The U.S. team of Alexander Shabalov, Joel Benjamin, Igor Novikov, Jaan Ehlvest, and Alex Yermolinsky is the clear and convincing repeat winner of the 2019 50+ World Senior Team Championships. The Russians won the 65+ Team Championship.
Heading into today’s final round, the Americans could have made quick draws and claimed the gold, as they lead Italy by two match points. (Match victories are worth two points in the team standings, while draws are worth one.) But even the first moves of the match with Argentina made clear that our team would not be content to coast to victory.
Top board and team captain Alex Shabalov was rested for the final round, perhaps to preserve his individual medal chances and to boost Joel Benjamin’s. Benjamin came out fighting on first board, essaying the Alekhine’s Defense against Gustavo Mahia. He was already pressing an advantage after 10 moves, and the Argentinian IM was forced to resign after Benjamin made the time control.
Igor Novikov and Jaan Ehlvest both took quick draws, seeing how Benjamin was fairing on board one, and also trusting in Alex Yermolinsky’s abilities with the White pieces on board four. Yermo didn’t let his teammates down.
The match win gave the U.S. a three match point cushion over second place Italy and a five point lead over Israel, who took the bronze medal on tiebreaks. It was a dominating performance for the Americans, who will certainly be looking to do the treble in 2020.
All five U.S. players earned board medals in addition to their team golds. Shabalov and Yermolinsky won individual gold, while Benjamin, Novikov, and Ehlvest will each bring home bronze.
|2||GM||Olafsson Helgi||2506||ISL||Iceland 1||2534||0||8||69||5|
|2||GM||Arkell Keith C||2467||ENG||England 1||2532||0||8||75||6|
|1||GM||Emms John M||2474||ENG||England 1||2524||0||8||75||6|
|1||GM||Petrosian Arshak B||2470||ARM||Armenia||2494||0||7||71||4|
|2||GM||Thorhallsson Throstur||2425||ISL||Iceland 1||2496||0||7||79||5|
The 2020 World Senior Teams are scheduled for March in Prague.
Individual board winners:
For background on the World Senior Teams, check out our preview of the event.