2014 Euro-Ch Rd7: The new kids on the block

by Albert Silver
3/11/2014 – After a welcome rest day, in which the players could recharge their batteries before a brutal sprint to the finish, came round seven. At the top, the leaders drew and were joined by three more, leaving Motylev still in the lead, trailed by six others. That said, the news was the young players with huge results, such as 13-year-old Martirosyan (2234) with a grandmaster performance.

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The championship is an eleven-round Swiss system in accordance with the ECU Tournament Rules and FIDE Laws of Chess. and is held in Yerevan, Armenia from March 2 (day of arrival) until March 15 (day of departure) 2014. The tournament is held at the Elite Plaza Business Centre.  The rate of play 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 tournament does not allow players to draw before the 40th move, and the controversial zero-tolerance rule will be in effect. In case of pre-arranged results the Chief Arbiter can decide that the result of the respective game is 0 - 0. If a prize-winner is absent during the closing ceremony, then the money prize will be reduced by 20%.

The total prizefund is 160 thousand Euros, with 20 thousand for first place, 16 thousand for second, down to 1000 for 25th place. There are also prizes for the best overperformer, meaning the player who performs highest over his rating.

The European Individual Championship 2014 is a qualification event for the next World Cup. According to FIDE regulations and the decision of the ECU Board, 23 players will qualify.

Round seven

The cathedral under renovation is Holy Etchmiadzin, built in 302 A.D., the first
Christian cathedral in the world, when Armenia adopted Christianity as its official
religion (twelve years before the Byzantine emperor Constantine).

The Catholicos of All Armenians, equivalent to Pope Francis, Garegin II receiving the players, the highest
honor that can be bestowed on visiting dignitaries. (thanks to Dr. Garabed Kassakhian, Henderson, Nevada)

The arbiters hard at work to ready the round

Chief arbiter Ashot Vardapetyan, who was also the chief arbiter
at the last World Championship, and IA and trainer Boris Postovsky

The seventh round of the European Championship came after a welcome rest day on Sunday, when the players had the option of a bit of sightseeing or just recharging their batteries for the fierce second half to come. Sole-leader Motylev drew with Wojtaszek, while Laznicka and Melkumyan also drew. As a result, they were rejoined by three others, leaving Motylev alone with 6.0/7 and a 2871 performance, and Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Poland), Hrant Melkumyan, Vladimir Akopian (both - Armenia), Pavel Eljanov (Ukraine), Dragan Solak (Turkey) and Victor Laznicka (Czech Republic) tied for 2nd-7th with 5.5/7.

Vladimir Malakhov (2717) has been having a lukewarm event

Vladimir Akopian is now in contention with 5.5/7, half a point
behind the leader

A classic shot, but a classy one

New Kids on the Block

New to the standings was the publication of the first list for the Special Prize. The Special Prize is for players who outperform their ratings by the greatest amount. For example, Alexander Motylev, by virtue of his great result so far, performing 215 Elo above is current rating, is doing quite well on the list in 8th place. Of special note however are the two current leaders of the Special Prize list.

17-year-old FM Kirill Alekseenko (2461) has 4.0/7 and is on
course for a GM norm with a 2607 performance. He started
with a surprise win over fourth seed Anton Korobov (2719)
in round one.

19-year-old David Anton Guijarro (2559) from Spain defeated top Austrian player
Markus Ragger (2644) in round seven, and has 5.0/7 and a 2708 performance

At the very top is 11-year-old Shant Sargsyan from Armenia, rated 2027, but with a huge 2457 performance after seven rounds after facing four GMs, two IMs and one FM, not one of whom is rated less than 2353. With four rounds to go, he is a contender for an IM norm.

11-year-old Shant Sargsyan from Armenia was a silver medalist
in the World Youth U10 championship in 2012

In second place is 13-year-old FM Haik Martirosyan, also from Armenia, rated 2234, and a favorite to score a full GM norm(!) with a 2657 performance thus far, including two wins over grandmasters, and only one opponent rated under 2500.

FM Haik Martirosyan (2234) is close to a grandmaster norm

Here is his crushing win over Romanian GM Vladislav Nevednichy (2591):

[Event "15th ch-EUR Indiv 2014"] [Site "Yerevan ARM"] [Date "2014.03.04"] [Round "2.70"] [White "Martirosyan, Haik M"] [Black "Nevednichy, Vladislav"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A48"] [WhiteElo "2234"] [BlackElo "2591"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2014.03.03"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bf4 Bg7 4. e3 d6 5. h3 {A classic London, remniscent of teen Kamsky.} O-O 6. Be2 b6 7. c4 Bb7 8. Nc3 Ne4 (8... Nbd7 9. O-O {before} Ne4 {is more common.}) 9. Nxe4 Bxe4 10. Qd2 {Usually White reserves this square for the knight, to eject the bishop from e4, but he has a different plan with Ng5 followed by e4.} c5 11. O-O Nc6 $6 {Cutting off the bishop and inviting White to grab space in the center cannot be right.} ({It made more sense to play} 11... Nd7 {and if} 12. d5 {Black had} h6 {with ...g5 and Bg6/h7.}) 12. d5 Na5 13. Ng5 Bf5 14. e4 Bd7 15. Nf3 b5 {Black completely misses the forthcoming refutation of this move.} 16. cxb5 Rb8 {[#]} 17. b4 $3 {Superb and very well judged.} Bxa1 18. Rxa1 Nb7 19. a4 {White's point is simple: once the d4 square is freed, the knight can easily hop to c6 and wreak havoc. If Black does not take on b4, that knight on b7 will remain imprisoned.} cxb4 20. Qxb4 Qa5 21. Qb2 Rfc8 22. Bd2 Qd8 23. e5 Be8 24. Bh6 Nc5 25. exd6 f6 26. dxe7 Qxe7 {One does not need a computer to see that Black is busted here.} 27. Bc4 { Threatening d6+ winning the queen, so...} Qd6 28. Qd4 {[%cal Rh6f4,Rf4b8] Now threatening Bf4.} Rb7 29. Bf4 Qf8 30. Rc1 Kh8 31. Ba2 Bd7 {and now the 13-year-old Armenian finishes his opponent off in style.} 32. Ne5 $1 Kg7 (32... fxe5 33. Bxe5+ Kg8 34. Rxc5 $1 {and the discovered check is fatal.}) 33. Nc6 Nxa4 34. Qxa4 g5 35. Be3 h6 36. Bb1 1-0

Photos by Arman Karakhanyan

Standings after seven rounds

Rk Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts  TB Perf
1 GM Motylev Alexander RUS 2656 6.0 2592 2871
2 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw POL 2713 5.5 2619 2825
3 GM Melkumyan Hrant ARM 2613 5.5 2619 2802
4 GM Eljanov Pavel UKR 2723 5.5 2619 2827
5 GM Solak Dragan TUR 2610 5.5 2603 2786
6 GM Laznicka Viktor CZE 2681 5.5 2568 2775
7 GM Akopian Vladimir ARM 2682 5.5 2551 2761
8 GM Goganov Aleksey RUS 2569 5.0 2662 2750
9 GM Najer Evgeniy RUS 2633 5.0 2625 2741
10 GM Shimanov Aleksandr RUS 2649 5.0 2616 2738
11 GM Anton Guijarro David ESP 2559 5.0 2616 2708
12 GM Jakovenko Dmitry RUS 2723 5.0 2612 2747
13 GM Fedoseev Vladimir RUS 2641 5.0 2611 2732
14 GM Riazantsev Alexander RUS 2689 5.0 2606 2737
15 GM Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2698 5.0 2604 2736
16 GM Navara David CZE 2700 5.0 2591 2725
17 GM Areshchenko Alexander UKR 2705 5.0 2589 2724
18 GM Sargissian Gabriel ARM 2676 5.0 2586 2717
19 GM Smirin Ilia ISR 2644 5.0 2585 2712
20 GM Jobava Baadur GEO 2716 5.0 2585 2713
21 GM Tregubov Pavel V. RUS 2614 5.0 2583 2696
22 GM Lupulescu Constantin ROU 2643 5.0 2579 2705
23 GM Shomoev Anton RUS 2581 5.0 2558 2663
24 GM Popov Ivan RUS 2650 5.0 2549 2681
25 GM Perunovic Milos SRB 2617 5.0 2539 2665

Click for complete standings


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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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