Oldhands Confirm: Chess Is More Than Just a Game

Время публикации: 19.12.2012 02:15 | Последнее обновление: 19.12.2012 02:57

- Oldhands have improved in the second part of the match. How could that happen? - I have asked the oldest Grandmaster in the world, who was an honored guest at the Snowdrops vs. Oldhands match. The events developed in the match didn't surprise Yuri Averbakh:

- Well, eight rounds is just nothing. Botvinnik said one can play at a high level showing a stable play for 11-12 rounds, so I think the Oldhands just hadn't got tired yet.

- We almost don't have tournaments with 11-12 rounds now.

- Yes, now they consider it to be too long. We have played 28 rounds at the Candidates tournament held in Zurich!

- But there were some quick draws... - I tried to provoke a bit.

- Just a few. Believe me, one or two quick draws in 28 games can't really have an influence on your general form.

Averbakh watched the games mostly from the room assigned for rest and analyses. GM observed the games from the very start till the end. Sometimes he shared his thoughts on the position, but more usually he was noting blunders influencing the result of the game. As Oleg Romanishin has said after the match, a lot of games finished "differently than expected." What does that mean? Well, you observe a logical play for an hour or two, but then the miracles start to happen. In the first part of the match miracles happened in Snowdrops' favor, but the situation changed in the second part.

"That's why I say one shouldn't play after sixties," - Averbakh said once in the presence of one of the participants of the match. After he has noticed my quizzical look, Averbakh added: "The nervous system can't stand it, and chess is nerves."   

My arrival to Podebrady after the rest day didn't bring luck to the players whose captain was Sergei Movsesian. I can even say more: the team failed to even hold any of the everyday matches in the second part of the competition. That's clear from the personal results too: Tania Sachdev was the only one to win. Rest of the team members either lost or escaped on a draw.   

I don't really know how can we explain this: a friendly status of the match? Bad shape? Wrongly spent rest day? Confidence in one's superiority turned into destructive assuredness? I hope not the last one, because young players had to see their rivals were not some average players of Opens. Their coach should have said their opponents are undoubtedly skillful enough.

In my own opinion, the main word in the entire match was - mastery.

Anyway, something else is happening when a 77-year-old is playing against 20 years old player. Personally I was impressed by Wolfgang Uhlmann who was considered as a loser in the first part of the match; he, however, put himself together and became a fierce rival to every young player in the second half of the match. 

A blunder he has made in the pawn endgame against Tania could psychologically destroy any of today's starry players, but not Uhlmann. GM scored 3/3 after this game. His last encounter against Kashlinskaya is worth of a special mention. Uhlmann sacrificed a piece in the King's Indian for complications. In a time trouble Alina was unable to overcome the hurdles; note that Uhlmann forced his opponent to get into a time trouble.  

So, Wolfgang Uhlmann was the only Oldhand to get a special prize from the organizer of the event Pavel Matocha.

"The Snowdrop" turned out to be quite heavy, so Wolfgang got support from his wife, as in any other situation. 

I guess Sergei Movsesian addressed himself exactly to Wolfgang Uhlmann when delivering a speech full of admiration at the final dinner.  

Actually, another 77-year-old participant Fridrik Olafsson has also improved his play by the finish which was also a surprise for many.

It seems the players of completely different generations have finally found common ground; and I don't see anything bad in the fact that they found it somewhere outside the playing hall. 

Valya Gunina and Tania Sachdev got another two Snowdrops

Although the "official" dinner looked nice, Pavel Matocha announced that the last (as Olafsson has added "in this year") evening would finish in the bar. 

On the left -
Petr Boleslav. chess organizer, technical worker, captain of the team "Novy Bor", the Bronze medalist of the last year's European Club Cup. But for the readers of our website he is known for defeating Anand. Well, "he has won over the World Champion Anand" sounds better. OK: he beat the World Champion Anand in a simul. 

The organizer with his faithful assistants

Vlastimil Hort is undoubtedly the most risky player of the match.

You should have seen him after his encounter against Valya Gunina in which he had a huge advantage but eventually miraculously escaped on a draw. The final part of the game provoked in him only a smile - "she just made a mistake," - but the part where he missed his advantage made him to play the position in the room for analyses for several times. All this was accompanied by his commentary: "How could I fail to convert this advantage? Just put your queen here, then place the rook on the h-line and White has a very dangerous attack..."

He repeated the word "dangerous" for hundreds of times, although the position looked terrific even without it. I got pleasure by observing him: a real player, the fan of his work was in front of me. 

Other members of the team have already went for a supper, when Hort continued watching the only game still played between Romanishin and Sachdev. "I can't go eating while the endgame is not over," - Hort laughed.

Analysis with Tania Sachdev - Yulia Kochetkova is always near her husband

Not a single step without his wife...

Olafsson invites Gunina to analyse the game they have just played. You can see the result of the encounter on Gunina's face

The former Preident's autograph

Podebrady is a small ordinary town - another comfortable place in Europe. It looks somewhat like Wijk-aan-Zee.

Vlastimil Hort greets Chess-News correspondent with the chess book he has just bought.

If you want to visit Podebrady, you won't need to look for the direct street from the railway station to the center of the city: just keep going straight and when you'll see the monument...

...you will know: here it is - the central square.

The caslte is probably the most interesting attraction in the city.

The hotel Zamecek is also kind of a castle. The participants lived and played the matches exactly here. A very calm spa town that lies on the river; it is an ideal place for those tired of the city.

* * *

Yesterday we had rain instead of snow here. Today's heavy shower washed off the last trace of the chess event that took place in Podebrady.

Photos by Anezka Kruzikova are also used in the report


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