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Snow Drops vs. Old Hands: 10-6 at Half-Time

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 12/4/13, 7:28 AM.

The traditional "Snow Drops vs. Old Hands" tournament, the annual match between talented ladies and chess veterans, is under way in Podebrady, Czech Republic. After four of the eight rounds, the "Snow Drops" are leading 10-6. Can the legends fight back in the second half?

The Czech Republic already has a long chess tradition, and the restless chess organizer Pavel Matocha is mostly responsible for a chess calendar filled with nice events. There's the Cez Coal match, the Chess Train and also the "Snow Drops vs. Old Hands" tournament, the annual match between talented ladies and chess veterans.

This year the Snow Drops team consists of 30-year-old GM Viktorij Cmilyte (2506) of Lithuania, 21-year-old IM Maria Muzychuk (2491) of Ukraine, 20-year-old WGM Alina Kashlinskaya (2422) of Russia and 18-year-old WGM Nastassia Ziaziulkina (2350) of Belarus. The Old Hands are 61-year-old GM Iossif Dorfman (2580) of France, 66-year-old GM Boris Gulko (2543) of USA, 80-year-old GM Borislav Ivkov (2408) of Serbia and 78-year-old GM Wolfgang Uhlmann (2334) of Germany.

The tournament is held November 30th - December 8th, 2013 in the Zamecek hotel in Podebrady, a historical spa town in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It lies on the river Labe 50 kilometers east of Prague. As always, the tournament is a double Scheveningen match.

The first round in action | All photos © Anežka Kružíková

After four of the eight rounds, the young ladies are leadying 10-6. In fact all of them scored 2.5/4, or "plus one" and in all cases these were three draws and one win. And so, logically,it is quite a friendly tournament thus far with twelve draws and four wins. By now you must have reached another conclusion: the chess legends didn't win a single game yet.

In the first round the Snow Drops played with the white pieces and immediately scored two wins. Cmilyte beat Ivkov in a nice game that started as a Stonewall Dutch. White's funny doubled pawns on the e- and f-files eventually became a menacing force.

Kashlinskaya won against Ulhman, who is especially struggling so far in Podebrady. He is still faithful to his King's Indian and did well in the first round, but in a good position he lost on time:

Uhlmann lost two more games. In the third round his king didn't survive Muzychuk's strong attack in a Trompowsky:

And in the fourth round the 78-year-old lost an endgame that was extremely drawish. At the end Black is going to take on b4 and win the "pawn ending" on the queenside.

As always, the tournament includes a number of side events. The opening ceremony saw a simul by 85-year-old (!) Pal Benko, who will also give a lecture on Wednesday (the rest day) about his encounters with Bobby Fischer. Another simul will be given by Genna Sosonko, who will also join the commentators. The others are Jan Smejkal, Robert Cvek, David Navara, Radek Wojtaszek and Michal Konopka.

Snow Drops vs. Old Hands 2013 | Results & score


I II III IV V VI VII VIII
Snow Drops 3 2 2,5 2,5
Old Hands 1 2 1,5 1,5
Total Snow Drops 3 5 7,5 10
Total Old Hands 1 3 4,5 6

Snow Drops vs. Old Hands 2013 | Individual score

O1 O2 O3 O4 O1 O2 O3 O4 Total
S1 Kashlinskaya Alina 1 ½ ½ ½ 2,5
S2 Cmilyte Viktorija 1 ½ ½ ½ 2,5
S3 Muzychuk Mariya 1 ½ ½ ½ 2,5
S4 Ziaziulkina Nastassia ½ ½ 1 ½ 2,5
S1 S2 S3 S4 S1 S2 S3 S4 Total
O1 Uhlmann Wolfgang ½ 0 0 0 0,5
O2 Ivkov Borislav ½ ½ 0 ½ 1,5
O3 Gulko Boris ½ ½ ½ ½ 2
O4 Dorfman Iossif ½ ½ ½ ½ 2

GM Ján Plachetka and GM Wolfgang Uhlmann with wives at the opening ceremony...

...where GM Pal Benko performed the drawing of colors

GM Boris Gulko picking his lot, hidden behind a square

WGM Anastasia Zjazjulkina's turn

GM Pal Benko endgame studies aficionado and composer, with his wife

GM Jan Smejkal a GM Iossif Dorfman chatting

A simul by GM Pal Benko, with Jiří Navrátil, Pavel Matocha and Vlastimil Chládek

The opening of the first round match

80-year-old GM Borislav Ivkov (2408) of Serbia
78-year-old GM Wolfgang Uhlmann (2334) of Germany
GM Boris Gulko (2543) of USA
GM Iossif Dorfman (2580) of France
30-year-old GM Viktorij Cmilyte (2506) of Lithuania
21-year-old IM Maria Muzychuk (2491)
20-year-old WGM Alina Kashlinskaya (2422) of Russia
18-year-old WGM Nastassia Ziaziulkina (2350) of Belarus

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