Double gold for Russia at the European Team Championships

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
11/2/2019 – Both Russian squads took clear first place at the European Team Championships in Batumi. Kirill Alekseenko scored the sole win that gave his team a final round victory over Poland in the open section. Ukraine managed only a draw against Croatia, but nevertheless got the silver medals ahead of England, who were relegated to third place on tiebreak criteria. In the Women's, Georgia and Anzerbaijan got second and third places, respectively. | Photo: Official site

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Is this 1992?

Russia took gold medals at the open section of the European Team Championships for a fifth time since the dissolution of the Soviet Union — the USSR won in 1989 and Russia won the next time the event took place, in Debrecen 1992. While Garry Kasparov was the leader of that team, Peter Svidler was the one on first board the next three occasions Russia got gold. The eight-time national champion was not part of the line-up this year though, as a renewed squad took over.

The Ukrainians, who were co-leaders until round eight, ended up in second place. Surprisingly, they never got gold at this event, and this is the second time they take home silver medals. The last time they did was precisely in 1992, when none other than Vassily Ivanchuk was their first board. Ivanchuk, a player known for taking team events very seriously, played all nine rounds and scored 5½ points, getting the seventh highest rating performance in Batumi.

England took third place and — yes, you got that right — they also got bronze back in 1992! The English went on to get their only gold in the next edition, played in 1997. Needless to say, Mickey Adams was in the line-up both times. Much like Ivanchuk, the 47-year-old from Truro collected 5½ points after playing all nine rounds. In Debrecen, twenty-seven years ago, Adams got the third best rating performance, below FIDE Master Vladimir Kramnik and world champion Kasparov.

Alexander Riazantsev, Maxim Matlakov, Kirill Alekseenko, Dmitry Andreikin, Nikita Vitiugov, Daniil Dubov, Alexander Motylev

The 2019 winners — Alexander Riazantsev, Maxim Matlakov, Kirill Alekseenko, Dmitry Andreikin, Nikita Vitiugov, Daniil Dubov and Alexander Motylev (captain) | Photo: Twitter account of the Russian Chess Federation

The final round

Team MP Res. : Res. MP Team
Ukraine 13 2 : 2 11 Croatia
Russia 13 : 10 Poland
Germany 11 : 12 England

On top board, the Croatian team proved they did not get to face the co-leaders in the last round by mere coincidence, as they drew Ukraine in a hard-fought match. The last game to finish was tense-packed, as Ivanchuk could not break Ivan Saric's fortress in an endgame with queen and pawn versus rook and pawn.

Ukraine vs. Croatia


While Saric defended that position, the Russians had already won their match against Poland. Three balanced games finished in draws, but Kirill Alekseenko was the key figure for the eventual champions, as he took down Kacper Piorun on board three.

Russia vs. Poland


Other player who came from having a good outing on the Isle of Man — like Alekseenko — gave England match victory over Germany. David Howell outplayed Daniel Fridman in a complex queenless middlegame to get his team the bronze medals. The Germans had a great performance until round seven, when they drew Russia, but consecutive losses against Ukraine and England relegated them to ninth place.

Germany vs. England


Individual medals - Open

Gold medallist on board two Berkes Ferenc from Hungary got the best rating performance of the event, scoring an undefeated 5 out of 7 in Batumi. Two other players that stand out in these lists are Daniil Dubov, who not only performed well but also played enterprising chess from start to finish, and Alexei Shirov, who got gold on board three and proved that his strong showing at the Grand Swiss was not a chance occurrence. 

Board 1
Rk.   Name Rtg Team Rp Pts. % Games
1 GM Andreikin Dmitry 2741 Russia 2817 5,5 68,8 8
2 GM Aronian Levon 2758 Armenia 2790 5,0 62,5 8
3 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2686 Ukraine 2771 5,5 61,1 9
Board 2
Rk.   Name Rtg Team Rp Pts. % Games
1 GM Berkes Ferenc 2667 Hungary 2844 6,0 85,7 7
2 GM Kuzubov Yuriy 2636 Ukraine 2767 4,0 66,7 6
3 GM Vitiugov Nikita 2732 Russia 2749 4,5 64,3 7
Board 3
Rk.   Name Rtg Team Rp Pts. % Games
1 GM Shirov Alexei 2664 Spain 2781 6,5 81,3 8
2 GM Halkias Stelios 2530 Greece 2781 5,5 78,6 7
3 GM Volokitin Andrei 2627 Ukraine 2748 4,5 64,3 7
Board 4
Rk.   Name Rtg Team Rp Pts. % Games
1 GM Dubov Daniil 2699 Russia 2805 5,5 78,6 7
2 GM Onischuk Vladimir 2616 Ukraine 2760 6,0 75,0 8
3 GM Jones Gawain C B 2688 England 2713 5,5 68,8 8

Final standings (top 10) - Open

Rk. Team Team
1 Russia RUS
2 Ukraine UKR
3 England ENG
4 Armenia ARM
5 Croatia CRO
6 Azerbaijan AZE
7 Spain ESP
8 Germany GER
9 France FRA
10 Czech Republic CZE

...40 teams

All games from Round 9 - Open


All games available at

Third straight gold for Russia in the Women's

Talking of 1992, that was also the first time a separate event for women was in place. Back then, Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan reached the podium. The Russian team did not get into the top three until they got bronze medals consecutively in 2003 and 2005. From then on, however, they have pretty much taken over — they won six out of the last seven editions, only finishing second in 2013, when they were upset by Israel in round two.

Their fourth round win over Georgia proved crucial, as the local squad finished only one match point behind. In the last day of action, the Russians were categorical against Turkey, scoring a clear 3½:½ victory. 

The Russians had a scare in round eight, when they drew Armenia in a highly tense match. Armenia, however, could not reach the podium, as they were defeated by Azerbaijan in the final round. The Azerbaijani squad got they had done in 1992!

Team MP Res. : Res. MP Team
Russia 14 : ½ 11 Turkey
Georgia 2 10 1 : 3 13 Georgia
Azerbaijan 12 : 11 Armenia

European Team Chess Championships 2019

The top three boards of the Russian team finished undefeated | Photo: Official site

Nana Dzagnidze, Lela Javakhishvili

Nana Dzagnidze and Lela Javakhishvili led the Georgian team | Photo: Official site

Individual medals - Women

Georgia's Nana Dzagnidze got the highest rating performance among the women in Batumi, scoring 7 out of 9 on board one. Nevertheless, the most surprising individual result was achieved by Armenia's Anna Sargsyan (b. 2001) — with a 2312 rating, she collected 7 out of 8 points, thus achieving a 2626 rating performance. Meanwhile, 56-year-old Pia Cramling is still going strong, as she scored 8 out of 9 on Sweden's top board.

Board 1
Rk.   Name Rtg Team Rp Pts. % Games
1 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2502 Georgia 2639 7,0 77,8 9
2 GM Cramling Pia 2462 Sweden 2621 8,0 88,9 9
3 IM Mammadzada Gunay 2427 Azerbaijan 2565 5,5 68,8 8
Board 2
Rk.   Name Rtg Team Rp Pts. % Games
1 GM Lagno Kateryna 2549 Russia 2597 6,5 81,3 8
2 IM Peptan Corina-Isabela 2371 Romania 2586 6,5 81,3 8
3 IM Javakhishvili Lela 2457 Georgia 2472 5,0 62,5 8
Board 3
Rk.   Name Rtg Team Rp Pts. % Games
1 WGM Girya Olga 2476 Russia 2547 4,5 75,0 6
2 IM Matnadze Ana 2383 Spain 2488 6,0 75,0 8
3 IM Skripchenko Almira 2403 France 2466 5,0 71,4 7
Board 4
Rk.   Name Rtg Team Rp Pts. % Games
1 WIM Sargsyan Anna M. 2242 Armenia 2626 7,0 87,5 8
2 IM Arabidze Meri 2398 Georgia 2571 6,5 81,3 8
3 IM Mammadova Gulnar 2369 Azerbaijan 2532 6,5 81,3 8

Final standings (top 10) - Women's

Rk. Team Team
1 Russia RUS
2 Georgia GEO
3 Azerbaijan AZE
4 Ukraine UKR
5 Netherlands NED
6 Romania ROU
7 Armenia ARM
8 Turkey TUR
9 Georgia 2 GEO
10 Hungary HUN

...32 teams

All games from Round 9 - Women's


All games available at


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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