Euro Teams: Azerbaijan and Hungary tied in the lead

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
11/15/2021 – Two teams have won their first three matches in the open section of the European Team Championships taking place in Slovenia. Azerbaijan, led by an inspired Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, and Hungary are sharing the lead on 6/6. Meanwhile, in the women’s section, Russia, Georgia and Armenia have perfect scores, with the Russians merely losing a half point in all their individual encounters. | Expert analysis by GM Karsten Müller. | Photo: ECU Press

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Mamedyarov and Gledura shine

After two rounds, six teams had perfect 4/4 scores in the open section of the European Team Championships. Rating favourites Russia were paired up against Spain in Sunday’s third round, and drew on all four boards to fall behind co-leaders Azerbaijan and Hungary. While Azerbaijan defeated Germany on Sunday, Hungary got the better of third-seeded France.

The Azerbaijanis are led by an inspired Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who has won all his three games so far in Slovenia, using his dynamic, double-edged brand of chess to get a perfect star and climb to seventh place in the live ratings list. In round 3, his win over Liviu-Dieter Nispeanu was the only decisive result in a tough match against Germany.

Meanwhile, the star of the Hungarian team has been Benjamin Gledura. Team captain Peter Acs decided to give the 22-year-old the white pieces in all three games, and the young grandmaster delivered, getting a crucial win over higher-rated Etienne Bacrot to give his team a 2½-1½ victory in round 3.

It was a disappointing defeat for France, since their new top board Alireza Firouzja has continued to show good form after winning the Grand Swiss. The 18-year-old is on 2½/3 after winning both his games with the black pieces. His good performance continues to improve his rating, as he is now less than six points away from catching Fabiano Caruana in the third spot of the world ranking.

Alireza Firouzja

Alireza Firouzja representing France | Photo: ECU Press

While Hungary’s victory over France was somewhat surprising, we cannot quite call it an upset, given the strength of the tenth-seeded Hungarian squad. On the other hand, there are two teams that are over-performing in Slovenia — Norway and Georgia.

The Norwegians kicked off with an unexpected victory over fourth-seeded England and went on to draw Armenia in round 2. They barely lost to Ukraine on Sunday, but their performance is nonetheless commendable, as they are fielding a young team, headed by Johan-Sebastian Christiansen and Frode Urkedal.

Georgia also got a good result against England, getting a draw thanks to a win by Baadur Jobava over Michael Adams on top board (David Howell beat Giga Quaparadze on board 4). That draw followed another great performance against the Netherlands in the first round, with Luka Paikadze and Levan Pantsulaia making up for losses on boards 1 and 2, where Anish Giri and Jorden van Foreest managed to defeat their Georgian colleagues.

Anish Giri

Anish Giri | Photo: ECU Press

Standings after round 3

Rk. Team  TB1 
1 Azerbaijan 6
2 Hungary 6
3 Russia 5
4 Spain 5
5 Poland 5
  Armenia 5
7 Ukraine 5
8 Germany 4
9 France 4
10 Serbia 4

...39 teams

Russia to face Georgia in the women’s section

The big favourites from Russia in the women’s championship have not disappointed at all in the first three rounds, scoring 11½/12 individual points to beat the Czech Republic, Spain and Germany, and set up a direct clash against the second seeds from Georgia in round 4.

Georgia and Armenia have also won all three matches so far, albeit not as spectacularly as the Russians. Regarding Armenia, though, their 3-1 victory over Poland in the third round was quite an achievement. In that match, Elina Danielian and Anna Sargsyan both got full points with the black pieces.

In sole fourth place stand Italy on 5/6 match points. The team led by Marina Brunello obtained a remarkable victory over Ukraine on Sunday, with wins by Brunello and Olga Zimina granting them a chance to fight for medals in the 9-round event.

Kateryna Lagno

Russia’s Kateryna Lagno | Photo: ECU Press

Standings after round 3

Rk. Team  TB1 
1 Russia 6
2 Georgia 6
3 Armenia 6
4 Italy 5
5 Poland 4
6 Azerbaijan 4
7 Ukraine 4
8 Romania 4
9 Slovakia 4
10 Germany 4

...31 teams

Endgame analyses by GM Karsten Müller

Our in-house specialist analysed three endgame positions that both are attractive and contain instructive principles. In the game between Gabrial Sargissian (Armenia) and Johan-Sebastian Christiansen (Norway), White’s g-pawn went from the second to the seventh rank in just six moves, provoking Black’s resignation.


Müller notes: “When a pawn starts on the second rank and directly runs to promotion, this is called Excelsior. White’s g-pawn almost manages to do so in this game, as its march is only briefly interrupted”.

Check out how Sargissian’s pawn made it all the way down the board and two more curious endgame positions on our replayer below.


Select an entry from the list to switch between games


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.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register