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.
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.
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.
Alex Shabalov continued his hot streak with this crushing win over Joachim Wallner.
Igor Novikov earned the Americans their third win, downing Andreas Druckenthaner.
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.