2014 European ch. led by 16-year-old Artemiev

by Albert Silver
3/6/2014 – After two rounds, 28 players had perfect scores, and after three rounds only five. At the top is IM Artemiev, who turned 16 today for a perfect birthday as he beat Khismatullin (2714). The competition is warming up and the zero-tolerance rule has already been a factor, but not as you think, as the organizers showed that fair-mindedness prevails. Report, pictures, and video.

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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.

Rounds two and three

The grandiose locale

The mastermind behind the massive event: GM Smbat Lputian

The first rounds of an event such as the European Championship have little or minimal meaning for the final standings, since although a good start is promising, what matters the most is the finish, and who is left hoisting trophies at the end. This is not to say a good start is not helpful, merely that eleven rounds has a way of letting Elos re-establish the balance of power. Still, who can forget Vladimir Potkin’s fantastic run in 2011, to name but one.

2011 European Champion GM Vladimir Potkin

The very creative Baadur Jobava (2716) is one of the top seeds

Remarkably, after two rounds, no fewer than 28 players had perfect scores, but after round three, that group had been whittled down to just five players with 3.0/3. At the top of the group, by virtue of tiebreak, is IM Vladislav Artemiev (2625), who turned 16 today, and beat Denis Khismatullin (2714). It is worth noting that he has been in clear ascension, having gained 126 Elo in the last 12 months, won the Russian under-21 championship, and less than a month ago, won the Men’s Student Grandmaster Cup in the 2014 Moscow Open with 8.0/9 and a 2869 performance.

IM Vladimir Artemiev had a perfect 16th birthday

Here is Artemiev's win in round two:

[Event "15th ch-EUR Indiv 2014"] [Site "Yerevan ARM"] [Date "2014.03.04"] [Round "2.34"] [White "Artemiev, Vladislav"] [Black "Babujian, Levon"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C48"] [WhiteElo "2621"] [BlackElo "2491"] [PlyCount "103"] [EventDate "2014.03.03"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. Bc4 Bc5 6. d3 d6 7. Na4 b5 8. Nxd4 bxc4 9. Nf3 Bb6 10. Bg5 cxd3 11. Qxd3 Qd7 12. Nc3 Ng4 13. Bh4 f6 14. Nd2 Bb7 15. Nc4 O-O 16. f3 Nh6 17. O-O-O Qe6 18. Nd5 Rf7 19. g4 Kh8 20. Be1 Ng8 21. Qb3 Bc8 22. Qa3 Rb8 (22... -- {The threat is} 23. Ndxb6 cxb6 (23... axb6 24. Qxa8) 24. Nxd6) 23. Bb4 {[%cal Rc4d6,Rb4d6,Ra3d6,Rd1d6] White is not making a big secret of his target.} Bd4 24. c3 Bb6 25. Rd2 Qd7 {Diagram [#]} 26. Ncxb6 $1 axb6 27. Nxc7 $1 Qxc7 28. Bxd6 Qb7 29. Bxb8 Qxb8 {Although materially White has a rook and two pawns for the two minor pieces, it is much deeper than that. Black's knight is paralyzed and the rooks will take control of the board.} 30. Rhd1 Qa7 31. Qb3 Re7 32. Rd6 b5 33. Kb1 h5 34. gxh5 Kh7 35. Qxb5 Bh3 36. Qe2 Nh6 37. Ra6 Qc5 38. Ra8 Nf7 39. Qe1 Be6 40. Qg3 Ng5 41. Rdd8 Bxa2+ 42. Rxa2 Qc4 43. Raa8 Qf1+ 44. Ka2 Qc4+ 45. b3 Qe2+ 46. Ka3 g6 47. Rh8+ Kg7 48. Rag8+ Kf7 49. hxg6+ Ke6 50. Qg4+ Kd6 51. Rd8+ Kc6 52. Qc8+ 1-0

In such a large tournament, there will be no shortage of brilliancies, and blunders. In the following one, White overlooked a small move that changed the evaluation from drawish to mate.

[Event "15th ch-EUR Indiv 2014"] [Site "Yerevan ARM"] [Date "2014.03.04"] [Round "2.13"] [White "Palac, Mladen"] [Black "Inarkiev, Ernesto"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C50"] [WhiteElo "2561"] [BlackElo "2698"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r1b5/1p3p1k/2p1nq2/p1b1pN1p/4PnrN/2P3B1/PP1Q1PPK/3RRB2 w - - 0 28"] [PlyCount "4"] [EventDate "2014.03.03"] 28. f3 $4 (28. a4 {or 28.b3 and White was fine for example.}) 28... Rxg3 $1 29. Kxg3 {Diagram [#]} (29. Nxg3 {is also mate.} Qxh4#) 29... Bg1 $3 {[%csl Rf2, Rg4,Rh2,Rh3][%cal Yg1h2,Yg1f2] The move White missed. Any other move and he was fine, but after this.... he gets mated.} 0-1

Also at 3.0/3 and 100% are Alexander Riazantsev, Ilia Smirin, Evgeny Najer and Igor Kovalenko. The top female player is Judit Polgar unsurprisingly with 2.5/3.

Alexander Riazantsev (right) was one of the few to keep a perfect score

Savchenko and the zero-tolerance rule

Of special note was an episode involving GM Boris Savchenko. As is known, the regulations state that the zero-tolerance rule is in effect, a rule that is not short of controversy. Due to travel arrangements gone astray that were quite out of his control. Savchenko knew he would not arrive in time, and advised the organizers and his opponent. Did this mean a zero and end of story? No, as the organizers sympathized with his plight, as did his opponent, and he was allowed to arrive late, after which he and his opponent agreed to a fairly quick draw. It is heartening to know that while the importance of discipline and rules is not doubted, fair-mindedness and sportsmanship take precedence.

The arbiters and organizers hard at work

Vladimir Akopian, one of Armenia's top players. In 1999, he made it
to the final of the FIDE KO World Championship

Denis Khismatullin has had a great few months winning over 50 Elo

The beautiful Lillit Mkrtchian was one of the heroes of round
one, when she beat Ivan Popov (2660)

The playing hall

Even the security forces cannot avoid being infected with the chess fever

A short video of the opening ceremony

Standings after three rounds:

Rk Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts  TB Perf
1 IM Artemiev Vladislav RUS 2621 3.0 2603 3310
2 GM Riazantsev Alexander RUS 2689 3.0 2578 3326
3 GM Smirin Ilia ISR 2644 3.0 2562 3296
4 GM Najer Evgeniy RUS 2633 3.0 2505 3248
5 GM Kovalenko Igor LAT 2626 3.0 2493 3240
6 GM Onischuk Vladimir UKR 2583 2.5 2726 2829
7 GM Goganov Aleksey RUS 2569 2.5 2674 2778
8 GM Kovalev Vladislav BLR 2548 2.5 2647 2754
9 GM Antipov Mikhail Al. RUS 2507 2.5 2640 2735
10 GM Popilski Gil ISR 2503 2.5 2630 2727
11 GM Dubov Daniil RUS 2618 2.5 2604 2783
12 GM Eljanov Pavel UKR 2723 2.5 2601 2829
13 GM Fressinet Laurent FRA 2709 2.5 2595 2815
14 GM Ipatov Alexander TUR 2614 2.5 2595 2775
15 GM Pashikian Arman ARM 2612 2.5 2593 2762
16 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy UKR 2706 2.5 2591 2811
17 GM Navara David CZE 2700 2.5 2589 2807
18 GM Jobava Baadur GEO 2716 2.5 2587 2817
19 GM Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2698 2.5 2586 2805
20 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw POL 2713 2.5 2579 2810
21 GM Cheparinov Ivan BUL 2681 2.5 2575 2793
22 GM Polgar Judit HUN 2693 2.5 2567 2792
23 GM Alekseev Evgeny RUS 2692 2.5 2566 2791
24 GM Shimanov Aleksandr RUS 2649 2.5 2564 2771
25 GM Hovhannisyan Robert ARM 2611 2.5 2549 2729

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.
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