Friday, 24 June 2022

WSTCC 2022 - Rds 3 & 4

Well, don't think I'm going to start off by apologising for missing a day or two. If you knew how much aggro I have to go through (hopeless hotel wi-fi) to post one of these reports, you'd realise that its actually a miracle there's been any posts from Acqui Terme at all.

Anyway, here's a brief summary of what happened in Rds 3 and 4. If I can remember that far back. My team finally won a game on Wednesday - 3-1 against A team from nearby Alessandria. Kevin Bowmer and Peter Wood won with the White pieces, and Stewart Reuben and I drew with Black. Though I should have lost, but my very pleasant opponent took a repetition in a completely winning position, after I over-pressed. lesson learnt? Probably not. Yesterday I was "rested" and went to Turin on the train for some sight-seeing. In my absence we lost 3.5-0.5 against a strong Switzerland team, who had all titled players, despite resting their top board. Today I am back in the fold, when we will play Germany Women.

Meanwhile the serious chess has been going on at the far end of the tournament hall from where we have been playing. And its pretty good news. England 1 are tied for the lead in both the 50+ and 65+ competitions. In the oldies section, England 1 followed a 2-2 draw against Germany 2 with a 3.5-0.5 win over Germany 1. (No, I can't figure that out either!) John Nunn wiped out GM Rainer Knaak yesterday, but we already know that he has a problem facing English opposition, so that could hardly come as a surprise. Today its England 1 v France as the only two teams on 7/8 go head to head - Nunn v Vaisser on top board. The top seeded Israeli's have lost 2 matches already.

In the 50+ tournament there have been some heavyweight match ups for England 1 in the last 2 rounds. First it was a 3-1 win over the all GM Icelandic team, with impressive wins for Mickey and Nigel on the top 2 boards, and yesterday there was a nail biting 2-2 draw against the USA. Mark Hebden lost against Novikov, but Mickey saved the day with a brilliant endgame win over Gregory Kaidanov. Well worth checking this out to see Mickey conjure up passed a and h pawns from nowhere in a knight ending. real chess artistry and mastery. Another tough match against Hungary today, but with Mickey and Nigel on the top 2 boards, I somehow think its the Magyars who will be the more nervous. And as Mickey said to me at breakfast yesterday, "Mind if I join you?" Sorry to so shamelessly name drop. Though I may still share my 5 second conversation with Nigel in a future post.

But enough about the chess - here's a few pictures from my visit to the Royal Palace in Turin yesterday to get the culture vultures amongst you (Bernard C and Roy!) excited!

A very strange paining of a future Savoy king as a child - with a very small person

Van Dyck's famous painting of the Children of Charles I

That Botticelli wasn't ashamed to rework his ideas, was he? Birth of Venus, anyone?!

OK, that'll do for today. Its the rest day tomorrow, so hopefully I will be able to provide another update. But as at least 2 players in the event have now tested positive for Covid, it may not be all good news.

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