Old Hands catch Snowdrops and win Podebrady 17:15

12/18/2012 – After the first three rounds of this Czech team tournament the young female talents were leading the legendary GMs by five points. But what seemed like a walkover turned into a demonstration of teamwork and fighting spirit: the veteran players – average age seventy! – worked their way back into the match and then actually won it. But the best performance was by an Indian Snowdrop.

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Snowdrops and Old Hands – Czech Coal Match 2012

From December 7th to 16th the spa city of Poděbrady hosted a match between a rising generation of female chess players and chess legends of the 20th century. The former was represented by IM Valentina Gunina (Russia, rated 2517), IM Tania Sachdev (India, 2400), WGM Alina Kashlinskaya (Russia, 2344) and WIM Kristýna Havlíková (Czech Republic, 2310). They were trained by team captain GM Sergei Movsesian. The "Old Hands" were GM Oleg Romanishin (Ukraine, 2530), GM Fridrik Olafsson (Iceland, 2419), GM Vlastimil Hort (Czech Republic, 2455) and GM Wolfgang Uhlmann (Germany, 2319). The games were played at Hotel Zámeček in Poděbrady, the rate of play was 90 minutes for 40 moves, 30 minutes for the rest, with an increament of 30 seconds per move.


The splendid venue: Hotel Zámeček in Poděbrady, Czech Republic

Round five

When we last reported (at halftime, after four rounds) the Snowdrops were leading 10:6. In the fifth round the Old Hands profited from the advantage of the white pieces and scored 3:1 points.

Oleg Romanishin was in a better position and took advantage of a small mistake by Kristýna Havlíková to win a pawn. He continued to reinforce his position and when Kristýna saw she would be losing a piece she resigned.

Fridrik Olafsson (above) added the second point. In a precise strategic game against Valentina Gunina he profited from an open file which forced his opponent to sacrifice the exchange and soon after to capitulate.

Tania Sachdev, playing against Wolfgang Uhlmann (above), reduced the score. The most interesting moments came in the rook ending. The fifth round commentator IM Michal Konopka showed in his analysis that Wolfgang Uhlmann missed a study-like win and instead permitted his opponent a wonderful pawn break, after which he had to resign.

[Event "Snowdrops and Old-hands"] [Site "Podebrady"] [Date "2012.12.13"] [Round "5.3"] [White "Uhlmann, Wolfgang"] [Black "Sachdev, Tania"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A29"] [WhiteElo "2319"] [BlackElo "2400"] [PlyCount "98"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [EventRounds "8"] [EventCountry "CZE"] 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nb6 7. d3 Be7 8. a3 Be6 9. O-O O-O 10. Be3 f6 11. Rc1 Nd4 12. Bxd4 exd4 13. Na4 c6 14. Nc5 Bxc5 15. Rxc5 Bd5 16. Nd2 Bxg2 17. Kxg2 Qe7 18. Rc1 Rad8 19. Re1 Rd5 20. Nf3 Qd7 21. Qb3 Kh8 22. Qb4 Rd8 23. Rc5 Rxc5 24. Qxc5 Qd5 25. Qe7 Rd7 26. Qf8+ Qg8 27. Qb4 Qd5 28. Rc1 Kg8 29. a4 Qd6 30. Qa5 Qb8 31. Qb4 Qd6 32. Qxd6 Rxd6 33. a5 Nd7 34. b4 b6 35. Nd2 c5 36. Ne4 Rd5 37. bxc5 Nxc5 38. Nxc5 Rxc5 39. Rxc5 bxc5 40. Kf3 Kf7 41. Ke4 Ke6 42. g4 g6 43. h4 h6 44. h5 gxh5 45. gxh5 f5+ 46. Kf4 {[#]} a6 $2 47. e3 $2 (47. e4 {wins:} dxe3 48. fxe3 Kf6 49. e4 fxe4 50. dxe4 Ke6 51. e5 Ke7 52. Kf5 {etc.}) 47... c4 $3 {and now it is Black who takes the full point.} 48. dxc4 d3 49. Kf3 Ke5 0-1

Vlastimil Hort secured the third point for the Old Hands. He sacrificed a pawn in the Volga Gambit against Alina Kašlinskaja and then showed his strength in a two-edges position, turning the position in his favour with a beautiful exchange sacrifice. The Old Hands had scored a 3:1 victory in the fifth round.

Round six

In the sixth round the Snowdrops, had the white pieces – and the task of stopping the advance of the Old Hands. But they did not manage, and the veterans won again, gaining another point.

Tania Sachdev, who is in great form, accepted a pawn sacrifice by Fridrik Olafsson without allowing the Islandic GM to develop expected attack, instead launching an offensive which forced Fridrik to resign. At this stage Tania had brought home five points from six games!

Kristýna Havlíková, playing with Vlastimil Hort (above), obtained an advantage in the beginning, but Hort changed it into a position with rook and opposite coloured bishops and he managed to finish with a safe draw. At that moment it looked as though the Snowdrops were winning…

Oleg Romanisin, playing with the black pieces playing against Alina Kaslinskaja (foreground above), obtained an advantage after a great strategic operation. Alina searched for a rescue in an ending with opposite coloured bishops, but Oleg showed how Old Hands play these kind of positions and won a full point. Valentina Gunina gained a big advantage from the opening in her game against Wolfgang Uhlmann, but the German GM deffended himself with great skill, tempting Valentina to overreach. In the end Wolfgang won the whole point, leaving the ladies with a single point lead: 12.5-11.5.

Round seven

The round started with a quick draw by Fridrik Olafsson and Alina Kaslinkaja – just 16 moves in which neither side wanted to take a risk.

Kristýna Havlíková (above) got a promising position against Wolfgang Uhlmann, but she didn't continue with sufficient precision and in time trouble she ruined her game with a mistake that costs her a rook, handing over the full point to Wolfgang.

In the game Vlastimil Hort vs Valentina Gunina (above), the veteran Czech/German player gained a very promising position with white, but one weak move, 31…b6, changed that completely and his opponent had the material advantage of queen and knight against two rooks. However this was not enough: Valentina lost the knight and had to be content with a draw by perpetual.

The last game, Oleg Romanisin vs Tania Sachdev (above), ended in a draw in the endgame after a strategic battle. With that the Old Hands had obtained 2.5:1.5 points from the round and equalised the overall score: 14:14.

Round eight

After the first three rounds the Snowdrops had been leading by five points, and it seemed that this year their match against the Old Hands would be an easy walkover. But the legendary grandmaster, averaging seventy years in age, demonstrated beautiful teamwork and fighting spirit in Poděbrady by ultimately winning it 17:15.

The two Snowdrops with a higher rating finished with quick draws in the final round, while the other two had to give in to their adversaries, Fridrik Olafsson and Wolfgang Uhlmann, who scored the winning points. Especially the game Kashlinskaya-Uhlmann was considered the most beautiful of the event – the multiple East German Champion, it was said, played it like the young Mihail Tal.

[Event "Snowdrops and Old-hands"] [Site "Podebrady"] [Date "2012.12.16"] [Round "8.1"] [White "Kashlinskaya, Alina"] [Black "Uhlmann, Wolfgang"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E90"] [WhiteElo "2344"] [BlackElo "2319"] [PlyCount "90"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [EventRounds "8"] [EventCountry "CZE"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3 c6 7. Bg5 Nbd7 8. Bd3 e5 9. d5 a6 10. O-O cxd5 11. cxd5 h6 12. Be3 Nh5 13. Qd2 g5 14. Rfc1 Nf4 15. Bf1 Qf6 16. Qd1 Qg6 17. Nd2 h5 18. a4 Nf6 19. Nc4 g4 20. Nxd6 gxh3 21. Nxc8 Raxc8 22. g3 Nxe4 23. Nxe4 Qxe4 24. gxf4 exf4 25. Bxh3 fxe3 26. Bxc8 exf2+ 27. Kf1 Re8 28. Ra3 Bxb2 29. Rg3+ Kf8 30. Rb1 Bd4 31. Be6 Qh1+ 32. Ke2 Qxd5 33. Re3 Rxe6 34. Rxe6 Qxe6+ 35. Kf1 Qe4 36. Rc1 h4 37. Qd2 Qg4 38. Qh6+ Bg7 39. Qd6+ Kg8 40. Rd1 h3 41. Qd8+ Kh7 42. Qd3+ f5 43. Kxf2 h2 44. Qd6 Qh4+ 45. Kg2 Qe4+ 0-1

Here is the final table:

From the point of view of individual performance we have to note that Tania Sachdev, with six points from eight games, and an Elo performance of 2621 points:

The Old Hands may have won the match, but the Indian IM and WGM performed better than any of them. Meanwhile Russian GM Valentina Gunina, who is the reigning European Women's Champion and Women's World Blitz Champion, received the prize for fair play. This was because she had reminded GM Vlastimil Hort to press his clock, when he forgot to do so. Some players would simply have pondered their next move for an inordinate length of time.

Here are the official results:

Team results

I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
Snowdrops
3.5
2.5
2.5
1.5
1
1.5
1.5
1
Oldhands
0.5
1.5
1.5
2.5
3
2.5
2.5
3
Total Snowdrops
3.5
6
8.5
10
11
12.5
14
15
Total Oldhands
0.5
2
3.5
6
9
11.5
14
17

Individual results

O1
O2
O3
O4
O1
O2
O3
O4
Total
S1 Valentina Gunina
1
0
0.5
0.5
0
0.5
0.5
0.5
3.5
S2 Tania Sachdev
1
1
0.5
0.5
1
1
0.5
0.5
6.0
S3 Alina Kashlinskaya
0.5
0
1
0
0.5
0.5
0
1
3.5
S4 Kristýna Havlíková
0
1
0.5
0.5
0
0
0
0
2.0
S1
S2
S3
S4
S1
S2
S3
OS4
O1 Fridrik Olafsson
1
0
0.5
1
0
0
0.5
1
4.0
O2 Wolfgang Uhlmann
0.5
0
0.5
1
1
0
1
0
4.0
O3 Vlastimil Hort
0.5
0.5
1
1
0.5
0.5
0
0.5
4.5
O4 Oleg Romanishin
0.5
0.5
0
1
0.5
0.5
1
0.5
4.5

Links

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