U.S.A. Wins FIDE World Senior Team Championships 50+

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The 50+ champs! (courtesy Mark Livzhitz/FIDE)


The U.S. Team won the 2023 FIDE World Chess Championship 50+ in Struga, N. Macedonia on the heels of a 4–0 sweep of Poland in the last round on Thursday, September 28. Full results are available here.


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Final standings for the 50+ section


Team USA was in the driver's seat when we last checked in on Struga, but suffered a 3–1 setback at the hands of Italy in round seven. 

With GMs Jaan Ehlvest and Alex Yermolinsky being held to draws with the white pieces on boards two and four, GMs Alexander Shabalov and Igor Novikov both got into early trouble as Black out of the opening. There's a joke about playing the Sicilian against Italians here somewhere. 




Round eight saw a reversal of fortunes, with the U.S. out-rating their opponents from Uruguay by at least 500 points on each board. The team took care of business with a 4–0 sweep, and got a bonus gift from Iceland, who held Italy to a tie thanks to a nice miniature from their fourth board. 



With draws on boards one and three, Italy was able to tie the match thanks to GM Michele Godena setting some serious problems for his opponent in an objectively equal endgame.



The draw was enough to bring the U.S. back into a tie for first headed into the final round. To make things even better, Italy had to face a tough Macdeonian team that held the U.S. to a draw earlier in the tournament. Indeed, Italy suffered the same fate, drawing the match 2–2.

Before any game finished, Team USA already clinched their match, with GM Gregory Kaidanov winning emphatically:



And Yermolinsky and Shabalov shortly following suit:




Novikov added a fourth win for good measure, and the U.S. are the champions!


(Left-to-right) Novikov, Ehlvest, Shabalov, Yermolinsky, Kaidanov (courtesy Valeria Kaidanov)
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(Left-to-right) Novikov, Ehlvest, Shabalov, Yermolinsky, Kaidanov (courtesy Valeria Kaidanov)


According to the unofficial standings, all five members of the U.S. team earned individual medals as well. Kaidanov, Ehlvest, and Novikov earned gold medals on boards two, three, and four respectively, with Yermolinsky earning a silver on board five and Shabalov a bronze on top board.


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Shabalov (R) earned a bronze medal on top board, behind British GM Michael Adams (gold, center), and Italian GM Alberto David (courtesy Mark Livshitz/FIDE)
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Jaan Ehlvest (board three) was one of three Americans to earn an individual gold medal (courtesy Mark Livshitz/FIDE)



An entire generation of immortal players savagely abandoned by fate,the collapse of all US chess columns and general public chess media..indifference...Shabalov and The Yerminator, gentleman Kaidanov are truly the three musketeers that absolutely rock, pulsate through the veins of American chess history. And they will soon be gone. Jude F. Acers /New Orleans

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