World Senior Championships, November 2015

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Tim Harding
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World Senior Championships, November 2015

Post by Tim Harding » Mon Sep 14, 2015 3:58 pm

Since the previous thread I started has been hijacked by discussions about tiebreak systems and FIDE, I am starting a new one. Can we please keep comments on-topic?

The organisers are now updating the entry lists more frequently. The update today shows 129 entries in the 65+ tournament (well up on last year).

http://www.chess-results.com/tnr174984. ... t=0&wi=821

The most recent entries have not been sorted yet into rating order. Defending champion GM Anatoly Vaisser has just entered and should be top seed.

There are now 22 female entries (including Dinah Norman) so the two women's tournaments will probably be combined again unless there is a huge late surge.

In the 50+ open there are now 66 entries, of whom the last few include GM Jens Kristiansen, a former winner of the 60+.
GM Torre of the Philippines entered since my last posting and he is second seed at present.
Still no elite English entries. Maybe Keith can advise on whether Terry Chapman and co. are coming to Acqui Terme?

Entries close on 15 October.
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Re: World Senior Championships, November 2015

Post by Craig Pritchett » Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:47 pm

Tim Harding wrote: The update today shows 129 entries in the 65+ tournament (well up on last year).
True. But these figures and especially the competitive nature of the event would be much, much better had FIDE not abolished the old 60+ championship when it decided to introduce new 50+ championships.

That step has effectively dis-enfranchised 60-64 year-olds (pretty well undeniably 'seniors' in any common-sense definition of the term), who must now play with 50+ players (truly 'seniors'!?) or not at all. That includes the likes of John Nunn, who I believe would prefer to play in an old-style 60+ event but no longer has the choice (though do ask him, as I don't presume to speak on his behalf).

Many of these 60-64 year-olds are voting with their feet ... and many of the 65+ players who have played in these events since the age of 60 are extremely annoyed at the arbitrary way in which FIDE destroyed a perfectly good and much more meaningfully competitive and naturally 'senior' event, with no consultation whatsoever with federations, never mind with those players who supported the 60+ events in the past.

I don't get the impression that players who contribute to this thread wish to see the 60+ events reintroduced as many do in Scotland (and elsewhere). If so, fair enough but do speak up if not! I am aware that Stewart Reuben is (probably) sympathetic to the reinstatement of the old 60+ events. Does the ECF have a view? Stewart, if you know, are voices like mine even being heard?

By all means keep the 50+ events (although more than one world champion has managed to hold the title at 50+, most recently Botvinnik ... so do discuss). But what was the point of abolishing the more natural 60+ 'definition' of senior in favour of this extremely odd (and far too old) 65+ 'replacement'? It has certainly never been explained.

We are, I believe, in year 2 of a 3 year 'experimental' period to try out the new 50+ and 65+ events. When are the relevant FIDE (ECU) review points? How can federations / individuals register their views?

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Re: World Senior Championships, November 2015

Post by John Saunders » Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:05 pm

As one of the disenfranchised 60-64 group, I am in total agreement with everything Craig has written. Shifting the bar to 65 was arbitrary and unfair. The age of 60 is the natural age of seniority in most contexts and there was no need for any change. (Par for the course, I suppose, for a world federation which is forever tinkering with things that don't need fixing but seemingly unable to get to grips with things that do need to be addressed.) The 50+ category seems artificial, presumably designed to earn a few more dollars from early retirees.
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Re: World Senior Championships, November 2015

Post by Tim Harding » Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:01 am

Moderator, please split this discussion about what Seniors age limits should be into a new thread?
I wanted to have a new clean thread to discuss entries and later on the tournament itself.

I totally disagree with Craig and John but would rather not mess up this thread further by commenting here.
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Re: World Senior Championships, November 2015

Post by Craig Pritchett » Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:37 am

While more than happy to abide by any moderator's decision, I do think that these wider-ranging age-limit issues are pertinent to actual entries - including decisions not to enter because of the upwards change in the (over-two decades) old 60+ senior world championships to 65+. I'd still like to hear the actual FIDE rationale for that particular change, which as yet hasn't been forthcoming.

Three further points:

1. the 'entries' at the link provided aren't necessarily reliable for some 65+ players, as some of these may choose to play in the 50+ event rather than the 65+ event. I am one of these and haven't yet decided (I played 50+ at Porto euro seniors 2014 rather than 65+ as I judged it the more competitively appropriate event for me)

2. Even at a quick glance, I note three 60-64 players, GMs Torre and Kristiansen and IM Barle in the 50+ section, who would have entered an old-style 60+ championships rather than the 50+ event if they had had the chance (with virtual certainty, I'd say). If we had a 50+ and a 60+ event, the latter would be much more meaningfully competitive and interesting (my view).

3. Compare world individual seniors at Arco 2010, a very broadly similar and equally attractive venue as Acqui Terme (and with the same organisers): overall numbers were around 250 (with over-60 events only). While Acqui Terme looks better than last year (though other factors may also have been at play), are they really going to get comparably high (even with 50+ events now included)? Has this really nothing to do with the abolition of the old 60+ events?

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Re: World Senior Championships, November 2015

Post by Paul Habershon » Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:51 pm

As requested by Craig Pritchett - making my voice heard: I entirely agree with him and John Saunders about the abandonment of the 60+ events. This also encompasses the misguided ECF decision to follow FIDE at the recent British Championship senior events. A long line of British 60+ champions was disrupted for no good reason. As for 50+ Seniors, even my golf club and county golf association start seniors only at 55.

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Re: World Senior Championships, November 2015

Post by Craig Pritchett » Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:22 am

To make it absolutely clear: I am not 'attacking' the idea of a 50+ senior championship, for which if there is real demand 'out there', good luck to it ... although I do think it should be aimed primarily at 50-59 year-olds and shouldn't have been introduced in a way that 'displaced' the old 60+ events (which count the likes of Smyslov, Taimanov, Geller, Korchnoi etc as illustrious winners in its past), inducing it to 'borrow' from 60-64 year-olds, who now have no option other than to play in the 50+ section or not all.

On that score, in addition to GMs Torre and Kristiansen and IM Barle, three further IMs in the top 20 named in the current list of participants in the 50+ section at Acqui Terme were also born well before 1956 and would therefore also have been eligible to play in a 60+ championship (IMs Kalegin, Shevelev and Berkovich). FM Boris Furman, who is currently 20th (but Keith Arkell's name isn't yet down, so let's assume he's 21st), was also born before 1956, making 7/20 (21) who could (probably would) have played in a 60+ championship.

I find this irksome, to say the very least.

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Re: World Senior Championships, November 2015

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Sep 17, 2015 12:21 pm

"As requested by Craig Pritchett - making my voice heard: I entirely agree with him and John Saunders about the abandonment of the 60+ events. "

Yes, me too. I don't have a problem with 50+ events as well, but why get rid of something that works?

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Re: World Senior Championships, November 2015

Post by IanCalvert » Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:15 pm

Kevin, I agree too.

Maybe FIDE has a cunning plan to replace the global Under 8's with Under 7's and Under 9's? More chess events I guess and titles to be won?.. but then why not keep the Under8's also!

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Re: World Senior Championships, November 2015

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:26 pm

IanCalvert wrote: Maybe FIDE has a cunning plan to replace the global Under 8's with Under 7's and Under 9's? More chess events I guess and titles to be won?.. but then why not keep the Under8's also!
That's exactly what they've done. The odd numbers are called "Schools".

edit : Oops, off topic again. We're going to get our wrists slapped.

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Re: World Senior Championships, November 2015

Post by Tim Harding » Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:01 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
IanCalvert wrote: Maybe FIDE has a cunning plan to replace the global Under 8's with Under 7's and Under 9's? More chess events I guess and titles to be won?.. but then why not keep the Under8's also!
That's exactly what they've done. The odd numbers are called "Schools".

edit : Oops, off topic again. We're going to get our wrists slapped.
Yes, consider them slapped.

Clearly I seem to be in a minority of one, but maybe that's because I didn't play senior events before last year. I can see that people who played seniors before and cannot play 65+ for a year or two feel disenfranchised but there are other ways of looking at this.

I agree with certain points made, but not all. I agree that lack of consultation (typical in the chess world in general) must have annoyed.

1. Having a 50+ tournament alongside the "real" seniors certainly detracted from our tournament publicity-wise (especially as it was John Nunn's comeback event); on the other hand, it was pleasant having the company of the youngsters out of hours.
2. I don't particularly want to be in a tournament playing against lots of people who are actively working full-time as chess coaches. That is less likely to be the case in the 65+ with a few exceptions (Craig?)
3. A tournament of 250 players (as Craig said one of the old 60+ seniors was) is surely too big?
4. We are all getting older, and retirement ages are becoming later and later: already 66 to get the state pension in Ireland, and heading towards 67-68 in the next few years. So asking FIDE to change back to 60+ is a bit like turkeys voting for Christmas!
5. Maybe they should experiment with three tournaments: 50+, 60+, 70+ ? If so, they might be reluctant to give the automatic GM title to the 70+ winner, but maybe IM for the first three who don't already have the title and FM for the next three would be some kind of incentive.
6. As it is they had a 75+ prize last time (won by Vasiukov I think, who was actually over 80); maybe they should offer more in age group prizes, 70+, 75+, 80+ and of course 65+ if they go back to 60+ events.
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Re: World Senior Championships, November 2015

Post by Craig Pritchett » Sun Sep 20, 2015 11:25 am

Thanks, Tim, but I remained convinced that it was ill-conceived on FIDE’s part to abolish the 60+ world championships and that 65+ championships are a poor replacement.

The aim of any sport that decides to introduce ‘senior’ competition, be it golf or chess, for example, is to achieve a cut-off age that reflects the best estimate (it’s not, of course, an exact science) of the point at which ‘seniors’ seem to be starting to fall off materially in strength vis a vis their younger colleagues.

This point has nothing to do with state pension ages (be they 65, 66, 67 or even older). It’s a competitive call in respect to actual outcomes in the sport concerned.

The age of 60 is extremely compelling in chess in that respect, not least because there is plenty of evidence to suggest that very few 60+ players are likely to remain in the world top 100 (or so) after that age, even if there may be the odd exception, such as Smyslov and Korchnoi in the 80s and 90s.

I can see no rational grounds related to actual sporting outcomes by age in chess to merit a change from the base 60+ cut-off age to this unusually high 65+ cut-off introduced by FIDE without any attempt at providing a sporting justification (or bothering to do any age-based research or consultation).

By all means have 50+ ‘seniors’ championships, if they really work. By all means, too, consider the case for 70+ (or older) sections in addition to the base 60+ section. But there is simply no rationale to abolishing the 60+ definition of ‘senior’ that I can fathom.

By the way, I play in these events wishing to meet the strongest competition I can find, including ‘old’ professionals, be they coaches, or simply still active … I’d just love to have another crack at Karpov et al. It may reduce my chances of winning the tournament but so what? That’s why we all play the game, surely?

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Re: World Senior Championships, November 2015

Post by Tim Harding » Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:04 pm

I agree it would be wonderful to have a shot at one of the all-time greats but for me it would probably require a couple of early wins to make that possible.
If the balance of late entries were slightly more in favour of the 2100+, though, I could easily find myself on top board in round one, rather than near-bottom board as it looks right now. I would certainly prefer the former.

With today's update there are now 69 players in the 50+ (glad to see your name there, Keith!) and it's up to 141 in the 65+ which is already more than 50 per cent above last year's numbers in the "real" Seniors.

I'm looking forward to meeting the 8th correspondence world champion Jorn Sloth, having only corresponded with him in the past.
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Re: World Senior Championships, November 2015

Post by Tim Harding » Sun Oct 04, 2015 7:26 pm

As a final reminder to anyone who may still consider playing in this year's individual championships, the closing date for entries is 15 October.

The lists of current entries are at http://www.chess-results.com/tnr174984. ... t=0&wi=821

The entry lists were updated today. Currently there are 158 entries for the 65+ event (eligibility based on age at 31 December so anyone born 1950 or earlier can enter) compared with about 92 last year.

There are 88 entries for the 50+ and 26 for the women's championships.

There is a more information and an online booking form at http://www.scaccomattissimo.it/seniores ... el-booking
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Re: World Senior Championships, November 2015

Post by Tim Harding » Tue Oct 13, 2015 11:16 pm

An updated list of entries was published today at http://www.chess-results.com/tnr174984. ... ilen=99999

It shows 176 entries for the 65+ tournament, 95 for the 50+ and now 26 for the combined women's event, only nine of whom are 65+. Nona Gaprindashvili, a true legend, will be favourite again although she only finished second overall last year.

Any entries accepted after 15 October will have to pay double entry fee. So this could be the final list (or almost).

There is not much change at the top as far as I can see, except that Predrag Nikolic (who lost to Carlsen today in the first round of the World blitz if I recall correctly) has entered and is now top seed. In the 50+ Keith Arkell is now third seed after Rozentalis and ahead of Torre.

The next highest rated British player is Roderick McKay. There's also David Cummings (now Canada) as was mentioned earlier.

Also in the 50+ is Brian Hewson (who played the Pokerstars last week), Meyrick Shaw (England), and Jim Murray of Ireland.
My impression is that although the tournament is bigger than last year, it has a much longer "tail" and this time at the top there is no Sturua, Nunn, Sveshnikov or Hebden. Good prospects for Keith!
The only former opponent I recognise in the list (apart from Keith and Jim) is Peter Hardicsay of Hungary.

In the 65+, it's the "usual suspects" at the top - nearly all the same as last year headed by two-time champion GM Anatoly Vaisser but Vladimir Okhotnik (who won the seniors in 2011 when it was 60+) is back. Craig Pritchett is 14th seed and as one of the youngest cohort must have a chance, though maybe (as he said in an earlier post) he might try the 50+ instead. Last year he did well (beat me easily and was henceforth usually on the top table) but a loss to Vaisser spoiled his chances.
IM Jan Rooze of Belgium also did well last year and after his success in the EU individual must certainly have a shot.

FM Oliver Jackson is the highest-rated English entry, then Anthony Ashby who did well in the team event this summer. Also entered are Ian Reynolds (who played last year), Ivan Myall, Julian Farrand, Douglas McKerracher (SCO), Patrick Daly and Matt O'Leary (both IRL), and Jim Webster (SCO).

Sadly I don't see the names of Stewart Reuben or of Keith & Dinah Norman who were on earlier lists. I hope it's not bad health to blame and wish them well if it is.

There are a few players in the 65+ whom I played before (apart from last year's tournament) including IMs Birnboim (Israel) and Giffard (France) and a Norwegian whom I played by post.
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