This note sets out how the WCU propose to handle participation by Welsh teams in these events for 2015.
In recent years Welsh teams have participated in the annual European Seniors Team Championship (9-round Swisses for four board teams with the facility for each team to field a five-player squad). Until this year it has been necessary for players to be over 60 at the beginning of the year of the tournment in order to participate. The age threshold changed to under 50 at the end of the year of the tournament in 2014 with further rules that ensured at least one of the four players making up each team in any round was over 65 by the same date.
Recently, an annual World Seniors Team Championship, also over 4 boards, has been set up. Wales did not take part in this year’s event (which was held at short notice in Lithuania and only attracted 18 teams). Next year’s event is due to take place in Dresden from 24 February to 4 March. See: http://www.schachfestival.de/world-senior-team-championship-2015.html
Teams for this event may be composed of players over 50 by the end of 2015, without any requirement about over-65s, but in addition teams composed entirely of players over 65 by the end of 2015 will compete for a separate title. In FIDE-speak players over 50 are ‘seniors’ and players over 65 are ‘veterans’.
The 2015 European Seniors Team Championship is due to take place in Vienna from July 11 to July 19. It is not yet known exactly what the eligibility rules for this event will be.
But one feature of these events which seems now to be settled is that teams may either represent their country or else ‘any regional structure’ within that country. In other words, there is effectively no restriction in the number of teams a country may enter, so long as the players are all registered with that country by FIDE. Another invariable element is that the organisers do not pay for the players’ accommodation and, as the WCU is in no position to do more than contribute something to entry fees, all or nearly all the costs of participating fall on the players.
So far the WCU has sought expressions of interest from its qualified members for these events and chosen teams from those responding positively. For the years 2011 to 2013, there were only enough players expressing an interest to comprise one five-player squad. But in 2014, partly as a result of the reduction in the age threshold, we were able to form two such squads. In line with the majority view of the players the teams were not split on strength into a first and second team but into two teams of broadly similar strength split roughly on geographical lines. All the Welsh teams in the ESTC have held their own finishing somewhere in the middle of the tournament table.
Approach for 2015
A large proportion of WCU members are now of an age to participate in these events and to give the maximum number a chance to take part we will be happy to enter club or regional teams and exercise a co-ordination role in putting them together. The players in those teams must meet the organisers’ eligibility rules (which include the requirement that the players are registered as Welsh by FIDE but, unlike the European Club Cup, nothing on how closely players must be linked with the ‘regional structure’ (club, zone or whatever). But, just as in the case of players representing Welsh teams in the ECC, the WCU’s own eligibility rules for international representation (see sections 8(c) and 9 of the WCU constitution) will not apply.
We will also consider entering one ‘Wales’ team from players who would prefer to represent Wales rather than a club or regional team and who meet the WCU’s eligibility rules as well as those of the organisers.
For the World Seniors Team Championship we will shortly be putting a note on the website:
A separate note will be put on the website in due course about participation in the European Seniors Team Championship next July in Vienna.