Round 9 (Tuesday November 6th)
Just a brief report now, as we've just had lunch (17:00 ! - round started at 11:00) with drinks and the Closing Ceremony (and more drinks and dinner ??) still to come.
As suspected we didn't face Scotland to decide the mini-tournament, but instead we played the stronger Austria.
Wales (38) 0.5 - 3.5 Austria (32)
1. Richard Jones FM 2327 (W) 0 - 1 M. Ragger IM 2528
2. Tim Kett 2257 0.5 C. Weiss IM 2460
3. Charles Morris 2198 0 - 1 M. Neubauer IM 2453
4. Alan Spice 2170 0 - 1 I. Balinov GM 2475
Games in the order they finished (without having analysed them).
Charles, after his good form the last couple of rounds, won a pawn in a sharp French MacCutcheon but got his king caught in the centre. His opponent relentlessly pressed home his advantage.
I can more or less say the same about Richard's game, where he also won a pawn in a Sicilian c3, but the nearest Black piece to his own king on g8 was a rook on e8. White played a ruthless attack sacrificing both knights in an elegant attack. This may have been a game of some theoretical importance as it is not clear where Richard went wrong.
Alan's 1.Nc3 transposed into a conventional open Sicilian, and although B got a strong central pawn mass, W was well in the game. It remained dynamically balanced until Alan allowed the queens to be exchanged, thereafter B slowly increased his advantage and eventually mated W with R + 2 bishops.
Tim had a slight plus in an open Sicilian, and maintained this into a Q + 2Rs position, may have missed a fleeting opportunity to increase this, and later tried hard to win a R + P ending, but his opponent held firm.
So in the end we finished in our seeding position (38 out of 40) being the only team with 5 match points followed by Cyprus on 4 and Monaco on 1.
At the top Russia, after a lean few years were clear winners, followed by Armenia and Azerbaijan, which was the top 3 seeds in order.
More to follow, probably after I've got home.