25th World Senior Championship (2/2)

by ChessBase
1/8/2016 – The 25th World Senior Chess Championships in Acqui Terme, Italy, was an amazing event. More than three hundred players started, including over 100 titled players, among them 18 GMs and 34 IMs. GM Nona Gaprindashvili won the Women’s 65+ section with 7.0/9, GM Predrag Nikolic the Open 50+ with 9.5/11. Ian Wilkinson remembers the event from a Jamaican perspective.

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25th World Senior Chess Championship in Acqui Terme, Italy
A Jamaican perspective

By Ian Wilkinson

There was one rest day on Monday, November 16, and players had the option of travelling either to Genoa (to the Aquarium of Porto Antico) or to Torino/Turin (to tour the city and visit the Egypt museum). Bob Wheeler and your author decided to remain in Acqui Terme to try and rest and recover.

We walked the town for a couple of hours absorbing the sights and taking photographs. One of the key landmarks was “La Bollente”, the fountain housing the thermal spring for which Acqui Terme has become famous. It was constructed c. 1870, the water reputedly reaching a temperature of 74.5 C and gushing 560 litres per minute! It is used to treat a number of ailments including rheumatism, dermatological, gynaecological and orthopaedic problems. The smell of sulphur was strong!


The “fountain of youth”? “La Bollente”, the thermal spring and the source of healing for many.

The history of the fountain is written in several languages.

Aaah…let me get some of it. I shall soon be healed!

The arches of the famous Acqui Terme aqueduct.

“Jamaica” in Acqui Terme, Italy!

Victor Emmanuel II (one of Italy’s greatest leaders, c. 1886) stands watch over the heart of Acqui Terme.

The Grand Hotel Thermes, host to many players, looms large on a cold rest day – November 16

L-R: Maura, Luana and Patrizzia – marshalled the front desk at the Grand Hotel Thermes

Is Luca (Brasi ?) back or is he (really, really) dead? Apologies to Mario Puzo!!

Italian style – mamma mia!

Il Natale” (Christmas) is coming…time for festivity! Shopping outside the Grand Hotel Thermes in the heart of the city.

“Carne” was also on sale during the shopping fiesta.

Italian cuisine lived up to its excellent reputation.

The only two “Africans” at the event - a fabulous woman, my “sister” Kenyan FA Purity Maina who was an arbiter and your author.

The “Chess vendors” did brisk business.

Beautiful scenery in the vicinity of the playing hall.

The Second Half of the Event - Going for Glory

The Women’s 50+ Championship was a real humdinger and went right down to the wire, requiring tie-breaks to determine the respective winners. When the smoke had cleared, four players ended on 6/9 (!!), the final placings being Russian WGM Galina Strutinskaia, Greek WGM Marina Makropoulou, German WFM Petra Schulz and Austrian WIM Helene Mira, respectively.

There was no such drama in the Women’s 65+ Championship as the Georgian legend GM Nona Gaprindashvili stamped her class on the field to win the title (7/9), notching 5 wins and 4 draws. She was the only unbeaten player. Second was her counterpart WGM Tamar Khmiadashvili  (6.5/9) and third was Israel’s WIM Ludmila Tsifanskaya (6/9).

The “Absolute/Open” Championships were also interesting affairs as players pulled out the stops to try and end among the prize-winners. In the Open 50+ Championship Bosnia-Herzegovina’s GM Predrag Nikolic  won 4 of his 5 games to take the event unbeaten on 9.5/11.

Lithuania’s GM Eduardas Rozentalis drew too many of his final games and ended in clear second, also unbeaten, a half-point back on 9/11.  The bronze medal winner was the Slovene Georg Mohr who had a solid event, ending in an unbeaten clear third (8.5/11) after drawing his games against Nikolic and Rozentalis, respectively.

Special mention must be made of the “home-town hero” Italian GM Carlos Palermo Garcia who was clear fourth (8/11), losing only one game, his 8th round clash against Nikolic.

The winner in the Open 65 + Championship was much easier to predict as French GM Vladimir Okhotnik cruised to the title with an unbeaten  9.5/11. Second was his countryman and former champion GM Anatoly Vaisser who was unbeaten on 8.5/11.  Belarus’ GM Viktor Kupreichik  was also unbeaten and came third on tie-breaks (8/11), although scoring the same points as Russia’s GM Evgeni Vasiukov, Ukraine’s IM Valentin Bogdanov and Monaco’s GM Algimantas Butnorius, respectively.

Italy’s Piero Schiatti vs England’s Owen Phillips in round 7 of the 50+ Open section: 0-1

Brazil’s Dr. Hamilton Do Prado (R) against Ireland’s Ray Daly – draw in round 7 of the 65 + Open section.

German WFM Petra Schulz (L) enjoyed success in the 50+ Women’s section!
She ended 3rd on tie-breaks (6/9) in the Women’s 50+ section.

The tournament hall at the end of round 8.  After the storm, the calm.

Sharing lens time with arbiters Italian Gerhard Bertagnolli (L) and Greek George Pramateftakis (R).

GM Vladimir Okhotnik (L) and GM Nikolai Pushkov drew in round 10 in the Open 65+ section.

Venezuela’s Cesar Ramos (L) shakes hands with Italy’s Giovanni Iudicello in round 11 action in the Open 65+ section.

L-R: Robert Gibbons (New Zealand), IM Herman Van Riemsdijk (Brazil)
and CM Robert Wheeler (Jamaica) at the closing ceremony.
All are reigning 65+ champions of their country.

CM Robert Wheeler did not win a medal but he still plays interesting chess and even as a senior ventures to go new ways - which he showed in the last round of the event.


The top players in the Women’s 50 + Championship. 1st - WGM Galina Strutinskaia;
2nd - WGM Marina Makropoulou (L) and 3rd - WFM Petra Schulz (R).

The top players in the Women’s 65 + Championship. 1st - GM Nona Gaprindashvili;
2nd - WGM Tamar Khmiadashvili and 3rd - WIM Ludmila Tsifanskaya.

The medallist in the 50 + Open Championship. 1st – GM Predrag Nikolic; 2nd – GM Eduardas Rozentalis;
and 3rd – GM Georg Mohr.  Organizer Cristina Rigo applauds from the rear.

The medallists in the 65 + Open Championship. 1st – GM Vladimir Okhotnik;
2nd – GM Anatoly Vaisser and 3rd – GM Viktor Kupreichik.

The Jamaican flag in its glory at the end of the closing ceremony.

Your author did not come close to the medals but enjoyed the atmosphere and the chess. Here's a game of mine that is far from perfect but in which both sides show remarkable fighting spirit.


All photos by Ian G. Wilkinson, President of the Jamaica Chess Federation. He was a member of FIDE’s Ethics Commission 2006-2014.

Final standings

Open +50:
1. GM Predrag Nikolic (BIH) 9,5
2. GM Eduardas Rozentalis (LTU) 9
3. GM Georg Mohr (SLO) 8,5

Open +65:
1. GM Vladimir Okhotnik (FRA) 9,5
2. GM Anatoly Vaisser (FRA) 8,5
3. GM Viktor D. Kupreichik (BLR) 8

Women +50:
1. WGM Galina Strutinskaia (RUS) 6
2. WGM Marina Makropoulou (GRE) 6
3. WFM Petra Schulz (GER) 6

Women +65:
1. GM Nona Gaprindashvili (GEO) 7
2. WGM Tamar Khmiadashvili (GEO) 6,5
3. WIM Ludmila A Tsifanskaya (ISR) 6

Next World Senior Championship will be organized in November 2016 in Marianske Lazne, Czech Republic and in 2017 again in Italy with the same organizers.


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