Sunny Beaches in Rhodes: ECC starts tomorrow

10/20/2013 – The European Club Cup (ECC) will start tomorrow and will take place in Rhodes, Greece until the 27th of this month. The tournament features a magnificent team swiss tournament to determine the best club in Europe. Many of the the top players in the world will participate: no fewer than four teams have an average rating of at least 2700. Preview of the event and overview of the teams.

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The European Chess Club Cup (ECC) is poised to start tomorrow as the players are settling in Rhodes, Greece. This is one of the strongest tournaments of the year with over one hundred grandmasters and people flying in from all around the world to participate. From each national club championship in Europe one to four clubs qualify to the European Club Cup, depending on the strength of each national event. The European Club Cup will be held in 7 rounds for both categories (open/men teams with 6 boards and women teams with 4 boards), played with the Swiss system.

Zero tolerance, dress code and Sophia rules are all in effect. Round will commence daily at 15:00 CET.

The time control will be 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. Players may only agree to a draw after the 40th move has been made by black.

According to FIDE regulations, the European Club Cup offers the possibility for players to achieve GM, IM, WGM and WIM norms based on 7 games - an exception to the normal rule.

The winners of the European Club Cup (currently SOCAR Azerbaijan) and the European Women’s Club Cup (currently Cercle d’Echecs de Monte Carlo) qualified directly to next year’s European Club Cup. SOCAR and Cercle d'Echecs de Monte Carlo are this year's top two teams.

Rhodes

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Historically, Rhodes is famous worldwide for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes has been declared a World Heritage Site. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe - a treat for the players and a nice change from some remote locations in which tournaments are normally held.

The Colossus of Rhodes, a statue depicting Helios, stood over thirty feet tall and was destroyed by an earthquake in 226 B.C. This is an artistic interpretation by Salvador Dalí

Nowadays Rhodes has shifted its attention to tourism more than anything, and it is a fantastic destination this time of the year. Where most of Europe is starting to feel the cold, if it is not freezing already, Rhodes will remain stable around 20 degree Celsius for most of the event.

The Rodos Palace, the tournament hotel, during the day...

and during nighttime.

The island should serve as a beautiful place for the tournament. Some players arrived  a few days early to "acclimatize". Some of the grandmasters that needed acclimatizing came from far away places such as France and Italy...

A small technical meeting today ironed out the last rules

Players

The tournament will have the participation of over 100 grandmasters and well over 250 titled players. The top four teams all feature an average rating of over 2700. However their path to victory won't be easy as they have not only to play each other, but some of the other contenders have unbelievably strong grandmasters in their line-ups. Here are the top ten players of each tournament, by rating, and their respective clubs:

Men

Player Club Country
Rating
Grischuk, Alexander Malachite (RUS) Russia
2786
Nakamura, Hikaru O.R. Padova (ITA) USA
2783
Caruana, Fabiano SOCAR (AZE) Italy
2779
Topalov, Veselin SOCAR (AZE) Bulgaria
2771
Karjakin, Sergey Malachite (RUS) Russia
2762
Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar SOCAR (AZE) Azerbaijan
2759
Dominguez Perez, L Saint-Petersburg (RUS) Cuba
2753
Giri, Anish SOCAR (AZE) Netherlands
2749
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime Clichy Echecs 92 (FRA) France
2742
Svidler, Peter Saint-Petersburg (RUS) Russia
2740

Top Starting Team list

Club Country
Average Rating
SOCAR
AZE
2753
Malachite
RUS
2729
Saint-Petersburg
RUS
2710
Ugra
RUS
2700
G-Team Novy Bor
CZE
2667
PGMB-Rostov
RUS
2663
O.R. Padova
ITA
2633
Odlar Yurdu
AZE
2596
Clichy Echecs 92
FRA
2579
Minsk
BLR
2494

The defending champions, SOCAR from Azerbaijan, are again the rating favorites. With heavy hitters such as Caruana, Topalov, Mamedyarov and Giri on their top boards they will be difficult to stop. However you simply can't disregard the next three team, all of which are Russian, from placing first. Malachite, Saint-Petersburg and Ugra all bring incredibly strong players and are very well rounded. Novy-Bor and Rostov are also well rounded and strong, albeit a little lower rated. Padova and Clichy will rely completely on their top boards scoring the heavy points. Padova the Nakamura and Harikrishna dua on the top two boards, while Clichy has Vachier-Lagrave and Rapport, however neither team's last board or alternates are comparable to their opponents'.

Women

Player Club Country
Rating
Hou Yifan Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo China
2621
Koneru, Humpy Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo India
2607
Muzychuk, Anna Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo Slovenia
2560
Lagno, Kateryna CS Politechnica-Antibiotice Iasi (ROU) Ukraine
2534
Cramling, Pia Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo Sweden
2515
Gunina, Valentina SHSM Nahse Nasledie (RUS) Russia
2506
Cmilyute, Viktorija CS Politechnica-Antibiotice Iasi (ROU) Lithuania
2505
Ushenina, Anna Ugra (Russia) Ukraine
2497
Kosteniuk, Alexandra SHSM Nashe Nasledie (RUS) Russia
2495
Pogonina, Natalia Ugra (Russia) Russia
2485

Top Starting Team list

Club Country
Average Rating
Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo
MNC
2576
SHSM Nahse Nasledie
RUS
2463
Mika Chess Club
ARM
2463
CS Politechnica-Antibiotice Iasi
ROU
2451
Ugra
RUS
2436

The clear favorites are the defending champions from Monaco. With the top three women in the World, excluding Judit Polgar, the Monte Carlo team has assured itself of being at the very top of the rating lists. Although over 100 points behind, it is possible that any of the following four teams comes with a strong surprise. SHSM will be looking to use Kosteniuk's and Gunina's good form to win matches, while Mika Chess Club has a very solid team with Harika, Mkrtchian, Danielian, Javakishvili and curiously no alternate.

The stage is set for a beautiful event with lots of fighting chess. The tournament will be decided on match points, followed by Olympiad style tiebreaks, so board points, though they matter for the end-result, are ultimately not as important as match points.

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


Topics ECC, Rhodes
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