Monday, 27 June 2022

WSTCC 2022 - Rds 6 & 7

What's that I hear you say? How can there already be a Round 7 report when the games only started 55 minutes ago? Quite easily, I respond, when you have the fighting spirit of a butterfly. I didn't instigate my 10 move draw (though to be strictly accurate, I only played 9 moves) against my Danish opponent, but I didn't have to think too long about accepting - 1) I was Black; 2) We had almost identical ratings; 3) The heatwave has returned; 4) I haven't been sleeping very well; and 5) as I already admitted, I have the fighting spirit of a butterfly. Of course, in an ideal world I should have played on (Black already +0.5), but as I'm sure we can all agree, this is anything but an ideal world!

I tried much harder yesterday against a higher rated German opponent from Bielefeld, but with the same outcome. I was clearly better but despite his lousy pawn structure and bad bishop, there were no entry points intro his position in the ending. And in fact all 4 games in this match were drawn, so it hasn't - so far - been a very exciting two days for England 2. Though my team mates may change that as the afternoon unfolds.

But there was certainly high excitement for the two England 1st teams. In the 65+ event, a crushing win for Paul Littlewood was followed by a very assured victory for John Nunn over IM Lederman (of Israel 2) which I interpreted as long overdue, albeit vicarious, revenge for my loss against him at the HE Atkins Open in Leicester in 1982! So 3-1 to England 1, who still have a clear 1 point lead ahead of Germany 1, and a pairing today against third place Hungary. Top seeds Israel 1, who somehow managed to lose 2 of their first 3 matches, have finally made it back to the higher boards, and have a crucial match against Germany 1 today.

In the 50+ event, it was once again a case of Mickey Adams to the rescue for England 1, as they edged past a strong Italy team (3 GMs) by 2.5-1.5. Nigel Short got into terrible difficulties against Michele Godena, and duly lost, but Mark Hebden levelled things up against GM garcia Palermo, with John Emms having already drawn. This left Mickey to try and win the match. He was a pawn up in a rook and pawn ending, but opinion was divided whether he could win. about ten moves later it was all over and Mickey had won the game and the match. I must say, he is rather good. I could probably learn a thing or two from him! These heroics earned him a kiss from Nigel Short at dinner, which I am not sure Mickey particularly enjoyed! USA also won by the same score against Iceland - who bizarrely rested their strongest player, so it was no change at the top of the leader board, with the two teams still tied on match points, but England 2 game points better off. Today England have what seems a very generous pairing against 10th seeds, Still Active NL, while USA lock horns with third seeds Georgia, who are two match points off the pace.

John Nunn (5.5/6) and Mickey Adams (4.5/5) have been in imperious form so far, and seem a class apart from anyone else in their respective tournaments. It's rather good having them in our teams!

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