard

2065

-

Patola, Eero

1868

½ - ½

16.4

Adams, Mark

1978

-

Mattila, Pertti

0

1 - 0


At last, points on the board. A very nervous round for us, as a further loss would make it difficult to finish anywhere near our seeding. In this match we all just outplayed our opponents. Nothing more to add really.Richard, understandably wanted to get on the score board, so he offered a draw in a favourable position.

            Round 4 Belgium Games

Bo.

13

  BELGIUM

Rtg

-

23

  WALES - Gwent

Rtg

2½:1½

12.1

FM

Rooze, Jan

2348

-

Morris, Charles F

2142

1 – 0

12.2

FM

Geenen, Marc

2240

-

Miles, Richard

2065

½ - ½

12.3

FM

Bolzoni, Victor-Angel

2207

-

Adams, Mark

1978

½ - ½

12.4

Schrickx, Frank

1889

-

Gilbert, Colin

1780

½ - ½


Our reward for our round 3 win was a draw against a strong Belgian team, seeded 10 places above us. Charles decided to have a bit of fun and launched a wild attack which Rooze navigated around successfully. It was very entertaining for the crowd. Richard’s prep was good enough to hold his higher rated opponent. In fact, Richard missed a clear chance, with 25.Rd6 (diagram 4), to get a clear advantage.




4. Miles v
Geenen. White should play 25.Rd6! with winning chances e.g. f6 and Rd8 mate.


My opponent played on and on to try and win, but I was having none of it! He finally gave up on move 65.

 

            Round 5 Scotland 2 Games

Bo.

23

  WALES - Gwent

Rtg

-

27

  SCOTLAND 2

Rtg

2 : 2

15.1

Powell, Lloyd

2132

-

White, Alastair F

2058

½ - ½

15.2

Miles, Richard

2065

-

Borwell, Alan P

2018

½ - ½

15.3

Adams, Mark

1978

-

McKerracher, Douglas

1987

1 - 0

15.4

Gilbert, Colin

1780

-

Marks, Ian A

1985

0 - 1

           

For this round we were relegated to the ‘pit’. A small room for the bottom 4 boards right next to the restaurant. Having managed to avoid home countries up until now, we were paired against our Celtic cousins. Charles was benched for this one. The ratings suggested a 2-2 draw and sure enough this was the result. Lloyd, suffering from what was probably food poisoning, agreed to a quick draw. Richard also drew, again from a much better position. My opening prep seemed to go well again, playing an aggressive line in the Scandinavian. My opponent lost a pawn out of the opening and never really recovered. I just had avoid an opposite coloured bishops ending to ensure the point. Colin was unlucky. While attacking he blundered a pawn. Unfortunately his opponent didn’t find the best follow up and Colin could have continued his attack. However, he was too shocked at losing the pawn and couldn’t regain his focus.

            Round 6 Germany 2 Games

Bo.

33

  GERMANY - 2

Rtg

-

23

  WALES - Gwent

Rtg

1½:2½

15.1

Fernengel, Rudolf

1786

-

Morris, Charles

2142

0 - 1

15.2

Mai, Hartmut

1944

-

Miles, Richard

2065

1 - 0

15.3

Baumgarten, Werner

1932

-

Adams, Mark

1978

0 - 1

15.4

Neudel, Bernd

1895

-

Gilbert, Colin

1780

½ - ½

 

Still in the pit, we pulled off a tense encounter with the Germans. For some reason they had their lowest rated player on top board, who was summarily smashed by Charles. Richard, again, started off well gaining a good edge, but it’s always difficult to play yourself out of a bad run. Things just don’t go your way. I was just trying to play against my opponent’s slightly worse pawn structure. Just when I was struggling for a plan, I went for a cheapo into which he duly fell. Colin played a solid game to get the draw.

 

 

 

 

Round 7 Finland Games

Bo.

23

  WALES - Gwent

Rtg

-

35

  FINLAND - Botnia

Rtg

2½:1½

14.1

Morris, Charles F

2142

-

Lahti, Jouko

2046

1 - 0

14.2

Powell, Lloyd

2132

-

Runonen, Rolf

0

½ - ½

14.3

Adams, Mark

1978

-

Leukkunen, Raimo

1881

1 - 0

14.4

Gilbert, Colin

1780

-

Rintakoski, Pentti

1824

0 - 1


Out of the pit and back with the big boys in the main hall for this one. It was a close run thing. On paper it should have been more comfortable. Charles played a very nice NvB ending, breaking though with the pawn sac 68.b5. Lloyd was always in control in his game. Even more so when his opponent dropped a piece! In my game, apart from an inaccuracy in the opening (13.Bd5?!), it all went to plan. I wanted to lure black’s pieces to defend the a pawn and b-file and then go for a king side attack. I found a nice way to wrap the game up (diagram 5).


5. Adams v
Leukkunen. White to play and win.

Colin was thrown by his opponents opening choice. He played a main line open Sicilian, seemingly for the first time (he always played the rubbish 2.Bc4).

(Diagram 5 solution 31.Bf8! N8g7 32.Bxg7! and white is a piece up)

Round 8 Austria Wien Games

Bo.

12

  AUSTRIA - Wien 1

Rtg

-

23

  WALES - Gwent

Rtg

2 : 2

10.1

FM

Opl, Klaus

2283

-

Morris, Charles F

2142

½ - ½

10.2

FM

Titz, Heimo

2151

-

Powell, Lloyd

2132

½ - ½

10.3

FM

Singer, Hans

2166

-

Miles, Richard

2065

1 - 0

10.4

FM

Strobel, Ferdinand

2100

-

Adams, Mark

1978

- - +

 

A good result against the 12th seeds. Personally, I would have like to have played as I had a sniff of the board prize. We were a bit annoyed as Austria and the arbiters knew they were going to default, but failed to tell us. I prepared all morning, played 1.e4 and patiently waited for my opponent to turn up. If we had known in advance then I could have moved to board 3 and had a game. Charles, now playing with confidence drew with FM Opl. Their board 2 was the source of much puerile merriment as there was another player with the same surname playing too (need I say more). Anyway, Lloyd was disappointed with his draw as he was close to winning at several points (e.g. 29 Qc1! Is +2.4 on Houdini). Richard played well and got a big edge. This evaporated near the first time control. To be fair, his oppoents played well to wrap up the whole point.

Round 9 Turkey Games

Bo.

23

  WALES - Gwent

Rtg

-

10

  TURKEY

Rtg

2 : 2

8.1

Morris, Charles F

2142

-

IM

Soylu, Suat

2407

1 - 0

8.2

Powell, Lloyd

2132

-

IM

Mollaoglu, Ergin

2354

½ - ½

8.3

Miles, Richard

2065

-

Dogantug, Ahmet Ismail

2149

0 - 1

8.4

Adams, Mark

1978

-

Muratoglu, Salih

2020

½ - ½


A great result to end the tournament. We may have even won the match. Charles smashed his IM opponent with a controlled crush (Diagram 6).



6.Morris v IM
Soylu. Total domination. After e.g. 28…Ra8 29.Qg6 and black can’t move.


Lloyd had a huge position after 35…Nd3! And had he found 37..Bd4+ would have been +7.5 with all sorts of winning ideas. Richard, as usual, got to the middle game unscathed, but allowed his opponent too much play with his bishops. And with his king flapping in the breeze it wasn’t long before the best move was resignation. I had a tough game with an opponent who was playing quickly and confidently (much like someone 80 years his junior!). I eventually started to outplay him, but as this was just about the last game in the hall to finish and we would have taken 2-2 before the match, I accepted his nervous draw offer, more as a friendly gesture than anything else.

 


Venue


So objectives achieved. It was a shame that Richard and Colin couldn’t score more points, but we all know what it’s like to go through a patch where you just can’t convert a win. There was a great deal of camaraderie between the two Welsh teams, always important at such events, so I would like to thanks members of both teams for making the whole event enjoyable. Next event is in Vienna – should be worthwhile going!

Mark Adams