U.S. Keeps Lead at World Senior Teams

Italy vs U.S., 2019 50+ World Senior Team Championship
UPDATED 4/21 with post-round comments from GM Joel Benjamin After Friday’s win over Germany in the 50+ World Senior Team Championship, the U.S. team faced Italy in Saturday’s Round 5. Before the day’s play began, Joel Benjamin sent this report from the tournament site in Rhodes, Greece.
Shaba is once again carrying the team, and even more so than last year, it feels like the rest of us are along for the ride.  But by beating England this year instead of losing to them, we are playing from the lead. Last round (Round 4 – ed.) I accepted an early draw after looking to my right and seeing Shaba was going to win his fourth in a row.  Jaan and Yermo both nursed advantages through the time control, but given how crucial it was to get a match victory over Armenia, they both offered draws (game points are the first tiebreak). Today it is Italy, and I’m hoping to get my first win after three draws.  They are unfortunately resting Sergio Mariotti, as I was looking forward to seeing a grandmaster I remember from my childhood in action.
Benjamin’s hope became a reality, and his win over Garcia Palermo powered the Americans to a 2.5-1.5 match victory over Italy. CLO received updated comments from the match winner after the round.
We had a much more difficult match with Italy than expected.  Not so much in the score—we will take a win by any margin—but by how lucky we were to get it. Shaba wanted to rest but stayed the lineup to try to get me jump started with a white.  He had to settle for an early repetition against Godena, watching the match mostly in horror. We started off better on the White boards, but Igor [Novikov] was complexly lost for the second time in the tournament.  Somehow Igor held a draw and I was able to eke out a win. Jaan [Ehlvest] again made a team decision by offering a draw in a superior position with time very short for both players. I scored a win over Carlos Garcia Palermo 34 yrs after our first encounter.  I confess it took me a while to figure out the winning process in the rook endgame.  Readers may find the advance of the a-pawn to trade it for the h-pawn instructive.
Indeed they will. Benjamin’s win is a good example of how a strong player makes practical decisions over the board, and his technique was impeccable.

[Event "World Senior Teams 50+"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2019.04.20"]
[Round "5.2"]
[White "Benjamin, Joel"]
[Black "Garcia Palermo, Carlos"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C77"]
[WhiteElo "2523"]
[BlackElo "2407"]
[PlyCount "163"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Italy"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "ITA"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 d6 5. c3 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nbd2 a6 8. Ba4
Nd7 9. Bc2 Nb6 10. d4 exd4 11. Nxd4 Bf6 12. Nxc6 bxc6 13. f4 a5 14. Nf3 a4 15.
e5 dxe5 16. Qxd8 Rxd8 17. fxe5 Be7 18. Bg5 Re8 19. Be4 Nd5 20. c4 f5 21. Bxd5+
cxd5 22. Bxe7 Rxe7 23. cxd5 Bb7 24. Rad1 Rd8 25. d6 cxd6 26. Rxd6 Rde8 27. Nd4
Rxe5 28. Rxf5 Re3 29. h3 a3 30. bxa3 Rxa3 31. Rf2 Rea8 32. Nb5 Re3 33. Nc7 Rc8
34. Ne6 Re8 35. Nc5 Bc8 36. Rd3 Re1+ 37. Kh2 h5 38. Rd5 g6 39. Nd3 R1e7 40. Rg5
Kh7 41. Rf6 Bf5 42. Nf4 Re5 43. Nxg6 Bxg6 44. Rfxg6 Rxg5 45. Rxg5 Kh6 46. Ra5
h4 47. a4 Re1 48. Rc5 Ra1 49. Rc6+ Kg5 50. Rc5+ Kh6 51. Ra5 Kg6 52. Ra6+ Kg7
53. a5 Kh7 54. Ra8 Kg7 55. a6 Kh7 56. a7 Kg7 57. Rb8 Rxa7 58. Rb4 Ra3 59. Rxh4
Rb3 60. Ra4 Rc3 61. h4 Kh6 62. g3 Rb3 63. Kh3 Rc3 64. Kg4 Rc6 65. h5 Rc1 66.
Ra6+ Kh7 67. Kh4 Rc4+ 68. g4 Rb4 69. h6 Rb1 70. Kh5 Rb5+ 71. g5 Rc5 72. Ra7+
Kh8 73. Re7 Ra5 74. Kg6 Ra8 75. Re6 Rb8 76. Kf5 Rf8+ 77. Rf6 Ra8 78. g6 Ra5+
79. Kg4 Ra4+ 80. Kg5 Ra5+ 81. Rf5 Ra8 82. h7 1-0

The U.S. plays the Iceland 1 team on Sunday. The next full CLO report on the World Senior Teams will be on Monday, April 22nd.
Playing Schedule: Round Date                Time (GMT+3) 1          2019/04/16      15:00 2          2019/04/17      15:00 3          2019/04/18      15:00 4          2019/04/19      15:00 5          2019/04/20      15:00 6          2019/04/21      15:00 7          2019/04/22      15:00 8          2019/04/23      15:00 9          2019/04/24      10:30 Pairings and Results: 50+ section: http://chess-results.com/tnr413742.aspx 65+ section: http://chess-results.com/tnr426179.aspx Games will be streamed at chess24.com and photos will be available at the organizer’s Facebook page. For background on the World Senior Teams, check out our preview of the event.

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