"USA 1" Perfect After Three Rounds in Prague

After a 4-0 win over “Wales Silures” in Round 1 and a 3.5-0.5 win over the Russian Women’s team in Round 2 of the 2020 World Senior Team Championship 50+ Section, “USA 1” has won their third round pairing with “Czech Republic 2” 3.5-0.5.
USA 1 vs Czech Republic 2
GM Alex Shabalov won on top board to win the match, defeating  IM Vitezslav Priehoda, while GM Igor Novikov took down IM Jaroslav Polasek. Last minute substitute GM Alex Yermolinsky drew relatively quickly with FM Zbynek Vrbata on board four, and GM Gregory Kaidanov was the last to finish, converting a significant advantage against IM Pavel Zpevak. The usually aggressive Shabalov showed his maturity in his win over Priehoda, playing his trademark g2-g4 push only after preparing it with h2-h3!

[Event "50+ World Senior Team Championship"]
[Date "2020.03.08"]
[Round "3.1"]
[White "Shabalov, Alexander"]
[Black "Priehoda, Vitezslav"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D38"]
[WhiteElo "2524"]
[BlackElo "2337"]
[PlyCount "65"]
[EventDate "2020.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "Czech Republic"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "CZE"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Qa4+ Nc6 6. e3 O-O 7. Qc2 Re8 8. Bd2
a6 9. a3 Bf8 10. h3 h6 11. cxd5 exd5 12. Bd3 g6 13. g4 Be6 14. O-O-O Na5 15.
Be1 Nc4 16. g5 Ne4 17. Bxc4 Nxc3 18. Bxc3 dxc4 19. e4 c6 20. Qd2 Bc8 21. gxh6
Rxe4 22. h4 Qd5 23. h5 Bg4 24. Ne5 Bxd1 25. h7+ Kh8 26. Rxd1 Bg7 27. hxg6 fxg6
28. Qg5 Bxe5 29. dxe5 Qe6 30. Rd6 Qf5 31. e6+ Kxh7 32. Rd7+ Kg8 33. Rg7+ 1-0

Joel Benjamin sent this update in the middle of Round 3.
We started the tournament with a no handshake policy, politely informing our opponents before the round.  Unfortunately, this approach did not accomplish much because our solid start meant accepting a lot of resignations, and none of us wanted to leave our esteemed opponents hanging when they put their hands out (knocking kings over...that's only in Searching for Bobby Fischer). We won our first two rounds comfortably, 4-0 and 3.5-0.5 respectively.  In the second round I played the daughter of a former world champion and a candidate in her own right.  [My teammates filled me in on the Russian chess history.]  It's a game that didn't feel good at the time and turned out even worse after the engine weighed in.

[Event "World Senior Team 50+"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2020.??.07"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Fatalibekova, Elena"]
[Black "Benjamin, Joel"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C41"]
[Annotator "Benjamin"]
[PlyCount "66"]
[EventDate "2007.07.13"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Be7 6. g3 O-O 7. Bg2 Re8 8.
O-O Bf8 9. h3 Nc6 10. g4 {I didn't find this aggressive move in my
preparations, and it threw me off a bit.} h6 ({I considered} 10... g6 {but
then it seems I would be two tempi down on a Benko System.}) 11. Nde2 Rb8 ({
I forgot about the maneuver} 11... Ne5 12. f4 Ng6 {eying the gaping hole on h4.
}) 12. f4 Na5 $2 {I expected my opponent's move, preventing b7-b5, but it's
quite loosening.} (12... d5 13. exd5 Bc5+ 14. Kh1 Nxg4 15. dxc6 Qh4 {is
playable, according to the engine.}) 13. Qd3 $2 ({I was constantly calculating
} 13. g5 {but here it is almost winning because} hxg5 (13... Nh7 14. g6) (13...
Nh5 $142) 14. fxg5 {and Qd1-d5 after the knight moves.}) 13... b5 (13... c6 {
was less provocative.}) 14. b4 $5 ({I expected} 14. a3) (14. Nxb5 $6 Ba6 15. a4
c6) 14... Nc4 (14... Nc6 15. a3 {Black is cramped.}) {I was (correctly) happy
to see this;} 15. Nxb5 (15. a4 {and}) (15. Nd4 {are more troublesome.}) 15...
Rxb5 16. Qxc4 Rb6 ({I miscalculated} 16... Ba6 17. a4 (17. Nc3 $1 {and now the
computer suggestion} d5 18. exd5 c6 $1 {with good play for Black}) 17... d5 18.
exd5 Ra5 $1 {Yermo pointed this out; I whiffed on it)} 19. b5 Bxb5) 17. b5 d5 {
I was proud of this find, which is actually rather clever, but I could have
gotten a good position simply with} (17... Bb7 18. Nc3 (18. Be3 Bxe4 {is good
for Black}) 18... Nxe4 19. Nxe4 d5) 18. exd5 Bxg4 19. Nd4 ({It's possible to
take the bishop, but White must find some forced moves to draw:} 19. hxg4 Nxg4
20. Nd4 {forced} Qh4 21. Nf3 Qg3 {also forced} 22. f5 $1 Bc5+ 23. Kh1 (23. Qxc5
Re2) 23... Re1 24. Rxe1 Nf2+ 25. Kg1 Nh3+ 26. Kh1 $11 {It's a bit
disappointing that getting in Bc5+ is not quite enough to mate!}) 19... Bd7 $2
{I was getting low on time, having used an hour on the next four moves after
g3-g4. I rushed this move, and then wished I had waited to find} (19... Bh5 {
with a pleasant position.}) 20. Nc6 Bxc6 21. dxc6 a6 22. a4 axb5 23. axb5 Nh5
24. Bb2 Qh4 25. Be5 $4 {She reached out to grab the bishop, and I was hoping
it wouldn't go to c3, which is okay but} (25. Bc3 Bd6 {is equal.}) ({I was
expecting to answer} 25. Bd4 Nxf4 $2 {but this would lose on the spot to} (
25... Rbb8 26. Bf2 Qf6 (26... Qxf4 $2 27. Bd4) 27. Bd4 {forces an immediate
draw.}) 26. Rxf4 Qxf4 27. Rf1) 25... Rxe5 {Eight minutes was enough to get
through now.} 26. Ra7 Rc5 27. Qe2 Nxf4 28. Qf3 Bd6 29. Ra8+ Kh7 30. Qe4+ f5 31.
Qe8 Re5 ({I saw} 31... Nxh3+ 32. Bxh3 Qg3+ 33. Bg2 Qh2+ {but didn't want to
risk miscalculating the mate.}) 32. Qh8+ Kg6 33. Rg8 Nxh3+ (33... Nxh3+ 34.
Bxh3 Qg3+ 35. Bg2 Bc5+ 36. Kh1 Qh4+) 0-1

Well, you know...jetlag.  I'm resting for the third round, where my teammates are locked in a tight struggle with Czech 2.  It's like a Bruce Lee movie; you have to dispatch the secondary fighters before they send the A team after you.  We have one game drawn and three good positions.  It's not a done deal that we win any of them as I'm writing, but I like our chances. It's interesting that I haven't noticed anyone displaying symptoms of a cold.  It may be that people who were already sick stayed home.  In any case, people are pretty calm here.  Maybe because the local currency is called "koruna."
Having won their first two matches, “USA Too” is currently tied 1.5-1.5 against fourth-ranked “England 1.” IM Leonid Sokolin defeated GM Keith Arkell, while FM Bruce Leverett fell to GM Jim Plaskett. Mikhail Koganov drew with GM Neil McDonald, and FM Konstantin Dolgister is currently trying to hold a (marginally) slightly worse position against GM Glenn Flear.
USA Too vs England 1
First board Sokolin shows the power of the bishops in the endgame in his Round 2 win.

[Event "50+ World Senior Team Championship"]
[Site "chess24.com"]
[Date "2020.03.07"]
[Round "2.1"]
[White "Pilar, Miloslav"]
[Black "Sokolin, Leonid"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A46"]
[WhiteElo "2056"]
[BlackElo "2496"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "6k1/6p1/2BNb2p/5p2/4p3/1Pb3P1/5PP1/6K1 w - - 0 29"]
[PlyCount "70"]
[EventDate "2020.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "Czech Republic"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "CZE"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]

29. Nc4 Bd4 30. Kf1 g5 31. Ke2 Kg7 32. f3 exf3+ 33. gxf3 Kf6 34. Kf1 Bc5
35. Kg2 Ke7 36. Kf1 Kd8 37. Kg2 Kc7 38. Ba8 Ba7 39. Kf1 Kd7 40. Kg2 Ke7 41. Bc6
h5 42. Kh3 Bb8 43. Bb7 Bc7 44. Ba8 Kf6 45. Bc6 Bf7 46. Bb7 Bg6 47. Ba8 f4 48.
g4 hxg4+ 49. fxg4 Bd3 50. Kg2 Ke6 51. Bf3 Bd8 52. Nb2 Bc2 53. Bd1 Bg6 54. Bf3
Bf6 55. Nd1 Bd4 56. Kf1 Kd6 57. Ke2 Kc5 58. Kd2 Bf7 59. Nc3 Bxc3+ 60. Kxc3 Bd5
61. b4+ Kd6 62. Bd1 f3 63. Kd3 f2 0-1

“USA 4 Brothers” defeated “Oslo Schakselskap” in Round 3 by a score of 2.5-1.5, with wins by FM Krishan Jhunjhnuwala and Naresh Jhunjhnuwala leading the way to victory.   The team won in Round 1 by a score of 3-1 over “TJ Zdar Nad Sazavou,” and lost in Round 2 by the same score to “1960-61.”
Quick Links: World Senior Teams website Pairings and Results Live Games 50+ Live Games 65+

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