1st World U16 Team Chess Championship: Viborg 1979

[ Information || Play-offs || Semifinal A1 | Semifinal A2 | Semifinal B1 | Semifinal B2 || Group 1 | Group 2 | Group 3 | Group 4 || Statistics ]


[ Basic data | Tournament review | Best board results | Interesting games ]

Basic data

1st World U16 Team Chess Championship
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 14th - 20th October 1979
City: Viborg, Denmark
Venue: N/A
Tournament Director: N/A
Chief Arbiter: N/A
Teams participating: 16 (incl. Denmark "B")
Players participating: 79
Games played: 224 (192 regular + 32 playoffs)
Competition format: Unusual. 16 teams were split into four preliminary groups with top two from each group qualified to the semifinals and the bottom two to the consolation groups. At the semifinal stage four groups of four were formed and the playoff phase was introduced to determine final placings between teams to have finished at adequate positions in respective semifinal groups.
Final order decided by: group stage: 1. Game points; 2. Match points
play-offs: a. Board count; b. Sum of game points scored in the preliminaries and the semifinals.
Time control: 40 moves in 2 hours 30 minutes, then 1 hour for each next 16 moves
BCM report: part1, part2, part3
Downloadable game file: 79u16-wtch.zip

Tournament review

The first (and so far only) World Teams' Championship for U-16 was held in Viborg, a city in central Jutland, Denmark, from October 14-20, 1979. The organisers, the Danish Schools Chess organisation, distributed invitations broadly and ambitiously, including invitations to the Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries and to the United States. In the event, the participating teams were almost entirely drawn from Western and Central Europe, from which almost all the strong chess federations participated, with Australia the exception that made it truly a world event.

A total of 16 teams participated, with the hosts providing two teams: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark A, Denmark B, England, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, West Germany, and Yugoslavia. Teams consisted of four players plus reserve, each player required to be under 16 on 1 September 1979. As Australia brought no reserve, there were 79 players in all. Ireland's Suzanne Connolly was the only female player.

Playing conditions were generally excellent and a credit to the organisers. Time limits were 40 moves in 2½ hours and 16 moves per hour thereafter.

The competition had an unusual format, never subsequently repeated. Teams were divided into four preliminary groups of four teams. The top two teams in each group were divided into two semifinal groups of four teams (two first-place finishers and two second-place finishers), and similarly for the bottom two teams in each preliminary group. This was followed by a final playoff in which each team played its opposite number from the corresponding 'other' semifinal group.

The preliminary groups for the most part produced clearcut results. In group 4, Denmark 'A' qualified for the higher semifinals by the minimum margin, at the expense of Australia. In a hard-fought group 1, Scotland edged out Iceland for first place, despite losing the head-to-head match.

Semifinal A1 provided a very competitive struggle, with all results possible entering the final round. Prior to the final round, Sweden led with 4½, followed by Yugoslavia and Denmark 'A' with 4, and Scotland with 3½. In the last round Sweden and Yugoslavia drew 2-2, while Scotland beat Denmark 'A' 3-1. Sweden and Scotland thus both finished with 6½ points, and had drawn their head-to-head match. Sweden took first place on tie-break (tie-break system unknown but probably overall game points). In semifinal A2, England easily outdistanced Iceland, the Netherlands, and West Germany.

In the playoff match England were hard-pressed by Sweden, with the match finishing 2-2: with draws on the top and bottom boards, England won on board count, Julian Hodgson's win on board 2 against Lars Degerman outweighing Jan Lundin's victory on board 3 against Daniel King. This illustrated one of the downsides of the unusual tournament structure: the playoff match counted for much more than the earlier rounds. The very strong winning England team consisted of Nigel Short, Julian Hodgson, Daniel King, Ian Wells, and John Pitcher. Sweden's team consisted of Björn Ahlander, Lars Degerman, Jan Lundin, Stefan Winge, and Magnus Bergman.

Scotland (Mark Condie, Tommy Milligan, Craig Thomson, Allan Sutherland, Ian Millar) won the playoff for 3rd-4th, defeating Iceland (Johann Hjartarson, Johannes Gisli Jonsson, Elvar Gudmundsson, Karl þorsteins, Björgvin Jonsson) 2½-1½, incidentally reversing the result of the earlier match between the two teams. Yugoslavia defeated the Netherlands 3-1, which also exactly reversed the result of their earlier match. For 7th-8th, West Germany drew with Denmark 'A' on all 4 boards, West Germany finishing 7th on tie-break (presumably on overall game points). Norway, which had a much better second half of the event after a disastrous start, defeated Austria to finish 9th. Ireland defeated Finland in the 11th-12th place playoff, Australia whitewashed Denmark 'B' in the 13th-14th place playoff, and Malta defeated Belgium in the 15th-16th place playoff.

One unusual feature of the format was that there was only a minimal effort to balance colours. Within each preliminary group and semifinal, each team had at least one match with White on the odd-numbered boards and at least one match with Black. However teams could and did receive the same assignment in both preliminary group and semifinal, followed by the 'unbalancing' assignment in the playoff. Since in addition teams played in strict board order, this meant that players could and did receive the unbalanced colour assignment of 2 White, 5 Black.

/ Written by Sean Coffey /

Best board results

1st Board
no. name flag code fin. pts gms %
1. Short, Nigel David ENG B 7 92.9
2. Cardon, Helmut NED B 6 75.0
3. Ahlander, Björn SWE A 4 6 66.7
3. Condie, Mark SCO A 4 6 66.7

2nd Board
no. name flag code fin. pts gms %
1. Brestian, Egon AUT C 7 78.6
2. Hodgson, Julian Michael ENG B 5 7 71.4
3. Degerman, Lars SWE A 4 6 66.7

3rd Board
no. name flag code fin. pts gms %
1. Thomson, Craig SCO A 6 7 85.7
2. Lundin, Jan SWE A 5 6 83.3
3. Vratonić, Slobodan YUG A 4 5 80.0

4th Board
no. name flag code fin. pts gms %
1. Wells, Ian Duncan ENG B 5 90.0
2. Þorsteins, Karl ISL B 4 5 80.0
3. Žaja, Ivan YUG A 7 78.6

Reserve Board
no. name flag code fin. pts gms %
1. Bergman, Magnus SWE A 4 5 80.0
2. Petakov, Uroš YUG A 3 4 75.0
3. Tockner, Helmut AUT C 4 62.5

Interesting games