Throwback Thursday: Snowdrops beat Oldhands in 2013 match

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
1/14/2022 – At the end of 2013, a match facing chess legends from the 20th century against young female talented players was organized in Podebrady, the Czech Republic. A 20-year-old Alina Kashlinskaya was the top scorer in the winning team of the Snowdrops, while Boris Gulko and Iossif Dorfman were the strongest for the Oldhands.

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Young female talents prevail

In a bit over a week, the Battle of the Sexes will kick off in Gibraltar, with two evenly matched teams facing each other on the Rock. Among the stars on the women’s team is former world champion Mariya Muzychuk, who eight years ago participated in an entertaining, similar contest organized in the Czech Republic — the Snowdrops versus Oldhands matchup.

  • The Snowdrops were represented by Lithuanian GM Viktorija Cmilyte (30, rated 2506), Ukrainian IM Maria Muzychuk (21, 2491), Russian WGM Alina Kashlinskaya (20, 2422) and Belarusian WGM Nastassia Ziaziulkina (18, 2350).
  • The Oldhands were represented by French GM Iossif Dorfman (61, 2580), American GM Boris Gulko (66, 2543), Serbian GM Borislav Ivkov (80, 2408) and German GM Wolfgang Uhlmann (78, 2334).

The event took place at the Hotel Zámecek in Podebrady, with a rate of play of 90 minutes for 40 moves, 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move.

The oldest grandmaster in hotel Zámecek was none of the Oldhands, though — it was Pal Benko, aged 85, who drew the colour for the first round. He also played a simul against Vlastimil Chládek, organizer Pavel Matocha, Jirí Navrátil and Juraj Ballo. Benko won convincingly by a 3-1 result — only Chládek, the director of Dopravní Stavby Brno, could wrest a point from the GM.

Pal Benko

Once the match started, things immediately went the Snowdrops’ way, with none of the Oldhands managing to score a win until round 6, when Dorfman got the better of Muzychuk with the black pieces. Until that point, the women’s team had already collected five wins.

Gulko and Uhlmann also got wins in the remainder of the confrontation, but there was no avoiding an overall loss by the veterans. The final score favoured the Snowdrops 17½-14½. The top scorer of the winning team — and the match as a whole — was then 20-year-old Alina Kashlinskaya from Russia, who won three games and lost once for a 5 out of 8 performance.

Pavel Matocha, Alina Kashlinskaya

Alina Kashlinskaya, receiving her prize from organizer Pavel Matocha

Rounds 1-4

The first half of the tournament saw the female squad getting four wins while remaining undefeated. Uhlmann was having a tough time among the veterans, as he was the defeated Oldhand in three of these games.

In round 4, Uhlmann — then aged 78, he passed away in 2020 — lost with white against Ziazulkina. Tiredness played a big role, as noted by David Navara in his report for ChessBase:

The encounter between Wolfgang Uhlmann and the Belarusian hope Nastassia Ziaziulkina was the longest one. The German grandmaster soon gained the bishop pair and gradually eliminated his opponent’s lead in development. The subsequent transformation led into an endgame with a pair of rooks and opposite-coloured bishops on the board. Uhlmann maintained a certain initiative and increased it after some inaccuracies of his opponent. He could have played 42.Rb6, thus winning a pawn without allowing any counterplay.

Later on, his tiredness took its toll and White lost his advantage. Uhlmann rejected a draw offer in an equal position, then lost a pawn and finally also the game. 

Wolfgang Uhlmann, Nastassia Ziaziulkina

Replay below a selection of highlights with annotations by GM Navara (all the games of the match are presented at the end of the article).

 

Select an entry from the list to switch between games

Rounds 5-8

In the second half of the event the veterans did manage some wins, with Dorfman, Gulko and Uhlmann scoring a full point each for the Oldhands. Consecutive wins by Kashlinskaya in rounds 5 and 6, however, kept the score in favour of the women’s squad.

Dorfman got the better of Muzychuk in round 6, after the latter carelessly grabbed a pawn, falling into a trap.

 

18.Nxh5 fails to 18...Rxh5, since 19.Qxh5 would be responded by 19...Qa3 and 20...Nc4, when there is no way to prevent mate on b2. Muzychuk noticed her mistake and went for 19.Rd3, but Dorfman had no trouble converting his superior position into the first full point for the veterans’ team.

Iossif Dorfman, Borislav Ivkov

Iossif Dorfman (standing) chats with Borislav Ivkov before the start of the round

The following selection of highlights includes analyses by GM Navara and GM Robert Cvek.

 

Select an entry from the list to switch between games

Team results

 
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
Snowdrops
3
2
2.5
2.5
2.5
2
1
2
Old Hands
1
2
1.5
1.5
1.5
2
3
2
Overall Snowdrops
3
5
7.5
10
12.5
14.5
15.5
17.5
Overall Old Hands
1
3
4.5
6
7.5
9.5
12.5
14.5

Individual results

   
O1
O2
O3
O4
O1
O2
O3
O4
Total
S1 Kashlinskaya Alina
1
1
1/2
1/2
1
1/2
0
1/2
5
S2 Cmilyte Viktorija
1/2
1
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
4.5
S3 Muzychuk Mariya
1
1/2
1/2
0
0
1/2
1/2
1/2
3.5
S4 Ziaziulkina Nastassia
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
1
1/2
1/2
1/2
4.5
   
S1
S2
S3
S4
S1
S2
S3
OS4
Total
O1 Uhlmann Wolfgang
0
1/2
1
0
0
1/2
0
1/2
2.5
O2 Ivkov Borislav
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
0
0
1.5
1/2
3
O3 Gulko Boris
1
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
4.5
O4 Dorfman Iossif
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
1
1/2
4.5

All games

 

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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.

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