ETCC R02: France beats Armenia!

by Sagar Shah
11/15/2015 – Maxime Vachier Lagrave beating Aronian was the big news of the day as France went on to win their match against Armenia. Spain beat Germany and the Italian team crushed Latvia. In the women’s section, the favourites Georgia, Ukraine and Russia all won their matches, although the Georgians faced a very serious scare from the Turkish team. Pictures and analysis.

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European Team Chess Championship R01: France beats Armenia!

The second round at the European Team Championships was filled with excitement. There were many decisive games, and on the top table fourth seeded France was able to beat sixth seeds Armenia. There were a few upsets, most notably Spain beat Germany, Italy simply crushed Latvia 3.5-0.5 and Iceland got the better of Romania. There were many interesting games and points that have to be discussed, so let’s first begin with Maxime Vachier Lagrave’s victory over Levon Aronian.

MLVL’s victory over Aronian gave France a 2.5:1.5 victory over Armenia

The game assumed greater importance as all the other three boards ended in draws. The opening was a sedate Torre Attack, with the players exchanging pieces at regular intervals. It seemed as if things would end peacefully when Aronian started making imperceptible errors. His position got uncomfortable, and what he got to witness was some fine endgame technique by the Frenchman. It wasn’t flawless – both sides, especially Levon, made many mistakes. Yet it was an instructive endgame.

[Event "20th European Teams"] [Site "Reykjavik ISL"] [Date "2015.11.14"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A48"] [WhiteElo "2781"] [BlackElo "2765"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "164"] [EventDate "2015.11.13"] [WhiteTeam "Armenia"] [BlackTeam "France"] [WhiteTeamCountry "ARM"] [BlackTeamCountry "FRA"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. c3 d6 5. Nbd2 O-O 6. e4 c5 7. d5 h6 8. Bh4 e6 9. dxe6 Bxe6 10. Be2 Nc6 11. O-O Qc7 12. Re1 Rfe8 13. Qc2 a6 14. Nf1 d5 15. Bg3 Qb6 16. exd5 Nxd5 17. Rad1 Bf5 18. Qc1 Rad8 19. N1d2 Na5 20. h3 Qc6 21. Nh4 Bc8 22. Qc2 b5 23. Bf1 Rxe1 24. Rxe1 Re8 25. Rxe8+ Qxe8 26. Ne4 Nb7 27. Qd3 Be6 28. Nf3 Bf5 29. Qxd5 Qxe4 30. Qxe4 Bxe4 31. Nd2 Bc6 {[#] Three pair of minor pieces remain on the board and the funny thing is that there is not even one bit of an imbalance. Both sides have same kind of minor pieces and the pawn structure is identical. Yet you can see how this position goes down for the Armenian number one.} 32. Bd3 {White allows the move c4 with a gain of tempo. More than the tempo it's the space that matters in this sort of positions.} ( 32. Be2 {with the idea of exchanging the bishops also doesn't work because of} c4 33. Bf3 Bxf3 34. Nxf3 Nc5 $1 {when the knight is entering d3.}) 32... c4 $1 33. Bc2 f5 $1 {Gaining more space and opening the route for the king towards the centre.} 34. f3 Kf7 35. Kf1 Ke6 36. Ke2 Nc5 37. Bf2 Nb7 38. a3 Nd6 39. Bb6 Bf6 40. Nf1 Nc8 41. Bc5 Ne7 42. Ne3 h5 43. Bb1 (43. g4 $1 {Before the pawns get clamped with h5-h4 it could make good sense to exchange a few guys on the kingside.} f4 (43... fxg4 44. fxg4 {This should be round about equal.}) 44. Nd1 $11 {[%cal Gd1f2,Gf2e4]}) 43... h4 $1 {The pawns on the kingside are fixed.} 44. Nc2 Nd5 45. Bd4 (45. Nb4 $5 Nf4+ (45... Nxb4 46. axb4 {This should really be not so easy to break through.}) 46. Ke3 $1 Nxg2+ $2 47. Kf2 $14 {[%cal Gf2g2,Gb4c6]}) 45... Bg5 46. Ne3 Nf4+ 47. Kf1 Nd3 $5 {An interesting transformation. MVL gets the bishop pair but in return his pawn on d3 is weak and requires constant attention.} 48. Bxd3 cxd3 49. Ke1 Bd5 50. Kd2 Bc4 51. Bb6 Kd7 52. b4 Bf4 53. Bd4 Ke6 54. Bb6 g5 55. Bd4 g4 {Black tries to breakthrough on the kingside but it doesn't really change the assessment of the position, although one must remember that White is under pressure all the time and it is much easier to play as black.} 56. hxg4 fxg4 57. fxg4 Bg5 58. Ke1 Bb3 59. Kd2 Bc4 60. Ke1 Bd5 61. Kf2 $2 {Finally Levon goes wrong and this turns out to be the critical error of the game.} (61. Nxd5 Kxd5 {looks scary because the Black king is penetrating and also the d3 pawn is now no longer vulnerable, but it's a draw.} 62. Bf2 Kc4 63. Bd4 Kb3 64. Kd1 Kxa3 65. Bf2 Kb3 66. Bd4 Kc4 67. Bg7 $11 {There is just no way through on the queenside. So Black has to shift his attention on the kingside. But that too doesn't work as when the black king goes to the kingside he will have to pass through f4 when the white king will move upto d2.} Kd5 68. Bd4 $1 {It's important to relocate the bishop to f2.} Ke4 69. Bf2 $1 {Only move. It's very important to keep an eye on the g3 square. } (69. Bg1 $2 Kf4 70. Kd2 Kxg4+ 71. Kxd3 Kg3 $19) 69... Kf4 70. Kd2 $1 Kxg4+ 71. Kxd3 $11 {It was not an easy defence but it would have given Levon the half point.}) 61... d2 $1 {MVL would not miss such an opportunity.} 62. Nd1 ( 62. Ke2 {Diagram [#]} Bxg2 $1 {A very typical blow.} 63. Nxg2 h3 $19) 62... Bb3 63. Ke2 Bc4+ 64. Kf2 Bb3 65. Ke2 Kf7 (65... Kd5 66. Bg7 Bc4+ 67. Kf2 Ke4 {With the king penetrating was an easier way to win. The knight cannot really move as Be3 is a nice little mate!} 68. Nb2 Be3#) 66. Nb2 Kg6 $6 ({Easier way to win was to leave the d-pawn and focus the attention on the h-pawn.} 66... Bd5 67. Kf2 Bf4 68. Nd1 Ke6 69. Nb2 Bg3+ 70. Ke3 Bxg2 71. Kxd2 h3 $19) 67. c4 bxc4 68. Bc3 Bf4 69. Bxd2 Kg5 70. Nd1 (70. a4 $5 Bxd2 71. Kxd2 Kxg4 72. Kc3 Kg3 73. b5 axb5 74. axb5 Kxg2 75. b6 h3 76. b7 h2 77. b8=Q h1=Q 78. Qb7+ $11) 70... Kxg4 71. Ne3+ Kh5 72. Nd5 (72. Bc3 $1 $11) 72... Be5 73. Bc3 Bh2 74. Nf6+ Kg6 75. Ne4 Ba4 76. Nd2 Kf5 77. Nf3 (77. Nxc4 $1 Bb5 78. Kd3 Ke6 79. Kd4 Bg1+ 80. Ne3 $11 {There are pins everywhere but no clear win in sight.}) 77... Bg3 78. Be1 $2 Kg4 79. Bxg3 Kxg3 80. Kd2 Bc6 81. Nxh4 Kxh4 82. Kc3 Bb5 (82... Bb5 83. a4 Kg3 $19) 0-1

The match between England and Georgia ended in a draw. Baadur Jobava was pressing against Michael Adams throughout the game but couldn’t breakthrough his opponent’s defences. On the third table Netherlands also drew against Croatio. Ante Brkic was able to beat Ivan Sokolov, but Loek van Wely pulled one back for the team with his excellent win over Zdenko Kozul. Particularly impressive was how he made use of the golden principle of two weaknesses.

[Event "20th European Teams"] [Site "Reykjavik ISL"] [Date "2015.11.14"] [Round "2.3"] [White "Van Wely, Loek"] [Black "Kozul, Zdenko"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E94"] [WhiteElo "2632"] [BlackElo "2617"] [PlyCount "141"] [EventDate "2015.11.13"] [WhiteTeam "Netherlands"] [BlackTeam "Croatia"] [WhiteTeamCountry "NED"] [BlackTeamCountry "CRO"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Be3 Qe7 9. Qc2 c6 10. d5 c5 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bd2 Nh5 13. g3 Nb6 14. Rab1 Bg4 15. Nh4 Bh3 16. Bxh5 gxh5 17. b3 Nc8 18. Nd1 Qd7 19. Ne3 Ne7 20. Nef5 Nxf5 21. Nxf5 Kh7 22. f4 f6 23. Rf2 Rae8 24. Re1 Rg8 25. Nh4 Bh8 26. f5 Rg4 27. Kh1 Reg8 28. Qd3 Qg7 29. Qe2 Qf7 30. Qe3 Bg7 31. Nf3 h4 32. Nxh4 Qh5 33. Ng6 b6 34. Qf3 a5 35. Qe2 Ra8 36. Rb1 Bh8 37. Qf3 Rg8 38. Kg1 Bg7 39. a3 Rb8 40. Qe2 Ra8 41. Qd1 Bh8 42. Qf3 Bg7 43. Be1 Bh8 44. Bc3 Rc8 45. Re2 Ra8 46. Kf2 Bg7 47. Bd2 Ra7 48. Bc1 Ra8 49. Ke1 Ra7 50. Kd2 Ra8 51. Kc2 Ra7 52. Rf2 Ra8 53. Kc3 Ra7 54. b4 axb4+ 55. axb4 Ra4 56. bxc5 bxc5 57. Rb7 Ra1 58. Kb2 Ra6 59. Kb1 Ra8 60. Rfb2 Rg5 61. Qxh5 Rxh5 62. Rf7 Rg8 63. Rbb7 Bg2 64. Nf8+ Kh8 65. Ne6 Bxe4+ 66. Ka1 Rxh2 67. Nxg7 Bd3 68. g4 Ra8+ 69. Ra7 Rxa7+ 70. Rxa7 Be2 71. Nh5 1-0

Loek van Wely is in good form and is currently on 2.0/2 with wins over Arnason and Kozul

The Spanish team was able to overcome the Germans with a margin of 2.5:1.5 thanks to Ivan Salgado Lopez’s victory over Daniel Fridman. The top seeds Russia and Ukraine had it easy with the former getting the better of Greece by a score of 3:1, and the latter beating Montenegro in a similar manner. The London System is something that is becoming quite popular recently. Many of the top players used it recently in the World Rapid and Blitz Championships. In the below game Anton Korobov shows in textbook style how one can neutralize this opening.

[Event "20th European Teams"] [Site "Reykjavik ISL"] [Date "2015.11.14"] [Round "2.3"] [White "Kosic, Dragan"] [Black "Korobov, Anton"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A46"] [WhiteElo "2470"] [BlackElo "2709"] [PlyCount "32"] [EventDate "2015.11.13"] [WhiteTeam "Montenegro"] [BlackTeam "Ukraine"] [WhiteTeamCountry "MNE"] [BlackTeamCountry "UKR"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c5 (2... e6 {One could also start with this move order.} 3. Bf4 c5 4. c3 {with a similar position as in the game.}) 3. c3 e6 4. Bf4 Nc6 5. e3 d5 {Very simple play by Black. He places his pawns on c5-d5-e6, gets his knights out on f6 and c6.} 6. Nbd2 Bd6 7. Bg3 (7. Bxd6 Qxd6 {Followed by a subsequent e5 is of course very good for Black.}) 7... O-O 8. Bd3 b6 $1 {The bishop will stand well on b7. Later it will help in creating additional control on e4.} 9. Ne5 $5 {This is usually the ambitious way to play for White. He would like to go f4 and then try for a kingside attack.} Bb7 10. O-O Rc8 11. Qe2 Qc7 12. f4 {Black was waiting for White to make this move. Once f4 is played Black embarks on a very instructive journey with his pieces.} Ne7 $1 { [%cal Ge7f5,Gd6e7,Gf5d6,Gd6e4,Gf6e4,Gb7e4] The knight plans to go to f5, the bishop drops back to e7 and the knight comes to d6. With both the knights on f6 and d6 looking into e4, it should be a very comfortable position for Black.} 13. Qf3 Nf5 14. Bf2 Be7 15. Rad1 Nd6 16. Bh4 Nfe4 $15 {We could go on and on but suffice it to say that Black has not only equalized but has a very clear edge in this position. Later Korobov went on to win the game.} 0-1

That’s the way you play against the London System –
third board for the Ukrainian team, Anton Korobov

Although Moldova lost to Poland 3:1, Viktor Bologan continued his excellent form.
After beating Peter Leko in round one he went on to beat Radek Wojtaszek.

[Event "20th European Teams"] [Site "Reykjavik ISL"] [Date "2015.11.14"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Bologan, Viktor"] [Black "Wojtaszek, Radoslaw"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2630"] [BlackElo "2748"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "93"] [EventDate "2015.11.13"] [WhiteTeam "Moldova"] [BlackTeam "Poland"] [WhiteTeamCountry "MDA"] [BlackTeamCountry "POL"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 {Bologan chooses the English Attack against the Najdorf.} e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 h5 {That's a logical move to prevent White from expanding with g2-g4.} 9. Qd2 Nbd7 10. Nd5 Bxd5 11. exd5 g6 {This is all main stream theory, with Bologan himself having played three games against Molner, Esen and Dominguez in this line.} 12. Be2 Bg7 13. O-O b6 {This is played with the intention to stop Na5.} ({Earlier everyone used to} 13... O-O {but then} 14. Na5 $5 {would be pretty irritating.} ) 14. c4 O-O 15. Rac1 Nh7 16. Bd3 f5 17. Bb1 Rc8 18. Kh1 a5 19. a4 Nc5 20. Nxc5 bxc5 {White surely has a very comfortable position with his two bishops. Sooner or later he will have to break the kingside with g2-g4 to open up his bishops. Bologan feels that this is the right moment to go for this critical move.} 21. g4 $5 {It is unclear whether this is premature or not. Maybe some preparation before breaking out would have been better.} hxg4 22. fxg4 e4 $6 ( 22... f4 $1 23. Bf2 Qg5 24. Rg1 Qh6 {[%cal Gg6g5] Black should be ok.}) 23. gxf5 gxf5 24. Rg1 Kh8 25. Rxg7 $1 {Such sacrifices are as natural as a baby's smile for a player like Bologan.} Kxg7 26. Qg2+ Kh8 27. Bd2 $1 {The bishop transfers itself to the important long diagonal.} Qh4 28. Bc3+ (28. Rg1 $1 Qg4 29. Bc3+ Nf6 30. Qf1 Qf3+ 31. Qxf3 exf3 32. Rg6 $18 {was the fastest way to win.}) 28... Nf6 29. Rf1 (29. Qg6 $1 Rc7 30. Rg1 $18) 29... Rce8 30. Rxf5 e3 31. Qf3 Re5 (31... e2 32. Rh5+ $1 Kg8 33. Rxh4 $18) 32. Bxe5 dxe5 33. Qxe3 $18 {White is two pawns up and the black king is completely exposed.} Ng4 34. Rxf8+ Kg7 35. Qe2 Kxf8 36. Bf5 Nxh2 {Radoslaw sacrifices his knight for the h2 pawn in the hope for a perpetual check. But none exists.} (36... Nf2+ 37. Kg2 $18) 37. Qxh2 Qe1+ 38. Kg2 Qd2+ 39. Kh1 Qe1+ 40. Qg1 Qh4+ 41. Kg2 Qg5+ 42. Kf1 Qc1+ 43. Kf2 Qd2+ 44. Kf3 Qf4+ 45. Ke2 Qxc4+ (45... Qxf5 46. Qf2 $18) 46. Bd3 Qxd5 47. Qg4 1-0

Yesterday Bologan won against the Berlin Wall, an opening on which he released a recent ChessBase DVD. Today he made use of the English Attack against the Najdorf and sure enough he has a DVD on precisely this opening. Bologan’s future opponents might get a hint on what he is planning to play by looking at the DVDs he has released for ChessBase, but then again: guessing the correct one out of Viktor’s 19 opening DVDs is not as easy task!

Beating the Sicilian

GM Viktor Bologan's Repertoire Vol. 2

Languages: English
EAN: 4027975006642
Delivery: Download, Post
Level: Tournament player, Professional
Price: €29.90 or €25.13 without VAT (for Customers outside the EU) $27.06 (without VAT)

The second volume of the Open Sicilian is dedicated to two very important areas: the most interesting opening of all time the Najdorf Variation, and also to the most romantic line in the Sicilian – the Dragon Variation. It’s actually enough to point out that both openings were played successfully by Garry Kasparov with black. The author’s task was to give White some clear lines which will survive all kind of possible improvements from the black side and still be able to give White hope for an advantage. In both cases Bologan recommends a setup with f3, Be3, Qd2, the so-called English Attack. The similarity of ideas makes the job of memorising lines somewhat easier, and at the same time the traditional line by line approach allows the avoidance of any unpleasant surprises. Many mysteries under the surface of the Sicilian can be found by hard work and experience and the author really hopes that this DVD will help you in that! Video running time: 5 hours 40 minutes.

Order Viktor Bologan's Beating the Sicilian in the ChessBase Shop

Fridrik Olafsson is now 80 years old. He succeeded Max Euwe as the FIDE President, and presided over the Karpov-Korchnoi match of 1981. He is playing for the fourth board of the Iceland legends and has a score of 0.5/1.

Round two results

No. Sd Team
MP
Pts.
:
Pts.
MP
Team Sd
1 6 Armenia
2
:
2
France 4
2 5 England
2
2
:
2
2
Georgia 17
3 9 Netherlands
2
2
:
2
2
Croatia 16
4 14 Spain
2
:
2
Germany 10
5 1 Russia
2
3
:
1
2
Greece 18
6 29 Montenegro
2
1
:
3
2
Ukraine 2
7 3 Azerbaijan
2
:
½
2
Denmark 30
8 7 Hungary
1
4
:
0
2
Finland 31
9 25 Moldova
1
1
:
3
1
Poland 8
10 15 Serbia
1
:
1
Austria 26
11 11 Norway
0
:
1
Lithuania 33
12 22 Sweden
0
2
:
2
0
Czech Republic 12
13 13 Latvia
0
½
:
0
Italy 23
14 28 Switzerland
0
3
:
1
0
Faroe Islands 34
15 36 Kosovo*
0
1
:
3
0
Iceland Legends 27
16 32 Belgium
0
½
:
0
Turkey 19
17 20 Romania
0
:
0
Iceland 24
18 35 Scotland
0
0
:
4
0
Slovenia 21

Full individual results of round twostandings

Women Section

In the women’s section, top seeds Georgia had a huge scare against Turkey. Bela Khotenashvili lost on board two against Betul Cemre Yildiz. But the ever reliable Nana Dzagnidze scored a win on the top board, and she was helped by Nino Batsiashvili who won on the fourth. The team thus emerged victorious 2.5:1.5. But in the first board clash between Dzagnidze and Atalik, the Turkish player defended very well to reach a drawish position, and then she made a huge blunder!

[Event "20th European Teams Women"] [Site "Reykjavik ISL"] [Date "2015.11.14"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Dzagnidze, Nana"] [Black "Atalik, Ekaterina"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D71"] [WhiteElo "2566"] [BlackElo "2385"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "5B2/5p1p/5kp1/8/4PPbn/R7/3r3P/5BK1 w - - 0 52"] [PlyCount "3"] [EventDate "2015.11.13"] [WhiteTeam "Georgia"] [BlackTeam "Turkey"] [WhiteTeamCountry "GEO"] [BlackTeamCountry "TUR"] 52. Bh3 {The position is round about equal. All that Black has to do is to take the bishop on h3 and then play her knight to g2. Instead Atalik made one of the biggest blunders of her life.} h5 $4 {Falling into a mate.} (52... Bxh3 53. Rxh3 Ng2 $11) 53. Ra6+ {A lucky break for not only Nana but also for the entire Georgian team.} (53. Ra6+ Be6 54. e5#) 1-0

Ekaterina Atalik must have been livid with herself for spoiling a
perfectly reasonable position [picture by Amruta Mokal in Metz 2015]

The Muzychuk sisters had missed their connecting flight to Reykjavik, and therefore they arrived a day late to the tournament. But now that they are here, the Ukrainian team looks simply invincible. They beat their Polish opponents by a score of 3.5:0.5. The reigning World Champion Mariya Muzychuk won a very nice rook endgame against Monika Socko.

 

The Russian women team also showed respect for their Armenian opponents beating them 3:1.
Alexandra Kosteniuk (above) was able to beat Elina Danielian on the top board.

Round two results

No. Sd Team
MP
Pts.
:
Pts.
MP
Team Sd
1 11 Spain
2
2
:
2
2
Serbia 12
2 15 Italy
2
3
:
1
2
Azerbaijan 13
3 1 Georgia
2
:
2
Turkey 14
4 3 Ukraine
2
:
½
2
Poland 4
5 6 Armenia
2
1
:
3
2
Russia 2
6 5 France
2
2
:
2
2
Romania 8
7 7 Germany
1
:
½
1
Switzerland 24
8 9 Hungary
1
3
:
1
1
Lithuania 25
9 22 Montenegro
1
0
:
4
1
Netherlands 10
10 28 Belgium
0
½
:
0
England 18
11 21 Latvia
0
:
½
0
Iceland 29
12 23 Norway
0
1
:
3
0
Czech Republic 16
13 17 Greece
0
½
:
0
Austria 19
14 27 Sweden
0
2
:
2
0
Slovenia 20
15 30 Finland
0
0
:
4
0
Denmark 26

Full individual results of round twostandings

Pictures by Hrafn Jökulsson on the official facebook page of ETCC 2015


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Topics European Team

Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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David Herz David Herz 11/18/2015 09:04
I find it a little bit disturbing that chessbase is so happily cut off from the world that when France suffers its worst massacre since WWII there's nary a mention which at least chesscom had the decency to make. The same goes for Herr Friedel's relationship with Bobby Fischer, sterling admiration when a little more subtlety and variety of expression might be called for. Otherwise it is a wonderful site. Thank you.
johnmk johnmk 11/16/2015 02:37
Hey site admin, there have been 3 rounds played already, but your PGN download still contains only the 1st round games. Time to update that pgn!
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