Plovdiv: Tiviakov, Lahno win European Individual Championships

5/3/2008 – One round before the end eight players were tied for first. All top games of the final round were drawn, except that Sergey Tiviakov defeated Emil Sutovsky to take the title of European Champion all by himself. In the women's section Kateryna Lahno became the champion with and identical score (8.5/10) and a 2600+ performance. Full report with commentary by Sergey Tiviakov.

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The IX European Individual Chess Championship took place in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, from April 21st to May 3rd 2008, with one free day, on Monday, April 28. The tournament halls were in the Novotel Plovdiv. The championship was an 11 round Swiss, playing time is 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one. The total prize fund in the men's section was 92,200 EUR (first 15,000, 2nd 10,000, third 8,000, fourth 6,500, fifth 5,500 etc.) and in the women's section 34,500 EUR (first 6,000, second 5,000, third 4,000, fourth 3,000, fifth 2,000, etc.). According to Bulgarian law all prizes were taxable (10%).

Round eleven report (final)

The winner of the IX European Individual Chess Championship 2008 in Plovdiv was GM Sergey Tiviakov of the Netherlands. He scored 8.5/11, half a point more than his nearest rivals. Tiviakov's performance was 2794. We note that he was always amongst the leaders, having started with 3.5 out of 4 and playing on the top boards after that. Sergey fully deserved the the title, since he stood worse in none of the games (maybe slightly worse in the Scandinavian Defence in his game against Kurnosov). He played very efficiently, scoring fairly effortless draws with black and winning five out of six games with the white pieces.

The winner and European Champion 2008: Sergey Tiviakov

Sergey Tiviakov, who will be leaving for a tournament in Cuba shortly, has annotated some of his games for the next issue of ChessBase Magazine. Here is the critical game in the final round. In CBM 124 the game will be more extensively analysed, especially with regard to the opening. The following are excerpts of the European Champion's notes.

Tiviakov,Sergei (2634) - Sutovsky,Emil (2630) [B22]
IX EICC Plovdiv (11), 02.05.2008 [Tiviakov,S]

This game from the last round of the European Championship was extremely important. Only this victory allowed me to win the tournament alone, without any tie. There were eight players at the lead before the start of the last round and I was the only one to win (the other three games were quick draws). Emil also offered me a draw in the evening before this game. But being White in the last round also having a big positive score against Emil I saw no single reason to accept it.

1.e4 c5 2.c3. The choice of this move in this game was completely motivated by the answers of Emil to it since 2000. Otherwise I could have chosen other lines of the Sicilian Defence. 2...d5. Objectively speaking this move is worse than 2...Nf6. After 2..d5 White gets a slightly better position in all lines no matter what Black plays. 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Na3 Nc6. Emil continues to play this dubious move with a regularity. Solid 6...Qd8 is normal. 7.Be3 cxd4 8.Nb5 Qd8 9.Nbxd4 Nd5. A critical position of the whole line with 6...Nc6 where White has a difficult choice out of two good moves - 10.Nc6 and 10.Bg5. 10.Bg5!? Qb6. The best reaction. Other moves are worse! 11.Bc4. White has to play energetically to fight for advantage!

11...Nxd4!?N 11...Nf6 is too passive. 12.0-0 (12.Qe2+/=; 12.Bxf6 gxf6 13.Qe2+/=) 12...Be7 13.Qe2 0-0 14.Rad1 a6 15.Rd2 Qc7 16.a4 Bd7 17.Nb3 1/2-1/2 David,P-Bernal Moro,L/Odessa 1990/EXT 97 (17); 11...Qxb2? is a mistake almost losing on a spot after 12.Nb5+/- trapping the queen b2. E.g. 12...f6 (12...Bc5 13.0-0 Nxc3 14.Nc7+ Kf8 15.Qc1+-) 13.Rb1 Qxc3+ 14.Nxc3 Nxc3 15.Qb3 Nxb1 16.Qxb1 fxg5 17.Nxg5+/-. 12.Nxd4 Bc5 Here again 12...Qxb2? 13.Nb5+- loses; But intermediate 12...h6!? deserved the most serious attention. 13.Bxd5 After 13.0-0 h6 14.Bh4 Bxd4= the position is equal. 13...Bxd4

Here my opening preparation stopped. I only looked at the computer move 13...exd5 after which White is slightly better after 14.Qe2+ Be6 15.Be3 +/=. 14.0-0!? 14.Qxd4 Qxd4 15.cxd4 exd5 16.Rc1 +/= followed by Rc1-c7 with a very pleasant safe position was a worthy alternative to the text. 14...Bc5?! Here Emil finally makes a serious mistake. Well, solving an opening problem after 10.Bg5 was obviously not an easy task... 15.Qe2. Now I get my favourable type of position which I get very often from the various openings and feel very well. 15...h6 16.Bf4 0-0 17.Bc4 Bd7 18.Rad1+/-

Until here I was making all natural simple moves rather quickly and at this point I realised that Black without doing anything specially wrong stands on the edge of losing. I was looking at the board and saw no defence for Black. White just plays Rd1-d3-g3, followed by Qe2-g4, and/or Bf4-e5, and the mating attack comes... 18...Rad8 19.Rd3 Bc8 20.Rg3 Bd6 [20...Kh7 21.Qh5 e5 22.Qxe5+- is lost for Black] 21.Qg4 g6 22.Bxh6 Bxg3 [22...Rfe8 23.Rh3+- loses] 23.Qxg3 Qc5 [23...Rfe8 is impossible because of 24.Qe5 f6 25.Qxf6 Qc7 26.Qxg6++-]

24.Bxf8 The natural move, but not the strongest move in the position. Here White bishop h6 is stronger than the black rook. 24.Qf4 Qf5 25.Qxf5 exf5 26.Bxf8 Kxf8+/-; Only computer engine can offer the following line 24.Bd3 Qd6 25.Qh4 Qe5 (25...e5 26.Re1 Rfe8 27.Bg5 Kg7+-) 26.Bxf8 Rxd3 (26...Rxf8 27.Rd1+-) 27.Qc4 Rd8 28.Be7+- with a winning position. 24...Kxf8. Although White has managed to win a pawn his task to convert his material advantage into a full point is far from easy. First of all, White should try to exchange some pieces and/or try to seize the control of the 'd' line. 25.Bb3?! Allowing unnecessary complications. It was better to choose 1 line from the following 2: 25.Qf4 g5 26.Qf6 Rd2 27.Bb3 Ke8+/-; or 25.Bd3 Qd5 26.Bb1 Qd2 27.Qc7 Ke8 28.b3 Qe2 29.h3+/-] 25...Kg7?! We both during the game thought that 25...Rd2 26.Rd1 Rxb2 27.Qh4 Kg7 is impossble for Black, but actually because of the weakness of the 1st rank White cannot win directly. Nevertheless after 28.h3 +/= White keeps the upper hand. (28.Rd8 Rb1+ 29.Bd1 Qh5 30.Qd4+ e5 31.Qd6 Be6 is unclear.) 26.Qf4

Now White is back on track to win this game safely! 26...b6 27.Rd1 [27.Re1+/- was also possible, but my aim was to make it as simply as possible. 27...Rxd1+ 28.Bxd1 e5 29.Qd2 Be6. Objectively speaking this ending is technically won for White! 30.a3. 30.b3+/- was possible but I didn't want to put my pawn on the square of the same colour as my bishop (as was taught during the childhood). 30...Bd5 31.Bc2 Qc4 32.Bd3 Qc6. [32...Qa2 33.h3+/-] 33.Qg5 e4 [33...Qd6 34.Qe3+/-] 34.Qe5+ Kh7 35.Be2 Bc4 36.Bd1 [36.Bxc4 Qxc4+/-] 36...f5 [36...Qd7 37.Qd4+/-] 37.Qd4 Bf7 38.g3 Qe6 [38...Qb5 39.b4+/-] 39.b3 g5 40.Qd2 Qf6 41.Qd4

Here the time control was over! And White has not spoiled anything, keeping all his advantage intact. 41...Qe7 42.b4 f4? 43.Bg4+-. Now the game is basically over. White has a compete domination by his pieces, also Black king is not safe anymore from the possible white checks. 43...e3 44.fxe3 fxe3 45.Kf1 b5 46.Ke1 Bc4 [46...Kg8+- was more stubborn.]

47.Qd7! The arising bishop ending is won for White easily. 47...Qxd7 48.Bxd7 Kg6 49.Bg4 Kf6 50.Be2 Bd5 51.Bxb5 Bf3 52.h4 gxh4 53.gxh4 Ke5 54.Be2 Be4 55.h5 Kf4 56.c4 Ke5 57.c5 Kd4 58.h6 Ke5 59.b5 1-0. [Click to replay]

Top standings after eleven rounds (total 337 players)

1 GM Tiviakov Sergei 2634 NED 8.5
2 GM Volkov Sergey 2633 RUS 8.0
3 GM Tregubov Pavel V 2629 RUS 8.0
4 GM Movsesian Sergei 2695 SVK 8.0
5 GM L'Ami Erwin 2600 NED 8.0
6 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2632 FRA 8.0
7 GM Grachev Boris 2610 RUS 8.0
8 GM Baklan Vladimir 2647 UKR 8.0
9 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy 2612 UKR 8.0
10 GM Nyback Tomi 2587 FIN 8.0
11 GM Sutovsky Emil 2630 ISR 7.5
12 GM Laznicka Viktor 2578 CZE 7.5
13 GM Pavasovic Dusko 2595 SLO 7.5
14 GM Efimenko Zahar 2660 UKR 7.5
15 GM Papaioannou Ioannis 2566 GRE 7.5
16 GM Khalifman Alexander 2628 RUS 7.5
17 GM Najer Evgeniy 2627 RUS 7.5
18 GM Mamedov Rauf 2617 AZE 7.5
19 GM Akopian Vladimir 2673 ARM 7.5
20 GM Areshchenko Alexander 2650 UKR 7.5
21 GM Fressinet Laurent 2656 FRA 7.5
22 GM Smirin Ilia 2630 ISR 7.5
23 GM Lupulescu Constantin 2558 ROU 7.5
24 GM Bologan Viktor 2665 MDA 7.5
25 GM Khismatullin Denis 2584 RUS 7.5
26 GM Galkin Alexander 2606 RUS 7.5
27 GM Gustafsson Jan 2603 GER 7.5
28 GM Sargissian Gabriel 2643 ARM 7.5
29 GM Andreikin Dmitry 2580 RUS 7.5
30 GM Hracek Zbynek 2613 CZE 7.5
31 GM Roiz Michael 2659 ISR 7.5
32 GM Vajda Levente 2582 ROU 7.5
33 GM Markowski Tomasz 2598 POL 7.5
34 GM Gurevich Mikhail 2611 TUR 7.5

Women's section

The women's section was dominated, during the second half of the tournament, by Kateryna Lahno, who is a full grandmaster (one of only a dozen or so women who have achieved the title). Katya did not lose a single game, scoring four wins with the white pieces and two with the black. Five games were drawn. Her performance was 2616. Congratulations to this very talented young lady, who is just 18 years old.

European Women's Champion 2008: GM Kateryna Lahno

Top standings after ten rounds (total 159 players)

1 GM Lahno Kateryna 2479 UKR 8.5
2 IM Ushenina Anna 2474 UKR 8.0
3 WGM Zhukova Natalia 2450 UKR 8.0
4 IM Cmilyte Viktorija 2466 LTU 8.0
5 IM Mkrtchian Lilit 2413 ARM 8.0
6 IM Skripchenko Almira 2443 FRA 8.0
7 IM Dembo Yelena 2429 GRE 8.0
8 GM Cramling Pia 2539 SWE 7.5
9 WGM Pogonina Natalija 2470 RUS 7.5
10 IM Muzychuk Anna 2486 SLO 7.5
11 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2538 BUL 7.5
12 IM Dzagnidze Nana 2443 GEO 7.5
13 IM Danielian Elina 2479 ARM 7.5
14 IM Lomineishvili Maia 2400 GEO 7.5
15 WGM Demina Julia 2337 RUS 7.5
16 IM Socko Monika 2505 POL 7.5


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