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Gold For Granda, Sveshnikov, Berend, Khmiadashvili At World Seniors
The prize winners in the 50+ section. | Photo: Gerhard Bertagnolli.

Gold For Granda, Sveshnikov, Berend, Khmiadashvili At World Seniors

The 27th FIDE World Senior Championship took place November 7-18 in Acqui Termi, Italy. Top seed GM Julio Granda Zuniga clearly dominated the World Senior 50+ Open with 9.5/11. GM Evgeny Sveshnikov, a frequent participant in the World Senior Championship, won first place in the 65+ Open with 8.5/11.

WGM Elvira Berend, of Luxembourg, won the Women 50+ Open 7/9 and WGM Tamar Khmiadashvili, of Georgia, won the Women 65+ Open 7.5/9 on tiebreaks over the legendary GM Nona Gaprindashvili.

Since 2014, the World Senior Championships has been in two sections: one for 50 years and older and one for age 65 years and older.

The gentleman from Peru

Turning 50 years old earlier this year, the favorite to win the 50+ section was GM Julio Granda Zuniga. With four wins in a row in rounds 1-4, followed by two draws, and another four wins in a row, the 50+ world title was well in hand for Granda. In the last round he agreed to a short draw with GM Giorgi Bagaturov of Georgia.

Julio Granda

World Senior Chess Championship +50 Champion GM Julio Granda Zuniga, Peru. | Photo: Gerhard Bertagnolli.

Chess.com spoke with Granda after the tournament:

Why did you play in this event?

I have played in many tournaments around the world. I did not know about this tournament. A friend of mine wanted me to play in the World Senior. He convinced me to play. I didn’t know what to expect. “World champion” is an impressive title!

Did you do any special preparation for the tournament?

I’m not a kind of player who is used to preparing. I play for fun. I like new positions. I always play something different. A Peruvian friend showed me some ideas in certain openings before the tournament. I expected to play Alexander Khalifman (at the tournament) who preregistered but did not show up.

Have you noticed any changes in your game as you get older?

The older I get, the more difficult it is to sleep well – maybe it is the tension and pressure of the tournament. It doesn’t help your play better if you don’t get enough sleep. My kind of play requires a lot of energy. When I don’t have a lot of energy I make mistakes.

What was your best game from the tournament?

My game with Alexander Reprintsev. I try to see my opponents’ games and what they play by heart. When I saw Reprinstsev plays b3 against the Sicilian, I said, okay, I am not afraid of that. That is why I played the Sicilian.


Do you have tips for older players?

I try to follow a routine when I play in a tournament. I take care of my physical condition. This is very important. Maybe it’s why I won this tournament. I walk for an hour and climb stairs and do exercises. I try to eat healthy as well. I have been coaching students for two years; and I find new, fresh positions to give to them and analyze with them. These positions help me keep fresh.

What is next for you?

I will continue coaching and working with my students. I will play in Brazil this January.

World Senior Chess Championship

The World Seniors underway in Acqui Termi, Italy. | Photo: Gerhard Bertagnolli.

World Seniors, 50+ | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Fed Title Name RtgI Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3 Rp rtg+/-
1 1 GM Granda Zuniga Julio E 2650 9,5 0 73,5 79,5 2688 6,6
2 6 GM Antonio Rogelio Jr 2431 8,5 0,5 73 78 2572 20,6
3 5 GM Prie Eric 2482 8,5 0,5 71,5 76,5 2563 12,8
4 3 GM Sturua Zurab 2536 7,5 0 75,5 81 2506 -1,4
5 9 GM Bagaturov Giorgi 2399 7,5 0 72,5 77,5 2446 9
6 8 IM Kalegin Evgenij 2426 7,5 0 71,5 75,5 2415 0,1
7 4 GM Bischoff Klaus 2513 7,5 0 69,5 75 2405 -7,7
8 10 IM Reprintsev Alexander 2361 7,5 0 68,5 73,5 2445 13,2
9 16 IM Welling Gerard 2316 7,5 0 62,5 68 2328 3,5
10 19 IM Mannion Stephen R 2294 7,5 0 57 61 2133 -8,6
11 13 IM Brendel Oliver 2334 7 0 71,5 77 2377 7,3
12 20 IM Prasad Devaki V 2290 7 0 70,5 75 2394 16,1
13 42 IM Biro Sandor 2168 7 0 64,5 68 2295 22,9
14 38 Grant Jonathan I M 2179 7 0 60,5 63,5 2265 29,8
15 23 IM Contin Daniel 2272 7 0 58,5 62 2267 0,2
16 33 Fritsch Rolf 2213 7 0 55,5 59,5 2209 2,6
17 12 FM Jhunjhnuwala Krishan 2340 6,5 0 70,5 75,5 2336 -0,2
18 56 FM Vepkhvishvili Varlam 2048 6,5 0 66 69,5 2320 36,6
19 17 IM Mantovani Renzo 2307 6,5 0 65,5 70 2302 0,1
20 11 FM Buchal Stephan 2347 6,5 0 64,5 70 2242 -27,8

(Full final standings here.)

Another interesting game was Povah-Vaisser in the 65+ section. Povah played a hybrid London/Jobava System and Vaisser handled it very well. It is a model game from the black side on how to handle these type of formations.

One of this year’s side events was a discussion for FIDE to convene a Seniors Commission. According to the presentation (here in PDF) prepared by Jan Rooze, the idea was launched by GM Evgeny Vasiukov, GM Evgeny Sveshnikov and IM Jan Rooze in June 2017 in Novi Sad.

Rooze’s presentation focused on the structure of creating a Seniors Commission, and noted:

  • Objective to create an official Commission with representatives from professionals and non-professionals
  • Initial probings with FIDE, ECU, ACP ; formal proposal to be submitted after this meeting in Acqui Terme!

Anatoly Karpov has committed to be Honorary Chairman of the Seniors Commission. In the context of this discussion, GM Vladimir Okhotnik further recommended that future World Senior Championships might be in three age categories: +55, +65, and +75.

We will report on further developments of the Seniors Commission as it fine tunes its mission and objectives. Next year’s World Senior Championships will be held November 17-30 in Bled, Slovenia.

GM Evgeny Sveshnikov

World Senior Chess Championship +65 Champion GM Evgeny Sveshnikov, Latvia. | Photo: Gerhard Bertagnolli.

Anatoli Vaisser

Anatoli Vaisser came second behind Sveshnikov. | Photo: Gerhard Bertagnolli.

Evgeni Vasiukov

Evgeni Vasiukov finished in 10th place. | Photo: Gerhard Bertagnolli.

WGM Elvira Berend

Women’s +50 World Champion WGM Elvira Berend, Luxembourg . | Photo: Gerhard Bertagnolli.

James Tarjan

GM James Tarjan playing in his first World Senior Championship. Tarjan, 65 years old, scored a respectable 7.5/11. | Photo: Gerhard Bertagnolli. 

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