Euro Teams: England co-leaders after convincing victory

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
11/18/2023 – Flashy games were seen on the top boards of both sections in round 6 of the European Team Chess Championships. In the open, England obtained a clear 3½-½ victory over the Netherlands to join Germany in the lead. Romania and Serbia are sharing third place, a match point behind the co-leaders. Meanwhile, in the women’s tournament, France became the sole leader after beating the top seeds from Georgia. | Pictured: Michael Adams, who turned 52 years old on Friday | Photo: Mark Livshitz

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Vitiugov a valuable reinforcement

Three months after transferring to the English Chess Federation, Russian-born GM Nikita Vitiugov is already making a difference as the top board for the English squad.

At the European Team Championship, Vitiugov has played in all six rounds, scoring two wins and four draws for a 2773 Tournament Performance Rating. The English team, now tied for first place with Germany, obtained a convincing victory over the Netherlands in round 6, with Vitiugov grabbing a remarkable 26-move win over Jorden van Foreest.

After thinking for 13 minutes, Vitiugov correctly played the powerful 19...f4 pawn break. The idea is that 20.exf4 can be replied by the devastating 20...Nxf4

Van Foreest, who had a strong run in the first five rounds, noticed that the only way to keep the game going was by accepting the sacrifice with 21.gxf4, and after 21...Rxf4 White cannot deal with his opponent’s multiple threats — i.e. ...Qd7-g4, ...Qd7-h3 and ...Bg7-d4.

White’s defences collapsed rather quickly, as the Dutch grandmaster resigned five moves later with the following position on the board.

Game over.

David Howell and Luke McShane also collected full points in the prelude to a crucial match against the strong German squad.

Nikita Vitiugov

Nikita Vitiugov during the second round | Photo: Mark Livshitz

Germany faced the second seeds from Romania on the top board. Vincent Keymer defeated Richard Rapport in a sharp encounter (which was also the first individual defeat for a member of the Romanian team). Draws were seen on boards 2 and 3, while Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu — who represented Germany between April 2014 and April 2022 — evened the scored by beating Dmitrij Kollars on board 4.

Romania are now tied for third place with Serbia, who drew with Armenia in round 6. Alexandr Predke scored for Serbia, while Shant Sargsyan scored for Armenia.

Game analysis by Robert Ris

Standings after round 6

Rk. SNo Team Games   +    =    -   TB1   TB2   TB3   TB4   TB5 
1 Germany 10
2 England 10
3 Romania 9
4 Serbia 9
5 France 8
6 Poland 8
7 Croatia 8
8 Armenia 8
9 Netherlands 8
10 Greece 8
11 Czech Republic 8
12 Hungary 8
13 Israel 7
14 Lithuania 7
15 Italy 6

...38 teams

All games - Round 6

Replay games from all rounds at

Women’s: France sole leaders after beating Georgia

France entered the women’s tournament as the sixth seeds, and have been showing a remarkable level during the first six rounds in Budva. With Deimante Daulyte-Cornette on the top board, the Frenchwomen grabbed four convincing 3½-½ victories, drew with Azerbaijan in round 4, and now collected a 2½-1½ win over the top seeds from Georgia.

Daulyte-Cornette and Pauline Guichard grabbed the two wins that gave the now sole leaders overall victory over the formidable Georgian squad. Guichard showed great calculation skills to beat Lela Javakhishvili with black on board 4.

Guichard spent 14 minutes (and was left with 16 minutes for 20 moves) before correctly playing the astounding 20...Nfg6, ignoring the threats of 21.dxe7 and 21.Qxf7+, as was seen in the game.

Javakhishvili’s decision to give the check from f7 turned out to be the game’s decisive mistake (21.dxe7 was the way to go). The refutation was played rather quickly, as Black had prepared 21...Kd7 22.dxe7 Qe3+, and the Frenchwoman’s attack is quicker.

There followed 23.Rf2 gxf2+ 24.Qxf2 Rxg2+, a sequence that Guichard had surely foreseen when she played her 20th move!

Now Black simplifies into a winning endgame: 25.Kxg2 Nf4+ 26.Kf1 Qxf2+ 27.Kxf2 Nxd3+, with a devastating knight fork.

What a journey for the valiant knight!

France will face Bulgaria in Saturday’s seventh round. Bulgaria defeated Azerbaijan in round 6, thanks to Nurgyul Salimova’s win with black on board 2. Salimova qualified to the 2024 Women’s Candidates in the latest edition of the FIDE World Cup.

Standings after round 6

Rk. SNo Team Games   +    =    -   TB1   TB2   TB3   TB4   TB5 
1 France 11
2 Bulgaria 10
3 Azerbaijan 9
4 Germany 9
5 Greece 8
6 England 8
7 Poland 8
8 Georgia 7
9 Netherlands 7
10 Armenia 7
11 Serbia 7
12 Hungary 7
13 Estonia 7
14 Romania 7
15 Ukraine 6

...32 teams

All games - Round 6

Replay games from all rounds at


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.