GM John Nunn won the gold medal in the 65+ section of the World Senior Chess Championships held in Assisi, Italy. Playing in the same group, GM Nona Gaprindashvili won the women’s senior title for the eighth time. GM Zurab Sturua won the 50+ section, where WGM Elvira Berend was the best female player.
The World Senior Chess Championships took place November 15-26, 2022, in Assisi, famous for being the birthplace of St. Francis, who founded the Franciscan religious order in the town in 1208.
Both the 50+ and the 65+ tournaments were 11-round Swiss events. In each group, all participants played together and medals were awarded to the highest-ranked players as well as to the best female players.
In the 65+ tournament, the gold medals went to famous names in the chess world: Nunn and Gaprindashvili.
For 67-year-old Nunn, a three-time world problem-solving champion, it was the first world title in over-the-board chess after a bronze medal in the 50+ section in 2014, the year when FIDE introduced the 50+ category for the open section. Apart from being an excellent chess author and publisher, Nunn is also a former top-10 player and two-time winner of the prestigious Wijk aan Zee tournament.
In Assisi, Nunn showed flashes of his best chess from the eighties and nineties as he mixed tactical slugfests with positional dominance. His third-round win was in the style of the old masters:
Nunn had one off-day, when he lost quickly to Danish GM Jens Kristiansen in round eight, but the English GM then finished with 2.5/3 and became the only player to reach nine points. Kristiansen himself lost an instructive endgame in the final round:
Georgia’s Gaprindashvili, who recently settled her lawsuit with Netflix, who was the women’s world champion between 1962 and 1978. As the strongest and also one of the most active players of her generation, she had already won the world seniors women’s title seven times, and in Italy she added another, scoring 7/11. Not bad for an 81-year-old!
Here’s her win from round seven:
2022 World Seniors 65+ | Final Standings (Top 20)
|1||1||GM||Nunn, John D M||2580||9||0||79||85|
|2||7||GM||Fernandez Garcia, Jose Luis||2358||8,5||0||73||78,5|
|3||9||GM||Legky, Nikolay A||2350||8,5||0||72,5||77,5|
|9||31||IM||Pomes Marcet, Joan||2197||8||0||71,5||76|
63-year-old Sturua, also from Georgia, will be a force to reckon with two years from now, when he’s eligible for the 65+ section. He won the 50+ group as he edged out GM Maxim Novik from Bulgaria on tiebreaks; both had finished on 8.5/11. It was Sturua’s second title after his triumph in Katerini, Greece, back in 2014.
Here’s a win from the ninth round, where GM Ivan Morovic missed a tactic that would have held his position together:
In this group, 57-year-old Berend (née Sakhatova), a Kazakhstan-born Luxembourg player, won the 50+ section among women for the fourth time in a row. She scored 7.5/11 and had a better tiebreak than WIM Sopio Tereladze from Georgia.
Here’s Berend’s win in the fifth round:
2022 World Seniors 50+ | Final Standings (Top 20)
|3||4||GM||Morovic Fernandez, Ivan||2480||8||0||74,5||78,5|
|9||13||GM||Antonio, Rogelio Jr||2397||7,5||0||70||75,5|
|18||11||GM||Arkell, Keith C||2408||7,5||0||64,5||69,5|