You may call it a rematch because the same event was held last year too in Czech Republic around the same time when the snow was falling. India’s Koneru Humpy, the strongest lady in the chess world after Judit Polgar, led the Snowdrops to a creditable 18-14 victory over the veterans.
Humpy was the top scorer with six points from the eight games she played (two each with reversed colours against the four opponents) but effectively it was a match of eight rounds in all- play-all system, each round consisting of four games.
Snowhands had a terrific start winning the first round by 3-1, but the veterans drew level with a same score in the next round. The ladies virtually had the match sealed in the next two rounds with resounding wins (3.5-0.5 and 2.5-1.5) taking a four-point lead.
Oldhands consisted of Lajos Portisch, one of the world’s best chess players during the 1960s and 1970s, Vlastimil Hort, one of the best Czech players of all time, Dragoljub Velimirovic, champion of Yugoslavia in 1970, 1975 and 1997, known for his combinations and Wolfgang Uhlmann, the best player of former East Germany. Humpy, Lithuanian Grandmaster Viktoria Cmilyte, Philippines-born Australian chess player Arianne Caoli and the Czech Tereza Olsarova formed the Snowdrops quartet.
Humpy’s only loss was to Vlastmil Hort in the penultimate round when she played attacking chess and went for a win. The Indian, who will be playing in the Women’s World Championship at Hatay ( Turkey) in the first week of December, had satisfying wins over Portisch and Uhlmann in the first half of the tournament.
“Old masters play more practical chess rather than following move-to-move analysis. They try to create problems to the opponent over the board sometimes even by giving away material. I observed that if they get inferior positions they show a lot of determination to find counter-play,” noted Humpy about her rivals after the match.
Humpy had good support from Viktoria Cmilyte, who scored 5.5 points. Hort was the top scorer for Oldhands with five points.