Bd 1. FM Richard Jones (2321) - GM Jan Smeets (2642) 0-1 Bd 2. FM Ioan Rees
(2336) - GM Daniel Stellwagen (2630) 0-1 Bd 3. Richard Dineley (2270) - GM Erwin
L'ami (2606) 0-1 Bd 4. Tim Kett (2238) - GM Jan Werle (2563) 0-1
Have managed to find a good connection in the hotel, and will give updates round
by round - providing my bout of flu doesn't put me totally out of action. Today,
we face stronger opposition - 4th seeded Bulgaria, who yesterday surprising lost
My bout of flu has confined me to bed, so Tim has stepped in for the day as acting
Bd1 FM Jones Richard S (2321) - GM Cheparinov Ivan (2667) 0-1 Bd2 FM Rees Ioan
(2336) - GM Delchev Aleksander (2635) 0-1 Bd3 Dineley Richard (2270) -
GM Iotov Valentin (2578) 1/2 - 1/2 Bd4 Bennett Alan (2108) - GM Bojkov Dejan
Bd1. IM Berend Fred (2371) - FM Jones Richard(2321) 1-0 Bd2. Jeitz Christian(2253)
- FM Rees Ioan (2336) 1/2-1/2 Bd3. Serban Vlad(2206) - Kett Tim (2238)
1/2-1/2 Bd4. FM Mossong Hubert(2179) - Bennett Alan (2108) 0-1
Bd1. Ioan Rees (2336) - GM Alexander
Beliavsky (2656) 0-1 Bd2. Richard Dineley (2270) - GM Luka Lenic (2575) 0-1 Bd3.
Tim Kett (2238) - GM Jure Borisek (2575) 0-1 Bd4. Alan Bennett (2108)
- IM Matej Sebenik (2489) 0-1
Bd1. FM Graham Morrison (2353) - FM Richard Jones (2321) 0-1 Bd2. IM Andrew Muir
(2327) - FM Ioan Rees (2336) 1/2 - 1/2 Bd3. Alan Tate (2175) - Richard
Dineley (2270) 1/2 - 1/2 Bd4. James Stevenson (2089) - Tim Kett (2238) 1/2
We celebrated long into the night last night toasting the two Richards who had brought
us victory over our biggest rivals here in Serbia.
Richard J always looked confident after Morrison's somewhat bizarre Kg1-g2-g3 manoeuvre
in the Kings Indian (cue lots of jokes in the bar about former Scottish Kings leading
their troops into battle). He kept some tension on both sides of the board and used
the Q-side distraction to break through with doubled rooks on f3. Hopefully this
will get his head back together for the rest of the tournament after the unfortunate
loss of his computer to a spilt bottle of beer a couple of days ago.
Ioan's game was, as usual, full of some heavyweight modern theory as he grabbed a
pawn but then had to avoid a perpetual attack on his queen. Unfortunately Mr Muir
was up to the task though.
My game was also a short draw after my early attacking intent with g4-g5 started
to look like fizzling out into what could have been a worse ending. Very wimpy though
- I promise a bit more action in the last few rounds !
But that all set the stage for the heroic rearguard action of the tournament so far
as Richard D battled away for 87 moves to save a slightly worse endgame against a
tenacious and determined opponent. Just when all finally seemed completely lost he
conjured a miraculous stalemate with just K&P vs K,B&P. This was in fact the last
game of the whole round to finish so there were quite a few spectators crowded round.
The gasps of admiration and chattered explanation from many other (non-Welsh) chess
fans were clearly audible as everyone gradually realised what was going on.
Following yesterdays tense and not entirely convincing win over Scotland, a really
well-deserved good result for the boys today.
Outgraded by around 200 points a board we held Montenegro to a draw with a comprehensive
win for Richard J on board 1 on the White side of a Taimanov Sicilian and two lots
of stubborn resistance lower down.
Richard J's really got going now with two good wins in a row and hopefully he can
build on this and produce some more fireworks in the closing stages.
Richard D got slowly ground down by some really consummate positional technique,
after his long struggle yesterday it was the last thing he needed to face such an
On the bottom two boards it wasn't pretty and there wasn't much get excited about
apart from the results but Alan and I hung in there for dour draws in contrasting
I enhanced my reputation for mastery of rook & pawn endings (!) by eventually forcing
a slightly worse one down to K v K while Alan successfully blockaded his opponents
Bishop pair with his own more passive but defensively effective B & N. Alan's tournament
performance continues to hover around the 2500 mark ...
sensational - and just a pity he can't now play enough games to qualify for a norm
Richard never really got his KID going and was fairly comprehensively beaten.
Ioan had the position at move 18 on his computer in the morning. It was still fine
for White at move 39 but sadly he blundered a piece on the last move of the time-control.
I had another long game, finally persuading my opponent to settle for a draw in a
Q&P ending on move 67. In the time-scramble 39....e3 would have given me good winning
chances but I can't claim to have considered it.
Alan had his first bad game of the tournament, settling too early for a worse ending
and then allowing Bxc3 fatally weakening his pawns and leaving a poor B against an
Iceland tomorrow which means that amazingly we still haven't played the bottom team,
Monaco. And if our secret plan for beating Iceland comes off then we won't play them
at all - which would be a huge achievement in itself.
Report from Tim Kett Never mind "getting warmed up" today Wales were seriously hot
! Just got back from caning Iceland 3-1 and they were lucky to get 1 !!
opponent reacted fairly passively to the KID and so our man just took over the initiative
and advanced his K-side pawns. The Icelander panicked and tried to stop the flow
by sac'ing a piece. He might have thought this would mean he would be attacking from
now but Richard just kept on coming at him and smashed through on the K-side.
just played a beautifully controlled positional win on the White side of a Slav.
Confidently rejecting the IM's early draw offer he pressed forward slowly but surely
in the centre slowly squeezing the life out of Black's position. An exchange sac
brought some temporary activity but not for long as Ioan just got his rooks coordinating
neatly for a mating finish.
Richard D had a short but interesting game where White
thought for ages in the opening about "winning" a pawn Richard was always happy to
gambit. As soon as he got it though, rather than try to consolidate he launched an
immediate attack on Richards king, leaving his own exposed to an easy perpetual in
return. Richard should really have played on for a winning ending but with everything
else going so well was happy to play it safe.
So thats the match won already, now
for a bonus could Alan continue his fairytale and even go for an IM Norm ? Well,
it didn't start too well and with a serious misjudgement (Bxb5 ?) his king was soon
on the run. What followed though was a cool (if comical) escape from having castled
queenside all the way back to a totally normal looking position on g1 !! After that
he was at least equal but then tried a faulty combination (with the same errant Bishop
! - Bxf7+ ??) and should have been lost but in the time scramble he kept his cool
and his opponent fell for one more trick allowing perpetual check. What a game !
I think he's still shaking now ....
So here we are on 6 points (or 3 out of 8 in old
money). Its already Wales's best ever performace by a distance at the European Championship
and (1) with a round to spare and (2) without having played the bottom seeded team
(Monaco). The mood in the camp is ecstatic of course and we'll up for even more tomorrow.
You're gonna look at the score and think we got mashed up by a superior team today
and you'd just be so..... wrong. We had 4 perefectly good positions and just blundered
them all away.
Richard J played a brilliant Welsh Attack against the Najdorf, sac'ed on e6 and was
almost home and dry before missing one tactic and the Belgian scrambled away with
his extra material.
Ioan outplayed his opponent with Black, won a pawn and got to an ending which was
technically difficult to win but unfortunately tried so hard that when things went
slightly wrong he lost the plot and failed to even draw it.
Richard D also reached an ending with a material advantage (2R's & 4 vs R, B & 5)
before falling for the most transparent cheapo imaginable
Alan I suppose, was only better on the computer as his opponent made a speculative
exchange sac to generate play in an other evenish position. Unfortunately the rapid
change of scene succeeded psychologically straightaway as Alan transposed two moves
and left his queen en prise.
What an utter disaster, and a really sad end to what has been an excellent campaign.
Still, I'm determined to end on a positive note .... we would have played Monaco
in the next round of course, so that would've been 4/10 .... plus we should've won
this match so .... when I get back and people say how did you do I 'm gonna casually
say "oh, about halfway". Two more years of hard work and that's where we'll be next
Final, final note: the finish of the whole tournament was very dramatic as the whole
thing came down to Gashimov (Azerbaijan) needing to beat Stellwagen (Netherlands)
to win their match and finish just ahead of Russia. By move 70 it had come down to
R+P vs R+P with both players at 30 seconds per move to finish the game. It should
have been drawn but the Dutchman finally cracked and within seconds of his resignation
the Azeri was literally at the bottom of a football-style celebration as his team-mates,
managers and national officials swamped the board hugging and kissing him and eachother.
Can't quite make my mind up whether I like such unrestrained emotion in chess or
not - but to have that passion for chess in Wales might not be a bad thing !