Throwback Thursday: Snowdrops beat Oldhands in match 2013

Young female talents have the upper hand

In just over a week, the Battle of the Sexes kicks off in Gibraltar, with two evenly matched teams facing each other on the Rock. Among the stars in the women’s team is former world champion Mariya Muzychuk, who eight years ago took part in an entertaining similar match hosted in the Czech Republic – the Snowdrops vs. Oldhands match.

  • The Snowdrops were represented by Lithuanian GM Viktorija Cmilyte (30, rated 2506), Ukrainian IM Maria Muzychuk (21, 2491), Russian WGM Alina Kashlinskaya (20, 2422) and Belarusian WGM Nastassia Ziaziulkina (18, 2350 ).
  • The Oldhands were represented by the French GM Iossif Dorfman (61, 2580), the American GM Boris Gulko (66, 2543), the Serbian GM Borislav Ivkov (80, 2408) and the German GM Wolfgang Uhlmann (78, 2334).

The event took place at the Hotel Zámecek in Podebrady, with a play tempo of 90 minutes for 40 moves, 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increase of 30 seconds per move.

However, the oldest grandmaster in hotel Zámecek was none of the Oldhands – it was Pal Benko, 85 years old, who signed the suit for the first round. He also played a simultaneous game against Vlastimil Chládek, organizer Pavel Matocha, Jirí Navrátil and Juraj Ballo. Benko won convincingly with a 3-1 result – only Chládek, the director of Dopravní Stavby Brno, could take a point from the GM.

Pal Benko

Once the match started things went straight to the snowdrops, with none of the Oldhands managing to take a win until round 6, when Dorfman defeated Muzychuk with the black pieces. The women’s team had already won five victories so far.

Gulko and Uhlmann also won in the remainder of the confrontation, but an overall defeat for the veterans was inevitable. The final score was in favor of the Snowdrops 17½-14½. The top scorer for the winning team – and the game as a whole – then was 20-year-old Alina Kashlinskaya of Russia, who won three games and lost once for a 5 out of 8 performance.

Pavel Matocha, Alina Kashlinskaya

Alina Kashlinskaya, receives her prize from organizer Pavel Matocha

Rounds 1-4

In the first half of the tournament, the women’s squad took four wins while remaining unbeaten. Uhlmann had a hard time with the veterans, as he defeated Oldhand in three of these games.

In round 4, Uhlmann – then 78 years old and died in 2020 – lost with white against Ziazulkina. Fatigue played a big part, as noted by David Navara in his report for ChessBase:

The meeting between Wolfgang Uhlmann and Belarusian hope Nastassia Ziaziulkina was the longest. The German grandmaster soon got the bishop pair and gradually eliminated his opponent’s lead in development. The subsequent transformation led to an endgame with a pair of rooks and bishops in different suits on the board. Uhlmann maintained a certain initiative and increased it after some inaccuracies from his opponent. He could have played 42.Rb6 and thus won a pawn without allowing counterplay.

Later, his fatigue took its toll and White lost his advantage. Uhlmann turned down a tie offer, then lost a pawn and finally the game.

Wolfgang Uhlmann, Nastassia Ziaziulkina

Play back a selection of highlights below with annotations from GM Navara (all matches of the match are presented at the end of the article).

Select an item from the list to switch between games

Rounds 5-8

In the second half of the event, the veterans did manage to take a few wins, with Dorfman, Gulko and Uhlmann each scoring a full point for the Oldhands. However, successive wins by Kashlinskaya in rounds 5 and 6 kept the score in favor of the women’s squad.

Dorfman defeated Muzychuk in round 6 after he carelessly grabbed a pawn and fell into a trap.

18.Nxh5 fails to 18 … Rxh5, since 19.Qxh5 would be answered with 19…Qa3 and 20…Nc4, when there is no way to prevent mate on b2. Muzychuk noticed her mistake and went ahead 19.Rd3, but Dorfman had no trouble converting his superior position into the veteran team’s first full run.

Iossif Dorfman, Borislav Ivkovy

Iossif Dorfman (standing) talks to Borislav Ivkov . before the start of the round

The following selection of highlights includes analysis by GM Navara and GM Robert Cvek.

Select an item from the list to switch between games

Team results

I

II

III

IV

V

WE

VII

VIII

snowdrops

3

2

2.5

2.5

2.5

2

1

2

Old Hands

1

2

1.5

1.5

1.5

2

3

2

Overall snowdrops

3

5

7.5

10

12.5

14.5

15.5

17.5

Overall old hands

1

3

4.5

6

7.5

9.5

12.5

14.5

Individual results

O1

O2

O3

O4

O1

O2

O3

O4

Total

S1 Kashlinskaya Alina

1

1

1/2

1/2

1

1/2

0

1/2

5

S2 Cmilyte Victoria

1/2

1

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

4.5

S3 Muzychuk Maria

1

1/2

1/2

0

0

1/2

1/2

1/2

3.5

S4 Ziaziulkina Nastassia

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

1

1/2

1/2

1/2

4.5

S1

S2

S3

S4

S1

S2

S3

OS4

Total

O1 Uhlmann Wolfgang

0

1/2

1

0

0

1/2

0

1/2

2.5

O2 Ivkov Borislav

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

0

0

1.5

1/2

3

O3 Gulko Boris

1

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

4.5

O4 Dorfman Iossif

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

1

1/2

4.5

All games


The Benko Gambit explained

In this DVD Erwin l’Ami guides you through the fascinating Benko Gambit. Already on move three, Black starts a battle for initiative, a strategy that has proved successful in countless games at amateur and master level.


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