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 www.36chessolympiad.com 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
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
The overall event was won convincingly by Ukraine
with 39.5/56 with Russia and Armenia on 36.5.
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
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.
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
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
October 26: Scotland 3-1 Spain C
Pre-match - l to r Dearing, Shaw, McNab, Rowson (photo by chess21.com)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
October 22: Scotland 1.5-2.5 Slovenia
This was a hard fought match which we were unlucky to
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
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
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
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
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
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
(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
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....."