We are at a sideroute in Greece, looking up at the Olympus mountain range covered in snow at some 9,000 plus feet. It might have something to do with the server continually breaking down, so we only get snatches of elections in Wales and Scotland.

Wales was a little unlucky in the draw. Having lost 3-1 the previous round to the number 11 seeds, the gods sought to challenge us with a pairing against the no 9 seeds, Sportfreunde, Katernberg, which translates as Sport friends from a place in Germany, 3 of them well into their seventies and FMs clocking in at 2200 plus.Even their bottom board, now at 1600 was playing at 1930 standard only a few years ago. And while us oldsters might be prone to blunder, we might just play that perfect game from long ago.

Rudy was the first to finish, playing a risky line of the Budapest against a 2243. His opponent failed to force Rudy down a rather dubious piece sacrifice at move 7. The position evened out, but Werner, intent on winning a bishop on f2 by forcing Black’s queen away from its protection, missed seeing that 13…Bh3 was mate. (Robert awarded him as many Welsh grading points as the game lasted, so maybe he should have kept it going a bit longer?) Richard started off fine with a rook on d6, but felt unable to maintain it there. Almost out of nowhere the Black pieces began to infiltrate and Richard decided not to wait for the inevitable mate. Although a little surprised by the exact line chosen, Bob got a good position against his opponent’s Petroff, and looked to be better with an advanced pawn on e6. However Black was able to chisel away at the edges, and won a pawn or two when Bob failed to find the most active continuation. The rook and pawn ending could not be held. The last game to finish went nearly the full length. Actually with 30 seconds increment per move they could go on for a very long time. From a Benoni, John’s pieces got a bit hemmed in on the queenside, and a consequent kingside raid by Black merely resulted in the opponent having bishop and knight for a rook. After a great deal of manoeuvring, with John down to about 2 minutes, the White central pawns, backed by a potential bishop check, broke through to queen. Score, once again 3-1, but on the losing side.

Fortunately lunch is served from 1 to 5 pm. The team has also discovered a local tavern.

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