Science knows that chess keeps you mentally fit, and the more than 340 chess fans who will be taking part in the Senior World Championship in Assisi from November 16 probably believe it too. A few years ago, FIDE rejuvenated the seniors by 15 years by admitting more than 50 players to their senior world championships. Since then, a total of four titles have been regularly contested: In addition to the senior 50+ and 65+ world champions, there are also the senior women’s world champion titles in the same age groups.
The chances of winning the senior women’s world title are not bad, at least statistically, as only 15 players compete in the 50+ women’s pool – Elvira Berend is Elo’s favorite – and in the 65+ pool there is no there are even only 11 players. But whoever wants to become the 65+ women’s world champion will have to score more points than Nona Gaprindashvili, which won’t be easy.
Now 81 years old, the women’s world champion (from 1962 to 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 in the 65+ age group). She was also European Senior Women’s Champion in 2011, 2014 to 2016 (from 2014 in the 65+ category).
Nona Gaprindashvili would probably also have won her lawsuit against Netflix. In the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit” it was claimed that Gaprindashvili had never played against men in his career, which was not true. The Georgian filed a complaint. The lawsuit has been authorized by a US court and a settlement has been reached.
In the 50+ Open tournament, Zurab Sturua is the favorite along with Henrik Danielsen of Iceland. The two grandmasters are the only participants in this group who have a rating of over 2500. But the German grandmasters Klaus Bischoff and Frank Holzke are also among the favorites.
The big favorite for the Open 65+ is former world-class England player John Nunn. With a rating of 2580, he leads the seed list by a clear margin. Behind him, however, are the grandmasters Anatoly Vaisser and Rainer Knaak. Knaak, who was once a top player in the GDR and former editor of ChessBase magazine, showed excellent form during the recently concluded European Team Championship and is also a thorough expert in all opening traps at chess.
List of participants (all groups)