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Calvia, Olympiad

Mallorca, Spain

October 15-30

Play over Scots games

Round by Round match scores

Scotland are represented by a full strength squad at the FIDE Olympiad in Calvia, Mallorca which takes place 14-31 October. The team in board order is GM Jonathan Rowson, GM Paul Motwani, GM Colin McNab, IM John Shaw, IM Eddie Dearing, IM Steve Mannion.


The 1st Festival Calvia runs parallel to the main event and will attract thousands of amateur players who like some cerebral activity with their beach holiday. The official website has information on the Festival with hotel, flight and transport prices.

Daily reports from Team Captain Paul Roberts:

October 29: Scotland 0.5-3.5 Serbia

Jonathan had a quick draw with white on top board against a similar rated opponent.

Eddie´s opponent offered a draw after around 10 moves, however Eddie decided to play on as he had an advantage. Later in the game Eddie was pressing home and wasn´t too far from achieving a winning position. However one missed tactic was all that was required to change the result and the position simplified into a lost endgame.

Colin appeared to have a difficult position with 2 rooks and dark squared bishops. First one pair of rooks was exchanged, then after much shuffling about the Serbian GM was able to invade with his king on the queenside and hoover up the d and e pawns, resulting in a won rook ending.

Steve again had some chances in his game after his opponent sacrificed 2 pawns for positional compensation. In the ensuing complications Steve´s opponent emerged with bishop and knight for rook and pawns, with the extra pawns looking vulnerable. In the end Steve´s pawns all dropped off and it was a matter of time before the white pawns marched up the board.

So, this was a disappointing way to finish what was at one stage potentially our best ever Olympiad.

Our final individual scores were (1) Jonathan Rowson 7/13 (2) Paul Motwani 1.5/3 (3) Colin McNab 6/12 (4) John Shaw 7.5/11 (5) Eddie Dearing 4.5/9 (6) Steve Mannion 2.5/8. See detailed scores and performance analysis.

Jonathan was quite happy with his score which represents his best ever olympiad perforance. You´re going to come up against a few nasty opponents on top board and playing 13 rounds out of 14 can´t be easy. Jonathan did very well to recover from two consecutive losses in the second half and his wins against Kyrgstan and Austria were particularly impressive.

Considering Paul was not feeling well while he was here, his 2500+ performance over 3 games is quite remarkable. As I said earlier, I hope he gets well soon and I am sure it won´t be long before he returns to teaching and playing chess.

Colin produced a consistent performance over 12 games with 4 wins, 4 losses and 4 draws. It´s a sign of how resilient he is that he won immediately after 2 of his losses and 2 days after the one in round 9. I´m sure that Colin would have won again had there been a round 15! For someone making their debut Eddie had a good tournament with a solid 4.5/9. By his own high standards he had not played well and missed a lot of moves at the board. But if you can still play to your rating in such circumstances then you must be doing a few things right.

Steve had a difficult time in the second half of the event, and he was naturally disappointed with his performance. One thing that strikes me is that he puts an enormous amount of effort in at the board and I am sure it will be a matter of time before he returns to the form he showed earlier this year at the British Championship.

The overall event was won convincingly  by Ukraine with 39.5/56  with Russia and Armenia on 36.5.

England was the leading UK team on 31, followed by Ireland, Scotland 29 Wales 26. In the battle for channel islands supremacy Jersey were marginally ahead by 21.5 to 21. The word is that there are also 10 chess players in Alderney so I was most surprised not to see them enter a team. Maybe they have now all been lost in some fishing vessel whilst navigating their way round the coast of France or maybe they deided to take up dominoes. In fact I shall be spending my next holidays scouring the high seas to find some random island which can enlist as a new member of fide. Once you have set up a care of address, a fax machine and the subs are paid the rest is easy.....

October 28: Turkey 1-3 Scotland

With a GM norm already in the bag John was going for a 12 round norm and the title. So he would need 1.5/2 against an average of around 2400 in order to keep his performance at 2601 or 2 wins against lower rated players. In any event this was all academic when he eventually went down after going for a speculative exchange sacrifice when a draw by repition was there for the taking. So, John´t luck finally ran out but he´s nevertheless had a tremendous tournament.

On top board Jonathan played the black side of 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 a6!? and gradually built up a positional advantage against his IM opponent. Eventually he was able to go a piece up where his opponent had some rather sketchy compensation. With queens still on the board Jonathan missed a Qh1 tactic which would have resulted in a 2 knights versus rook endgame which was technically won. As the 30 seconds per move finish kicked in Jonathan gave up 2 knights for a rook to leave a position where he had queen and rook against queen and knight where the knight was very passively placed. The only danger was from the enemy queen, however Jonathan´s king was able to wander all the way across the board to the queenside. Once the black king got to in front of the c-pawn it became clear that the checks would soon end and the pawn was unstoppable.

On board 2 Colin steadily built up an advantage on the white side of the fianchetto variation of the king´s indian defence. During the middlegame his IM opponent conceded control of some crucial white squares and Colin promptly crashed through to record an impressive win.

Eduardo also had a good game on board 4. After the game he said he was still feeling a bit under the weather and hadn´t been analysing as rigorously as he normally does. Nevertheless he steadily built up an edge and finally crashed through after a Rxe5 tactic. So, with this win the boys moved onto 28.5/52 and the possibility of an intriguing last round match against England who are on the same number of points.

Over dinner time John told the rest of the team that he was completely exhausted and didn´t feel like playing in the last round. This can hardly come as a surprise as the 3 consecutive wins which led up to the GM norm must have used up a lot of energy. Later in the evening the boys had a belated celebration and went through the two fine bottles of white wine which Paul had left us.

October 27: Scotland 2-2 Austria

This was a big day for John as he needed to win with white for his GM norm. This was always going to be a tricky game as his opponent was also in contention for a norm. From the opening John had a small advantage on the white side of the 2 c3 e6 variation of the Sicilian Defence where Black has an isolated queen´s pawn. There were then several pieces exchanged on the d4 square to leave a near symmetrical position with both sides having 2 rooks and a light squared bishop with white pawns on a4, b2, d4, f2, g3 and h2 and black pawns on a5, b7, d5, f7, g7, h7. As John had to go for a win he inevitably gave his opponent some chances. Rooks were then exchanged on move 30 and the position was still in the balance. The remaining rooks then got very active and started eating pawns in the enemy camps. Then, in a dramatic conclusion, John´s opponent made a horrendous blunder and fell for a skewer which lost an entire rook. So, having missed out narrowly in the past, John benefitted from some well timed good fortune to acheive his second norm.

On top board Jonathan had an impressive game against against a 2447 IM. Playing the white side of a pseudo King´s Indian Samisch where Black plays ...c6 and ...d5 instead of ...d6 he was able to acheive a strong grip on the position after sacrificing the c-pawn. On move 30 he played an exchange sacrifice that led to a pawn mass on the kingside which then started to roll forwards. Jonathan then kept his opponent under constant pressure and he eventually broke through and delivered checkmate on move 51 around about the same time that John´s game was finishing.

On board 2 Colin emerged from the opening slightly worse on the black side of a Sicilan/Maroczy bind/Hedgehog. In a tricky middlgame position his opponent found a continuation which gave 2 strong connected passed pawns on the queenside which eventually proved to be unstoppable.

Steve appeared to be doing OK for the most part of the opening and early middlegame on the black side of the Benko gambit. He appeared to have an advantage as he emerged from the middlegame with an extra pawn with rook bishop and knight against a rook and 2 knights. In the 30 seconds a move finish it initially looked like Steve´s connected passed pawns on c4 and d5 were extremely menacing , but the position gradually turned as his opponents knights were able to blockade the pawns and then Steve´s dark squared bishop was shut out by pawns on g3 and f4. Steve then lost the d-pawn and his opponent then found a continuation which exchanged off knight for bishop and then he gave up the remaining knight for the advanced c-pawn. So Steve now had rook knight and h-pawn against a rook and 4 pawns (h,g,a and b) with his own knight pinned against his rook. In a tense finish Steve´s opponent started to advance the b-pawn which then forced the exchange of rooks and resulted in an endgame where the knight had to give itself up for a single kingside pawn. The resulting position was king and 2 pawns against king with white pawns on a7 and b6. Steve then had one last throw of the dice until his opponent found the right continuation which was a8Q Kxa8, Kc6 to give a won king and pawn endgame. So, this was a frustrating result for Steve and his verdict after the game was that he almost definitely had a chance to win in the middlegame.

So, it was a day of mixed fortunes for the team against opposition who were seeded slightly below us. I think by this stage the hotel buffet food is definitely starting to take its toll as Colin, Eduardo, John and myself have all had either bad colds or stomach upsets over the last few days. I am sure that the cold salads are to blame and some of the soups have definitely been well dodgy, with the previous day´s meat and fish mixed como being a particularly lethal one. Maybe the hotel would be well placed to adopt the practice used in roman orgies of having a "vomitorium" discretely placed in ante room where guests can part with the contents of their stomachs at various junctures during the festivities..... 


Scotland v SpainOctober 26: Scotland 3-1 Spain C

Pre-match - l to r Dearing, Shaw, McNab, Rowson (photo by

Once again we were back on the stage, but this time it was only because we were playing of the host country´s teams. Before the start of the match it soon became apparent that the boys were playing on one of the more precarious parts of the stage. It wasn´t quite like playing on a cross channel ferry, but the stage did seem a bit unsteady.


Jonathan had another poisoned pawn variation and, fortunately for him, he was playing  "only" a 2491 GM. Even so, such players always pose a threat and Jonathan in the end had another solid draw with black.

Colin again reached a favourable position from the opening with 1 c4 against his lower rated opponent. After the game Colin said there was a brief moment when he didn´t have complete control, however the difference in rating of almost 200 points eventually proved decisive.

John´s game was an excellent example of how he so often creates possiblities from very awkward defensive positions. His opponent seeminly had a much better knight against a very bad bishop with all heavy pieces on the board. Furthemore John´s king looked a lot more precarious than his opponents. Undetered by these factors, John gradually turned the position around. It was amazing watching the game as you could see John slowly improving his pieces and nudging forward his queenside pawns where he had a majority. In the end his opponent finally cracked and played a "combination" which allowed a checkmate on g2.

On 4th board Eddie had a very large advantage after some suspect play by his lower rated opponent in a Slav Defence with an early ...a6. As the game progressed Eddie was tantalising close to acheiving a winning position, however he missed a tactic which allowed his opponent to equalise. As Eddie was quite a long way behind on the clock and he had little scope to play for a win he offered a draw which was gratefully accepted. So, this was a solid match in which none of the boys appeared to be in any trouble.

Meanwhile , back at the hotel, Eddie is getting the blame for all the other folk losing chess pieces off the balconies and he is now rapidly accumulating extra chess pieces.....

October 25: Morocco 2-2 Scotland

As I previously mentioned on the Chess Scotland noticeboard Paul was taken ill during the early hours of the morning with a fever and high temperature. After consulting a local doctor he decided it was best to return home to Belgium. For most of the day our main concern was for Paul´s health and the results in the olympiad, though important, were in my opinion of secondary importance. The good news was that Paul recovered throughout the day and was in his usual good spirits. Later in the evening he returned home and he subsequently e-mailed me saying he got back safely and was wishing the rest of the team every success in the remaining 4 games. I think the rest of the team were genuinely touched that, despite not feeling well, he still found the time to buy everyone a going away present of a couple of bottles of wine.

Regarding the match against Morocco, Jonathan had a solid draw with black on top board against a strong GM.

Colin was perhaps slightly better in the opening however the game perhaps became unclear when he had rook and pawn for bishop and knight with queens still on the board. Colin´s opponent had a couple of potential dangerous pawns on the queenside against a phalanx of pawns in the centre. In the end, both players were happy to repeat the position in the 30 seconds per move finish.

John managed to eke out a win in a bishop v knight ending (as he often does !) when his opponent fell for a tactic which simplified the position to an easily won pawn ending. Steve played the white side of a Sveshnikov Sicilian where he initially had bishop and knight against 2 bishops + all heavy pieces in the resulting middlegame. Steve later said that he had an opportunity at one stage to go for an exchange sacrifice in return for positional compensation and several other opportunities to go for drawing lines. But, as most chess players in scotland know, Steve is a tremendous fighting player however here he allowed his opponent´s f-pawn to gradually march up the board and he eventually went down once the kingside was opened up.

So, the final result was a 2-2 draw which should mean we´ll get a team of similar ilk (not to be confused with an elk which is a type of deer) tomorrow.

With regard to Eddie´s missing rook he took advantage of being rested to harrass the hotel management until they allowed him to clamber onto the first floor roof. This no doubt caused great alarm with the hotel staff who were concerned about a ceiling + numerous chandeliers caving in as a result of Eddie´s gallumphing around. Much to Eddie´s general befuddlement, he was ultimately denied. The story does have a happy ending as the ever intrepid Eduardo, on returning to his room, found an envelope containing the long lost plastic rook with a chunk missing along with a "with compliments slip"....

October 24: Scotland 0.5-3.5 Bosnia

On top board Paul was initially slightly worse after an inaccuracy in the opening. Later on he managed to find a piece sacrifice which simplified to a position where he had 2 rooks, bishop and 5 pawns against his opponents 2 rooks bishop, knight and 2 pawns. At this moment disaster struck when Paul´s time ran out in the 30 seconds per move finish in what he later said was a clearly drawn position.

Colin lost a tough game with black against GM Atalik (previously over 2600) who won a piece in the middlegame with a Rxd4 tactic.

On board 3 John played a variation of the 2 c3 Sicilian which was very similar to his game against Pavasovic earlier in the tounrnament. Kurajica managed to play the position better than the Slovenian GM to reach a middlegame which looked more or less level. Eventually the position simplified into a rook ending where the Bosnian perhaps had a slight initiative, though John too could play an a3-a4 break at the right moment to generate counterplay. This indeed eventually did happen when Kurajica went for a breakthrough on the kingside. One by one all the pawns came off and both sides had an advanced passed pawn. As both rooks would have to come off in order to stop the pawns, the players agreed a draw.

I was completely bamboozled when watching Eddie´s game. To begin with he seemed to be doing very well with lots of control of the centre and very active pieces. With both sides castling on opposite sides the game was always going to be decided by tactics and so it proved as Eddie´s 2500+ opponent managed to launch a quick decisive attack on the queenside. Later on in the day Eddie told me that he fired the game through his Fritz program on his computer and the assessment was almost the same as his, ie clearly better for Black throughout and then suddenly winning for White on the last 2 moves!

It would be probably be fair to say that the scoreline in this match doesn´t really reflect how close the match was and the effort the boys put in. On another day the score could easily have been 1.5-2.5 or even 2-2. So, from +4 we were now at +1 with our next opponents most likely to be a team ranked about 10-20 places lower.

Later on in the evening Eddie and I were playing blitz on the balcony of our hotel room. Naturally pieces started to fly in all directions and it was only a matter of time before on of them took a tumble. This poor fate befell a black rook which was soon ended up hurtling towards the ground at a great rate of knots. Fortunately there was no passers-by underneath and the piece ended up on a first floor roof. At this moment I was regretting not packing any dragon lamps in my hand luggage and Eddie was considering finding a spare ladder , or even shimmying up a nearby drainpipe....(to be continued)

October 23: Scotland 2-2 Iceland

This was always going to be a close match against a team seeded only one place lower. Jonathan had a tough game on top board and eventually lost in a rook ending where his opponents extra pawn on the queenside proved decisive.

On board 3 Colin´s GM opponent could have applied more pressure during the transition from the opening to the early middlegame. Colin later said that after this missed chance the game was generally quite tight and a draw was a fair result. And so, his excellent series on results with the Sicilian Defence goes on and Colin´s score with "il mafioso" now stands at 8 out of 10.

Steve also settled for a draw in a position where both sides had rook, knight and several pawns each. After the game he said he had an opportunity to win a pawn a short time before the endgame however he was concerned about the counterplay. Subsequent analysis with the rest of the boys revealed that he could have dealt with the counterplay. It should be worth noting that, with 30 seconds per move, there is not always enough time to find the most accurate move. So, another solid draw from Steve in a game where he was never in any trouble.

Paul continued his good form with a fine attacking game against GM opposition. Here´s a brief summary of his post-match comments (prior to consulting Fritz) - In his pre-game preparation he had been browsing through "The Dynamic English" by Tony Kosten and used an idea from a game between Chernin and Rossiter; 15...Ne6 would have been an improvement on the game continuation by Olafsson; by move 18 White has a strong position if 18...Ra5 then 19 exd6 Qxd6 20 Nb5 !+-; as the game went Paul tried to hasten matters with 21 d5. Instead, 21 Ne2 would have retained more control; Paul overlooked the reply 21...Qb8 - a retreating queen move; during the following moves White´s position looks good but Paul couldn´t find anything clear; Olafsson then missed 29 Qf3 followed by 30 Qh5+; after that with both the white queen and rook on the 8th rank Black missed a draw with 33...Bxd8 34 Rxd8 Qe7!! 35 Rxc8 Re2+. Instead 33...Be6 ?? 34 R8d6 ! won for white.    

As Eduardo astutely pointed out at dinner time, Mr Mo definitely knew how to deal with the eskimos !! In addition to building igloos and catching fish Iceland actually has the world's longest running parliament, Alþingi, which was established in 930. Famous Icelanders include the irrepressible Bjork avant-garde rock band Sigur Rós; and novelist Halldór Laxness, who I´m reliably informed has once been the winner of the Nobel Prize for literature. One of his more famous efforts "Do it yourself igloo building" has since become a standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom in such a highly specialised field. The dinner table conversation then turned to the etymological origins of iceland/greenland. John said the vikings initially made a mistake when naming the first island "Iceland", because nobody wanted to go there. So, they then cunningly called another island "Greenland" so they would then venture out into the high seas and so stumble upon Iceland. As John went on to explain the vikings/eskimos have pulled off this ingenious marketting  ploy for the last millenium. Maybe they learnt to play chess on the long voyages.....

October 22: Scotland 1.5-2.5 Slovenia

This was a hard fought match which we were unlucky to lose.

On top board Jonathan lost a very complicated game with the white side of the 4 Qc2 Nimzoindian against his world class opponent. It´s worth noting that Belyavsky has previously been third in the world in the mid nineteen eighties and still weighs in at 2660.

Playing his first game of the Olympiad Paul managed to draw with black against Mikhaichishchin to get off to a solid start.

John had a big chance as he pressurised his opponent on the white side of the 2 c3 Sicilian who, rather ironically, has a 2700 rating performance with the same opening! In the middlegame John was able to win the exchange and he eventually simplified to an endgame with 2 rooks against rook and knight which he later said was winning for him. The crucial moment came when 39.f3 allowed the opposing rook to remain on f4 on its ideal blockading square when 39.g3 was the way to continue. Such small nuances which are often incomprehensible to us mere mortals are enough to alter the result at this level and John´s GM opponent was subsequently able to draw after the remaining 2 queenside pawns were exchanged.

Eddie also had chances on board 4 with his favourite 1...g6. After equalising in the early middlegame and then gradually improving the positions of his pieces Eddie sensed he had a slight edge. As in numerous other games, the 30 seconds a move scenario kicked into gear and his IM opponent was able to produce a series of tricky defensive moves and , after a tense finish, both players were content to repeat the position.

So, this was a reasonable result against a slightly higher ranked team. At the halfway stage in the competition the boys are now on 16/28, which I´m sure is down to a combination of some most excellent preparation and a healthy indulgence in the apres chess activities which this anglo saxon ghetto has to offer.....

October 21: Rest (!?) Day

On the day before the rest day Eduardo had a scare when he attempted to swim to the island about 1km from the beach at Magulaf. When approximately halfway across he had a panic attack when he felt something attach itself to one of his legs. Thinking he had been attacked by a shark he suffered a few terrifying moments until discovering the culprit was only a large piece of floating algae!

The next difficulty was the strong incoming tide which tends to hit you at the outermost extremities of the bay. So the intrepid Eduardo had to do an about turn and go back to base. Earlier in the morning I too experienced similar problems with the tide (but not with the algae) and had to admit defeat.... Later in the evening of the sixth day most of the Scottish team made it to the Bermuda party and a splendid time was had by all....

On the afternoon of the rest day Eduardo was still recovering from his Jaws experience and the Bermuda extravaganza and decided to pass up his next attempt to take on the island. Steve and I then decided to mosey on down and go for what was originally intended to be a "preliminary warm up." When we were about halfway out I suggested going for it, "as the sea definitely looks flatter than yesterday" and there were probably no sharks lurking in the deeps. So, on we went, that is until the tide appeared from nowhere! Having taken it easy for the first half I decided to try and nail it as the island didn´t seem too far away. After much toiling I was about 5 minutes away with the island becoming reassuringly larger. All of a sudden I see two lifeguards approaching on a speedboat and they stop by Steve who is slightly behind and I guess they are either offering him a lift or giving him a spare pair of flippers.

The lifeguards approach me a short time later and say something like, "it´s too dangerous here, you must go back to the beach". This seemed a little strange as the island was more or less within touching distance. Anyway, I eventually made it and, after a short breather, returned to the beach with the assistance of the tide this time....

Later in the evening the Scottish team were up to the full complement of 6 players (well, 7 if you include "MR FAB") and we were able to look forward to the match against Slovenia the following day......"

October 20: Scotland 3-1 Kyrgystan

Colin got the team off to a flying start as he won with Black in just over an hour when his opponent lost the echange in the early middlegame.

Jonathan was next to finished after concluding a fine attacking game with White to dispose of a 2388 IM.

On board 4 Steve played the Queen´s Gambit Accepted where the resulting middlegame gave a very symmetrical looking position. After the game Steve said he may have had some chances at some stage. In the end his opponent won a pawn in the centre with 2 rooks and a knight each but Steve was able to blockade it and successfully claim a draw by repetition when his opponent ran out of ideas.

John´s game also went the full distance after his opponent  blundered a pawn at the start of a 2 bishops v bishop and knight endgame. Unfortunately for John, his opponent´s 2 bishops were able to control a lot of squares and the game ended when the knight was exchanged off to leave an opposite coloured bishop endgame which was drawn.

So, after being  away from the stage for the first time since round one the boys moved onto 14.5/24 with Slovenia to come in round 7 after the rest day.

October 19: Bulgaria 3.5-0.5 Scotland

This was the first day when the luck went against us.

Eddie´s game was the most painful to watch. He had a technically won position with 2 rooks against rook and knight after his opponent managed to trap one of his own rooks. Eddie then simplified into a rook ending 2 pawns up which was still clearly winning, but then both players were down to the 30 seconds a move finish. In the end, the position had simplified down to one which would end up with rook against a single pawn which was a draw. The tragic thing was that Eddie had seen all of this, but he didn´t notice his time the seconds on the digital clock counting down to zero while he was double checking his analysis.

In the other games Steve and Colin both went down with the white pieces, but Jonathan again produced an excellent peforance on top board and was able to draw with black against Kiril Georgiev.

October 18: Azerbaijan 2.5-1.5 Scotland

This was always going to be a tricky match as we were outgraded by an average of around 150 points per board. In the end, every game went "with serve" with the player with white either winning or coming very close.

Jonathan played the Poisoned Pawn variation of the Sicilian Najdorf and eventually went down to a devastating kingside attack.

On board 2 Colin appeared to be a pawn up with a better position, but he allowed his dangerous opponent to play a cunning exchange sacrifice which led to a draw by repetition.

John made a mistake on the black side of 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 dxe4 where he played what he thought was a reccommendation by the American IM John Watson. Unfortunately for John, there was one move which was different for White and this changed an equal position to one which was very difficult and close to losing. At dinner time John was quite apologetic but there´s not many of us who can say they´ve never lost at some stage in their careers in under 20 moves and I´m sure he´ll bounce back.

Eddie´s GM opponent seemed to be employing typical gamesmanship tactics of trying to stare him out at various stages of the game, but he in turn had to put up with Eddie smiling back at him. From the sidelines it looked like Eddie had a near decisive advantage with an extra pawn, more space, control of the open c file and a bishop for knight advantage with queen and 2 rooks still on the board. In the end the redoubtable Eduardo had the last laugh as he finished simplified into a won rook ending.

So, with England winning 2.5-1.5 they finally managed to catch us up on 11 points out of 16.

Now there´s 2 more rounds before the rest day whereupon Eddie, Steve and I will be attempting to swim to an island which is about 0.5-1.O km from the beach at Magaluf. Yesterday Steve and I swam just under one third of the distance before treading water for about 5 minutes, so it´s definitely acheivable......"

October 17: Scotland 2.5-1.5 Norway

This was an absolutely tremendous result with the boys defeating a higher ranked team to move onto 9.5 out of a possible 12 and a share of 5th place overall. (Photo: pre match, Scotland on left, Paul Roberts standing at match chart)

Jonathan had another solid draw on top board after using a relatively new idea on the white side of the Slav defence. After a series of accurate moves by his opponent Jonathan decided not to risk it and cashed in on the draw.

Colin produced a good save on board 2. His GM opponent managed to find a series of 5 or 6 inaccurate moves which turned a winning position into a worse endgame (Q + 3 pawns v Q + 2 pawns). In the end Colin´s opponent was able to exchange queens and a couple of pawns to simplify into a drawn position.

John maintained his 100% score with another excellent performance. After facing an unsound pawn sacrifice (1 e4 c5 2 c3 d6 3 d4 Nf6 4 Bd3 g6?! 5 dxc5 d5?!), John returned the pawn for a large positional advantage in the early middlegame, then rounded up a loose pawn on the b5 before finding away to exchange off queens into a won endgame.

On board 4 Steve managed to hang on in a tricky endgame with rook v 2 bishops and pawns on h4 and h5. With an extra 30 seconds for every move this was quite a nerve racking affair as Steve´s opponent could probe around with the bishops and there´s every chance of blundering away the h-pawn. No doubt the previous evening´s pool playing helped as it seemed like the rooks and bishops were continuously bouncing of all angles of the board.

October 16: Portugal 1-3 Scotland

Jonathan got the team off to a solid start with a quick draw with black in the Symmetrical English, probably a very wise move as he is most likely to be playing at least 12 games. Colin then produced an excellent demonstation on how lethal he can be with 1 c4 and John produced another fine display with Black. Eddie seemed to have a slight/clear edge for a large part of the middlegame, but eventually decided to halve out in a rook endgame.

A couple of the results from the other matches are worth mentioning. First of all, Korchnoi lost to Morozevich in 13 moves and he remained at the board for a good half hour after the game finished as if in a state of shock! Eddie´s win from round one is beginning to look more impressive as his 13 year old opponent beat a 2320 fm from Peru, leading one to think that Hong Kong had cunningly fielded their best player on board 3.

As for the evening entertainment, the boys managed to resist the lure of the Benny Hill bar for another night and instead opted for a similar den of iniquity where "sneaky Steve" warmed up for the game against Norway with a legendary display of potting at the pool table.

(Photo from official website - Korchnoi in foreground and Rowson, McNab in background)

October 15: Scotland 4-0 Hong Kong

This was a very solid opening performance from the boys. Jonathan was the first on the scoreboard after he exploited a series of loose moves in the f4 variation of the Modern Benoni. John and Steve then both produced well timed counter attacks with Black and Eduardo eventually ground down his opponent.

The main highlight of the mealtime conversation was (yet) another Rowson/Dearing debate, this time the subject was the merits or otherwise of jelly as a most favourable desert.  Later on in the evening Steve, Colin, John and I decided to celebrate by visiting some of the local tavernas in Magaluf. First stop was the Tuareg hotel where we were able to witness the usual music quiz, closely followed by the awarding of the prize (a baseball hat). When the bingo started is was definitely time to leave. Just when things couldn´t get any worse the next place we stumbled into turned out to be a karaoke bar with the main feature being two err... ladies doing hideous renditions of various Tina Turner and Celine Dion numbers....."

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