European Championship: Artemiev claims the lead

by Macauley Peterson
3/29/2019 – Top seed Vladislav Artemiev has moved into the sole lead for the first time, as the only player with 8 points after ten rounds. He beat fellow Russian Andrey Esipenko on board one in Skopje on Thursday. Nine players trail by half a point, including Maxim Rodshtein, who will have White against Artemiev in the last round, which starts two hours earlier on Friday. A score of at least 7½ will be needed to qualify for the World Cup. | Photo: Patricia Claros

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Artemiev undefeated with six wins

It took Vladislav Artemiev just 25 moves to obtain a winning advantage against his young compatriot, Andrey Esipenko in the top game of the tenth round in Skopje.

The game resembled the fianchetto Grünfeld seen in Anish Giri vs Nils Grandelius at the 2014 Qatar Masters, through move 17, and the players looked to be heading towards a peaceful draw when Esipenko committed a subtle blunder.


Black would keep the balance with 23...b6 24.♘b3 ♜c8. But Esipenko's 23...g7 gave Artemiev an opening: 24.a3 tickles the black knight and the e7 pawn. Black should retreat 24...♞b6 but the 17-year-old tried 24...b6 and was forced to give up the pawn after 25.b3 c5 (White threatened ♖c6) 26.xc5 bxc5 27.xc5. A clear pawn up for White and that was all Artemiev needed. 

Grandelius vs Anton

All smiles before the game: Grandelius vs Anton | Patricia Claros

On board two, Grandelius vs Anton started as an Italian but reached an unusual double-knight ending in which Black was down a pawn, yet actually was for choice due to the awkwardly frozen nature of White's knights: 


White's knight on g7 is trapped and its sibling is frozen in defence. Anton simply won the queenside pawns with his own marauding steed, while Grandelius was preoccupied with freeing his. But with so few pawns remaining, that was not enough, and a draw was reached on move 52.

One player making a late surge is Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, the German number one, who has won three in a row en route to 7½. He was the beneficiary in round ten of a gross oversight in a rook and pawn ending by Croatian GM Marin Bosiocic:


Bosiocic, having reached time control, thought for 11 minutes and played the losing 41.d4 when 41...c1! tees up an eventual c3 break and it's game over. Bosiocic missed that 41.♔xe4 let's the White king move up the board to generate sufficient counterplay to keep Black's queenside pawns at bay.

A lucky break for Nisipeanu who will be White in the last round against Kacper Piorun, and almost certain of one of the 22 World Cup qualification spots.


Nisipeanu is looks to be headed for Khanty-Mansiysk in September | Photo: Patricia Claros

In fact, it would not be surprising to see a significant number of draws on the top boards which would guarantee qualification. More excitement can be expected from the groups of players with 7 and 6½ points.

Results of Round 10 (top 20)

Name Pts. Result Pts. Name
Artemiev Vladislav 7 1 - 0 7 Esipenko Andrey
Grandelius Nils 7 ½ - ½ 7 Anton Guijarro David
Oparin Grigoriy 7 ½ - ½ 7 Rodshtein Maxim
Cheparinov Ivan ½ - ½ 7 Piorun Kacper
Korobov Anton 0 - 1 Movsesian Sergei
Bosiocic Marin 0 - 1 Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter
Ponomariov Ruslan ½ - ½ Lupulescu Constantin
Berkes Ferenc 1 - 0 Ter-Sahakyan Samvel
Zvjaginsev Vadim ½ - ½ Christiansen Johan-Sebastian
Can Emre ½ - ½ Lysyj Igor
Pantsulaia Levan 0 - 1 Gledura Benjamin
Aleksandrov Aleksej ½ - ½ 6 Dubov Daniil
Tomashevsky Evgeny 6 ½ - ½ 6 Martirosyan Haik M.
Vallejo Pons Francisco 6 ½ - ½ 6 Chigaev Maksim
Erdos Viktor 6 ½ - ½ 6 Ragger Markus
Bindrich Falko 6 0 - 1 6 Safarli Eltaj
Deac Bogdan-Daniel 6 0 - 1 6 Edouard Romain
Gelfand Boris 6 1 - 0 6 Moussard Jules
Huschenbeth Niclas 6 1 - 0 6 Alekseenko Kirill
Kuzubov Yuriy 6 ½ - ½ 6 Bartel Mateusz

Standings after Round 10 (top 25)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Artemiev Vladislav 8,0 2592
2 Piorun Kacper 7,5 2621
3 Rodshtein Maxim 7,5 2609
4 Grandelius Nils 7,5 2592
5 Berkes Ferenc 7,5 2592
6 Anton Guijarro David 7,5 2573
7 Gledura Benjamin 7,5 2570
8 Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter 7,5 2562
9 Movsesian Sergei 7,5 2525
10 Oparin Grigoriy 7,5 2515
11 Christiansen Johan-Sebastian 7,0 2618
12 Aleksandrov Aleksej 7,0 2601
13 Cheparinov Ivan 7,0 2600
14 Esipenko Andrey 7,0 2582
15 Gelfand Boris 7,0 2582
16 Can Emre 7,0 2581
17 Petrov Nikita 7,0 2580
18 Rakhmanov Aleksandr 7,0 2568
19 Lysyj Igor 7,0 2563
20 Ponomariov Ruslan 7,0 2557
21 Zvjaginsev Vadim 7,0 2550
22 Lupulescu Constantin 7,0 2547
23 Edouard Romain 7,0 2529
24 Huschenbeth Niclas 7,0 2517
25 Fridman Daniel 7,0 2509

All available games


Commentary by GM Ivan Sokolov and GM Adrian Mikhalchishin | European Chess TV on YouTube


Macauley served as the Editor in Chief of ChessBase News from July 2017 to March 2020. He is the producer of The Full English Breakfast chess podcast, and was an Associate Producer of the 2016 feature documentary, Magnus.


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