European Ch: A long list of leaders

by Macauley Peterson
3/22/2019 – Four rounds into the European Championship and we no longer find any perfect scores. Dutch GM Lucas van Foreest was one of the players with 3 points after as many rounds of play, but he lost on Thursday to top seed Vladislav Artemiev. The remaining undefeated players all drew, creating a 19-way tie on 3½. GM DANIEL FERNANDEZ annotates highlights of rounds three and four. Pictured: Benjamin Gledura (right) is one of the leaders, GM Vincent Keymer (left) is only on 50%. | Photo: Patricia Claros

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Number 135 in front, for now

Israeli GM Tal Baron is currently atop the standings at the European Individual Championship in Skopje. After winning his fourth round game on board 23, he has the highest tiebreak (opponents' rating minus the lowest) score among the 19 players with 3½ points. Of course with seven round still to go at this stage, it means little. With so many strong players, and a lot riding on reaching the top 22 places (for World Cup qualification), it's no surprise that the leaders are cautious.


Trophies are nice, but a ticket to Khanty-Mansiysk is the bigger prize | Photo: Patricia Claros

On the third day of the European Championship, many of the games ended drawn on the top boards. Of the 19 games between players with two points, twelve ended with the point shared. Among them was the game of top seed Vladislav Artemiev, who wound up lucky to escape with a move repetition draw from a Caro-Kann against Samvel Ter-Sahakyan. 


White played 24.c2 in this position, which, while not a bad move, did not pose as many problems for Artemiev as 24.gxh6 gxh6 25.g2 with the idea of playing Rg3 and doubling rooks on the g-file.

Instead, it was Aremiev who doubled rooks and Ter-Sahakyan bailed out:


32...h8 33.e3h7 34.d3+ etc.

Ter-Sahakyan vs Artemiev

Ter-Sahakyan and Artemiev, first of two handshakes | Photo: Patricia Claros

Among the winners was Sergei Azarov, who managed to win this rook ending against Nils Grandelius: 


It was a less technical victory in Ivan Cheparinov vs Sebastian Maze:


In this position White just played the careless 32.b4. After 32...c2 the Frenchman gave up immediately. No matter what he does with the queen, there follows 33...♛xg5 with with devastating mating threats.


Cheparinov is in the 3½ score group | Photo: Patricia Claros

Lucas van Foreest worked his way up the leaderboard with a win against Aleksandar Indijic.


The younger brother of Jorden van Foreest shocked his opponent here with 34.h6. Black responded 34...♞h5 (34...♜b7 was forced) and was getting mated after 35.g8+.

GM Daniel Fernandez looks at a few more highlights of the round:


Click or tap a game in the list to switch!

Results of Round 3 (top 10)

Name Pts. Result Pts. Name
Ter-Sahakyan Samvel 2 ½ - ½ 2 Artemiev Vladislav
Azarov Sergei 2 1 - 0 2 Grandelius Nils
Maze Sebastien 2 0 - 1 2 Cheparinov Ivan
Buhmann Rainer 2 ½ - ½ 2 Rodshtein Maxim
Berkes Ferenc 2 ½ - ½ 2 Lomasov Semyon
Alonso Rosell Alvar 2 ½ - ½ 2 Melkumyan Hrant
Martinovic Sasa 2 ½ - ½ 2 Gelfand Boris
Fressinet Laurent 2 ½ - ½ 2 Arutinian David
Alekseenko Kirill 2 1 - 0 2 Halkias Stelios
Tsydypov Zhamsaran 2 0 - 1 2 Piorun Kacper

Commentary webcast

In round four, Artemiev adopted a very patient strategy against Lucas van Foreest, accepting a slightly passive position with White, exchanging pieces when needed and waiting for an opportunity. It eventually presented itself in the form of a chronically weak and backward c-pawn in the Black camp. 


Black can possibly survive this by just defending and staying put, but after van Foreest's 40...a4 41.xc6 xc6 42.xc6 g7 43.c2 Artemiev's better major piece coordination gave him a strong edge.

Artemiev vs van Foreest

Van Foreest's c-pawn was felled like a the forest | Photo: Patricia Claros

The lone IM among the leading pack is the 17-year-old Russian Semyon Lomasov who beat one of his trainers, veteran GM Mikhail Kobalia. It was another major piece ending, but this time, there was no drawn out technical conversion required.


Lomasov went for the throat with 27.h5! and Kobalia needed to activate his rook along the 5th rank in defence. But his effort to trade queens instead went down in flames: 27...c6 28.f7! gxh5 29.xh5+ g8 30.e7 and Kobalia resigned.

GM Daniel Fernandez examines the other key highlights of the round:


Click or tap a game in the list to switch!

Results of Round 4 (top 10)

Name Pts. Result Pts. Name
Cheparinov Ivan 3 ½ - ½ 3 Chigaev Maksim
Bartel Mateusz 3 ½ - ½ 3 Alekseenko Kirill
Piorun Kacper 3 ½ - ½ 3 Azarov Sergei
Artemiev Vladislav 1 - 0 3 Van Foreest Lucas
Rodshtein Maxim 1 - 0 Moussard Jules
Gordievsky Dmitry 0 - 1 Berkes Ferenc
Melkumyan Hrant ½ - ½ Antipov Mikhail Al.
Gelfand Boris 1 - 0 Petrov Nikita
Fressinet Laurent ½ - ½ Ter-Sahakyan Samvel
Can Emre ½ - ½ Moiseenko Alexander

Commentary webcast

All available games


Standings after Round 4 (top 30)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Baron Tal 3,5 2619
2 Azarov Sergei 3,5 2596
3 Cheparinov Ivan 3,5 2575
4 Rodshtein Maxim 3,5 2566
5 Berkes Ferenc 3,5 2562
6 Gelfand Boris 3,5 2555
7 Alekseenko Kirill 3,5 2554
8 Artemiev Vladislav 3,5 2550
9 Chigaev Maksim 3,5 2549
10 Piorun Kacper 3,5 2544
11 Lomasov Semyon 3,5 2544
12 Bartel Mateusz 3,5 2525
13 Zvjaginsev Vadim 3,5 2499
14 Erdos Viktor 3,5 2496
15 Aleksandrov Aleksej 3,5 2496
16 Gledura Benjamin 3,5 2488
17 Svane Rasmus 3,5 2484
18 Deac Bogdan-Daniel 3,5 2463
19 Pantsulaia Levan 3,5 2445
20 Van Foreest Lucas 3,0 2671
21 Warmerdam Max 3,0 2658
22 Arizmendi Martinez Julen Luis 3,0 2619
23 Ter-Sahakyan Samvel 3,0 2617
24 Buhmann Rainer 3,0 2586
25 Christiansen Johan-Sebastian 3,0 2578
26 Melkumyan Hrant 3,0 2558
27 Fressinet Laurent 3,0 2553
28 Grandelius Nils 3,0 2544
29 Arutinian David 3,0 2535
30 Alekseev Evgeny 3,0 2533

Andre Schulz contributed reporting


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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