Reports | December 17, 2012 17:50

Old Hands recover, take over and beat Snow Drops 17-15

Snow Drops vs Old Hands

They were 10-6 down at half time, but then they decided it was enough. "Old Hands" Oleg Romanishin, Fridrik Olafsson, Vlastimil Hort and Wolfgang Uhlmann showed what they're still capable of, and won all of the last four matches against "Snow Drops" Valentina Gunina, Tania Sachdev, Alina Kashlinskaya and Kristyna Havlikova to set a final, winning score of 17-15.

Snow Drops vs Old Hands | All photos © Anežka Kružíková courtesy of the official website

Event Snowdrops vs Oldhands | PGN via TWIC
Dates December 8th-16th, 2011
Location Podebrady, Czech Republic
System 8-player, double round Scheveningen match
Players Valentina Gunina, Tania Sachdev, Alina Kashlinskaja, Kristyna Havlikova (Snow Drops), Wolfgang Uhlmann, Fridrik Olafsson, Oleg Romanishin, Vlastimil Hort (Old Hands)
Rate of play 90 minutes for 40 moves with additional 30 minutes till the end of the game plus 30 seconds for each completed move.
Notes The guest of honour is Yuri Averbakh, the oldest living grandmaster of the world. The tournament is held by the society Šach Mat ltd. and the civic association Prague Chess Society.

It was a remarkable comeback for the Old Hands in Podebrady, who turned a 6-10 score halfway into a 17-15 final score. In the fifth round of the match the legends set the tone with a 3-1 victory after which the score was Snow Drops - Old Hands 11 : 9. Vlastimil Hort's Réti turned into a Volga Gambit with an extra tempo but still Black was doing fine. However, instead of giving an exchange herself, Kashlinskaya allowed a strong sacrifice:

PGN string

Uhlmann allowed a typical breakthrough combination in a pawn ending.

PGN string

On Friday another victory for the Old Hands followed, albeit a smaller one: 2.5-1.5. The score was now Snow Drops - Old Hands 12.5 : 11.5. Like in the 5th round only Tania Sachdev won for the ladies to reach an excellent 5/6 personal score. Gunina was winning against Uhlmann but crazy things happened in timetrouble.

PGN string

With another 2.5-1.5 the Old Hands equalized the score on Saturday. Three games ended in draws, and so Uhlmann was the hero of the day. Well, the 77-year-old grandmaster was in trouble after the opening, then equalized and then his opponent dropped a full rook.

PGN string

In the all-decisive final round the Old Hands played with the black pieces but won anyway. Hort and Romanishin drew with Sachdev and Gunina respectively, while Uhlmann and Olafsson scored full points. Havlikova fell for a trap:

PGN string

Life-long King's Indian player Uhlmann finished his tournament in style:

PGN string

The "Snow Drops" vs "Old Hands" tournament was held in Hotel Zámeček in Poděbrady, a historical spa town in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It was the fifth edition, organized by the Prague Chess Society, in cooperation with Šach Mat ltd. The first Scheveningen match was won by the men, then the ladies won twice, last year the grandmasters equalized the historic score and now they took the lead again.


round I. round II. round III. round IV.
Gunina-Olafsson Uhlmann-Gunina Gunina-Hort Romanishin-Gunina
1-0 ½-½ ½-½ ½-½
Sachdev-Uhlmann Olafsson-Sachdev Sachdev-Romanishin Hort-Sachdev
1-0 0-1 ½-½ ½-½
Kashlinskaya-Hort Romanishin-Kashlinskaya Kashlinskaya-Olafsson Uhlmann-Kashlinskaya
1-0 0-1 ½-½ ½-½
Havlíková-Romanishin Hort-Havlíková Havlíková-Uhlmann Olafsson-Havlíková
½-½ 1-0 1-0 1-0
round V. round VI. round VII. round VIII.
Olafsson-Gunina Gunina-Uhlmann Hort-Gunina Gunina-Romanishin
1-0 0-1 ½-½ ½-½
Uhlmann-Sachdev Sachdev-Olafsson Romanishin-Sachdev Sachdev-Hort
0-1 1-0 ½-½ 0-1
Hort-Kashlinskaya Kashlinskaya-Romanishin Olafsson-Kashlinskaya Kashlinskaya-Uhlmann
1-0 0-1 ½-½ ½-½
Romanishin-Havlíková Havlíková-Hort Uhlmann-Havlíková Havlíková-Olafsson
1-0 ½-½ 1-0 0-1

Team results

Snowdrops 3,5 2,5 2,5 1,5 1 1,5 1,5 1
Oldhands 0,5 1,5 1,5 2,5 3 2,5 2,5 3
Total Snowdrops 3,5 6 8,5 10 11 12,5 14 15
Total Oldhands 0,5 2 3,5 6 9 11,5 14 17

Individual results


On the rest day the oldest living grandmaster Yuri Averbakh gave a lecture. Perhaps he inspired his younger colleagues?

Averbakh with arbiter Pavel Votruba

And while Alina Kashlinskaya and Valentina Gunina went shopping in Prague...

...and were chased by a different king...

Tania Sachdev decided to go skiing... Pekelský vrch in Krkonoše, a mountain range located in the north of the Czech Republic

Tania Sachdev (2400), here posing in the snow, scored 6/8 and a 2622 performance in the tournament

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Niima's picture

Judging by the pictures, I would always support the Snow Drops regardless of the result.

Anonymous's picture

Very well said!!!

Steve 's picture

I'm glad to see sexist and the objectification of women, whose only really value is their appearance anyway, is alive and well in the chess community today!

Ruben's picture

The Old ones showed better condition and win in the end. And skiing improves your condition ( thin air ( blood doping haha) ) so thats why Tania had the best score!

valg321's picture

fantastic turn of events, i'd say the old hands showed the girlies a thing or two about chess

someitsi's picture

Wolfgang Uhlmann is a model player for me, always playing fighting and uncompromising chess, with a religious devotion to his favorite openings!

RG13's picture

Kudos to the organizer/s for giving these old chess players a chance to feel the thrill of victory once more (and a little extra pocket money never hurts)!

Greco's picture

Dont mess with the grandpas little girls!!!!!!

Greco's picture

Dont mess with the grandpas little girls!!!!!!

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