U.S. in Pole Position at World Senior Teams

One round remains in the 2019 World Senior Team Championships, and after today’s 3.5-0.5 match victory over Austria, the U.S. 50+ team looks well on its way to defending its title. With a two match point lead – team wins earn two points, while draws earn one – no one will be able to overtake them, and a match draw will be enough to ensure a clear first place finish.
Israel vs. U.S., Rd 7, 2019 World Senior Teams
Joel Benjamin sent CLO this message after yesterday’s 2.5-1.5 win over Israel.
Today [Monday – ed.] we had another match that looked like it could be headed for 4-0, but we had to settle for the minimum winning margin.  Jaan looked to be playing a beautiful game, but getting a bit low on the clock, he made a super safe decision to offer a draw and avoid any risk of losing. I was heading for an easy win but failed to utilize the en passant rule in the endgame and had to settle for my fifth draw.

[Event "World Senior Teams 50+"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2019.04.22"]
[Round "7.2"]
[White "Benjamin, Joel"]
[Black "Manor, Ilan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B22"]
[WhiteElo "2523"]
[BlackElo "2461"]
[Annotator "Hartmann,John"]
[PlyCount "67"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Israel"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "ISR"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 Nf6 4. e5 Nd5 5. d4 cxd4 6. cxd4 d6 7. Bc4 Nb6 8. Bd3
dxe5 9. dxe5 Nc6 10. O-O Nb4 11. Be4 Qxd1 12. Rxd1 N4d5 13. a4 a5 14. Nc3 Nxc3
15. bxc3 Bc5 16. Nd4 Bd7 17. Bxb7 Ra7 18. Bf3 Bxd4 19. Rxd4 O-O 20. Be3 Rc7 21.
Rg4 h5 22. Bxb6 hxg4 23. Bxc7 gxf3 24. Bxa5 Ra8 25. Bb4 fxg2 26. a5 Bc6 27. a6
f5 28. a7 (28. exf6 $1) 28... Kf7 29. Bd6 Rc8 30. Rb1 Ke8 31. Rb4 Kd7 32. c4 g5
33. Rb8 g4 34. Rxc8 1/2-1/2

Shaba was winning for a long time but his opponent came up with some clever resources.  Still, standard-strength Shaba calculation would have gotten the job done, but the lack of technique bug has risen to the top of the team. Only Yermo showed a steady hand, giving us our sixth match win. Last year we were smashing our opponents by near maximum scores.  Our early loss had us playing catch-up, so we needed all the game points we could get for a potential tiebreak (which we ultimately would have eked out, though we didn’t need it).  This year we are highly conscious of the fact that match wins will be sufficient, and it is dulling our killer instinct.  We haven’t scored more than 2.5 points since the second round.  Nevertheless, barring a colossal meltdown, we should come home golden. Our closest pursuers are the surprising Italians, who defeated England [Monday].  They have earned their second place ranking, losing but one game to this point...which was also the only game that I won so far!
Benjamin is no longer stuck at +1. He took the full point today against Austria’s second board Adolf Denk, and he made it look easy.

[Event "World Senior Teams 50+"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2019.04.23"]
[Round "8.2"]
[White "Denk, Adolf"]
[Black "Benjamin, Joel"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A25"]
[WhiteElo "2255"]
[BlackElo "2523"]
[Annotator "Hartmann,John"]
[PlyCount "68"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "Austria"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "AUT"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]

1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nc6 3. Bg2 g6 4. e3 Bg7 5. Nc3 d6 6. d3 Be6 7. Nge2 Qd7 8. Nd5
Nd8 9. h3 c6 10. Ndc3 Nf6 11. Bd2 O-O 12. Kf1 $6 {White can't castle without
pitching the h3 pawn, but this is not the answer.} d5 $1 13. cxd5 Nxd5 14. Ne4
Qe7 15. Qc2 b6 16. a3 Rc8 17. Kg1 Nb7 18. Kh2 Rfd8 19. Rad1 f5 $1 20. N4c3 Nc5
21. b4 $2 Nxc3 22. Bxc3 Bb3 $19 23. Qb1 Bxd1 24. Rxd1 Ne6 25. h4 Rd6 26. Qa1
Nc7 27. Bf1 Rcd8 28. Nc1 Nd5 29. Bb2 f4 30. Re1 fxe3 31. fxe3 Rf6 32. Bg2 Rf2
33. Kg1 Rdf8 34. b5 Qf7 0-1

Alex Shabalov continued his hot streak with this crushing win over Joachim Wallner.

[Event "World Senior Teams 50+"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2019.04.23"]
[Round "8.1"]
[White "Shabalov, Alexander"]
[Black "Wallner, Joachim"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D15"]
[WhiteElo "2510"]
[BlackElo "2271"]
[Annotator "Hartmann,John"]
[PlyCount "49"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Austria"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "AUT"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 a6 5. Qc2 b5 6. e4 $5 {This looks like a
bluff, the sort of thing a GM plays against weaker opposition to win the game
quickly. But it has a good theoretical pedigree - played by Dubov, Fridman,
and Hillarp Persson, among others - and the Chebanenko Slav is part of
Wallner's repertoire, so I suspect that Shabalov wasn't improvising here.} b4 (
6... dxc4 7. b3 cxb3 8. axb3 $44) (6... bxc4 7. e5) 7. Na4 Nxe4 $6 (7... dxe4
8. Ne5 Bf5 (8... Qxd4 9. Bf4 {and White's development will overwhelm Black}) 9.
Be3 e6 10. c5 Qc7 11. Nb6 Ra7 {0-1 (52) Hillarp Persson,T (2523)-Volkov,S
(2591) Lund 2016}) 8. cxd5 cxd5 9. Nb6 $5 Qxb6 10. Qxc8+ Qd8 11. Qb7 Nd7 12.
Qxd5 Nd6 $6 (12... Ndf6 $4 13. Qc6+ Nd7 14. Qxe4) (12... Nef6 13. Qc6 e6 14.
Bxa6 Be7) 13. Ne5 $1 e6 (13... Nxe5 $2 14. dxe5 Nf5 15. Qc6+) 14. Qc6 Qc8 15.
Qa4 f6 (15... Nb5 $5 16. Be3 Be7 17. Bxb5 axb5 18. Qxb5 Rb8 19. Qc6 $16) 16.
Nf3 Qb7 17. Bd3 Kf7 18. O-O Nb5 19. Re1 {Two bishops in an open position + a
safer king + targets = Shabalov attacks.} Nb6 20. Qb3 Nd5 21. Bd2 Bd6 22. Re4
Rae8 23. Rae1 a5 $6 (23... Qd7) 24. Qa4 Nbc7 $2 (24... Ndc7 25. Rh4 $5) 25.
Qd7+ 1-0

Igor Novikov earned the Americans their third win, downing Andreas Druckenthaner.

[Event "World Senior Teams 50+"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2019.04.23"]
[Round "8.3"]
[White "Novikov, Igor"]
[Black "Druckenthaner, Andreas"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B08"]
[WhiteElo "2563"]
[BlackElo "2304"]
[Annotator "Hartmann,John"]
[PlyCount "59"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Austria"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "AUT"]

1. d4 Nc6 2. Nf3 d6 3. e4 Nf6 4. Nc3 g6 5. Be2 Bg7 6. O-O O-O 7. d5 Nb8 8. h3
c6 9. Bg5 h6 10. Be3 Nbd7 11. Nd4 Qc7 12. Qd2 Kh7 13. a4 a6 14. a5 Nc5 15. Bf3
cxd5 16. exd5 Ncd7 17. Na4 Ne5 18. Nb6 Nxf3+ 19. Nxf3 Rb8 20. Ra4 h5 21. Re1
Bf5 22. Rc4 Qd8 23. Bg5 Re8 24. Qf4 Nd7 25. Nxd7 (25. g4 $1 hxg4 26. hxg4 Nxb6
27. axb6 Bd7 28. Qxf7 $18) 25... Qxd7 26. g4 Be5 $2 (26... e5 $142 27. Qg3 (27.
dxe6 $6 Bxe6 28. Rb4 hxg4 29. hxg4 Bd5 $11)) 27. Nxe5 dxe5 28. Rxe5 Qd6 29.
gxf5 f6 30. Rxe7+ (30. Rxe7+ Qxe7 31. Rc7) 1-0

Perhaps seeing how well the team was faring on the other boards, Alex Yermolinsky took a quick draw against Austrian fourth board Peter Kranzl. Yermo has been reporting on the tournament for chessbase.com – see his first report and second report for his perspective – and he appears to be enjoying his European adventures. Winning will do that for one’s mood. The Americans have a two-match point lead over Italy going into Wednesday's final round, and they also possess superior tiebreaks. They play eighth-ranked Argentina tomorrow, while Italy faces the second-ranked Armenian team. CLO will have a final report after the round ends.
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.


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Go USA! Get some rest tonight and, hopefully, celebrate tomorrow night! Good solid chess should do the trick vs Argentina (easy for me to say). U-S-A! U-S-A!! U-S-A!!!

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