Sunday, 22 April 2007

Life Begins At 70

It has been an eventful month for Lajos Portisch. He turned 70 on 4 April 2007. This is way past the age at which most professional chessplayers retire (except for Korchnoi, of course) and his name has not been prominent much in recent years. That said, I checked the database and found that he has been turning out fairly regularly in both the Hungarian Champioship and the country's team championship. But last year he finished last equal. I recall noticing that at the time and half expected that it could be his final appearance.

But no: this month he has played a rapidplay match with Spassky (drawn 3-3) and is now engaged in a strong GM tournament in Gausdal. At the time of writing, Portisch has 3½/5 and is in second place on his own, half a point behind leader 16-year-old Magnus Carlsen. Today Portisch turned back time by beating 2661-rated Michal Krasenkow with the black pieces. He snatched what could have been a warm pawn with his queen but then simply outplayed the 43-year-old upstart. Portisch has black against Carlsen in round 7. I just hope I have not put the journalist's hex on the old boy by drawing attention to him.

Another notable thing about this tournament is that England's Gawain Jones is in the field. He's having rather a tough time, having score 1/5 to date. He lost to Carlsen in round four, being gradully outplayed in a rook and pawns endgame. In the fifth round he conceded a draw to 2260-rated, 48-year-old untitled US player Eric Moskow.

I noticed that the tournament is being played at standardplay (40 in 2, 20 in 1, ½ hour for the rest - sometimes worryingly referred to as 'classical' by those who would consign it to a museum). Sensible people, the Norwegians.

1 comment:

  1. Steve Fairbairn28 April 2007 at 09:12

    Norwegian tournaments are run by Hans Olaf Lahlum who is one of the few organizers left who believes in real time controls. (The others are the organizers of the Geneva Open in January; Jerry Weikal who organizes a couple of excellent weekend swisses a year, the organizers of the Rilton Cup in Sweeden and until last year, Dennis on the Isle of Man.) Alas Hans is eyeing a political career so I fear within another year or so there won't be any so-called classical tourneys available to the under 2700 crowd.