European Championship: Gold for Artemiev

by Macauley Peterson
3/29/2019 – There was some drama in the last round thanks to Nils Grandelius who was the only player with 7½ points to win his game. That guaranteed the Swedish number one the Silver medal in Skopje, but it was up to the board one game between Israeli Maxim Rodshtein and tournament leader Vladislav Artemiev to determine the gold. In the end the top seed held on to finish first on tiebreak with 8½. Kacper Piorun took bronze. | Photo: eicc2019.mk

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Grandelius goes for it

Nils Grandelius really put the pressure on Vladislav Artemiev as the Swede won his last round game with the black pieces to move to 8½ points. Grandelius grabbed his chances against Benjamin Gledura and won this clutch game with engine-like precision. Meanwhile, Artemiev was suffering a bit against Maxim Rodshtein, but managed to keep everything under control until they finally shook hands on move 46 allowing Artemiev to seal his European Championship victory on tiebreak.

Grandelius already secured qualification to the World Cup in 2018, so he come out swinging with black against Benjamin Gledura with no fear. 

 

After this win, Grandelius would have taken the silver regardless of the outcome on board one, but Rodshtein narrowly missed out on a medal with his draw result; Kacper Piorun had the slightly better tiebreak score (the opponents' average rating minus the lowest).

As expected, many of the top boards ended in relatively quick draws, with 8 points sure to qualify for one of the 22 World Cup spots. E.g.:

Nisipeanu ½ - ½ Piorun (17 moves) 
Movsesian ½ - ½ Berkes (15 moves)
Anton ½ - ½ Oparin (36 moves)
Rakhmanov ½ - ½ Cheparinov (22 moves)
Esipenko ½ - ½ Ponomariov (10 moves)

All the players above have qualified to the World Cup, including those who finished with 7½.

Rodshtein certainly took a shot at beating Artemiev, but while he nursed an advantage for much of the game, it was never obviously enough to have real winning chances, especially after Artemiev evacuated his king from the kingside in a remarkable sequence:

 

Black's king abandons the castle: 28...f8 29.h5 e7 30.d3 c7 31.h2 d7 32.hxg6 hxg6 33.b1 c7 34.a2 b7 35.a3 a7 and the king finds a new home.

However, there was one hidden resource that might have changed the course of the last round, had Rodshtein spotted it:

 

43.♖h7 ♜c7 44.f5! exf5 45.e6! would have posed Artemiev some serious problems. Instead, the players were already thinking about shaking hands, which they did four moves later.

Artemiev analyses the game with Ivan Sokolov on the live webcast

Of the players who entered the final round with 7 points, only Eltaj Safarli and Niclas Huschenbeth won their games.

Safarli set a landmine for Matthias Bluebaum that gave the Azerbaijani GM a quick win:

 

21.e5! Bluebaum thought for 16 minutes before taking 21...fxe5? (after 21...♚g7 22.♖f4 fxe5 23.♕xe5+ ♚g8 Black has a tough defence but can survive), and White is on top after 22.xe5+ g7 23.xd7 xd7 and now not 24.♘xd7 ♛d4= but rather 24.g4 and after taking the rook, the e6 pawn falls next. 

Romain Edouard vs Huschenbeth was a Semi-Slav Meran with colours reversed. Edouard created a passed b-pawn and was in good position a few moves before falling intro a trap:

 

Can you spot the knockout blow for Black?

35...xg2+! 36.xg2 g6+ 37.h1 xf2 and White is forced into 38.xe8+ and ♕xg6+ to prevent mate. Afterwards Black's queen and knight are too strong.

Results of Round 11 (top 20)

Name Pts. Result Pts. Name
Rodshtein Maxim ½ - ½ 8 Artemiev Vladislav
Gledura Benjamin 0 - 1 Grandelius Nils
Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter ½ - ½ Piorun Kacper
Movsesian Sergei ½ - ½ Berkes Ferenc
Anton Guijarro David ½ - ½ Oparin Grigoriy
Rakhmanov Aleksandr 7 ½ - ½ 7 Cheparinov Ivan
Esipenko Andrey 7 ½ - ½ 7 Ponomariov Ruslan
Safarli Eltaj 7 1 - 0 7 Bluebaum Matthias
Edouard Romain 7 0 - 1 7 Huschenbeth Niclas
Lupulescu Constantin 7 ½ - ½ 7 Gelfand Boris 
Petrov Nikita  7 ½ - ½ 7 Zvjaginsev Vadim
Lysyj Igor 7 ½ - ½ 7 Aleksandrov Aleksej
Christiansen Johan-Sebastian 7 ½ - ½ 7 Fridman Daniel
Vallejo Pons Francisco 1 - 0 7 Can Emre
Bosiocic Marin ½ - ½ Tomashevsky Evgeny
Dubov Daniil 1 - 0 Erdos Viktor
Predke Alexandr 1 - 0 Kovalev Vladislav
Ragger Markus 1 - 0 Pantsulaia Levan
Chigaev Maksim ½ - ½ Korobov Anton
Dreev Aleksey 1 - 0 Zhigalko Sergei

Final standings after Round 11 (top 35)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Artemiev Vladislav 8,5 2600
2 Grandelius Nils 8,5 2595
3 Piorun Kacper 8,0 2626
4 Rodshtein Maxim 8,0 2622
5 Berkes Ferenc 8,0 2595
6 Anton Guijarro David 8,0 2577
7 Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter 8,0 2569
8 Movsesian Sergei 8,0 2539
9 Huschenbeth Niclas 8,0 2531
10 Oparin Grigoriy 8,0 2528
11 Safarli Eltaj 8,0 2515
12 Christiansen Johan-Sebastian 7,5 2619
13 Aleksandrov Aleksej 7,5 2604
14 Cheparinov Ivan 7,5 2603
15 Pultinevicius Paulius 7,5 2600
16 Esipenko Andrey 7,5 2591
17 Petrov Nikita 7,5 2586
18 Gelfand Boris 7,5 2585
19 Gledura Benjamin 7,5 2583
20 Predke Alexandr 7,5 2581
21 Rakhmanov Aleksandr 7,5 2580
22 Bartel Mateusz 7,5 2576
23 Dubov Daniil 7,5 2569
24 Lysyj Igor 7,5 2564
25 Ponomariov Ruslan 7,5 2562
26 Lupulescu Constantin 7,5 2558
27 Alekseev Evgeny 7,5 2556
28 Zvjaginsev Vadim 7,5 2554
29 Ragger Markus 7,5 2552
30 Kuzubov Yuriy 7,5 2538
31 Dreev Aleksey 7,5 2536
32 Fridman Daniel 7,5 2512
33 Vallejo Pons Francisco 7,5 2500
34 Martirosyan Haik M. 7,5 2491
35 Volokitin Andrei 7,5 2479

Players scoring 7½ or more

All available games

 

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

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Macauley is Editor in Chief of ChessBase News in Hamburg, Germany, and producer of The Full English Breakfast chess podcast. He was an Associate Producer of the 2016 feature documentary, Magnus.
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