Wales in the foreground!
Wales Ѕ v 3Ѕ Montenegro
FM Jones v GM Djukic
Luxembourg 0 v 2 Wales
R.Jones, T.Kett, C.Morris, J.Trevelyan
Austria 3Ѕ v Ѕ Wales
Ragger v jones
Spot the Captain
Captain Stuart Hutchings in the background
Photos with permission from ETCC 2007
As promised, a few additional comments about the final round and the closing events .....
Analysing the round 9 games afterwards, Alan had one opportunity to completely turn his game on its head, and have forced a win. Tim also had a chance to increase his small advantage, so on a really good day we may have also drawn this match. But these are fleeting opportunities which have sometimes passed before you know they are there, and such is the strength of the opposition, that it is often the only brief chance one gets.
So, overall we finished in our seeding position, 37th out of 39. To make this absolutely clear, we started as seed 38 out of 40, but with Bosnia failing to turn up, this became 37 out of 39, even though the officials continued to include Bosnia in position 40.
The final round was followed a couple of hours later by an enjoyable Closing Ceremony, with traditional Greek and Cretan music and dancing, and the presentation of the team and board prizes. Afterwards the captains, dignitaries and the Russian Men’s team attended a reception with a buffet and free drinks (the things I’m forced to do !!), where I managed to lay my hands on the trophy.
Thanks to Mark for putting the reports on the website, for adding the games, and for the summary of the Welsh players’ performances. The really significant column is the Average Rating of opponents, which as one can see in all cases is well above the Welsh players’ ratings. And even these are somewhat distorted by the presence of one lower rated player e.g. in Richard’s case, 7 of his 8 players had an average of over 2540 (!), and the 3rd lowest rated person he played (GM Efimov of Monaco) has beaten Kasparov (!). In all we played 16 GMs (half our opponents !), 6 IMs, 3 FMs and only 7 untitled players.
So a really good effort by all the team, and in the matches against the 2 teams below us, and the team immediately above us, we won 1 and drew the other 2, being a bit unlucky not to have won both these matches. So we had no trouble against teams round about our own standard (Scotland was the 5th country in what I called the ‘mini tournament’, but we didn’t play them), but the teams above the bottom 5 seeds were all significantly stronger than us on paper.
All in all it was a very enjoyable experience, with, allied to the fighting chess, the hotel, food and weather all being very good, and new friendships being made. In the latter case, we formed a good relationship with Norway in particular, which started with our match against them, then extended after Tim had I had finished a game of crazy golf (even crazier than normal as we finished in the dark !). As we were walking back to the hotel, some people ran past us on the way to the floodlit 5-a-side pitch, and they were a player short (one of the drawbacks of having only 4 players is you can’t form a 5-a-side team !), and as I was wearing open toed sandals, Tim stepped in and made his debut for Norway in their annual match against Sweden. Norway plus Tim won, and we were thereafter taking a keen interest in each other’s matches, and regularly chatting with their players. All Wales needs to do now is find our own Magnus (!).
My thanks to all the players, we had a very good team spirit, everyone tried their best in what was a particularly tough championship, and we had a great time, which is all I, as captain, could ever have asked for.