I was just minding my own business, about 20 minutes into today's England 2 v Wales match, when a passing GM said to me, "Bd3 in the opening? That's the move of either a genius or a w****r." "Which do you think?" I asked. "I haven't made my mind up yet," he replied, and they were the last words I had with him today!
As the move had previously been played by the great Alexander Grischuk, I definitely think that genius was the correct answer. Regrettably, I was unable to follow the example of my hero (who beat Caruana in this line), and blew a position that was more than +2 for many, many moves, and jumped to +6 for one move. Very annoyingly I missed the win, and so the 14 times Olympiad player and former Welsh Champion Iolo Jones was able to scramble a draw against me. But nevertheless, this was enough to clinch a 2.5-1.5 win for England 2, which has given us a pairing against Sweden 2 in Round 4 tomorrow. (Already, we now only need to play Sweden 3 and we will have the complete set of 1, 2, 3 and 4!)
Andy, meanwhile, finally got on the scoreboard with a fairly unexciting draw on top board for England 3 against reigning (and certain to be again) Women's 65+ World Team Champions, Mongolia Ladies. (You guessed it, for the last 2 competitikns, they have been the only female team to enter!) England 3 went on to win and will play Norway tomorrow. (And yes, there are a lot of Scandinavian teams here!)
In the 65+ section, England 1 scored 4 draws for an excellent 2-2 result against reigning champions Russia, but in the 50+ tournament England 1 went down by the narrowest margin against defending champions USA. A brilliant finish by John Emms was not enough to balance losses for Speelman and Plaskett. More tough pairings for our lads tomorrow, too, with the 50+ team playing #3 seeds Iceland, and the 65+ team taking on #5 seeds, Sweden 1. The top board matches are, respectively, USA v Armenia and St Petersburg v Finland.
Oh yes, to put you out of your misery, the GM from Para 1 was Jim Plaskett. Ever since I lost a 1 Euro bet to him last night about whether Pat Jennings was still alive (he is!), me and Jim have been best buddies! Bet that makes you all jealous!!