The English national team creates a sensation at the World Team Chess Championship 2019 in Astana. Thanks to a steady high-level performance throughout the event, the men squad lead by coach Malcolm Pein earns the silver medal behind Russia.
1989 and 1990. These are the last years when England won a medal in a world team competition at chess. The collapse of the Berlin wall has caused a complete redistribution of cards, and new superpowers China and India regularly mix up in the fight for the podium.
Yet this time, England overcame all hurdles and reached second place. Malcolm Pein bet on a risky team strategy, and it paid off. Reserve player Jonathan Speelman came to Astana mostly to help his colleagues in their pre-game preparation. He played only one game in the middle of the tournament when Gawain Jones felt unwell. The tension for players at such top events is so high, that they normally like to rest in one or another round to recover energy. Michael Adams had a rough time on the top board. His dedication for the team is exemplary, as he played through until the end. His sup-par score was largely compensated for by the strong performance of his teammates. Luke McShane earned the individual gold medal on the second board with 6 points in 9 games. David Howell got the bronze medal on board 3 with 6 out of 9 and Gawain Jones the silver medal on board 4 with 5,5 out of 8).
In this very open competition, all teams lost points against each other. Crucial for the English success was without a doubt the 2-2 draws vs gold medallist Russia, USA and India.
1. Russia 16 out of 18 (23,5 individual points)
2. England 13 (21)
3. China 12 (21)
4. India 11 (22)
5. USA 11 (20,5)
6. Iran 8 (18)
7. Azerbaijan 8 (16,5)
8. Kazakhstan 4 (14,5)
9. Sweden 4 (10,5)
10. Egypt 3 (12,5)
Indivudal scores of the English players
1. GM Michael Adams 3,5 out of 9
2. GM Luke McShane 6 / 9 (individual gold)
3. GM David Howell 6 / 9 (individual bronze)
4. GM Gawain Jones 5,5 / 8 (individual silver)
5. GM Jonathan Speelman 0 / 1