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England’s winning seniors: from left, Keith Arkell, Stuart Conquest, Nigel Davies, Glenn Flear and John Emms.

Hastings chessman among England’s winning seniors

Hastings chessman Stuart Conquest was one of England’s five-strong seniors team which won European gold last month in Slovenia. Nick Terdre reports.

England’s over-50s team, captained by John Emms and including Keith Arkell, Glenn Flear, Nigel Davies and Stuart Conquest, took gold at last month’s nine-day European Senior Team Chess Championship at Terme Catez in Slovenia.

Conquest is director of the Hastings International Chess Congress, the world’s oldest such international event, which takes place over the turn of the year, and counts Arkell and Flear as regular participants.

The England team in action at Terme Catez: from right, Conquest, Arkell, Flear and Emms (photo: Prashila Narsing Chauhan).

All five members of the seniors team are grandmasters, the highest rank of chess player, and were active back in the 1980s and 1990s when English players enjoyed a golden age second only to the USSR.

In Slovenia the England team ended in a three-way draw with Hungary and Italy, with all on 14/18 match points, but won on a games points tie-break – their relative performance against each other. It was Stuart who clinched the deciding point in a 2.5-1.5 win over Italy.

“This was my first international event for over ten years,” he tells HOT. “I surprised myself – I did not expect to do as well as I did, after such a long break. I trained for the tournament by studying at home for a few weeks, and playing online. My eight games were all hard fought. In the match against Italy I was fortunate not to lose – saving a draw was crucial for the team.

“The event was well organised, in a pleasant location. One of the biggest pleasures was to catch up with old friends and colleagues, in some cases people I hadn’t seen for thirty years or more.”

With a score of 6.5/8, Conquest won the individual gold for board 5. Arkell also won an individual gold, Davies silver and Flear bronze.

England were also clear winners in the over-65 section, with 17/18.

 

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Posted 11:07 Wednesday, Jun 5, 2024 In: Hastings People

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