European Club Cup starts

by Alejandro Ramirez
9/15/2014 – Next to the Grand Slam Finals in Bilbao, a big room has one of the strongest open team tournaments in the World: the European Club Cup. With a few teams having an over 2700 average, the tournament could go to any one of the top ten teams. In the women's section it would seem that Monte Carlo is again the clear favorite, but unfortunately for them they didn't win their very first round!

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2014 European Club Cup

This mega swiss tournament brings together the top teams from the top leagues in Europe to compete for the European Club Champion title. Most teams have reinforcementes specifically for this event, while others send their local players that have served them throughout the seasons.

Many 2700+ players are participating in the event. The tournament is a seven round swiss system that coincides with the Bilbao Grand Slam Finals, for which we will have separate reports.

Tha matches in the Open section will be six-on-six, while on the Women's section will be four-on-four.

Open Section

Harikrishna is one of the strongest third boards of the event

The European Club Cup has started and the line-ups are as usually tremendously impressive. Here are the top 10 teams in the Open Section:

N Team Fed Rtg Captain
1 SOCAR Azerbaijan AZE 2750 Yevgeniya Javadova
2 Obiettivo Risarcimento ITA 2736 Gaetano Quaranta
3 Malakhite RUS 2731 Borid Frakin
4 SPB RUS 2705 Vladimir Bykov
5 G-Team Novy Bor CZE 2696 Petr Boleslav
6 SHSM RUS 2675 Alexander Zlochevskii
7 Odlar Yourdu AZE 2612 Yevgeniya Javadova
8 Beer Sheva ISR 2586 Alon Greenfeld
9 SG Solingen GER 2562 Markus Schaefer
10 Sestao Naturgas Energia ESP 2560 Sergio Trigo
11 Ladya RUS 2539 Ildar Ibramigov

Last year's somewhat surprising winner, G-Team Novy Bor, returns with a strong line-up, but they will have an even tougher time. SOCAR comes reinforced with Topalov on board two, coming from an impressive Olympiad and a very good result in the Sinquefield Cup. Wang Hao has not had a good month of chess, but if he plays well it is a good chance for SOCAR to regain the title.

1 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar SOCAR Azerbaijan GM AZE 2756
2 Topalov, Veselin SOCAR Azerbaijan GM BUL 2784
3 Adams, Michael SOCAR Azerbaijan GM ENG 2752
4 Giri, Anish SOCAR Azerbaijan GM NED 2758
5 Radjabov, Teimour SOCAR Azerbaijan GM AZE 2717
6 Wang, Hao SOCAR Azerbaijan GM CHN 2730
7 Korobov, Anton SOCAR Azerbaijan GM UKR 2673
8 Safarli, Eltaj SOCAR Azerbaijan GM AZE 2655

Thew new tough team is from Italy, Obiettivo Risarcimento comes with a young and powerful team:

1 Caruana, Fabiano Obiettivo Risarcimento GM ITA 2801
2 Nakamura, Hikaru Obiettivo Risarcimento GM USA 2782
3 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime Obiettivo Risarcimento GM FRA 2768
4 Bacrot, Etienne Obiettivo Risarcimento GM FRA 2729
5 Fressinet, Laurent Obiettivo Risarcimento GM FRA 2712
6 Georgiev, Kiril Obiettivo Risarcimento GM BUL 2626
7 Vocaturo, Daniele Obiettivo Risarcimento GM ITA 2585
8 Dvirnyy, Danyyil Obiettivo Risarcimento GM ITA 2522

The Italian team suffers in the last boards, and they will be relying on their top three heavy hitters to take most of the points. However since the matches are six on six, the fact that they have two 2500s on the squad might not matter in the matches against the other top teams.

1 Karjakin, Sergey Malakhite GM RUS 2777
2 Grischuk, Alexander Malakhite GM RUS 2789
3 Leko, Peter Malakhite GM HUN 2734
4 Shirov, Alexei Malakhite GM LAT 2701
5 Malakhov, Vladimir Malakhite GM RUS 2696
6 Motylev, Alexander Malakhite GM RUS 2686
7 Lysyj, Igor Malakhite GM RUS 2684
8 Bologan, Viktor Malakhite GM MDA 2648

Malakhite is a consistent top-team in this event. The Russian team fields a strong team that is reinforced by Leko on board three and Shirov on board four. Bologan and Lysyj make for very, very solid alternates.

1 Svidler, Peter SPB GM RUS 2732
2 Dominguez Perez, Leinier SPB GM CUB 2755
3 Vitiugov, Nikita SPB GM RUS 2742
4 Movsesian, Sergei SPB GM ARM 2663
5 Matlakov, Maxim SPB GM RUS 2694
6 Efimenko, Zahar SPB GM UKR 2641
7 Khairullin, Ildar SPB GM RUS 2638

SPB fields their strongest player, Dominguez, on board two. They are certainly hoping that Svidler will hold his own on board one while Dominguez and Vitiugov collect points on two and three. Movsesian comes from a shaky Olympiad, but if he can pull himself together SPB is a real danger.

1 Wojtaszek, Radoslaw G-Team Novy Bor GM POL 2736
2 Navara, David G-Team Novy Bor GM CZE 2722
3 Harikrishna, P. G-Team Novy Bor GM IND 2725
4 Laznicka, Viktor G-Team Novy Bor GM CZE 2675
5 Sasikiran, Krishnan G-Team Novy Bor GM IND 2680
6 Bartel, Mateusz G-Team Novy Bor GM POL 2636
7 Hracek, Zbynek G-Team Novy Bor GM CZE 2638

The defending champions have three solid 2700s on board 1-3, while the drop-off on four and five is not significant. Sasikirian on board five is an incredible asset while Bartel and Hracek can surprise on board six at any point.

1 Nepomniachtchi, Ian SHSM GM RUS 2710
2 Morozevich, Alexander SHSM GM RUS 2731
3 Dreev, Aleksey SHSM GM RUS 2662
4 Grachev, Boris SHSM GM RUS 2673
5 Najer, Evgeniy SHSM GM RUS 2646
6 Dubov, Daniil SHSM GM RUS 2614
7 Popov, Ivan SHSM GM RUS 2627
8 Potkin, Vladimir SHSM GM RUS 2610

SHSM as an entirely Russian team, and a strong one at that. Much will depend on how well they do on boards five and six, how well Morozevich decides to play this tournament and if Nepomniachtchi can hold his own on board one. Rating-wise it seems as if this is the last team that has strong winning chances, as the drop-off after SHSM is over 60 average rating points.

The ECC under way

The first round went without any major incidents. Almost all the top teams won, as expected in a Swiss system, although not all of them did it without dropping some board points. Only the Italian team managed to score a perfect 6-0 from the top 10 teams, while Socar dropped half a point. Manuel Bosboom took a full point from Peter Leko, but the rest of his team got crushed in the match Malkhite vs. En Passant:

The biggest upset of the day was probably by Peter Wells from England, who at 2455 was certainly an underdog against Arakadij Naidtisch, but the English player took it and overcame the 250+ point rating difference. White Rose, however, convincingly fell to Gros Xake Taldea 4.5-1.5.

Standings

Rk Team Fed Games
+
=
-
Pts
GamPnt
1 Obiettivo Risarcimento ITA 1
1
0
0
2
6
2 Minsk BLR 1
1
0
0
2
6
3 Schachgesellschaft Zurich SUI 1
1
0
0
2
6
4 Cercle d'Echecs de Bois Colombes FRA 1
1
0
0
2
6
5 SOCAR Azerbaijan AZE 1
1
0
0
2
5.5
6 G-Team Novy Bor CZE 1
1
0
0
2
5.5
7 Odlar Yourdu AZE 1
1
0
0
2
5.5
8 Beer Sheva ISR 1
1
0
0
2
5.5
9 Ladya RUS 1
1
0
0
2
5.5
10 SK Rockaden SWE 1
1
0
0
2
5.5

Round One Games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Women's Section

The Women's section is considerably smaller. With only eight teams the tournament is a round robin.

The Women's World Champion Hou Yifan is playing for Monte Carlo,
but they didn't start with the right foot this event

N Team Fed Rtg Captain
1 Ugra RUS 2429 Lobach Pavel
2 Ladya RUS 2441 Lilia Timurova
3 Rishon Letzion ISR 1806 Shlomit Vardi
4 Batumi Chess Club "Nona" GEO 2491 Marika Japaridze
5 Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo MNC 2568  
6 SC Bad Konigshofen GER 2388 Rene Gabel
7 Herzliya Chess Club ISR 1986 Shlomo Kandelshine
8 SHSM RUS 2498 Alexandr Zlochevskii

The favorites are the defending champions, Cercle d'Echecs de Monte Carlo. Despite that, the competition is quite stiff and both SHSM and Nona have very real chances to win. Ugra and Ladya cannot be underestimated either, although it is hard to see SC Bad Konigshofen or either of the israeli teams being a serious threat.

Surprises started as early as round one as Monte Carlo fell to Nona.

1 Ugra (1) 1.5 2.5 SHSM (8)
1.1 2481 Ushenina, Anna 0 1 Gunina, Valentina 2540
1.2 2482 Pogonina, Natalija 0 1 Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2543
1.3 2399 Kovanova, Baira ½ ½ Girya, Olga 2476
1.4 2352 Guseva, Marina 1 0 Kashlinskaya, Alina 2433
2 Ladya (2) 4 0 Herzliya Chess Club (7)
2.1 2472 Galliamova, Alisa 1 0 Len, Irina 2133
2.2 2469 Zatonskih, Anna 1 0 Yakovleva, Tatiana 2047
2.3 2421 Atalik, Ekaterina 1 0 Lian, Marina 1871
2.4 2401 Zaiatz, Elena 1 0 Haitovich, Avital 1891
3 Rishon Letzion (3) 0.5 3.5 SC Bad Konigshofen (6)
3.1 2331 Efroimski, Marsel ½ ½ Paehtz, Elisabeth 2467
3.2 0 Madivani, Maka 0 1 Mkrtchian, Lilit 2457
3.3 1957 Vardi, Shlomit 0 1 Savina, Anastasia 2373
3.4 1937 Federovski, Adi 0 1 Schoene, Maria 2261
4 Batumi CC "Nona" (4) 2.5 1.5 Cercle Monte-Carlo (5)
4.1 2566 Dzagnidze, Nana ½ ½ Hou, Yifan 2663
4.2 2507 Khotenashvili, Bela ½ ½ Muzychuk, Anna 2551
4.3 2464 Melia, Salome 1 0 Lagno, Kateryna 2540
4.4 2426 Batsiashvili, Nino ½ ½ Cramling, Pia 2516

The duel of russian powerhouses between Ugra and SHSM favored the higher rated team as both Gunina and Kosteniuk, who come from Gold medalling at the Olympiad, took their two games at the top boards and despite Guseva's efforts of beating Kashlinskaya, Girya (who was also part of the winning Russian team) sealed the deal with a draw.

Ladya annihilated Herzliya while SC Bad Konigshofen did the same to Rishon Letzion. The true surprise was that Nona dispatched Monte Carlo. The games are not available at this time and will be uploaded as soon as possible.

Standings

Rk ID Team Fed
Games
+
=
-
Pts
GamPnt
1 2 Ladya RUS
1
1
0
0
2
4
2 6 SC Bad Konigshofen GER
1
1
0
0
2
3.5
3 4 Batumi Chess Club "Nona" GEO
1
1
0
0
2
2.5
4 8 SHSM RUS
1
1
0
0
2
2.5
5 1 Ugra RUS
1
0
0
1
0
1.5
6 5 Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo MNC
1
0
0
1
0
1.5
7 3 Rishon Letzion ISR
1
0
0
1
0
0.5
8 7 Herzliya Chess Club ISR
1
0
0
1
0
0

Photos by Manu de Alba from Bilbao's Facebook site

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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ff2017 ff2017 9/15/2014 04:07
Big difference in Cercle Monte-Carlo, with Anna Muzychuk moving up to the 2nd board and Humpy not playing.
1