In both the open and women’s sections of the 2019 European Team Chess Championship Russia was crowned champion after maintaining their lead throughout the final phase of the tournament.
Ukraine (silver) and England (bronze) ended one match point behind the winners in the open tournament. Georgia finished one point behind Russia in the women’s section where Azerbaijan took bronze with two points less.
After their surprising 2-2 score with Denmark in the opening round, Russia had won five matches in a row. (Find our report on rounds 4-6 here.) They didn’t lose their pole position after another 2-2 in round seven, against Germany.
Nikita Vitiugov lost his game on board one against Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu. The Romanian-German grandmaster played a fantastic game with the white pieces in a Ruy Lopez.
It remains to be seen if his pawn sacrifice in the opening is really strong, but as soon as he got the opportunity to push his pawn to e6, Nisipeanu was in the driver’s seat. He had the chance to draw numerous times, but rightly continued playing for a win.
Russia’s brightest star in this tournament was Daniil Dubov, who had lost 20 Elo points in Isle of Man. As a modern-day Mikhail Tal, the 23-year-old Dubov sacrificed pieces all over the place and gained eight rating points back.
His win vs Rasmus Svane saw the black king dragged all the way to a3 where it got checkmated:
Gawain Jones had an even worse FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss, where he lost almost 28 points. He made a modest recovery in Batumi (gaining back three points) and scored a match-decisive win for England against Armenia:
England also did well in the penultimate round, as the third team to hold Russia to 2-2. An ultra-solid Mickey Adams, who scored seven draws and two wins in Batumi, defeated Dmitry Andreikin demonstrating splendid endgame technique:
Vitiugov bounced back with a win against Luke McShane. The English GM never fully equalized in a Bogo-Indian:
Ukraine grabbed its chance and caught Russia in first place, thanks to a win over Germany with full points on boards three and four.
Andrei Volokitin defeated Georg Meier in his favorite Rubinstein French. The German grandmaster was OK out of the opening and continued playing well, but just when the draw was in sight he stumbled:
Ukraine even went into the final round as the leader on tiebreak, and had hopes of finally winning their first European Team Championship. Eventually they had to be satisfied with silver as they were held to 2-2 by Croatia in the final round.
After his excellent results at the World Cup and in Isle of Man, Kirill Alekseenko became Russia’s hero as he scored the decisive victory against Poland. It will be interesting to see how this rejuvenated Russia will do in the Olympiad next year.
England ended up taking bronze thanks to this excellent win by David Howell:
European Team Championship | Final Standings (Top 10)
(Full standings here.)
After seven rounds Russia was leading with 16 points over Georgia (15 points) and Azerbaijan (14) points). With two crushing wins against Poland (4-0) and Turkey (3.5-0.5) and a 2-2 against Armenia, the Russian ladies stayed on top until the end.
Here’s a nice win by Russia’s new board one, Aleksandra Goryachkina, who will play a world championship match with Ju Wenjun in early January.
Russia was close to losing their match with Armenia in the penultimate round, but Kateryna Lagno saved one match point by winning a RB vs R endgame:
European Team Championship (Women) | Final Standings (Top 10)
(Full standings here.)