EVENTS such as the ongoing European Team Championship in Greece play a crucial role helping players from weaker nations – such as Scotland – gain title norms. Two Scots in the hunt for the International Masters title are Alan Tate and Graham Morrison.
Two years ago, at the age of 50, former Scottish Champion Graham Morrison began his Indian summer by becoming the oldest Scot to gain a first IM norm with his performance at the 4NCL British Team event. Exactly a year later, at the same event, he picked up his second norm. Graham, 52, is a veteran of three Olympiads and four European Team Championships, but his norms late in life are quite an achievement, considering he gave up chess for a decade to concentrate on his career and only returned to playing in 2003.
He got off to a sensational start in Greece against two highly rated grandmasters. In the opening round, he drew with (though should have won against) Croatian GM Ivan Saric (2648), and followed this by beating Danish GM Allan Stig Rasmussen (2541) in round two.
After a nice thematic exchange sacrifice in today’s game, Graham missed his golden chance to beat Croatian Saric at the time-control with 40...Rc5! that easily rounds up both the h- and g-pawns, as 41 h6 is met with Rh5.
I Saric - G Morrison
18th European Teams Ch., (1)
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 5 Nc3 d6 6 g4 a6 7 Be3 Nge7 8 Nb3 b5 9 f4 Bb7 10 Qd2 Na5 11 Nxa5 Qxa5 12 Qf2 Rc8 13 Bd3 d5 14 0-0 Rxc3 15 Bb6 Qa4 16 bxc3 dxe4 17 Be2 Nd5 18 Rad1 Be7 19 Bc5 Nxf4 20 Rd8+ Bxd8 21 Qxf4 f6 22 Rd1 Qa5 23 g5 Qc7 24 Qxc7 Bxc7 25 gxf6 Bd5 26 fxg7 Rg8 27 Bh5+ Kd7 28 Bd4 e5 29 Bxe5 Bxe5 30 Rxd5+ Ke6 31 Bf7+ Kxf7 32 Rxe5 Rc8 33 Rg5 Kg8 34 Rg3 Rc4 35 Kf2 Ra4 36 Ke3 Rxa2 37 Rg2 Ra4 38 h4 Rc4 39 h5 Rxc3+ 40 Kxe4 Rh3? 41 Rg5 h6 42 Rg6 Rxh5 43 Rxa6 Kxg7 44 Rb6 Rc5 45 Kd4 Rxc2 46 Rxb5 Kg6 47 Ke3 h5 draw agreed