Friday, 19 April 2019

Life in the Old Dog Yet - World Seniors Day 4

Andy was smiling again today, as he finally found himself with a 1 next to his name in the results column. And an excellent 1 it was too, as he downed Norway's top board, a 2200 FM. I missed most of the game, so can't say too much, especially as the live transmission failed after about 20 moves so the game score is woefully incomplete. By the time I did get to see any of the game Andy was two pawns up in a rook and knight ending. And as those two extra pawns were connected passers it was a decisive advantage. He very efficiently shepherded them home to force a somewhat belated resignation. A very good game, I suspect. Which helped England 3 to a shock 3-1 win over Norway 1 that amazingly puts them on 50%. But just you wait till Magnus gets to 65 - no-one will be winning against them on top board then!

I was very caught up in my own game, where I eventually salvaged a draw against Sweden 2 which saw us tie the match after 4 draws. A rather disappointing result, as I was the only player not to outgrade his opponent. I thought I was OK from the opening (a  Closed Sicilian) but somewhere I must have gone wrong as my queenside counterplay seemed to be a move or two behind White's kingside attack. But in fact I think I overestimated the dangers and I was more or less fine all the way - until I answered a Nf5+ pseudo-piece sac by putting my king on the wrong square. It cost me 2 precious tempi to rectify my mistake, but helped by my opponent's slightly indecisive play in time trouble, I successfully defended until he surprisingly went for a repetition. He was disappointed and I was relieved - until I found out that the engine thinks I was better in the final position! But truthfully, such a possibility never occurred to either of us!

More titled opposition awaits tomorrow - Andy will get his 5th in a row against an FM from Vienna, while I will be playing GM Rainer Knaak, as England 2 take on Germany 1. Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye.......

England 1 50+ had a superb 3-1 win over the all-GM team of Iceland today, and have a relatively friendly pairing against Canada tomorrow which should cement them as medal contenders. Leaders USA saw off Armenia today, with the only decisive game being the demise of former Soviet superstar Rafael Vaganian at the hands of  Alexander Shabalov. England 1 65+ had a traumatic narrow loss to Sweden 1 today, with a loss on time in a totally drawn position on Board 1 deciding the match.

Mrs Club Organiser arrives in Rhodes tomorrow which is both good news and bad news as far as these reports are concerned. On the one hand I will be reunited with my missing laptop, but on the other I will have less spare time. So enjoy them while they last!

Main talking point away from the board today was that I got to shake hands with a man who has shaken hands with Fischer (many times I expect). The person in question was Icelandic GM and multiple national champion, Helgi Olafsson, who kindly signed my copy of his terrific book, 'Bobby Fischer Comes Home'.

If I hang around with these strong players long enough, some of their ability must rub off, right? Wrong!

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