Yermo's Travels: The USA in Rhodes (part 2)

by Alex Yermolinsky
4/23/2019 – The World Senior Team Championship is heading for the finish line. ALEX YERMOLINSKY reports on the progress of team USA which beat Armenia, Italy and drew Iceland before rebounding with a win over Israel (pictured) to maintain their lead. | Photo: Chess In Greece Facebook page

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Living it up and in the lead

Topsy-turvy is the best way to describe the U.S. Team performance in Rounds 5 and 6, but first the game I promised you at the end of my previous report.

Shabalov is leading our team in more ways than one. Not only he plays near every game (and wins!) on Board 1, Alex excels in a delicate task of handling a bunch of stubborn old men with ingrained bad habits. Thanks to El Capitan we eat right (well, to a degree) and exercise (however moderately).



Shabalov (click or tap to enlarge)

In Round 5 we played Italy, and it was Shabalov's fifth game in a row. He took an early draw with Michele Godena and went back to his room accompanied by yours truly to watch the games (no one is allowed to remain in the playing hall but players with games in progress). What he saw must have added to some grey to his hair, although it's hard to tell because Alex shaves his head.


In some ways Ehlvest-Bruno was even harder to watch. Having sat on a nice advantage out of the Exchange French, Jaan literally sat there doing nothing but watching it evaporate. White's position didn't seem better at all, when suddenly we spotted a tactical shot for Jaan. That's when the game froze. No moves were coming and no result was posted online. It turned out Jaan saw the shot, but for some mysterious reason he preceded it by sacrificing his entire queenside. By his own admission, Ehlvest stood worse at the start of second time control, but Bruno went wrong somewhere and in the end Jaan had mate in 18 (computer-checked). Team considerations once again prompted his to offer a draw, as by that time it would clinch the match. The hero of the day was Joel Benjamin who ground down Garcia Palermo in a long endgame. We survived and beat Italy 2½:1½.

The next day Shabba took a well-deserved rest. He went back to Old Town to visit the famous Grandmaster Palace. Of course, us chess players consider it our own because of the name, but in reality it's a historical site.

GM Palace and Order of Malta

Click or tap to enlarge

It turns out the Order Of Malta was originally established here on Rhodes, but in 1522 it was persuaded by the expansion of Ottoman Empire to seek safer shores.

See for yourself how our ship sailed in cold Icelandic waters without Captain at the helm.


While we might lament the way a possible 4:0 turned into 2:2, but a tie wasn't such a bad result. Armenia and England drew, so we were still ahead by two match points, facing Israel in round seven.

While I'm finishing up this report Shabalov and Ehlvest are at the pool.


Nice view of the pool, eh?!

On Monday, we again were triumphant against the Israeli squad by 2½:1½, with my win the margin of victory, giving us a commanding two point lead with two rounds to go.

Standings after Round 7 (top 10)

Rk. SNo   Team Games   +    =    -   TB1   TB2   TB3   TB4   TB5 
1 1
USA 7 6 1 0 13 19,0 0 110,0 126,0
2 6
Italy 7 5 1 1 11 17,5 0 102,5 114,5
3 3
Iceland 1 7 4 2 1 10 19,0 0 100,5 112,0
4 7
Germany 7 5 0 2 10 16,5 0 98,5 108,5
5 2
Armenia 7 4 1 2 9 19,5 0 107,0 120,0
6 4
England 1 7 4 1 2 9 18,0 0 98,5 108,5
7 9
Austria 7 4 1 2 9 15,0 0 97,0 106,5
8 5
Israel 7 4 0 3 8 19,5 0 96,5 107,0
9 22
Athens Vets 7 4 0 3 8 17,0 0 78,0 87,5
10 14
Scotland 7 4 0 3 8 16,0 0 81,5 92,0

Round 8 live


All available games (Rounds 1-7)



Yermo is enjoying his fifties. Lives in South Dakota, 600 miles way from the nearest grandmaster. Between his chess work online he plays snooker and spends time outdoors - happy as a clam.


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