Preview:Scotland fields a strong Women duo, but with no reserve and potentially interesting cuisine, it going to be tough to play all these games on the trot.
The Mens Team includes three players from last year's Elista Olympiad but none of the GM trio of Paul Motwani, Colin McNab and current Scottish champion Jonathan Rowson fancied making the trip. Because of the absence of "third world" chess countries the European is a much stronger event than the Olympiad from a Scottish perspective ie looking up at all the high grades day after day.
Venue Playing Hall Black Sea
Final Position - Men Final Position - Women 1 Armenia 22.5 2 Hungary 22.0 3 Germany 21.0 4 Bulgaria 20.5 5 Russia 20.5 6 Ukraine 20.5 7 Israel 20.5 8 Slovenia 20.5 9 Belarus 20.0 10 England 19.5 11 Netherlands 19.5 12 Czech Rep. 19.5 13 BIH 19.5 14 Switzerland 19.5 15 Spain 19.5 16 Poland 19.0 17 Latvia 19.0 18 Sweden 18.5 19 Italy 18.5 20 Croatia 18.5 21 Georgia 2 18.5 22 Romania 18.5 23 Azerbaijan 15.5 24 Lithuania 15.5 25 FYROMacedonia 18.0 26 France 17.5 27 Yugoslavia 17.0 28 Slovakia 17.0 29 Georgia 16.5 30 Portugal 16.5 31 Austria 16.0 32 Finland 15.5 33 Belgium 15.5 34 Turkey 15.0 35 Scotland 6.5 36 Ireland 5.5 (From TWIC) 1 Slovakia 12.5 2 Yugoslavia 12.0 3 Romania 12.0 4 Ukraine 11.5 5 Armenia 11.0 6 Bulgaria 10.5 7 England 10.5 8 Russia 10.5 9 Spain 10.5 10 Georgia 10.0 11 Hungary 10.0 12 Georgia 3 10.0 13 Israel 10.0 14 Azerbaijan 10.0 15 Switzerland 9.5 16 Poland 9.0 17 Georgia 2 9.0 18 BIH 9.0 19 Germany 9.0 20 France 9.0 21 Czech Rep. 9.0 22 Croatia 9.0 23 Latvia 9.0 24 Lithuania 9.0 25 Greece 8.5 26 Scotland 8.0 27 Finland 7.5 28 Netherlands 7.5 29 Estonia 7.5 30 Sweden 7.5 31 Portugal 7.5 32 Slovenia 7.0 33 FYROMacedonia 7.0 34 Austria 6.5 35 Turkey 5.0 36 Italy 3.0 (From TWIC)
Report by Paul Roberts , team manager.
Saturday 27th November. The Scottish contingent for this event was Andy Muir , Tim Upton , Jonathan Grant , Jim Montgomery and Chris Morrison in the mens team with Helen Milligan and Carey Wilman in the ladies team .
We all travelled on the same flight from Heathrow to Tibilisi with the exception of Jonathan and his wife Keti who had arrived a week earlier in order to visit family in Tibilisi . This turned out to be an inspired move on their part as the rest of us encountered almost insurmountable problems on our arrival !
We had been promised minibuses at the airport which would take us 200 miles to Batumi . But as we were collecting our siutcases at 0600 hrs local time there was no sign of any minibus or indeed anybody holding up a chessboard , only an intimidating array of shady looking taxidrivers !
We were swamped by them as soon as we passed the final security check . With previous experience of arriving in airports in Eastern Europe I knew this was not going to be pleasant , despite speaking fluent Russian . Luckily a member of the local constabulary was present ( called Grigory who claimed to be a former professional footballer ) who was able to assist in getting one of the organisers out of his bed a couple of hours later when it was obvious that we would have to make our own way to Batumi .
From what I could gather the main contact we had in Batumi could not tell us whether a bus was on its way or not ! Then , as luck would have it a rather splendid looking Turkish tour bus rolled up and deposited a group of musicians off . As it had Istanbul on the front we thought wed chance our arms in chartering it . After a great deal of haggling we managed to lug our suitcases onto the coach amidst all the taxi drivers who were well hacked off at losing potentially massive fares .
It then took an eternity before we were actually on the road to Batumi as the bus driver had to get permission from his boss . We then spent the next 8 or 9 hours travelling through the beautiful Georgian countryside through the various Police checkpoints which seemed to punctuate our route at regular intervals .
With most of us having had very little sleep the previous night the journey afforded a welcome opportunity for some rest . At one stage we went through an extremely narrow mountain pass with seemingly more snow than actual roadway visible , leading the more pessimistic to think that we would have to find an alternate route home .
We eventually arrived at our hotel at about 8pm and then there were even more wranglings , this time between the hotel security and the Turkish tour bus over whether they should be paid or not . Eventually the hotel security ( who called themselves members of the organising committee ) kindly paid for the trip and we could finally think about preparing for a chess tournament !
Sunday 28th November This was a day mostly spent recovering from the long Journey and complaining to hotel staff about the lack of heating in the rooms amidst the incessant power cuts , which were to become a regular feature of our stay .
Things definitely became a lot more tolerable when we were assigned our own team bus , together with delightful attractive young ladies who were to be our interpreters for the rest of our stay !
Our hotel itself id located right next to the Black Sea with quite a long beach and the tournament venue is approximately 20-30 minutes away by bus . This was a day for general sightseeing in Batumi which is quite a small town with a population of around 50,000.
The opening ceremony was held in one of the towns main theatres . Though it lasted quite a long time it did contain some impressive acts , with some of the dance routines particularly standing out .
From the managers meeting which was held ludicrously late in the evening I learnt that the Fischer time control rates of 40 moves in 100 minutes , 20 moves in 50 minutes , followed by 10 minutes for the rest of the game , would be adapted . Another proviso of the time control was that you are given an extra 30 seconds thinking time for every move played , which was ideal for time trouble adicts such as Chris
Round 1 - November 29
Scotland ½-3½ Belarus Muir (2318) 0-1 Fedorov (2659) Upton (2295) 0-1 Kovalev (2400) Grant (2260) ½-½ Dydyshko (2521) Montgomery 0-1 Kupreichik (2429)
Scotland ½-1½ England Milligan (2138) 0-1 Hunt (2420) Wilman (2070) ½-½ Lauterbach (2194)
Paired against teams in the top half of the draw it was a tough day for both teams , with Jonathan and Carey achieving highly creditable draws . Andys opponent conjured up an amazing queenside attack in a kings indian Samisch , Tim fell for a back rank trick and Jim was soon in trouble with his centre counter . Helen went for a pawn sacrifice in an open Sicilian but never had enough compensation . After a bit of a slow start welcome relief was found at the hotel bar and disco which lasted well into the small hours . For the more adventurous amongst us this was to prove an integral part of the day !
Round 2 - November 30
Scotland 0-4 Lithuania Muir (2318) 0-1 Rozentalis (2586) Upton (2295) 0-1 Zapolskis (2399) Grant (2260) 0-1 Butnorius (2456) Morrison (2148) 0-1 Sakalauskas (2450)
Scotland ½-1½ Austria Milligan (2138) ½-½ Krasser Wilman (2070) 0-1 Sommer (2056)
This was quite a tough day for the mens team with Tim perhaps becoming closest to drawing . With queen and knight against queen and bishop and pawns on both sides , he fatally allowed the queen exchange . Chris played a very risky piece sacrifice which didnt quite work . In the womens match Helen managed to draw a totally lost king and pawn endgame after a series of inept moves by her opponent .
By now it became apparent , after occasionally travelling to and from the venue in other teams buses , that our own driver was actually significantly more careful than most in negotiating the windy hillside roads . It was amazing and often quite worrying to see other teams bus drivers overtaking on blind corners or approaching the bends too fast before slamming on the brakes whilst halfway round the bend
Round 3 - December 1
A photograph of this match is available at Mark Orr's excellent Irish Chess Archive website
Scotland 3-1 Ireland Muir (2318) ½-½ Orr (2350) Upton (2295) 1-0 Gillen (2264) Grant (2260) 1-0 O'Connell (2201) Morrison (2148) ½-½ Keogh (2165)
Scotland 1-1 Croatia Milligan (2138) 0-1 Medic (2312) Wilman (2070) 1-0 Djeno-Jelica (2213)
A great day for Scottish chess !!! At one stage it looked as though the match against a similar rated Irish team was very much in the balance , however both Tim and Jonathan saw more than their opponents at the crucial moments and knotched up excellent wins . Carey also claimed her first scalp of the tournament when the Croat completely lost her nerve and blundered a piece .
White : Tim Upton 2295 Black : Adrian Gillen 2264 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3 . d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 b5 6. Be2 Bb7 7. 0-0 b4 8.Na4 Bxe4 9. Re1 Nf6 10. C4 Nc6 11. C5 Ra7 12. Bg5 Be7 13. Bc4 Bg6 14. F4 Nxd4 15. Qxd4 Qa5 16. Bb3 Rc7 17. Rac1 0-0 18. G4 h6 19. Bh4 Rfc8 20. F5 Bh7 21. Bf2 Bf8 22. H4 exf5 23. Gxf5 Bxf5 24. Re5 Be6 25. Nb6 Rb8 26. C6 d5 27. Nxd5 Nxd5 28. Bxd5 Rb5 29 . Bxe6 Rxe5 30. Bb3 Rce7 31. Bg3 Re1+ 32. Bxe1 Rxe1 + 33. Rxel Bc5 34. Re8 + Kh7 35. Bc2 + Black Resigns
White : Gerry OConnel 2201 Black : Jonathan Grant 2260 1.d4 Nf6 2. C4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. E3 c5 5 . Nf3 Nc6 6 . Bd3 Bxc3 7.b2xc3 d6 8. E4 e5 9. D5 Ne7 10. Nh4 h6 11. F4 Ng6 12. Nxg6 fxg6 13. 0-0 0-0 14. Qe1 Qe8 15. Rb1 b6 16. Rb2 Bd7 17. Re2 Qe7 18. Qg3 Kh7 19. F5 Be8 20. Qh3 Kg8 21. G4 g5 22. Qg3 a6 23. Be3 b5 24. Qg2 Bd7 25. Rb2 Rfb8 26. Rfb1 Qd8 27. H4 Nh7 28. Cxb5 axb5 29. Hxg5 Nxg5 30. Bxb5 Bxb5 31. Rxb5 Rxb5 32. Rxb5 Ra4 33. Qb2 Nh3 + 34. Kf1 Qh4 35. Rb8 + Kh7 36. Qb5 Nf4 37. Bxf4 Qh1 + 38. Ke2 Rxe4 + 39. Kd3 Qf3 + White resigns
Round 4 - December 2
Scotland 0-4 Turkey Muir (2318) 0-1 Atalik (2598) Upton (2295) 0-1 Haznedaroglu (2187) Grant (2260) 0-1 Tofan (2247) Montgomery 0-1 Erdogan (2263)
Scotland 0-2 Lithuania Milligan (2138) 0-1 Cmilyte (2354) Wilman (2070) 0-1 Varniene (2166)
After the successes of the day before this was a very Tough day indeed . It was particularly painful to watch Jonathans game when he first of all built up a strong position and then played a speculative piece sacrifice . His opponent was tantalisingly short on time and , at the Fischer time control of gaining an extra 30 seconds for every move played , he at one stage left himself only 5 seconds to spare . The torture continued for both players until Jonathan himself lost on time just before the time control .
With regard to the playing conditions , we were suffering the effects of playing on one of the two bottom boards . Being a permanent fixture there we were right next to the only entrance to the playing hall and were therefore subjected to the cigarette smoke wafting in and the incessant noise from other players , spectators , arbiters etc .At one stage during the early round a camera crew were on the point of interviewing the Ukrainian team captain right next to our match !
With Chriss assistance an official complaint was drafted and sent to the organising committee . Andy was by now suffering from an acute sore throat due to the cigarette smoke and he produced the quote of the day when he said : Dont bother picking me tomorrow Id rather be a bouncer instead !!
Round 5 - December 3
Scotland 0-4 Finland Upton (2295) 0-1 Sammalvuo (2393) Grant (2260) 0-1 Salmensuu (2443) Montgomery 0-1 Yrjola (2412) Morrison (2148) 0-1 Manninen (2426)
Scotland 1-1 Estonia Milligan (2138) 1-0 Budylina (2032) Wilman (2070) 0-1 Brokko (2163)
Another tough day for the mens team when , once again , nothing seemed to be going our way . Chris missed a big chance to skittle over an IM in the opening . Once again Jonathans game was the last to finish when his opponent managed to break through in a rook endgame .
The ladies fared better with Helen producing another good effort in the endgame :
White : Helen Milligan 2138 WFM Black : Sofia Budylina 2032 1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 D6 3. D4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. G4 e5 7. Nf5 h5 8. G5 Nxe4 9. Nxg7 + Bxg7 10. Nxe4 D5 11. Nxf6 + Bxf6 12. GXF6 Bg4 13. Be2 Bxe2 14. Qxe2 Qxf6 15. Rg1 Nd7 16. Bg5 Qf5 17. 0-0-0 f6 18. Be3 e4 19. Qb5 0-0-0 20. Rxd5 Qe6 21. Rgd1 Nb6 22. Qc5 + Qc6 23. Rxd8 + Rxd8 24. Rxd8 + Kxd8 25. Qf8 + Kd7 26. Qf7 + Kd8 27. Qxh5 Nc4 28. Qd1 + Ke7 29. Qd4 Nxe3 30. Fxe3 a6 31. B3 Kf8 32.a4 Kg7 33. Qd2 Kg6 34. Qg2 + Kf7 35. Kb2 Qe6 36. Qg3 Qc6 37. H4 Qd5 38. Qg4 Qe5 + 39. Kb1 f5 40. Qg5 Qf6 41. Qxf6 + Kxf6 42. A5 Kg6 43. C4 Kh5 44. Kc2 Kxh4 45. Kd2 Kg3 46. Ke2 f4 47. Exf4 Kxf4 48. B4 e3 49. B5 Ke4 50. C5 Kd5 51.c6 Black Resigns
So , Andy was due to face a late fitness test the following morning . By this stage I was also going down with a sore throat and was quite glad I wasnt playing . All those late nights were beginning to take their toll. Jonathan and , although not present at the disco until towards the end of the tournament was by now complaining of being kept awake until the early hours due to their room being situated virtually directly above the disco !
Round 6 - December 4
Scotland ½-3½ FYROM Muir (2318) 0-1 Mitkov (2509) Grant (2260) 0-1 Stanojoski (2480) Montgomery 0-1 Nedev (2460) Morrison (2148) ½-½ Kiroski (2366)
Scotland 1-1 Sweden Milligan (2138) ½-½ Andersson (2080) Wilman (2070) ½-½ Ornstein
Unfortunately the mens team couldnt stop the rot and only managed a solitary draw . The ladies continued to consolidate with another solid performance
This was in fact quite a memorable day for Chris as the organisers , through their own serendipity , spotted that it was Chriss birthday and duly presented him with a bottle of brandy , a magic moment captured on Georgian TV !
In the evening Chris , Tim , Jim , Jonathan , Keti , our two interpreters , our bus driver and I all went out for a meal at an absulutely splendid restaurant .And we still had the disco to look forward to ( or dread ) when we returned to the hotel !
Round 7 - December 5
Scotland ½-3½ Portugal Muir (2318) 0-1 Fernandes (2438) Upton (2295) ½-½ Rocha (2427) Grant (2260) 0-1 Frois (2397) Montgomery 0-1 Silva (2327)
Scotland 2-0 Turkey Milligan (2138) 1-0 Aydin, H (2052) Wilman (2070) 1-0 Aydin, N
Another frustrating day for the mens team and a tremendous one for the ladies . Tim missed a win on move 39 and then his opponent somehow bailed out into a drawn endgame . Jim also seemed to be slighly better with his 2 bishops combining well with a strong passed pawn to restrict the activity of his opponents rook and bishop . Instead of going for a relatively easier draw Jim decided to go for it , however he allowed his opponents rook to gain too much activity and it all ended in tragedy .
Meanwhile , Helen produced another fine win :
White : Helen Milligan 2138 WFM Black : Helen Aydin 1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. D4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nb5 d6 6. C4 a6 7.N5a3 Nf6 8. Nc3 Be7 9. Nc2 Be6 10. Bd3 Nfd7 11.0-0 Nc5 12. Kh1 Bg5 13.b4 Bxc1 14. Rxc1 Nxd3 15. Qxd3 Qc7 16. Rfd1 Rad8 17. A3 0-0 18. Nd5 Qd7 19. B5 Ne7 20. Nxe7 Qxe7 21. Ne3 Qc7 22. A4 Qc5 23. F3 g6 24. Nd5 Kg7 25. Qe3 f5 26. Qg5 Rde8 27. Qe3 Rd8 28. Qxc5 Dxc5 29. Bxa6 bxa6 30. Rb1 Rb8 31. A5 fxe4 32. Fxe4 Rfd8 33. Kg1 Bg4 34. Re1 Be6 35. Kf2 Bg8 36. Rb6 Rxb6 37. Axb6 Rb8 38. Rb1 Bxd5 39. Exd5 Kf7 40. Ke3 Ke7 41. B7 a5 42. Ke4 a4 43. Kxe5 a3 44. D6 + Kd7 45. Kd5 a2 46. Ra1 Rxb7 47. Rxa2 Rb6 48. Ra7 + Black Resigns
Round 8 - December 6
Scotland ½-3½ Austria Muir (2318) ½-½ Weiss (2444) Upton (2295) 0-1 Danner (2405) Grant (2260) 0-1 Sommerbauer (2401) Morrison (2148) 0-1 Bawart (2382)
Scotland 1½-½ Finland Milligan (2138) 1-0 Koskela (2237) Wilman (2070) ½-½ Puuska (2035)
This was another tough day for the men and the ladies produced another good win .Yet it could easily have been a different story had Tim managed to convert a won position . One crucially missed tactic was enough for his opponent to turn the tables . This time there wasnt much time to prepare as the last round was to kick off at 1100 hrs the following morning .
Round 9 - December 7
Scotland 1½-2½ Belgium Muir (2318) 1-0 Claesen (2403) Upton (2295) ½-½ Dutreeuw (2394) Grant (2260) 0-1 Geenen (2347) Morrison (2148) 0-1 Ahn (2331)
Scotland ½-1½ Czech Rep Milligan (2138) 0-1 Mazakova (2354) Wilman (2070) ½-½ Saljova (2180)
So the mens team managed a reasonable result in the last round with a barnstorming win from Andy :
White : Pieter Claessen 2403 IM Black : Andy Muir 2318 IM 1.Nf3 Nf6 2. G3 d5 3. Bg2 e6 4. 0-0 Be7 5. D3 0-0 6. Nbd2 c5 7. E4 Nc6 8. Re1 B5 9. E5 Nd7 10. Nf1 A5 11. H4 B4 12. Bf4 Ba6 13. Nh2 A4 14. Rc1 a3 15. B3 Rc8 16. Ng4 Nd4 17. Nxd4 cxd4 18. Nh2 Qc7 19. Qg4 Kh8 20. Nf3 Qc3 21. Bg5 Bxg5 22. Nxg5 h6 23. Nf3 Qb2 24. Qxd4 Rxc2 25. Rxc2 Qxc2 26. Qxb4 Qxa2 27. Qd6 Bb5 28. Nd4 Qd2 29. Rf1 Bxd3 30. Ra1 Qb2 31. Rxa3 Qxd4 32. Qxd7 Qxe5 33. B4 Qe1 + 34. Kh2 Bc4 35. Rf3 Kg8 36. Qd6 Qd2 37. Rf4 Bd3 38. Bh3 Qe2 39. Bg4 Qe1 40. Bh5 Be4 41. F3 Qf2 + 42. Kh3 Qf1 + 43. Kh2 Ra8 White resigns
Tim also had much the better of the draw and Chris was doing OK until he threw away a pawn in the time scramble to reach move 40 .
And so we finished on 6 ½ points marginally ahead of Ireland and thus avoiding the wooden spurtle .The ladies did well to score half a point and in doing so finished in 26th lace out of 36 teams well above their seeded position of 33rd . Both Helen and Carey showed great character in the second half of the tounament with a series of fine wins . Particularly impressive was how so many of the points were converted in the endgame !
Once again we were treated to a spendid concert with traditional Georgian singing and dancing in the closing ceremony . And so , the final scores on the doors were : Andy Muir 2/8 Tim Upton 2/8 Jonathan Grant 1½/9 Jim Montgomery 0/5 Chris Morrison 1/6 Helen Milligan 4/9 Carey Wilman 4/9 Its hard to say why the guys didnt score as many points as in the same event two years ago ( 8 ½ ) .
At first glance the absence of a Welsh team to turn over may have had something to do with it , though it is worth pointing out that we were not paired against some nasty opposition like the Czech Republic and Croatia II , as was the case in Pula two years ago.
Had things gone a bit more our way in the middle two matches against Turkey and Finland then it would have made a huge difference later on and Im sure some of those 3 ½ - ½ scorelines would have been turned into 3-1 or 2 ½ - 1 ½ .
Another factor that needs to be taken into account is that , unlike the Olympiad , there is no team from the likes of the Virgin Islands , or similar ilk against whom you can gain a confidence boosting victory .If only those tiny nations such as San Marino and the various Channel Island teams were to take part !