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Euro Senior Chess Plovdiv 2013
[pos]2rq3r/pp3kb1/4b1p1/1B1p1p1p/3P2n1/1PN1PQ2/P2B2PP/R3K2R b KQ - 0 17[/pos]In my bizarre game yesterday with Phil Giulian, he played the spectacular 17......Nxh2 and after 18 Rxh2 he followed up with 18.......Rxc3 and I replied 19. g3? After 19. Bxc3, Qc7, White has 3 interesting replies which all seem to equalise. Can you find them !?
Craig, who had previously scored 2.5/3 against GM opponents to claim second place, had to play two more in rounds 7 and 8 and lost to both Tseitlin and Pushkov. However a win in round 9 took him back up to 12th place (ahead of his seeding) and a money prize.

Phil, having recovered to 4.5/8, agreed a quick draw in round 9, with his IM opponent having stated that he wished to leave early to be with his sick wife, leaving him little option. Final score 5/9.

After a couple of lucky wins, I also agreed a quick draw with White against a Russian FM in the final round in a slightly better position to ensure a plus score (also 5/9) and a 43rd place (3 up from my seeding). On paper a decent result but not a good rating performance.

Douglas played very well but had a very tough draw, playing 7 titled players including 5 Russians. He won in the last round and he can consider himself unlucky to have scored just 4.5/9, including a first round win against prizewinner Karasev. A fine rating performance and 46th place was well above his seeding. His rating perfomance was better than both Phil's and my own.

Alan's "results" were below par but he had some very good games where he might easily have scored better.

The closing ceremony and Prize-giving was much enhanced at various points by the presence of 3 very talented young ladies, the 'Three Sopranos' who sang many classical and traditional tunes and made for a very enjoyable evening. Unusually for such occasions the Russian National Anthem was not heard, with an Israeli (Mark Tseitslin) winnng the Mens tournament and a Bulgarian winning the Women's. Placings 1st GM Tseitslin, 2nd GM Shveshnijov, 3rd GM Pushkov. Craig was the only non-East European Prizewinner.

All in all I felt the Scottish contingent acquitted themselves well (as always). Tonight we hit the town and had a very pleasant meal with our friend Belgian FM Jan Rooze. Excellent food (3 courses), wine (3 bottles) and live piano at 'Memories Wine and Dine' for less than £25 per head.
Craig was unlucky v Tseitlin , he was doing fine until a time-trouble blunder
Craig and Phil are now playing in the 'Rapid' Championship. Craig has recovered from 2 losses in rounds 3 and 4 to reach 5/7, half a point behind the leaders with 2 round to go. He is now playing GM Pushkov, who beat him in the Classic, on the live boards. Let's hope for a different outcome this time.

Phil has 3.5/7 in a very strong field.
Craig successfully negotiated a draw with GM Pushkov (no mean feat against a GM who plays quickly and strongly) and now has 5.5/8. However he has a very tough draw in the last round - an upfloat to play the Serbian GM Abramovic who is the second seed. Not only that, he has his second Black in a row.

Phil also drew and has 4/8.

Bulgarian GM Ivan Radulov leads with 6.5/8 and has home advantage against GM Schvedchikov who has 6/8.
Latvian GM Sveshnikov and Craig's opponent Abramovich also have 6/8.
Craig finished with another very creditable draw to finish on 6/9 and claim 8th place.

Radulov won on tie-break from Sveshnikov.

Phil won in the final round to finish on 5/9.
Andrew Muir is indeed correct in saying that I blundered against eventual 2013 European seniors champion, Mark Tseitlin ... the position was a forced draw by an immediate and trivial repetition of moves (which I had seen ... time trouble wasn't really an issue). I had a hallucination and moved my king to its only other available square and forced my opponent to win!

A pity, as the game had been well-contested by both players up to that point and a draw would have been the "appropriate" outcome. But in the end, chess is about winning the point, not the post mortem. Concentration must be maintained to the very end!

At the closing reception, Ex-Bulgarian no. 1 Ermenkov and I commiserated on our both having blundered our kings away in perfectly good positions against Tseitlin in rds 6 and 7 (Ermenkov overpressed a pawn ahead in an ending in an attempt to win and dropped a piece). These two (unexpected) "extra" half-points left Tseitlin a point ahead and able to coast to victory in the last two rounds with two draws to win.

But all credit to Tseitlin, who played to a very high level throughout and was a deserving winner! Bulgaria were pleased to see the home player, M Voiska, win the women's title!

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