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

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

10047 reads 22 comments
6 votes


  • 3 years ago


    +1 to shakespeare123

  • 3 years ago


    would have been different if Korchnoi was around...

  • 3 years ago


    Nice to see Benko looking so good at 85.  I first saw him at a tournament in California in the mid 60's.  Wonder if he dyes his hair?  Ronald Reagon also had black hair into old age, and claimed he did not color it.  But I have heard Raagons wife or barber added color without telling him what they were doing.

  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    Good to see Pal Benko and Bora Ivkov still going strong.

  • 3 years ago


    Last year I believe the Old Hands were down by a similar score at the halfway point and they came back and won, so it ain't over. Tongue Out

  • 3 years ago


    Good to see these chess legends are still active - thanks for the coverage!

    From the Wiki: "...Benko defeated four players who held the World Champion title at some time. They are Bobby Fischer, Mikhail Tal, Tigran Petrosian, and Vassily Smyslov. He defeated Fischer on multiple occasions."

  • 3 years ago


    WGM Alina is very talented and very beautiful... she might be the center of attraction every game... starting to be an avid fan of Alina... hope she'll visit philippines and play chess with the Filipino GM's... take care Alina... enjoy every game...

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago


    Poor Wolfgang! Those 1971 Candidate Matches were so long ago.....

  • 3 years ago


    Magnus should go out with  these girls!

  • 3 years ago


    thats not fair - how possibly can those old guys concentrate on the game Embarassed

  • 3 years ago


    This is really one of the greatest chesstournaments!

    Awesome to see the old guys compete with the young good looking girls :)

  • 3 years ago


    well played ladies

  • 3 years ago


    Maria, Alina and Nastassia - looks like sisters

  • 3 years ago


    beautiful ladies.... I agree wjcsz.... I'm starting to have a thing for russian women.....

  • 3 years ago


    Old Hands team needs just one player - Victor Korchnoi, who'd beat the Drops in a simul. :)

  • 3 years ago


    The talented ladies are so beautiful.

  • 3 years ago


    Wolfgang wasn't really up to the challenge of the Snow Drops. 

  • 3 years ago


    last comment

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