Euro Club Cup kicks off in Greece Friday

by André Schulz
10/11/2018 – Tomorrow an impressive team tournament gets underway — this year's European Cup — and among those in action will be World Champion Magnus Carlsen who plays for the "Valerenga Sjakklubb" from Oslo. The Elo favourite is the team of "Alkaloid" with an average rating of 2741 and Ding Liren among the players. Another 2800 player, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov leads the Azerbaijani team Odlar Yurdu. | Photo: European Chess Union

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17 players over 2700 participating

Tomorrow begins this year's European Club Cup, a team tournament pitting private teams from across Europe which can comprise players from any country. The tournament is seven rounds and runs through October 18th. The venue is the congress centre at the Greek holiday resort of Porto Carras, a frequent destination for large-scale chess tournaments, about 125 kilometres southeast of Thessaloniki, on the coast of the Agean Sea.

An appealing destination for a chess tournament

According to the entry list, 61 teams are participating in the Open Tournament. Last year's defending champion, "Globus", has disbanded leaving as top seed the team, playing under the Macedonian flag, "Alkaloid". The line-up is impressive:

Alkaloid

Name
Andreikin Dmitry
Ding Liren
Eljanov Pavel
Jakovenko Dmitry
Kryvoruchko Yuriy
Nedev Trajko
Pancevski Filip
Yu Yangyi

The sponsor Alkaloid is a chemical company based in Skopje, which is active in the field of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics and employs 1500 people. They will compete primarily against five other teams that have an average rating above 2650, with the next highest rated being the Czech team of "Novy Bor". This team named after a town in the north of the Czech Republic, includes the top two Czech players among their ranks.

Novy Bor

Bo.   Name Rtg FED
1 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw 2727 POL
2 GM Harikrishna Pentala 2733 IND
3 GM Navara David 2740 CZE
4 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 2711 IND
5 GM Sasikiran Krishnan 2672 IND
6 GM Ragger Markus 2690 AUT
7 GM Laznicka Viktor 2664 CZE
8 GM Bartel Mateusz 2591 POL

The third place team on the list by rating is the Azerbaijani team "Odar Yurdlu". Here in fact all eight players actually play under the Azerbaijan flag:

Odar Yurdlu

Name
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
Naiditsch Arkadij
Mamedov Rauf
Safarli Eltaj
Guseinov Gadir
Durarbayli Vasif
Abasov Nijat
Agaragimov Djakhangir

"Odar Yurdlu" is a private university in Baku, founded in 1995. The name of the university refers to the Azeri motto meaning "land of eternal fire".

The best Russian club team in the field, coming in at fourth place on the ranking list are "Mednyi Vsadnik" or the "bronze riders" from St. Petersburg, with Peter Svidler, Nikita Vitiugov and Vladimir Fedoseev on the top boards. The St. Petersburg squad as a whole is just under 2700.

Mednyi Vsadnik

Name
Svidler Peter
Vitiugov Nikita
Fedoseev Vladimir
Matlakov Maxim
Rodshtein Maxim
Alekseenko Kirill
Goganov Aleksey

Just a notch below is the best Norwegian team, the "Valerenga Sjakklubb" from Oslo, which sports Magnus Carlsen on top board.

Carlsen's challenger at the upcoming World Cup fight, Fabiano Caruana, is missing in this tournament, having just finished a gruelling fortnight in Batumi at the Olympiad, which Carlsen skipped.

It will be interesting to see how the World Champion fares at the ECC, particularly considering that he has lost an average of 9 rating points in his last five team tournaments, and less than 7 Elo points currently separate the two players in the upcoming World Championship match! It's not out of the question that Caruana couldn't go into London as World number one if the trend continues. Of course Magnus will be highly motivated to prevent that from happening.

Valerenga Sjakklubb

Name
Carlsen Magnus
Howell David W L
Grandelius Nils
Romanov Evgeny
Predojevic Borki
Tari Aryan
Lie Kjetil A.
Christiansen Johan-Sebastian

Last among the "big six" is Obiettivo Risarcimentop Padova with half of its roster from Italy, albeit the bottom half.

Obiettivo Risarcimento Padova

Name
Wang Hao
Vallejo Pons Francisco
Leko Peter
Granda Zuniga Julio E
Vocaturo Daniele
David Alberto
Brunello Sabino
Dvirnyy Danyyil

The remaining teams are all significantly lower rated, but who knows, we could see some upsets.

Team starting rank (top 20)

No.   Team RtgAvg
1
 
Alkaloid 2741
2
 
AVE Novy Bor 2712
3
 
Odlar Yurdu 2702
4
 
Mednyi Vsadnik St.Petersburg 2696
5
 
Valerenga Sjakklubb 2672
6
 
Obiettivo Risarcimento Padova 2657
7
 
Molodezhka 2587
8
 
Beer Sheva Chess Club 2582
9
 
Itaka 2532
10
 
SV Werder Bremen 2468
11
 
Sloven Ruma 2461
12
 
KGSRL 2459
13
 
Schachfreunde Berlin 1903 2446
14
 
Schachgesellschaft Solingen 2437
15
 
Dunajska Streda 2436
16
 
DJK Aufwaerts Aachen 2430
17
 
E.S. Thessalonikis 2429
18
 
Schachgesellschaft Winterthur 2426
19
 
Reykjavik Chess Club 2419
20
 
Schachgesellschaft Zurich 2406

...61 teams.

Women's tournament

Significantly fewer teams registered for the women's tournament — just twelve in all. "Nona" from Georgia, with the five top Georgian women, and Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo (with Almira Skripchenko, Pia Cramling and Anna Muzychuk) are the top teams.

Team starting rank

No.   Team RtgAvg
1
 
Nona 2484
2
 
Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo 2483
3
 
Caissa Italia Pentole Agnelli 2466
4
 
Ugra 2456
5
 
Kyiv Chess Federation 2438
6
 
Odlar Yurdu 2369
7
 
SSHOR 2345
8
 
Mulhouse Philidor 2189
9
 
Beer Sheva Chess Club 2163
10
 
ZSK Maribor 2116
11
 
Caissa Italia Banca Alpi Marittime 2058
12
 
AMO Galaxias Thessaloniki 1538

Tournament details

The matches in the Open tournament will be played on six boards. Each team can include two alternates. The women's tournament is played on four boards, with one alternate.

The seven rounds according to the Swiss system. Players receive 90 minutes for 40 moves then 30 minutes for the rest with 30 seconds added per move. Draw offers before move 30 are prohibited.

The total prize fund is 22,000 euros for the Open competition, and 13,000 euros for the women's tournament plus 5,000 euros for board prizes.

Translation from German and additional reporting: Macauley Peterson

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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