Giri, Grischuk and Firouzja among top stars at European Team Championship

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
11/12/2021 – The 23rd edition of the European Team Championships will take place on November 12-21 at the Hotel Toplice in the Terme Čatež Spa Complex, in eastern Slovenia. An open championship and a women’s championship will be played concurrently, with each event a 9-round Swiss tournament. Both Russian teams arrive in Slovenia as the defending champions and rating favourites.

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Russian teams arrive as rating favourites

European Team Chess Championships 2021The 23rd edition of the European Team Championships will take place on November 12-21 at the Hotel Toplice in the Terme Čatež Spa Complex, situated near the city of Brežice in eastern Slovenia in the Lower Sava Valley.

An open championship and a women’s championship will be played concurrently, with each event a 9-round Swiss tournament. The time control will be 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with 30-second increments for every move from the first move.

Each ECU member has the right to enter one team of four players plus one reserve in the open competition, and one team of four female players plus one reserve in the women’s competition. A total of 39 teams registered to participate in the open, while 31 squads will fight for first place in the women’s event.

Schedule

  • Rounds 1 to 5: November 12-16
  • Rest day: November 17
  • Rounds 6 to 9: November 18-21

The action kicks off daily at 15.00 CET (09.00 ET, 19.30 IST)

European Team Chess Championships 2021

Ready for the event — the Russian Federation in Slovenia | Photo: Artem Pugachev

Open section

A total of 13 players rated 2700 or above will participate in the tournament, with no fewer than 66 players surpassing the 2600 rating barrier in the open section. Nonetheless, only the  defending champions from Russia can boast of having all 2700+ rated players in their lineup. 

The top 5 teams according to rating average:

1. Russia (RtgAvg:2728)
1 GM Grischuk Alexander 2773
2 GM Dubov Daniil 2714
3 GM Alekseenko Kirill 2710
4 GM Artemiev Vladislav 2699
5 GM Esipenko Andrey 2713
2. Azerbaijan (RtgAvg:2717)
1 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2765
2 GM Radjabov Teimour 2763
3 GM Mamedov Rauf 2673
4 GM Guseinov Gadir 2665
5 GM Abasov Nijat 2634
3. France (RtgAvg:2708)
1 GM Firouzja Alireza 2770
2 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2766
3 GM Bacrot Etienne 2647
4 GM Lagarde Maxime 2647
5 GM Moussard Jules 2632
4. Poland (RtgAvg:2678)
1 GM Duda Jan-Krzysztof 2756
2 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw 2700
3 GM Piorun Kacper 2634
4 GM Moranda Wojciech 2623
5 IM Teclaf Pawel 2543
5. England (RtgAvg:2671)
1 GM Adams Michael 2714
2 GM Mcshane Luke J 2667
3 GM Jones Gawain C B 2654
4 GM Howell David W L 2648
5 IM Haria Ravi 2497

...39 teams

In the Russian squad, Daniil Dubov and Kirill Alekseenko were part of the team that took gold in Batumi two years ago. Back then, Ukraine came in second place — this time around, they arrive as seventh seeds, with the absences of Pavel Eljanov and Vasyl Ivanchuk. England finished third in Batumi, when they presented the same players on the top four boards as in this edition. 

A big attraction for chess fans will be to see how the French team fares with Alireza Firouzja on top board. France has never obtained a gold medal in this championship. Similarly, Poland will try to get a first medal (of any kind) in a European Team Championship — while France will have the Grand Swiss winner on top board, the Polish will get to play with the latest World Cup winner as their leader.

Women’s section

Among the women, Russia will also arrive in Slovenia as the defending champions and rating favourites. They will have almost a 100-point advantage in average rating over Georgia, since they will send a star lineup, with only Alexandra Kosteniuk missing.

The top 5 teams according to rating average:

1. Russia (RtgAvg:2538)
1 GM Goryachkina Aleksandra 2604
2 GM Lagno Kateryna 2550
3 GM Gunina Valentina 2480
4 IM Shuvalova Polina 2515
5 IM Kashlinskaya Alina 2482
2. Georgia (RtgAvg:2446)
1 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2524
2 IM Javakhishvili Lela 2446
3 IM Arabidze Meri 2441
4 IM Melia Salome 2371
5 IM Gvetadze Sofio 2302
3. Poland (RtgAvg:2410)
1 WGM Zawadzka Jolanta 2429
2 IM Cyfka Karina 2416
3 WIM Kiolbasa Oliwia 2403
4 GM Socko Monika 2393
5 IM Kulon Klaudia 2328
4. Ukraine (RtgAvg:2400)
1 GM Ushenina Anna 2426
2 IM Osmak Iulija 2423
3 IM Buksa Nataliya 2410
4 IM Gaponenko Inna 2339
5 GM Zhukova Natalia 2331
5. Azerbaijan (RtgAvg:2383)
1 IM Mammadzada Gunay 2459
2 IM Mammadova Gulnar 2395
3 WGM Balajayeva Khanim 2369
4 WGM Fataliyeva Ulviyya 2309
5 WIM Beydullayeva Govhar 2278

...31 teams

Russia is a clear favourite among the women, both in terms of ratings and their historical record in this competition. They have won gold in six out of the previous seven editions — they got silver in 2013, behind Ukraine. Four out of five players from the squad that won the championship in 2019 will be playing, with Polina Shuvalova replacing Olga Girya this year.

Georgia is also fielding four out of five players from the team that got silver in the previous edition, with Sofia Gvetadze replacing Bela Khotenashvili.


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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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sxb103 sxb103 11/13/2021 07:24
Firouzja is now the top board on the French team, a distinction that MVL had for over 10 10 years !
Theochessman Theochessman 11/12/2021 05:24
@hansj: Grischuk probably took the picture! ,-)
hansj hansj 11/12/2021 08:44
Did Grischuk miss the plane? He is not in the picture.
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