Santos, Navara, Maltsevskaya and Kosteniuk winners in Katowice

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
12/19/2022 – The 2022 European Rapid & Blitz Championships took place on December 16-18 in Katowice, Poland. All 22 rounds of blitz were played on Friday, while the 11 rounds of rapid took place over the weekend. Jaime Santos (open) and Aleksandra Maltsevskaya (women’s) won in the rapid section, while David Navara (open) and Alexandra Kosteniuk (women’s) got first place in the blitz section. | Photos: Michal Walusza

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Returning to Katowice

The capital city of the Silesian Voivodeship in southern Poland has become a well-known place for European players and fans, as Katowice once again hosted the European Rapid and Blitz Championships. In 2021, the city saw local hero Jan-Krzysztof Duda winning the blitz section, while even amid the pandemic, the 2020 edition of the blitz event, which took place online, was inaugurated with a press conference at the city’s International Congress Centre.

The organizers of this year’s edition proudly described the host city as “a metropolis worth visiting”, emphasizing the fact that the young city combines tradition and industriousness:

Katowice is one of the fastest growing Polish cities. The capital of a province of almost 5 million people, it is well connected with the rest of Europe and the world.

It is the centre of the metropolis, which has undergone deep restructuring in a short period of time, and the dominant elements of the economy have become high-tech services. Another pillar is culture, as evidenced, for example, by the title of UNESCO Creative City in the field of music. The young city, 150 years old, promotes itself with the slogan: “Katowice. For a change.”

The heart-shaped logotype combines, as it were, two faces of the city: the traditional one, with its industrial heritage, and the modern one, creative and economically strong.

The European Rapid and Blitz Tournaments this year were played on a three-day span. Day one, on Friday, saw the more than 800 participants playing 11 double-rounds of 3-minute games with 2-second increments per move. Throughout the weekend, an even larger contingent of players battled it out in the 11-round rapid section, which had a time control of 15 minutes for the game plus 10-second increments per move.

Both events included men and women players. The highest-ranked woman participant in each tournament was declared champion in the women’s category.

Rapid: Santos and Maltsevskaya

Remarkably, in such a large field of players, the winner of the rapid section managed to secure first place without needing tiebreak criteria to decide who takes home the gold medal. Jaime Santos clinched overall victory by beating David Gavrilescu with the black pieces in the final round. No fewer than seven players were tied for first before round 11.

Santos patiently converted his advantage from an advantageous queenless position with rooks and knights still on the board.

 

Besides having a mobile pawn majority on the kingside, Black has a perfectly placed knight on c4 attacking White’s weak pawn on a3. From this position, after 43 moves, Santos needed over 20 moves of manoeuvring to get the all-important win.

Polish IM Aleksandra Maltsevskaya collected 8/11 points to claim the women’s title. A draw with black against her compatriot Jakub Kozakowski in the final round was enough to secure first place.

Replay all available games from the rapid at Live.ChessBase.com

European Rapid and Blitz Championships 2022

The podium (open section): David Navara (2nd), Jaime Santos (1st) and Daniel Fridman (3rd)

European Rapid and Blitz Championships 2022

The podium (women’s section): Alexandra Kosteniuk (2nd), Aleksandra Maltsevskaya (1st) and Jolanta Zawadzka (3rd) 


Final standings

  Title Name Country Rating Points Bch1
1 GM Santos Latasa, Jaime Spain 2618 9.5 79
2 GM Navara, David Czech Republic 2670 9 83.5
3 GM Fridman, Daniel Germany 2618 9 83
4 GM Azarov, Sergei FIDE 2550 9 77.5
5 GM Yuffa, Daniil Spain 2509 9 77
6 GM Lagarde, Maxime France 2638 9 76.5
7 IM Drozdowski, Kacper UKS "Rotmistrz" Grudziądz 2451 9 76.5
8 GM Grandelius, Nils Sweden 2652 9 75
9 GM Bartel, Mateusz KSz Polonia Wrocław 2519 9 74
10 IM Abdrlauf, Elham Norway 2435 9 74
11 GM Pultinevicius, Paulius Lithuania 2539 9 71.5
11 GM Stefansson, Hannes Iceland 2472 9 71.5
13 GM Adams, Michael England 2651 8.5 79
14 GM Deac, Bogdan-Daniel Romania 2616 8.5 78.5
15 IM Gavrilescu, David Romania 2472 8.5 78.5
16 GM Sargsyan, Shant Armenia 2561 8.5 78
17 IM Seo, Jung Min Sweden 2429 8.5 76.5
18 GM Hovhannisyan, Robert Armenia 2630  8.5 75.5
19 GM Moroni, Luca Jr Italy 2504  8.5 75
20 GM Ziska, Helgi Dam Faroe Islands 2580 8.5 74.5

...900+ players


Blitz: Navara and Kosteniuk

Czech star David Navara had the overall strongest performance in Katowice. After winning the blitz section with 17½/22 points — and a better tiebreak score than Maciej Klekowski and Shant Sargsyan — he was among the co-leaders going into the final round of the rapid. A draw with black against Daniil Yuffa on Sunday was what prevented him from getting an unthinkable double win in such a massive event. The close miss does not take away from his excellent showing, though!

Navara’s last rival in the blitz was Lithuanian GM Valery Kazakouski, who in fact defeated him in their first confrontation, and then missed a mate-in-one in a drawn rook endgame.

 

Grabbing the h-pawn at once with 77.Rxh2 loses immediately to 77...Ra4#. Capturing the passer was the right idea, but only after 77.Rh6+ Kc7, and there is no mate threat any more. But the contenders had already played 77 moves in a 3-minute blitz encounter with everything on the line. It was all about nerves at this point!

Among the women, former world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk was the top scorer, as she collected 15½ points throughout the 22 rounds of fast-paced action.

Replay all available games from the blitz at Live.ChessBase.com

European Rapid and Blitz Championships 2022

The podium (open section): Maciej Klekowski (2nd), David Navara (1st) and Shant Sargsyan (3rd)

European Rapid and Blitz Championships 2022

The podium (women’s section): Aleksandra Maltsevskaya (2nd), Alexandra Kosteniuk (1st) and Antoaneta Stefanova (3rd)

Final standings

  Title Name Country Rating Points Bch1
1 GM Navara, David Czech Republic 2676 17.5 302
2 GM Klekowski, Maciej UKS "21 Podlesie" 2515 17.5 296
3 GM Sargsyan, Shant Armenia 2602 17.5 289
4 GM Alonso Rosell, Alvar Spain 2514 17 306
5 GM Kazakovskiy, Valeriy Lithuania 2516 17 301
6 GM Deac, Bogdan-Daniel Romania 2649 17 297
7 IM Gavrilescu, David Romania 2453 17 296
8 GM Pultinevicius, Paulius Lithuania 2486 17 295
9 GM Hovhannisyan, Robert Armenia 2570 16.5 303
10 GM Lagarde, Maxime France 2594 16.5 300
11 IM Kosakowski, Jakub MUKS "Stoczek 45" 2474 16.5 293
12 GM Stefansson, Hannes Iceland 2459 16.5 292
13 GM Laurusas, Tomas Lithuania 2498 16.5 287
14 IM Costachi, Mihnea Romania 2416 16.5 280
15 GM Piorun, Kacper KSz Stilon Gorzów Wlkp. 2572 16 308
16 GM Adams, Michael England 2742 16 304
17 GM Oleksienko, Mikhailo Ukraine 2552 16 296
18 M Kozak, Antoni TSz "Skoczek" 2447  16 293
19 IM Keinanen, Toivo Finland 2488  16 291
20 GM Bartel, Mateusz KSz Polonia Wrocław 2509 16 288

...800+ players


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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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