Reports | December 12, 2012 14:01

Snow Drops vs Old Hands 10-6 at half time

Snow Drops vs Old Hands

In the traditional Czech Coal Chess Match, this year held in Podebrady, "Snow Drops" Valentina Gunina, Tania Sachdev, Alina Kashlinskaya and Kristyna Havlikova are leading their match 10-6 against "Old Hands" Oleg Romanishin, Fridrik Olafsson, Vlastimil Hort and Wolfgang Uhlmann.

The first round under way | 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.

For the fifth time already the Prague Chess Society, in cooperation with Šach Mat ltd. is organizing a Scheveningen match between promising female chess players: "Snow Drops" vs "Old Hands". The first match was won by the men, then the ladies won twice, and last year the grandmasters equalized the historic score of the matches again.

This year the Snow Drops team consists of IM Valentina Gunina (2517, Russia), IM Tania Sachdev (2400, India), WGM Alina Kashlinskaya (Russia, 2344) and WIM Kristyna Havlikova (Czech Republic, 2310). Their opponents are GM Oleg Romanishin (2530, Ukraine), GM Fridrik Olafsson (2419, Iceland), GM Vlastimil Hort (2455, Czech Republic) and GM Wolfgang Uhlmann (2319, Germany). The venue is the Hotel Zámeček in Poděbrady, a historical spa town in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic.

Hotel Zámeček in Poděbrady

Although the "Old Hands" hardly need any introduction, you might want to learn more at the biographies page of the official website. Valentina Gunina is the reigning European Women's Champion and a former Russian Champion. Tania Sachdev came 3rd at the World U12 in 1998, and later won the Indian and Asian Championships. She has been active as a model as well. Alina Kashlinskaya became the youngest Woman Grandmaster in Europe when she was fifteen. Besides chess games, she composes poems and songs. Kristyna Havlikova is the number two female Czech player. She finished 4th at the World U18 in 2010.

Snow Drops (L-R) Kashlinskaya, Gunina, Havlikova and Sachdev posing with their team captain Sergei Movsesian

In the first round the ladies immediately took a big lead: they smashed their respected opponents 3.5-0.5. Tania Sachdev scored a victory over Wolfgang Uhlmann, Valentina Gunina beat Fridrik Olafsson and Alina Kashlinskaya won againt Vlastimil Hort. Only the top rated GM, Oleg Romanishin, managed to draw with black againts Kristyna Havlikova. The most interesting game was the following.

PGN string

The Old Hands seemed to have a good chance of getting revenge in the next round. However, despite a few promosing positions out of the opening they went down again, this time 1.5-2.5. Romanishing blundered terribly on move 40.

PGN string

This got worse in the third round, with three draws and Havlikova beating Uhlmann in his favourite French to set another 2.5-1.5 for the Snow Drops.

PGN string

In the fourth round the Old Hands finally won. Again three games were drawn, but Olafsson was too strong for Havlikova.

PGN string

Wednesday is a rest day in Podebrady. Guest of honour Yuri Averbakh, at 90 the oldest living grandmaster, will give a lecture on the history of chess in Europe and in Russia.


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
Uhlmann - Sachdev Sachdev - Olafsson Romanishin - Sachdev Sachdev - Hort
Hort - Kashlinskaya Kashlinskaya - Romanishin Olafsson - Kashlinskaya Kashlinskaya - Uhlmann
Romanishin - Havlíková Havlíková - Hort Uhlmann - Havlíková Havlíková - Olafsson

Team results

Snowdrops 3,5 2,5 2,5 1,5        
Oldhands 0,5 1,5 1,5 2,5        
Total Snowdrops 3,5 6 8,5 10        
Total Oldhands 0,5 2 3,5 6        

Individual results


Round 2 in action

IM Valentina Gunina (2517, Russia)

IM Tania Sachdev (2400, India)

WIM Kristyna Havlikova (Czech Republic, 2310)

WGM Alina Kashlinskaya (Russia, 2344)

GM Oleg Romanishin (2530, Ukraine)

GM Fridrik Olafsson (2419, Iceland)

GM Vlastimil Hort (2455, Czech Republic)

GM Wolfgang Uhlmann (2319, Germany)

Sergey Movsesian, team captain for the ladies and commentator

Top Czech grandmaster David Navara giving commentary

Jan Smejkal giving commentary earlier 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.


Thomas's picture

Vlastimil Hort is originally from the Czech Republic (or rather from Czechoslovakia) but lived in and represented Germany since 1986.

The tournament homepage calls him "a living legend of Czechoslovakian chess", and Whychess writes that he plays under the Czech flag. Did he back-change federations recently? Not according to the FIDE Elo pages ... . Else, calling him Czech of course isn't all wrong - though, would anyone call Kamsky (still) a Russian?

AK's picture

So you would call him a legend of German chess? I really don't know that much about Hort, but it seems that he still actively participates in Czech chess life. And he was a top player way before he became "German".

Kamsky left Soviet Union when he was 15. Became GM and had all the further success while representing US. So he is nothing like Hort.

Thomas's picture

Korchnoi might be a better example: someone who did (chose to or had to) leave his country of origin as an adult and would now at least be Russian AND Swiss.

Of course the Czech can still (or again) consider him one of their own: I don't know if he left for political reasons like, for sure, his (Czech and German) compatriot Pachman, but that's obviously no longer relevant at all.

At least, German in scare quotes seems unwarranted for someone who lives in Germany for decades, has a German passport and speaks fluent German be it with an accent. In that respect, another Whychess article may be even more cryptic or misleading: "Nowadays Vlastimil Hort lives in Germany but he is overwhelmingly associated with the Czech Republic." 'Nowadays' suggests or at least doesn't rule out that he moved just one or two years ago?!

BTW I would be equally puzzled (not insulted or offended) if Hort had moved to and accepted citizenship of any other country.

valg321's picture

i like these small town local tourneys in the middle of winter. Still the nick "old hands" doesn't convey any real respect does it? i mean "snowdrops" is beautiful, poetic even, but "oldhands"? it's almost like calling them "old f@rts".

Simple Pole etc.'s picture

I don't know the Czech language, but I think the original word is "machry" which I guess comes from German "Machers". Would this mean "experienced guys who know how to handle things", Thomas?

Thomas's picture

Hmm, it depends on the context but I would say the German "Macher" isn't a 'pure' compliment. It refers to someone who takes decisions and actions without hesitation, but also without "too much" thinking, consulting and listening to others. Former chancellor Schröder was sometimes called a 'Macher', also because the (originally Italian) Basta was part of his political vocabulary.

If the event was held in Germany and the male players were called Machers, an English translation might be "Beauties vs. beasts" :)

PetrH's picture

BINGO! You have the point...

Born's picture

Tania Sachdev is looking good, what a cutie.

I would love to mate that Queen with my Rook and Knight!

Casey Abell's picture

The old guys won 3-1 in the fifth round to make it 11-9. Hey, they're staging a comeback.

The tournament is actually named after a 1983 movie, Sněženky a Machři. I watched it with bad English subtitles on YouTube, in a video which has now been taken down. Believe it or not, the movie is about compulsory ski training for 17-year-olds in the old Czechoslovakia.

The best translation seems to be "Snowdrops and Aces." The snowdrops are the girls, the aces are the guys. The movie isn't bad for what it is, sort of a gross teenage comedy that tries to turn serious at the finish. The original (without subtitles) is still available on YouTube..

They even made a sequel with some of the same actors in 2008...

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