Euro Teams: Germany in the sole lead

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
11/16/2023 – Germany beat Armenia to grab the sole lead after five rounds in the open section of the European Team Championship. Wins for Vincent Keymer and Matthias Bluebaum, both with black, gave the Germans match victory. Four teams are sharing second place a match point back, including Romania, who defeated the former co-leaders from Poland. In the women’s championship, France and Azerbaijan scored convincing wins to remain as co-leaders going into the rest day. | Photo: Paul Meyer-Dunker / German Chess Federation

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Keymer and Bluebaum score with black

Following a strong performance at the FIDE Grand Swiss, Vincent Keymer made his way to Budva to represent Germany in the European Team Championship. After starting the event with a win, a loss and two draws, the youngster from Mainz scored an important victory over Armenia’s Haik Martirosyan — he won with black, and did it on his 19th birthday!

There was no stopping Keymer’s attack on the queenside once Martirosyan played an inaccurate pawn push on move 34.

The general idea behind White’s 34.f3 was not a mistake per se, since he needs to quickly create counterplay in this open position with two rather vulnerable kings. However, the immediate 34.g4 (which he played a move later) was the way to go. Importantly, pushing the f-pawn allowed Black to use an effective — yet simple — tactical idea later on.

The wasted tempo allowed Keymer to get his rooks ready for an attack, as there followed 34...Rd7 35.g4 Rc8 36.Kb1 Na4

White is in deep trouble. Martirosyan finally managed to open up a file on the kingside with 37.gxf5, but then came the forcing 37...Bxe3, when White can only recapture the minor piece with 38.Rxe3 (the f-pawn is no longer on f2) — and now 38.Rd1+ is lethal.

Black’s knight and rook pair are perfectly coordinated against the restricted white king. Keymer placed his rook on c2 next, and Martirosyan threw in the towel soon after.

Now ranked 17th in the live ratings list, Keymer has plenty to celebrate on Thursday (the one rest day in Budva)!

European Team Chess Championship 2023

Amid the struggle! | Photo: Paul Meyer-Dunker

Matthias Bluebaum scored a second individual win for Germany, as he defeated Hrant Melkumyan on board 3, also with the black pieces. The 2022 European champion got to finish off his opponent with a nice attacking combination.

33...Qd3+ was the killer shot, since 34.Rxd3 fails immediately to 34...Re1#. Melkumyan kept the game going — albeit in a completely losing position — with 34.Kg1, which was followed by 34...Rxe3 35.fxe3 Qxe3+ 36.Kh1 Nxh3

Devastating! Black is threatening both to capture the rook on a7 and to gain the queen with a fork from f2. Melkumyan resigned after 37.Kh2 Qxa7, as the black rook is ready to join the party from h8.

European Team Chess Championship 2023

The Armenian team | Photo: Paul Meyer-Dunker

Going into the fifth round, Germany and Armenia were sharing the lead with Poland. The Polish team had the tough task of facing Romania, the second seeds in Montenegro. Wins for Richard Rapport and Bogdan-Daniel Deac (on time) over Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Pawel Teclaf respectively gave the Romanians a crucial 3-1 victory.

The team led by Rapport is now sharing second place with three other squads that collected two match points on Wednesday: England, the Netherlands and Serbia.

IM Robert Ris analyses Ivan Schitco vs. Magnus Carlsen (draw)

Standings after round 5

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

...38 teams

All games - Round 5

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Women’s: France and Azerbaijan co-leaders

The two teams that kicked off the women’s championship with three wins in a row and drew their direct encounter in round 4 — i.e. Azerbaijan and France — got back to their winning ways, as they obtained wins over Germany and Armenia, respectively, to go into the rest day tied for first place with 9 match points each.

While Azerbaijan’s Gunay Mammadzada scored a win in the one decisive game of her team’s match against Germany, the Frenchwomen collected three wins and a draw for a convincing 3½-½ victory over Armenia.

Mitra Hejazipour, who won her maiden French title back in August, is having a great run in Budva, as she won all five of her games so far in the team event. On Wednesday, she beat Mariam Mkrtchyan with the white pieces.

39...Ne4 threatens mate on f2, but it fails to the simple 40.Qxe4, and Black needs to choose between grabbing the queen on e4, allowing the c-pawn to promote, or capturing the passer that is about to become a queen. Mkrtchyan resigned.

Mitra Hejazipour

Mitra Hejazipour | Photo: Mark Livshitz

Standing in sole third place in the women’s tournament is Bulgaria, after beating Serbia thanks to wins by Nurgyul Salimova and Viktoria Radeka.

Four teams stand a match point further back: Georgia, Germany, the Netherlands and Greece.

European Team Chess Championship 2023

Germany’s Josefine Heinemann and Dinara Wagner sharing a laugh before the start of round 5 | Photo: Paul Meyer-Dunker

Standings after round 5

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

...32 teams

All games - Round 5

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.