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European Senior Team Championship
Round 3

Disappointing result for Scotland 1, losing 1½-2½ to Sweden 2. Peter got us off to a good start, winning his third straight game, but Phil missed out on a win and Gerald and Alastair have not yet found any form at all.

However, there was good news for Scotland 2 who defeated a higher-graded German team (Freibauer Niedersachsen) 2½-1½; Ian had a good win but after both George and Stephen drew, Douglas needed to hold on in a very complicated position. When he managed to engineer a forced repetition that was the result they wanted.

Tomorrow could well have seen Scotland 1 paired against Scotland 2 but (fortunately?) that hasn't come to pass.
Thank you for the regular updates Alastair.
Could you oblige and pass on a brief message to Ian Marks?

'Ian, I note that Dr Baumbach is playing for one of the German teams. Any chance you could have a chat with him about KR? I am not aware of how close he was to KR, but they did play in at least three Open Berlin Championships (East): 1962/63/64. Perhaps he would be willing to contribute is some way; personal reminiscences, game score, photos etc? I can always follow-up later. Thanks.'

Round 4

Alan – wish I'd seen your message earlier because today we played against Fritz Baumbach's team, Stiftung BSW/DBAG – but not to worry – Ian and the other team play them tomorrow...

Today we left Phil out and so Peter had black against Baumbach, I was playing Black (for the 3rd time in a row) against a player whose obvious intent was on drawing and that was the result. Gerald followed suit soon after so we are now both on the scoreboard.

In a complicated game Peter managed to hold Baumbach for a very creditable draw, so now it was all down to Alan on Board 4. He was able to score the full point to give us a 2½-1½ win. Tomorrow we play Wales.

The second team started brightly against Norway 2 with most of the boards looking good. But things turned around and after Ian refused to take a forced draw trying to win for the team, and Steve lost on time, their higher-graded opponents eventually they ran out 4-0 winners.
Round 5

We had planned to rest Peter today, but with Phil feeling unwell we had to leave him out for the second day running. As it happens, the Welsh No.1 had also dropped out.

Peter and Gerald both took draws so the remaining two boards would decide. Finally getting a taste of the White pieces I threw caution to the wind and with my opponent doing likewise it was an entertaining old-fashioned gambit-style game with both sides having to find saving resources more than once. Eventually it came down to R+N+2 passed pawns vs R+B+2 passed pawns. While Black pushed his pawns I caught his King in the corner and that was that.

Alan also won so the final score was Scotland 3 Wales 1. Tomorrow we play 9th seeds Hessen, a strong German team (an IM+3FMs).

Scotland 2 also did well against yet another higher graded team, Stiftung BSW/DBAG. Douglas was never worse against Fritz Baumbach of and drew his game, as did Hugh Although their no.2 disposed of Steve, George pulled off a spectacular sacrificial attack to save the match (2-2). Tomorrow they play England 3.
Elsewhere high-flyers Montenegro dropped their first point (to Denmark 1) but with other teams drawing they are still in the lead on 9/10. Russia, Germany 1, Denmark 1, St Petersburg,, and Korchnoi's Switzerland lead the chase with 8/10.
Round 6

In our match against Hessen (Germany), Peter had his rest day; and Alan got a point by default with his opponent having retired sick. However after that things didn't go to plan. Despite his recent malaise, Phil was doing well against IM Donchenko until his opponent played a surprise Knight sacrifice; in a state of shock Phil resigned; unfortunately subsequent analysis shows that Phil was actually winning in the final position! Ouch!

Gerald's sacrificial attack only proved good enough for a draw by perpetual. I was doing well for most of my game; having spurned several chances to force at least a draw I played what I thought was a promising exchange sacrifice only to count the pieces and find I was actually a rook down! Final Score 1½-2½. Oh dear!

Second team: Although Douglas and Ian both drew with higher graded English opponents, things looked bad with Steve in difficulties and George a whole piece down. Don't ask me what happened (I didn't see it) but apparently he won! Final Score: 2-2 (against England 3).
Round 7

Better news for the first team today against Matadore Rheinland (GER). Peter drew with the Black pieces but this was followed by wins for Phil, Alan and Alastair in that order. Final score 3½-½.

The second team were playing Norway 5 (who endearing call themselves the 'Blindern Oldtimers'. Not as easy as it sounds – currently they are way ahead of Norway 4, Norway 3 and even Norway 2 in the standings. Douglas, Ian and Hugh all drew, but George was unable to repeat his heroics of the last two rounds. Final Score 1½-2½.

Tomorrow both teams play Finnish opponents; Scotland 1 play Finland 1 who have GM Westerinen on top board, but Scotland 2 should have an easier time of it against Helsinki who don't.
Round 8

Against Finland 1, Phil had possibly the better of a comfortable draw against GM Heikki Westerinen. At this stage things looked good with Peter and Alan both the exchange to the good (although both opponents had some initiative) and Gerald too putting considerable pressure on his opponent.

However Alan didn't find a satisfactory defence and suddenly we were one down. Peter's game came down to a drawn rook ending and now we were dependent on Gerald to salvage the match. Although he eventually won two pawns, his opponent's active pieces forced a repetition of moves. Final score 1½-2½ – a case of what might have been. Only a convincing win tomorrow will enable us to reach our seeded position.

For the second team (against Helsinki) Gerorge was happy to take a draw with the other boards looking good. Steve put us ahead with a good win. However an uncharacteristic lapse by Douglas meant that match too was all down to the last game. Ian eventually scored the full point to give his team a good victory and a leap up the standings. Final score 2½-1½.
Round 9

Needing a big win against Steiermark (Austria), Scotland 1 started slowly with a draw from Phil. I got a big attack going and twice gained the exchange but ran out of pieces and time so was forced to agree a draw too. Peter was hitherto unbeaten with 3 straight wins and 4 straight draws but it wasn't his day and his first loss meant we couldn't win the match. Gerald was in difficulties throughout and eventually lost too. Final score: 1-3 and a disappointing 27th place finish.

As usual Scotland 2 were playing higher graded opposition, Matadore Rheinland (GER); but as usual they were making a fight of it. George drew and Douglas won; both Steve and Ian had chances before going down. Final score 1½-2½ and 1 place higher than their seeding.

Russia 1 and St Petersburg both finished on 15/18 with Russia 1 taking the gold on game scores; for the second year running Montenegro took bronze. But the biggest cheer of the day was for octogenarian Victor Korchnoi who took the top board prize with 7½/9. Physically he is very frail, (I would be surprised if we see him next year), but he still has that incredible will to win.

Korchnoi is by no means the oldest competitor- that honour goes to Andreas Dueckstein of Austria Wien who is in his 90's yet scored 5/9.
Congratulations to the team on all their good results, and commiserations on the finish. Thanks for keeping us posted throughout the tournament, it's been really interesting.

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