Euro Teams: Russian teams win close matches

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
11/16/2021 – In the key matchup between top seeds Russia and Georgia in the women’s section of the European Team Championships, the rating favourites and defending champions defeated their Georgian rivals by 3-1 on Monday. In the open section, co-leaders Azerbaijan and Hungary drew their direct encounter, allowing Russia to catch up with them on 7/8 match points. | Photos: ECU Press

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Shuvalova wins rollercoaster game

The Russian women’s team is still undefeated in Slovenia, even in individual games, after beating second-seeded Georgia in round 4 of the European Team Championships. In round 5, the favourites will face an inspired Italian team, which got the better of Armenia on Monday.

Russia obtained a 3-1 victory over Georgia, but the match could have easily finished drawn, as Salome Melia had a clearly better position in a complex middlegame against Polina Shuvalova. Melia had the black pieces.

 

White has not quite managed to coordinate her pieces, and Black now needs to figure out a way to convert her positional advantage into a tangible edge. Melia went for 23...Qd6, attacking b4, when 23...Qd7 was more trying, preparing to sacrifice a piece on h3 and double the rooks along the f-file — Melia’s choice did not fully give up the advantage, though.

In the struggle that ensued, Black continued to focus on attacking White’s weaknesses instead of going for a more active plan on the kingside, which allowed Shuvalova to eventually regroup. When the time control had been reached, the players found themselves dealing with a rook endgame — and White was a pawn to the good.

 

Shuvalova had survived the middlegame and was in position to fight for a win. The youngster showed good technique and got the full point eventually, turning the tables in a match that could have easily finished drawn.

European Team Chess Championships 2021

Georgia versus Russia

Standings after round 4

Rk. Team  TB1 
1 Russia 8
2 Italy 7
3 Georgia 6
4 Azerbaijan 6
5 Armenia 6
6 Ukraine 6
7 Greece 6
8 Poland 5
9 France 5
10 Hungary 5
11 Slovakia 5
12 Sweden 5
13 Netherlands 4
14 Lithuania 4
15 Spain 4

...31 teams

Gledura and Firouzja keep on winning

While only the Russians have a perfect score among the women, no team has managed to go four rounds without either drawing or losing at least one match in the open. Co-leaders Azerbaijan and Hungary drw their direct envounter on Monday — on board 3, Rauf Mamedov got a win for the Azerbaijanis, while Benjamin Gledura tied the score by beating Gadir Guseinov with the black pieces.

This was Gledura’s fourth win in as many rounds. After playing white in the first three games, he showed he can also deliver from the opposite side of the board.

 

The Hungarian got the full point by making the most of the bishop pair and a better pawn structure in a technical endgame.

European Team Chess Championships 2021

The playing hall

In the match between Russia and Poland, quick draws on boards 1, 3 and 4 meant it would all come down to the result in the game between Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Daniil Dubov. In a balanced position — still full of life, though — the Polish grandmaster made an uncharacteristic blunder.

 

Wojtaszek thought for almost 15 minutes before playing 24.Bxa5, which immediately fails to 24...Rxa5 25.Qxa5 Bb4

 

White loses material after the lethal discovered attack along the c-file. Wojtaszek resigned after 26.Qa4 Rxc2 27.a3 Bd6. Dubov’s win allowed Russia to climb to shared first place. In round 5, the Russians face Azerbaijan, while Hungary play Spain on second board.

Daniil Dubov

Daniil Dubov during round 3

The Spanish team is one of six squads currently standing a match point behind the leaders. They are joined by Ukraine, France, the Netherlands, Georgia, Armenia and Serbia.

Excellent 3½/4 individual performances by Alireza Firouzja (France), Anish Giri and Jorden van Foreest (Netherlands) have allowed their teams to remain in the fight for first place. Firouzja is now less than three rating points away from surpassing Fabiano Caruana in the world ranking!

Baadur Jobava

Georgia’s Baadur Jobava

Standings after round 4

Rk. Team  TB1 
1 Azerbaijan 7
2 Hungary 7
3 Russia 7
4 Spain 6
5 Ukraine 6
6 France 6
7 Netherlands 6
8 Georgia 6
9 Armenia 6
10 Serbia 6
11 Germany 5
12 Romania 5
13 Poland 5
14 Israel 4
15 Norway 4

...39 teams

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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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lajosarpad lajosarpad 11/17/2021 12:29
Wow, just wow! I never thought Hungary without Lékó, Almási, Rapport or Polgár would perform so well. Of course, I'm only speaking about the rounds played so far. Hungary has drawn with Spain as well, which was led by Shirov and Gledura won again.
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