European Team Championships, 2021, Round 8
Saturday 20/11/2021 saw the penultimate round of the European team championships. Whilst the teams at the top of the pairings had everything to play for, with every game point potentially crucial in a tie-break, the England teams had little to play for except personal wins. Perhaps the Women’s team as such had more to lay for in that they presumably wished to avoid finishing bottom! (Norway, Iceland and England were the three lowest placed teams after 7 rounds, each on 3 match points, with England bottom on tie-break methods.
The England Open team faced Denmark, while England Women faced fellow barrel-bottom scrapers Norway.
The first 9 results recorded in the Open section were draws. In particular, top-board match Azerbaijan v Ukraine resulted in four relatively early draws. The table-three match Poland v Spain similarly resulted, somewhat later, in three drawn games. England players one the other hand, of both Open and Women teams, were still chiselling away well after three hours’ play.
As England Open results started to trickle in, Gawain Jones chalked up a win, and David Howell and Ravi Haria recorded draws, leaving Luke McShane still in play on board 1. Meanwhile, England Women scored a win on board 1 (Katarzyna .Toma), a loss on board 2 (Maria Emelianova) and a win on board 4 (Zoe Varney), leaving Bayat Shohreh still in play on board 3. So, both teams had at least drawn their matches.
A draw from Bayat Shohreh meant England Women scored their second match win, and increased the probability they would not finish bottom! A draw from Luke McShane was then reported, which meant the England Open team had beaten Denmark.
This left the England Open team 8th to 12th out of 39 teams on 10 match points, and 12th on tie-break. England Women were 27th to 29th out of 31 teams on 5 match points, and 28th on tie-break.