2011 European Championship: Potkin maintains lead by miracle

3/29/2011 – The title isn't misleading, though it is not meant to suggest Vladimir has not earned his spot. However, with 5.5/6 going into round seven, followed by fourteen players with 5.0/6, a draw meant that all fourteen would need to fail to win... and that is exactly what happened! This also allowed others to close in and now nineteen are snapping at his heels. Rounds six and seven.

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The 2011 European Individual Championship (Mixed) is currently underway, and will run from March 21st to April 3rd in Aix-Les-Bains, France. The first round is on March 22nd, and the last on April 2nd, with no tie-break matches to decide the final places. Besides determining the title of European Champion, the top 23 finishers also qualify for the 2011 World Cup.

Prizes: place 1-25 (113,700 €): 20,000 €, 15,000 €, 11,000 €, 8,000 €, 7,000 €, 6,000 €, 5,500 €, 5,000 €, 4,500 €, 4,000 €, 3,500 €, 3,000 €, 2,500 €, 2,200 €, 2,000 €, 1,900 €, 1,800 €, 1,700 €, 1,600 €, 1,500 €, 1,400 €, 1,300 €, 1,200 €, 1,100 €, 1,000 €
Special Prizes (perf - rating): 6,300 €: 1,000 €, 800 €, 700 €, 600 €, 500 €, 450 €, 400 €, 350 €, 300 €, 2 x 250 €, 2 x 200 €, 2 x 150 €
Tourney system: Swiss system, 11 rounds
Time control: 90 minutes/40 moves + 30 minutes + 30 seconds/move starting with the first move
Game start: all rounds, everyday 15:00
Rest day: 29th March


The start of round six

Rounds six and seven

Entering round six, Potkin's edge was tenuous at best with only a half point lead over three players, followed by 28 others a point behind. The Russian was unable to maintain his breakneck pace and followed up by not one, but two draws. In fact after round six, he stood at 5.5/6, which might seem huge, but followed by fourteen players at 5.0/6. With a draw in round seven, how one earth could he still keep sole lead? You guessed it: not one single player at 5.0/6 was able to win their game, and a few below were, so now he is sole leader at 6.0/7 while nineteen players trail at 5.5/7.


It is almost a miracle he was not caught in round seven, but
tournament leader, Vladimir Potkin, will assuredly not be so
lucky if he fails to win in round eight.

Here are a couple of interesting games played in the last rounds.

Jones,Gawain C B (2578) - Bologan,Viktor (2671) [B51]
12th ch-EUR Aix-les-Bains FRA (6), 27.03.2011

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.d4 a6 5.Bxd7+ Bxd7 6.dxc5 dxc5 7.Nc3 e6 8.Bf4 Ne7 9.Ne5 Ng6 10.Qh5 Nxe5?! Although Carlsen won with 10...Bc6 it wasn't as a result of the opening, which merely equalized. 11.Bg3 Nxe5 12.Bxe5 c4 13.0-0 Qa5 14.Qg5 h6 15.Qg3 f6 16.Qg6+ Ke7 17.Bf4 Be8 18.Qg3 Kf7 19.Rad1 Bc6 20.Rd2 e5 21.Be3 Bb4 22.f4 Rhe8 23.f5 Bc5 24.Rfd1 Rad8 25.Rxd8 Bxe3+ 26.Qxe3 Rxd8 27.Rxd8 Qxd8 28.Kf2 Qd6 29.a3 a5 30.Kf3 Kg8 31.g3 b5 32.Ke2 b4 33.axb4 axb4 34.Nd1 Ba4 35.b3 cxb3 36.cxb3 Qa6+ 37.Kd2 Bb5 38.Qc5 Qa2+ 39.Qc2 Qa7 40.Qc8+ Kh7 41.Kc1 Qa1+ 42.Kc2 Qd4 0-1 (42) Ni Hua (2665)-Carlsen,M (2801)/London 2009/CBM 134/[Ftacnik] 11.Bxe5 h6 12.h4. Forced to prevent Qg5, which would allow Black to equalize. As it stands, Black has trouble with his kingside and castling now. 12...Bc6 13.Rd1 Qa5 14.0-0 c4








15.Nd5! Energetic and strong. Black will not be able to keep the piece, and his king is in serious jeopardy to boot. 15...exd5 16.exd5 Bd7 17.Bc3 Bb4. The alternative 17...Qc5 causes no end of headaches after 18.Rfe1+ Kd8 (18...Be7 19.Rxe7+ Qxe7 20.d6 Qe4 (20...Qf8 21.Qe5+ Kd8 22.Ba5+ Kc8 23.Qc5+ Bc6 24.d7+ Kb8 25.Bb6 Qxc5 26.d8Q+) 21.Re1) 19.Qxf7 Bd6 20.Bd4 Qb5 21.Re6 Bxe6 22.dxe6 18.Bxg7 0-0-0 19.Bxh8 Rxh8 20.Qxf7 Rf8 21.Qg7 Qd8 22.Rd4 Bd6 23.Qxh6. Black is way behind and unless he manages to mate Gawain, the 3-0 majority on the kingside will decide it. 23...Rf6 24.Qg5 b5 25.b3 Qh8 26.Re4 Rf5 27.Qe3 cxb3








28.Qb6! [28.cxb3 Kb7] 28...Qf6. 28...Rxd5 29.Qxa6+ Kb8 30.Qb6+ Kc8 31.c4! 29.Qxa6+ Kb8








30.Re6! Bh2+. 30...Bxe6 31.Qxd6+ Kb7 32.Qc6+ Ka7 33.dxe6 bxa2 34.Qd7+ Ka6 35.e7 a1Q 36.Qd6+ Qxd6 37.Rxa1+ Kb6 38.e8Q+- 31.Kxh2 Qxh4+ 32.Kg1 Bxe6 33.Qb6+ Ka8 34.axb3 1-0. [Click to replay]


IM Anthony Wirig (2480) having the tournament of his life was
strongly inspired by his hero Sonic the Hedgehog

French IM Anthony Wirig had been having a dream tournament this far, tied for second, and met one of the top seeds Nikita Vitiugov (2720) in round seven. The position he obtained was slightly cramped but seemed to offer good counterchances, however the Russian showed he had seen deeper.

Vitiugov,Nikita (2720) - Wirig,Anthony (2480) [D15]
12th ch-EUR Aix-les-Bains FRA (7), 28.03.2011

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.e3 b5 6.b3 Bg4 7.Be2 Nbd7 8.h3 Bf5 9.0-0 e6 10.Bb2 Bd6 11.Nh4 Be4 12.Nxe4 Nxe4 13.Nf3 0-0 14.Bd3 Ndf6 15.Qe2 Qe7 16.c5 Bc7 17.b4 Nd7 18.a4 f5 19.Ra3 Rac8 20.axb5 axb5 21.Ra7 Bb8 In many ways this is an important crossroads, and Nikita shows a very fine understanding of the position.








22.Rb7. The biggest difference is that not only is the knight pinned, forcing the queen to stay put, but to leave a piece will need to come to its protection. If instead he had played a move such as 22.Ra6 then 22...g5 would give Black good chances. 22...Rc7 Though reasonable in its concept, this highlights Vitiugov's idea: to trade a pair of rooks, and bring into action his plan involving the two weaknesses. 23.Rxc7 Bxc7 24.Ra1 Rc8 25.Qd1 Bb8 26.Ra6 Qd8 27.Qa1








It may seem as if White is biting on dust, but things are not so simple. The distinct space advantage means that he can switch from one side of the board to the other far quicker and easier than Black. 27...Qc7 28.Qa2 h6 29.Ne5 Nxe5 30.dxe5 Nd2 31.Bd4 Nc4 32.f4 h5 33.Qf2 Qe7








34.g4! The Russian now switches to the kingside where he is able to effectively penetrate far quicker than Black can counter. 34...hxg4 35.hxg4 g6 36.Qg3 Kf7








37.Ra2! The rook now penetrates via g2 or h2. 37...Rf8. If 37...Rg8 38.Rg2 threatening gxf5 exf5 and Bxf5 38...fxg4 39.Qxg4 and g6 falls. 38.Rh2 Ke8 39.Rh6 Qf7 40.gxf5 gxf5 41.Rg6. Threatening Be2 and Rg7. 41...Kd8 42.Qg5+ 42.Qg5+ Qe7 (42...Kc8 43.Rg7 Qe8 44.Re7 Qd8 45.Rxe6) 43.Rxe6 1-0. [Click to replay]

Standings after seven rounds

Rk.
Tit
Name
Nat
Rtg
Pts.
1
GM
Potkin Vladimir
2653
6.0
2
GM
Vallejo Pons Francisco
2707
5.5
3
GM
Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter
2673
5.5
4
GM
Volokitin Andrei
2677
5.5
5
GM
Ragger Markus
2614
5.5
6
GM
Khismatullin Denis
2662
5.5
7
GM
Cheparinov Ivan
2664
5.5
8
GM
Zhigalko Sergei
2680
5.5
9
GM
Feller Sebastien
2657
5.5
10
GM
Khairullin Ildar
2634
5.5
11
GM
Iordachescu Viorel
2626
5.5
12
GM
Vitiugov Nikita
2720
5.5
13
GM
Lupulescu Constantin
2626
5.5
14
GM
Parligras Mircea-Emilian
2598
5.5
15
GM
Moiseenko Alexander
2673
5.5
16
GM
Wojtaszek Radoslaw
2711
5.5
17
GM
Kobalia Mikhail
2672
5.5
18
GM
Mamedov Rauf
2667
5.5
19
GM
Hammer Jon Ludvig
2606
5.5
20
GM
Korobov Anton
2647
5.5

Click here for complete standings

Pictures from the official site


Links

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