Seniors' World titles are obviously like London buses, because one day after the first (sorry, I can't count the Women's 50+ gold medal, when they were the only entrants) along comes a second, and this time its the big one, the Open 50+ Championship.
|England 1 - World 50+ Champions (l-r) GMs Emms, Hebden, Adams, Short and Arkell|
Needing only a 2-2 draw in the last round against 9th ranked Canada, there was an immediate boost when IM David Cummings, who started life as a Welshman, was not well enough to play Mickey Adams and England instantly led 1-0. Anyone who saw Mickey in action at this tournament knows that would have been the result of the game if he had turned up, anyway. Team captain John Emms took a draw on Board 4, leaving England tantalisingly close to the finishing line. I don't know who brought home the bacon first, but both Nigel Short and Mark Hebden won convincingly to secure a 3.5-0.5 match win, and the World team title. The USA also had an easy final round win to secure the silver, while Italy won the bronze after beating Georgia.
England 2 had an excellent, albeit rather fortunate, 3-1 over Germany 1 to finish in a superb 6th place, while England Women finished 13th; England 3 17th and England 4 21st - in each case either matching or exceeding their seeding.
Wrapping up the final positions in the 65+ event, England 1 (with John Nunn rested) lost their final match 1.5-2.5 against top seeds Israel 1, who thereby managed to finish third, ahead of Germany 2 and France on game points. Germany 1 meanwhile took the silver medals, and my team, England 2, ended up in 13th place (having been seeded 12th) after seeing off Ireland 3.5-0.5 in Round 9. Guess who dropped the half point? Yes, it was me, bringing my score to +1 -1 = 6, and a TRP almost exactly in line with my rating. Why did I bother, I wonder? At least I didn't catch covid!
|England 1 - World 65+ Champions (l-r) Nunn, Stebbings, Povah, Snape, Littlewood|
Latvia Women took the women's title after finishing 1 pt ahead of their only rivals, Germany. Somehow, in a field of only 20 teams, these two never played each other, which hardly seems correct.
|Latvian Women - World 65+ Women's Champions. WGM Tamara Vilerte, who drew with me, at far left|
|Germany Women - World 65+ Women's Silver Medallists. WIM Annett Wagner-Michel, who lost to me, at far left, but can't bear to look|
It was a really good event. A few more teams would have been useful, and some air conditioning and a pool wouldn't have gone amiss at the hotel, but you can't have everything I suppose, and it was a great experience to be part of 2 (alright 3 if we must) gold medal performances from England. The team/squad spirit was absolutely excellent and Nigel Povah did a brilliant job as the Manager, as well as managing to find time to play in a World Championship winning team. There were Board prizes galore for England players, with Mickey, Nigel, Mark, and Keith all getting golds for the 50+ team, and John and Paul doing the same in the 65+ event.
The final word goes to Nigel Short. Always leave them with a laugh!