Welsh Representation in 2015 European and World 'Seniors' Team Championships

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. 


Next Steps


For the World Seniors Team Championship we will shortly be putting a note on the website:

  1. a)asking those seeking to organise club or regional sides, and
  2. b)asking players who are either
    1. i.unconnected with those prospective teams or
    2. ii.would prefer to play for a national team rather than such a side

to get in touch with either Tom Brown (internationaldirector@welshchessunion.org.uk) or Howard Williams (chairmanselectors@welshchessunion.org.uk), ideally e-mailing one and copying in the other.

A separate note will be put on the website in due course about participation in the European Seniors Team Championship next July in Vienna.

European Club Cup 2014

Two clubs from Wales - Abergavenny and White Knights – are playing in the European Club Cup. 

Information on the tournament can be found at:http://europeanchessclubcup2014.com/


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Report from White Knights (Llaneli)

White Knights (Llanelli) headed off to Bilbao, Northern Spain on Saturday 12th September 2014 as one of the two Welsh teams competing in the 30th European Chess Club Cup. Our hotel is a leisurely 20 minute walk from the venue, taking the aptly named street “Lopez De Haro”. The weather is warm, 25 – 29 degrees. Some of the rules may come as a surprise, this is an event where you can’t offer a draw before black’s 40th move and the only way around that is to claim a draw by repetition of position. Men aren’t allowed to wear shorts either, which isn’t ideal in the warm weather. The Bilbao Masters is also being played in the same hall.

The tournament website had a few “teething troubles” over the first few days, but they got things together in the end.  At the same event in Rhodes last year all of the games were shown live on the tournament website, but that hasn’t happened this year, with only the top matches online. When you finished your games you have to leave the playing area which means you are unable to follow the remaining games. This is a seven round event and White Knights are seeded 50th from 52 teams.


Round 1

White Knights                                         Oslo Schakselskap (Norway, 24th seeds)

1) Alan Young (w)               2040     0-1          Simon Agdestein             2622

2) Jason Garcia                   2056     0.5-0.5    Ornulf Stubberud            2342

3) William Hewitt                 2040    0-1          Lars Oskar Hauge            2322

4) Keith Downey                 1982     0-1          Sebastian Mihajlov           2257

5) David Buttell                   1798     0-1         Mats Persson                  2239

6) Chris Daniel                    -           0-1         Martin Osttveit                2050


Our opponents rested Jon Hammer 2630 but still outgunned us heavily. GM Simon Agdestein led a team comprised of a number of teenage Norwegian FIDE masters who were very impressive. Jason was last to finish, recording a well earned draw. Of the others, Chris came closest to scoring, going down late into the game.

Round 2

En Passant (Holland, 29th seeds)               White Knights

1) Friso Nijboer                   2528     1-0          Alan Young         2040

2) Manuel Bosboom             2424     1-0         Jason Garcia       2056

3) Henk Vedder                   2382     1-0         William Hewitt     2040

4) Zhaogin Peng                  2392     1-0         Adam May          1861

5) Richard Vedder                2286     1-0         David Buttell       1798

6) Dick De Graaf                 2205     0.5-0.5    Chris Daniel        -


The second round brought up against GM’s on bd1s 1 &4, IM’s on 2 & 3 and a FIDE master on 5. David Buttell went down in a theoretical dragon but the rest of the games all went on some time. Alan went down in an ending against his second GM opponent. Alan later reminded his opponent that he has been to Wales; he played bd1 in Carmarthen at the 1983 Glorney where Alan was also playing!

Adam was cunningly move ordered in an English by a GM on board 4, losing material just before the time control. Jason played one of his favourite lines v the Najdorf, but his IM opponent neatly won material in the ending. I was 2 pawns up for nothing by move 24 against my IM opponent as black in a two knights caro kann, and had managed to swap the queens off. Dropping the exchange didn’t help my cause and eventually I was ground down in 129 moves.

Round 3

We were in a local restaurant when we heard the draw and ironically, we were on the next table to our opponents who came over to introduce themselves.

White Knights                                                     Cercle d’Echecs de Monte-Carlo (43rd seeds)

1) Alan Young                     2040     1-0       Jean-michel Rapaire         1851

2) Jason Garcia                   2056     0-1       Karl Johan Ribbergren      2195

3) William Hewitt                 2040     0-1       Igor Efimov                     2412    

4) Keith Downey                 1982     0-1       Pierre Villegas                  2292

5) Adam May                      1861     0.5-0.5  Patrick Van Hoolandt        2231

6) Chris Daniel                    -           0-1       Giancarlo Tortorella          1820


You will see from the opponents grades that they wouldn’t be able to play in this order in the Welsh premier League! Alan won well on bd1 in a scandanavian. Jason erred early on and ended up with a king march which attracted Shirov’s attention at one point. Adam scored an excellent draw and Chris was winning at one point but went under in time trouble.

Round 4

Abergavenny (49th seeds)                                    White Knights

1) Sven Zeidler       2236                 1-0            Alan Young         2040

2) Charles Morris     2159                 0.5-0.5      William Hewitt     2040

3) Mark Adams       2006                 0.5-0.5       Keith Downey     1982

4) Matthew Parry    1748                 1-0            Adam May          1861

5) Chris Dixon         1829                 0.5-0.5      David Buttell       1798

6) Andrew Owen     -                       1-0            Chris Daniel        -


The Welsh derby’s in this event are always hard fought with no easy games and this was no exception. Abergavenny took the lead winning on bds 4 & 6 with black. Mark and Keith drew in a bishop ending when there wasn’t anything left in the position. Charles and I played to rook and king each, Charles having missed a win in the middlegame and me blundering away my extra pawn in the ending. Chris and David on bd5 played on to move 73 in a birds opening and Sven converted his material advantage in the ending against Alan.

Round 5

Butrinti (Albania, 52nd seeds)                                White Knights

1) Ilir Seitaj            2377                 1-0          Alan Young         2040

2) Fuat Karralliu      -                       0.5-0.5    Jason Garcia       2056

3) Perikli Kolagji      -                       0-1         William Hewitt     2040

4) Lime Mihasi        2024                 1-0          Keith Downey     1982

5) Murat Mejdini      2003                 0-1          dam May          1861

6) Erald Mihasi        1861                 0.5-0.5    David Buttell       1798



A match we expected to win, but were fortunate to draw in the end. Adam was first to finish, a neat win against the London system. David drew by repetition in a dead king and pawn endgame just before the time control. I won in an exchange carol kann leaving us 2.5-0.5 up with three to play.

Keith had his first white and was a pawn up out of the opening but holding the pawn didn’t prove possible. Keith gave up the exchange but went into a losing endgame. Alan went down in a Ruy Lopez leaving Jason still in play. Jason certainly pulled this one out of the fire, scoring an excellent draw to tie the match.

Round 6

White Knights                                                                                    Cercle des Echecs Dedelange

(Luxembourg, 44th seeds)


1)       Alan Young         2040                       0.5-0.                 Fred Berend       2377

2)       Jason Garcia       2056                       0-1                     Boris Prizker       2235

3)       Keith Downey   1982                         0.5-0.5                Hubert Mossong 2085

4)       Adam May          1861                       0.5-0.5                Theid Klauner    2057      

5)       David Buttell      1798                       1-0                       Jean Guidoreni 2007

6)       Chris Daniel        -                            0-1                       Nadine Kremer 1846



A match in where we came agonisingly close to winning. Chris had the advantage as black before move 10 but opened the position too early and his opponent’s pieces came to life. David Buttell scored an excellent win to bring us level. Jason lost in a Rossolimo Sicilian but at this stage the match was still going our way. Keith sacrificed the exchange for the second game in a row and the game eventually ended in a perpetual check. Adam was a couple of pawns up and cruising. After dropping an exchange he was still doing well, but the game ended as a draw. Alan’s game fluctuated, from him being a pawn down to later a pawn up with a pawn on b6 and a queen and rook each. There were two obvious moves to choose from, both appeared to be winning. However, his opponent found a neat response to Alan’s choice and a draw was soon agreed.

Round 7

Werder Bremen (Germay, 37th seeds)                         White Knights

1)   Gerlef Meins                 2448                1-0                   Jason Garcia     2056

2)   Stephan Buchal            2305                0-1                   William Hewitt  2040

3)   Dr. Joachim Asendorf   2312                1-0                   Keith Downey   1982

4)   Olaf Steffens                2269                1-0                   Adam May        1861

5)   Sascha Pollman            2057                0-1                   David Buttell     1798

6)   Simon Bart                  2037                1-0                   Chris Daniel      -



We’d hoped for an easier pairing in the last round, but it wasn’t to be! Werder Bremen rested one of their FM’s but still fielded an IM and 3 FM’s. Chris and Keith lost around the two-hour mark but the other 4 games were still pretty level. Jason was outmanoeuvred in the ending by his IM opponent without having seemed to do anything wrong. Adam reached a fine position against an FM but eventually his kingside weaknesses told. I had my best game of the event, beating an FM with a nice sacrifice of my white knight on e6. This left David in play as black in a kings Indian attack. His opponent turned a draw down and within a few moves, David had outplayed his opponent and scored another excellent win.

Unfortunately, the website is missing the rd7 results (the teething problems were never quite ironed out) so we haven’t seen the final table. When you see the standard of the teams in the event it’s clear it’s a big step up from Welsh Premier League and 4NCL. We were one of only two teams without a titled player, which gives an indication of the standard involved. Having said that, we all had a go and came back with some entertaining games and wonderful memories of a beautiful city. We’d like to thank Kevin and the WCU for making our participation possible.




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