European Club Cup: Globus first across the finish line

by Klaus Besenthal
10/16/2017 – The Azerbaijani team Odlar Yurdu were poised to win the European Club Cup 2017 in Antalya, Turkey on Saturday, but came up short against the Czech team of AVE Nový Bor losing 2½ : 3½. That let the Russian top seeded team of Globus to leapfrog into victory. Vladimir Kramnik finally got a white game, and duly won over Ernesto Inarkiev. Among the Women, Batumi Chess Club NONA, though not without incident. | Photo: David Llada

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AVE Nový Bor 3½ : 2½ Odlar Yurdu

The decisive game was Nijat Abasov loss to Krishnan Sasikiran on board five. The other five games ended drawn. Given the fact that the Czech team outrated their Azerbaijani opponents on all boards, we can't call this a "slip-up", and Globus deserves credit for handily dispatching their opposition 4½ : 1½ on the second table to take the European Club Cup trophy.

The defending champion team of Alkaloid also won their last round, and slipped into second place over both Oldar Yurdu and AVE Nový Bor on better Sonneborn-Berger tiebreak score.

Team Alkaloid accepting their trophy

Team Alkaloid accepting their tropy | Photo: David Llada

Top results of Round 7

No. Team Team Res. : Res.
  AVE Nový Bor
  Odlar Yurdu
  SHSM Legacy Square Capital
  Csm Baia Mare
4 : 2
  Obiettivo Risarcimento Padova
  Mednyi Vsadnik
  LSG Leiden
  Beşiktaş Jimnastik Kulübü
4 : 2

One could say Black's 42nd move decided the tournament:


Krishnan Sasikiran

Krishnan Sasikiran | Photo: David Llada

There was little doubt about the victory of Globus against their Russian colleagues SHSM Legacy Square Capital. Globus even allowed the first loss of any game in the tournament, when Sergey Karjakin went down against Boris Grachev. But four other wins were more than enough to make up for it, following Odlar Yurdu's loss.

SHSM Legacy Square Capital

SHSM Legacy Square Capital (from R-to-L): Inarkiev, Najer, Malakhov, Grachev, Zvjaginsev | Photo: David Llada

The importance of rook endings was again on display in Kramnik's game. There's a nice example of Zugswang in the following position:


Play through the moves on the diagram!

Kramnik played 68.Ka6 and Black is out of passable moves, as 68...Kh5 69.Rd6 Rxb3 70.Rxf6! Rxg3 71.Rxf5+ Kxh4 72.Kxb6 lends itself to a simple conversion, since the black king is much too far away from white's a-pawn.

The Russian number one came into Antalya with some chance of still qualifying to the 2018 Candidates by rating (instead Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana are now all but assured the two spots). But after three black games and three draws, even a last round win wasn't enough to net him more than a point or so, effectively removing him from contention in the current World Championship, barring a 'wild card' nomination. Outwardly he remained focused on his teams performance, and they lived up to their top ranking.

Final standings

Rk. Team Team
1 Globus GLO
2 Alkaloid ALK
3 Odlar Yurdu ODL
4 AVE Nový Bor AVE
5 Mednyi Vsadnik MED
6 LSG Leiden LSG
7 Beer Sheva Chess Club BEE
8 SHSM Legacy Square Capital SHS
9 Csm Baia Mare CSM
10 Šk Dunajská Streda SKD
11 Nice Alekhine NIC
12 Obiettivo Risarcimento Padova OBI
13 Beşiktaş Jimnastik Kulübü BES
14 3CS 3CS
15 Augusta Perusia AUG
16 Vålerenga Sjakklubb VAL
17 Riga Technical University RIG
18 Oslo Schakselskap OSL
19 Gambit Asseco See GAM
20 Fjölnir Chess Club FJO
21 Hasan Pristina HAS
23 White Rose WHI
24 Dardania Chess Club DAR
25 Etelä-Vantaan Shakki ETE
26 Club Gambit Bonnevoie CLU
27 Skakklubben Nordkalotten SKA
28 Karaman Belediyesi Spor Kulübü KAR
29 Viking Chess Club VIK
30 Genç Akademisyenler Eğitim Kültür ve Ara GEN
31 Gonzaga GON
32 SK Elektroprivreda SKE
33 Chania Chess Academy CHA
34 Adare Chess Club ADA
35 Benildus Chess Club BEN
36 Hatay Büyükşehir Belediyesi Spor Kulübü HAT

All completed games (Open)


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Batumi Chess Club NONA snags the Women's Championship

Despite a 2 : 2 tie with underdog Romanian team Cs Studentesc Medicina Timisoara, the Georgian top seeds NONA, edged out neighboring rivals Odlar Yurdu on tiebreak score. Both teams achieved 11 match points with five wins, a draw and a loss apiece.

Batumi Chess Club NONA

Batumi Chess Club NONA, European Women's Club Cup winners | Photo: David Llada

In the last round the Azerbaijani team eeked out a win thanks to their bottom board Khanim Balajayeva who scored the only full point of the round.


White must choose where to drop back with the dark-squared bishop, and went for 18.Be3 attacking the c5-pawn. But Black had the strong intermezzo 18...b4! when after 19.axb4 cxb4 20.Na4 the e4-pawn drops off.

Had White instead played 18.Bd2, then b4 would be met by 19.axb4 cxb4 20.Nd5 and the position remains about equal thanks to the x-ray attack on the knight on a5. In the game continuation 20.Nd5 was also possible, but not as strong due to 20...b3! keeping Black's advantage.

The queenside majority for Black eventually led to her vicitory.

Khanim Balajayeva and her Oldar Yurdu teammates

Khanim Balajayeva (third from left in glasses) and her Oldar Yurdu team | Photo: David Llada

The Georgian team could have had an easier time of it. Their third board, Nino Batsiashvili — fresh off a stellar performance in Isle of Man, where she clinched her third and final Grandmaster norm and earned the title — made a serious oversight in her last game:


Batsiashvili would be fine after exchanging two rooks for the queen with 36.Ra8, but instead blundered the immediate capture 36.bxc4? Try to spot the refutation in the diagram.

Fortunately, the win for her teammate Bela Khotenashvili saved the day for Batumi.

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Team results for Round 7

No. Team Team Res. : Res.
  Batumi Chess Club NONA
  Cs Studentesc Medicina Timisoara
2 : 2
  Odlar Yurdu
  Bossa Nova
  Mulhouse Philidor
4 : 0
  UGRA Chess Club
0 : 4
  Beer Sheva Chess Club
  SHSM Legacy Square Capital
1 : 3
1 : 3

Final standings

Rk. SNo   Team Games   +    =    -   TB1   TB2   TB3 
1 1
Batumi Chess Club NONA 7 5 1 1 11 126,5 17,5
2 4
Odlar Yurdu 7 5 1 1 11 117,5 17,0
3 5
Bossa Nova 7 5 0 2 10 116,0 18,5
4 2
UGRA Chess Club 7 4 2 1 10 107,5 18,0
5 3
SHSM Legacy Square Capital 7 3 2 2 8 114,5 16,0
6 6
Cs Studentesc Medicina Timisoara 7 3 2 2 8 93,5 18,0
7 7
Anatolia 7 4 0 3 8 79,0 16,5
8 9
Marmara 7 3 0 4 6 56,0 13,0
9 10
Beer Sheva Chess Club 7 2 1 4 5 47,5 12,5
10 8
Mulhouse Philidor 7 2 1 4 5 34,0 10,0
11 11
Aegean 7 1 0 6 2 27,0 8,5
12 12
Mediterranean 7 0 0 7 0 15,5 2,5

All games (Women)


Translation from German and additional reporting: Macauley Peterson


Klaus Besenthal is computer scientist, has followed and still follows the chess scene avidly since 1972 and since then has also regularly played in tournaments.


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