European Club Cup: Key matchups ahead

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
10/5/2022 – No major upsets were seen in round 2 of the European Club Cup in Mayrhofen, with the favourite teams mostly securing comfortable wins. Superbet’s Vishy Anand was rested, while Offerspill’s Magnus Carlsen played and beat Solingen’s Alexander Naumann. In the women’s event, the top two teams, Monte-Carlo (pictured) and Superbet, scored wins. Both teams will face difficult challenges in round 3, as they will play Pamhagen (third seeds) and Odlar Yurdu (fourth seeds) respectively. | Photos: European Chess Union

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Women’s event: tough pairings in round 3

Since only 17 teams are taking part in the women’s European Club Cup in Mayrhofen — unlike the 70 squads in the open — this category will already see deciding matchups taking place in Wednesday’s third round. The favourites, Cercle d’Echecs Monte-Carlo, will face the third seeds, ASVOe Pamhagen, while the second seeds, CSU ASE Superbet, will have the tough task of playing the fourth seeds, Odlar Yurdu.

Pamhagen (Austria), which has Elina Danielian and Anna Ushenina on the top boards, defeated Wood Green (England) in the second round thanks to wins on boards 3 and 4, by Yuliia Osmak and Aleksandra Maltsevskaya respectively.

Elina Danielian

ASVOe Pamhagen (Austria) beat Wood Green (England)

Osmak only needed 27 moves to take down Scottish GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant with the white pieces. Facing the King’s Indian Defence, Osmak expanded on both flanks of the board, playing b2-b4 (the bayonet) and h2-h4 by move 10.

The following position, after Black grabbed the pawn on b4 and White further pushed his pawn to h5, had already been played before.

 

Last year, Armenian rising star Shant Sargsyan had continued with 13...c6 here, to which Maksim Schekachikhin replied by 14.g5. There followed 14...Nh7 and, instead of keeping the tension with 15.Qd2, White went for 15.hxg6, giving Black time to regroup.

Osmak and Arakhamia-Grant had not prepared this line up to this point, given how long they were taking to make their moves. Nonetheless, 13...Nh7 and 14.Qd2, the moves seen in the game, are both strong continuations.

After White placed her queen on the d2-h6 diagonal, however, Black underestimated her opponent’s chances on the kingside and played two moves in a row on the other flank of the board — 14...a5 15.g5 b6 (14...g5 was the strongest defensive move for Black).

 

While Black erred in her approach, White immediately took the bull by the horns — 16.0-0-0 Qe7 17.Nf3 Rd8 18.Nh4 Nf8 19.Rdf1, bringing two more pieces to the attack!

Moreover, Osmak spent a bit over a half hour since move 13, while her opponent thought for more than an hour during this sequence. White was already winning, and continued to attack fearlessly until forcing her experienced rival to resign in the following position.

 

This is what can happen when a King’s Indian goes wrong for Black! Remarkable.

 

 

Standings after round 2

Rk. Team  TB1 
1 ASVOe Pamhagen 4
2 Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo 4
3 Odlar Yurdu 4
4 CSU ASE Superbet 4
5 TAJFUN - SK Ljubljana 2
6 Philidor Mulhouse 2
7 SK Erste Bank Baden 2
8 Wood Green 2
9 BGK KS Gwiazda Bydgoszcz 2
10 Blue & Yellow 2

...17 teams

All available games

 

 

Rapport represents Romania

The whole Carlsen-Niemann affair would have been prevented (or delayed) had Richard Rapport not cancelled his participation at the Sinquefield Cup. The 26-year-old from Szombathely did not skip the European Club Cup, though, as he is playing his first official tournament as a Romanian representative, as part of the also Romanian CSU ASE Superbet (which also has Vishy Anand, Gukesh and Bogdan-Daniel Deac in its roster!).

While Anand played in the first round, Rapport led the squad on the second day of action. The ever-creative grandmaster defeated SK Dunajska Streda’s Miklos Nemeth with white — Nemeth’s squad represents Slovakia but has an all-Hungarian roster, coincidentally.

Rapport converted the following endgame with a strong knight against a weak bishop and five pawns per side.

 

Nemeth cracked under pressure and lost the game fourteen moves later.

Richard Rapport

Richard Rapport kicked off his participation with a win

Superbet won the match 5-1, much like Novy Bor on board 2. Magnus Carlsen’s Offerspill got an even better score, as the Norwegians defeated Schachgesellschaft Solingen 5½-½, with the world champion getting the better of Alexander Naumann in convincing positional fashion.

In round 3, Superbet will face Vugar Gashimov (Rauf Mamedov, Kirill Shevchenko), while Novy Bor (Harikrishna, Vidit) will play Beer Sheva (Maxim Rodshtein, Victor Mikhalevski).

 

 

Standings after round 2

Rk. Team  TB1 
1 Schachclub Viernheim 1934e.V. 4
2 Kfar Saba Chess Club 4
3 Offerspill Chess Club 4
4 CSU ASE Superbet 4
5 Silla - València Origin of Chess 4
6 Novy Bor Chess club 4
7 Vugar Gashimov 4
  Beer Sheva Chess Club 4
9 Sentimento Ajka BSK 4
10 TAJFUN - SK Ljubljana 4
11 Clichy-Echecs-92 4
12 Gokturk Satranc Spor Kulubu 4
13 Asnieres Le Grand Echiquier 4
14 FC Bayern München 4
15 Schachgesellschaft Riehen 4

...70 teams

All available games

 

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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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