European Teams: Russia take the sole lead

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
10/31/2019 – The Russian teams are alone atop the standings table both at the open and women's sections of the European Team Championships in Batumi. In round six, Dmitry Andreikin defeated Vassily Ivanchuk in the only decisive game of the key Russia v Ukraine match-up, while Germany upset Azerbaijan to take sole second place. Among the women, Russia failed to win a match for the first time in the tournament, as Azerbaijan held them to a draw. | Photo: Official site

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Germany in second place

The open section of the championships saw a couple of surprising results, as Germany defeated the defending champions from Azerbaijan and Turkey took down the early co-leaders from the Netherlands. In the meantime, Russia defeated Ukraine to take the sole lead on 11 out of 12 match points. Germany are a single point behind and will face the favourites in Thursday's seventh round.

Immediately behind the Germans, Armenia and England are sharing the third place with Ukraine, after both getting 3:1 victories over lower-rated squads — Slovenia and Croatia, respectively. The team led by Levon Aronian will be facing the Englishmen led by Mickey Adams in the next round.

European Team Chess Championhips 2019

England beat Croatia with wins by Gawain Jones and Luke McShane | Photo: Official site

During this event, it has become customary for Daniil Dubov to add the entertainment value for the spectators, all the while maintaining an undefeated score with three victories to his name. Against Ukraine, the 23-year-old faced Alexander Moiseenko with the black pieces. Out of a Grünfeld Defence, the Russian did not hesitate to advance his kingside pawns:

 

Dubov had 5...g5 6.g3 h5 prepared for this game. Moiseenko was clearly surprised, as he spent over half an hour on 7.f3, which prompted his rival to think for seventeen minutes before continuing his expansion with 7...h4.

Curiously, this happened just a day after Magnus Carlsen had declared, referring to Fischer Random: "You go g5, you go h5, and suddenly your position is great. I mean, you don't see that in regular chess — it adds such a different dimension to the game". Of course, the world champion's point still stands, if we take into account the fact that few players dare to do what Dubov does more often than not.

In the game, Moiseenko was up to the task after having been surprised in the opening. A draw by repetition was reached on move 22.

Alexander Moiseenko, Daniil Dubov

Daniil Dubov and Alexander Moiseenko played an interesting draw | Photo: Official site

Russia's success is not only Dubov's doing though, as their top board Dmitry Andreikin has a remarkable 5 out of 6 score in Batumi so far. On Wednesday, he took down Vassily Ivanchuk, who arrived undefeated to this match. Much like his teammate on board four, Andreikin did not shy away from pushing his pawns in front of his king:

 

The game continued 10.g4 h6 11.f4, and both players started to spend considerable amounts of time on each move in the ensuing position. White's threat to keep advancing on the kingside provoked Ivanchuk to leave some holes in his position. The Ukrainian lost a pawn on move 30 and saw his rival switching gears when the queens left the board, fighting to convert his material advantage in a long technical effort. Ivanchuk resigned on move 56.

Relatively quieter draws on boards two and three gave Russia match victory.


Russia vs. Ukraine - Round 6

 

The other team that left the playing hall in a celebratory mood on Wednesday was Germany, who defeated Azerbaijan 2½:1½ thanks to Daniel Fridman's victory on board three. Fridman beat Rauf Mamedov after the latter was over-ambitious in the middlegame and lost a pawn on the queenside. The German's technique was flawless in the conversion process.

Azerbaijan's rating advantage over Germany was mainly caused by the rating difference on top board, where Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is over a hundred points higher-rated than Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu. Nisipeanu, however, is an experienced grandmaster who has more than once faced top-class opponents. Against Mamedyarov, in fact, he was the one missing chances to fight for more than a draw in a complex middlegame.

European Team Chess Championships 2019

Germany upset Azerbaijan on Wednesday | Photo: Official site

Matthias Bluebaum and Arkadij Naiditsch also signed a draw, so it all came down to board four, in which Gadir Guseinov and Georg Meier reached the following endgame by move 45:

 

The Azerbaijani is a pawn up in the ending with bishops of opposite colours, and tried to convert this into a win until move 117. Meier's stubborn resistance was rewarded with a draw that confirmed his team's memorable victory.


Germany vs. Azerbaijan - Round 6

 

Standings after Round 6 (top 10) - Open

Rk. Team Team
1 Russia RUS
2 Germany GER
3 Ukraine UKR
4 Armenia ARM
5 England ENG
6 Switzerland SUI
7 Czech Republic CZE
8 Slovenia SLO
9 Turkey TUR
10 Azerbaijan AZE

...40 teams

Games from Round 6 - Open

 

All games available at Live.Chessbase.com

Russia no longer perfect in women's section

While the Russian team in the open section kicked off the tournament with an unlikely draw and went on to win their next five matches, the women's squad won their first five encounters and drew for the first time in round six. It was not for a lack of trying though, as they had the upper hand on a couple of boards against Azerbaijan — particularly on board three, where Olga Girya did not find a way to break through in a winning technical endgame:

 

Girya improved her knight's position with 56...b2, when it was time to get into the opponent's position with 56...♚c4 — if White tries to defend her pawn with 57.♔d2, 57...b4 is a winning pawn break. After the text, Black still has a large edge, but Mammadova continued to defend resourcefully until a draw was reached on move 86.


Russia vs. Azerbaijan - Round 6

 

Georgia's second team (right) drew with Poland | Photo: Official site

Meanwhile, Georgia scored a commanding 4:0 victory over Serbia and Georgia 2 held Poland to a draw. The second team presented by the local federation is actually the ninth highest rated in the competition, which proves the strength of women's chess in Georgia, where the legacy of Nona Gaprindashvili and Maia Chiburdanidze had a strong impact on the development of young talents. 

Standings after Round 6 (top 10) - Women's

Rk. Team Team
1 Russia RUS
2 Georgia GEO
3 Azerbaijan AZE
4 Georgia 2 GEO
5 Poland POL
6 Armenia ARM
7 Ukraine UKR
8 Serbia SRB
9 Spain ESP
10 Italy ITA

...32 teams

Games from Round 6 - Women's

 

All games available at Live.Chessbase.com

Links




Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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