Science knows that chess keeps you mentally fit, and the more than 340 chess fans who will compete in the Senior World Championship in Assisi from 16 November probably also believe this. A few years ago, the FIDE rejuvenated the seniors by 15 years by admitting 50+ players to their Senior World Championships. Since then, a total of four titles are regularly played out: In addition to the 50+ and 65+ Senior World Champions, there are also the World Championship titles for senior women in the same age groups.
The chances of winning the senior women’s world title are not bad, at least statistically, because only 15 players are competing in the 50+ women’s group – Elvira Berend is the Elo favourite – and in the 65+ group there are even only 11 players. But whoever wants to become 65+ Women’s World Champion, will have to score more points than Nona Gaprindashvili, which will not be easy.
Now 81 years old, the Women’s World Champion (from 1962-1978) has already won the Senior Women’s World Championships in 1995 in Bad Liebenzell, 2009 in Condino, 2014 in Katerini, 2015 in Acqui Terme, 2016 in Marienbad, 2018 in Bled and 2019 in Bucharest (2014 to 2016, 2018 and 2019 both in the 65+ age group). She was also European Women’s Senior Champion in 2011, 2014 to 2016 (from 2014 in the 65+ age group).
Nona Gaprindashvili would probably also have won her case against Netflix. In the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit” it was claimed that Gaprindashvili had never played against men in her career, which was not true. The Georgian sued. The lawsuit was allowed by a US court and a settlement was reached.
In the 50+ Open tournament Zurab Sturua is the favourite together with Henrik Danielsen from Iceland. The two grandmasters are the only participants in this group who have a rating of more than 2500. But the German grandmasters Klaus Bischoff and Frank Holzke are also among the favourites.
The clear favourite in the 65+ Open is the former English world class player John Nunn. With a rating of 2580 he leads the seeding list by a clear margin. Behind him, however, lurk Grandmasters Anatoly Vaisser and Rainer Knaak. Knaak, who once was a top player in the GDR and is the former editor-in-chief of the ChessBase magazine, showed excellent form in the recently concluded European Team Championship and also is a profound expert on all opening traps in chess.
List of participants (all groups)