Sunday, 8 March 2020

Could Do Better - WSTCC 2020 Day 3

Not a lot to celebrate in Round 2 for the 2 England teams in the 65+ section yesterday, as both went down to 2.5-1.5 defeats leaving them each with 1 point from the first two rounds. My team lost to Switzerland, in no small part due to my failure to win a king and pawn ending a pawn to the good. In fact it looks as though there was no win, and instead I should have opted for the rook and pawn ending a pawn up, which would have given better chances. But who in their right minds would opt to keep the rooks on? Answer, someone who knew what they were doing. Towards the end of the game there was the sound of raised voices coming from outside the playing hall, and with no arbiter seeming moved to intervene I thought I would go and request a bit of quiet and get myself a coffee at the same time. I then discovered that the loud discussion was being led by none other than the great Vlastimil Hort, so I contented myself with just the cup of coffee. I know my place!

The match was decided by a solitary White win on Board 3 - making it a bad day for team captain Mick Stokes, who had earlier suffered a comprehensive 4-1 demolition by yours truly at table tennis. Hope that's not my only win of the tournament.

There was a shock in the Russia - Austria 1 match, where the mighty Yuri Balashov was comprehensively beaten, with white, by an FM with whom I drew in Rhodes. I'm not saying anything, I'm just pointing out the facts! Despite this upset, Russia scraped home 2.5-1.5, even though they rested Sveshnikov for this match

England wins have been distinctly rare so far, with only the 50+ first team obliging, and they made it 2 from 2 after beating Magdeburg 3-1. Today they play 11th seeds USA Too (not a spelling mistake), while there is a surprise pairing on top board between the Russian team Yamal (seeded 7) and Scotland 1 (seeded 14). Yesterday England Women drew against local team Burza, while another Czech outfit, Helma 365, edged out England 2.

The sun is out this morning for the first time, so with the games not starting till 15.00 I feel a bit of sightseeing is finally called for, which might produce some more interesting photos than these.

The utterly charming Olympik Hotel, venue for the 50+ event

The equally attractive Olympic Tristar, venue for the 65+ tournament

Today we play Wales Deheubarth (look it up!) and I am facing Rudy van Kemenade who, at just 74, is a mere stripling compared to my first two opponents. Can one of our team finally win a game?? With Mick Stokes taking the day off, I am de facto England Captain, proudly following in the footsteps of Bobby Moore, David Beckham and the like!  It also means that as well as my pink player's tag, I get a yellow Captain's tag, entitling me to stay in the playing hall even after my game is finished. Hope this privilege and power doesn't completely intoxicate me. I shall try to retain my usual humility.

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