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USA, Russia Win As World Team Chess Championship Ends Prematurely
The playing hall during the first round. Photo: Vladimir Jagr/World Senior Team Championship.

USA, Russia Win As World Team Chess Championship Ends Prematurely

PeterDoggers
| 15 | Chess Event Coverage

The World Senior Team Championship in Prague, Czech Republic was called off two rounds before the end after the authorities decided to cancel any events with a gathering of 30 or more people. The U.S. team won the 50+ section, while Russia was the winner in the 65+ division.

Nobody would have been surprised if the World Senior Team Championship had been canceled altogether since many participants are in a high-risk cohort as regards COVID-19.

The tournament took off anyway on March 5 in Prague, but with new developments moving fast, and the coronavirus being labeled a pandemic by the WHO during the course of the event, it became impossible to continue. Yesterday the tournament was ended prematurely—after round seven instead of round nine.

Prior to the fifth round, the playing hall was divided into smaller parts, and spectators were no longer allowed. This measure was taken after the Czech Ministry of Health had announced that all public events with more than 100 people would be called off.

World Senior Team Championship Divided
The playing hall was divided into smaller parts. Photo: Vladimir Jagr/World Senior Team Championship.

However, as the situation worsened, new measures were put in place by the authorities on Thursday: Events with 30 or more people were to be canceled. Therefore, it was decided that the winners would be declared at the end of the seventh round.

With GMs Alexander Shabalov, Gregory Kaidanov, Joel Benjamin, Igor Novikov, and Alex Yermolinsky playing, team USA won the category for players of 50 years or older, ahead of Lasker Schachstiftung GK (with GMs Alexsander Graf and Artur Jussupow on top boards) and Czech Republic 1 (GMs Zbynek Hracek, Petr Haba).

The team names might look strange, but the regulations for this event are less strict than at e.g. Olympiads. There was no limit to the number of teams per federation, as long as all players of a team represented the same federation.

Here's a win from Shabalov from the England-USA match; a nice demonstration of the powers of the bishop pair early and of the bishop beating the knight later:

World Senior Teams 50+ | Final Standings (Top 10)

# Seed Fed Team Rds + = - Pts TB1 TB2 TB3
1 1 USA 7 5 2 0 12 20,5 0 104,5
2 2 Lasker Schachstiftung SK 7 4 3 0 11 19,5 0 102,0
3 3 Czech Republic 1 7 5 1 1 11 19,0 0 108,0
4 6 Island 7 5 1 1 11 18,5 0 104,5
5 10 1960-61 7 5 0 2 10 20,0 0 87,5
6 7 Yamal 7 4 2 1 10 18,5 0 98,0
7 4 England 1 7 4 2 1 10 18,0 1 106,0
8 13 Canada 7 4 2 1 10 18,0 1 96,5
9 5 Slovakia 7 4 2 1 10 17,5 0 102,5
10 12 Moscow 7 4 1 2 9 17,5 0 96,5

(Full final standings here.)

USA World Senior Team Championship 2020
The U.S. team with Alexander Shabalov, Gregory Kaidanov, Joel Benjamin and Alex Yermolinsky. Photo: Vladimir Jagr/World Senior Team Championship.

Playing with GM Yuri Balashov, Evgeny Sveshnikov, Nukhim Rashkovsky, IM Evgenij Kalegin, and IM Vladimir Zhelnin, Russia came first in the 65+ section, ahead of France (with GM Anatoly Vaisser on top board) and Schachfreunde Leipzig. The latter did surprisingly well, having three untitled players: Friedbert Pruefer, Friedemann Brock, FM Manfred Schoeneberg and Guenther Heinsohn.

World Senior Teams 65+ | Final Standings (Top 10)

# Seed Fed Team Rds + = - Pts TB1 TB2 TB3
1 1 Russia 7 6 0 1 12 21,5 0 95,5
2 5 France 7 6 0 1 12 18,5 0 103,0
3 12 Schachfreunde Leipzig 7 5 1 1 11 20,0 0 89,0
4 2 Germany 1 7 5 1 1 11 17,0 0 107,0
5 4 Israel 7 5 0 2 10 19,5 0 102,5
6 10 Sweden 1 7 4 2 1 10 18,5 0 90,0
7 23 SSC Graal-Mueritz & Friends 7 5 0 2 10 16,0 0 89,5
8 3 Czech Republic 1 7 5 0 2 10 15,5 0 100,5
9 18 Die Franken 7 5 0 2 10 14,0 0 95,5
10 11 Germany 3 7 4 1 2 9 18,5 0 95,5

(Full final standings here.)

PeterDoggers
Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by Chess.com in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!


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