Euro Teams: Germany and Serbia share the lead

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
11/20/2023 – With one round to go in Budva, Germany and Serbia are sharing the lead in the open section of the European Team Championship. On the penultimate day of play, Germany beat France thanks to a win by Rasmus Svane, while Serbia defeated England thanks to a win by Velimir Ivic. In the women’s championship, Bulgaria kept the sole lead by beating Poland by a 2½-1½ score. Azerbaijan defeated Greece to go into the last round a match point behind the leaders. | Photo: Paul Meyer-Dunker

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One round to go

Germany and Serbia — two teams that already faced each other in Budva — have the best chances to take first place in the open section of the European Team Championship, with one round to go. Seeded 3rd and 10th respectively, the co-leaders are tied for first with 13 match points each going into the tournament’s final round.

Despite having a 2-point lead over four chasing teams, it is not certain that one of the two leaders will clinch the title on Monday. Since a direct clash between them already took place (Germany beat Serbia in round 3), it is still possible for both teams to lose, when a chaser could overtake them in the standings with a win — and a better tiebreak score (Olympiad Sonneborn-Berger without the lowest result).

In Sunday’s penultimate round, Germany and Serbia defeated France and England, respectively. Both matches featured three draws and a single decisive game.

Rasmus Svane scored the deciding full point for Germany, as he showed good tactical awareness to get the better of Jules Moussard.

The natural-looking 22...Re2 is winning for Black here, but Svane’s 22...Bxf2+ is even stronger. After 23.Kxf2 Ne4+ 24.Kg1 Qd4+, Black is ready both to capture the bishop on g5 and to coordinate a devastating attack with his queen, knight, rook and passed pawn.

Since this is a team competition, Moussard continued playing until a mate-in-6 position appeared on the board.

It is White to play here, but there is nothing he can do to prevent ...Ng3-e4 and/or ...d2-d1 if needed. Moussard resigned.

Rasmus Svane

Rasmus Svane | Photo: Paul Meyer-Dunker

Meanwhile, it was Velimir Ivic who grabbed the crucial win for Serbia in their match against England. Ivic was facing Ravi Haria with black on board 4, and correctly assessed that his opponent’s 21.g4 allowed for a decisive pawn break that left him in a strategically superior endgame position.

21...h5 was played after a 2-minute think by the Serbian grandmaster. After 22.gxh5 Rh8 23.Kf1 Rxh5 24.Kg2, White was stuck defending the weakness on h3 while lacking any counterplay or active plans to muddy the waters.

Haria’s position quickly crumbled, and Ivic found a nice move to prompt the Englishman’s resignation.

33...Rxh3 ended the game at once — 34.Kxh3 g4+ 35.Kg3 gxf3 36.Kxf3 leaves Black in a winning pawn endgame position.

European Team Chess Championship 2023

The playing hall | Photo: Mark Livshitz

Four teams are sharing third place with 11 match points each (i.e. 2 points behind the leaders): England, Armenia, Croatia and Greece.

In Monday’s final round, which starts at the same time as all previous rounds, Germany will face Croatia, while Serbia will play Greece. The one other match that is crucial in the fight for tournament victory will see England facing Armenia.

Meanwhile, Magnus Carlsen-led Norway obtained a convincing victory over the Netherlands, their third consecutive win following a slow start. Carlsen beat Jorden van Foreest on Sunday, and will face David Navara in his team’s final match of the event, against the Czech Republic.

Standings after round 8

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

...38 teams

All games - Round 8

Replay games from all rounds at

Women’s: Bulgaria sole leaders

Bulgaria continue to impress in the women’s championship. After grabbing the sole lead in the seventh round, they beat the strong Polish squad to remain atop the standings going into the event’s final round. 

Gergana Peycheva lost her game on board 3 for the leaders, but wins for Beleslava Krasteva and the in-form Nurgyul Salimova gave the Bulgarians overall victory. 

Salimova found a beautiful tactical shot in her game against Oliwia Kiolbasa.

Pins all over the place! The white knight is pinned (twice) on f2, but the black bishop is also pinned on d4. With a big advantage on the clock, Salimova thought for a while before playing the devastating 36.Rd1!

Most notably, 36...Bxc3 loses to 37.Rd6+, which is not checkmate only because of 37...Qxd6, unpinning the knight and allowing 38.Ng4+ Ke6 39.f5#

What a find for the Candidate!

In the first diagrammed position, Kiolbasa played 36...Nc2 instead, and resigned after 37.Qxc2 Bxf2+ 38.Kg2 Bd4 39.Rc4

The black king is too vulnerable on f6, with the light-squared bishop and the h8-rook out of play. Black will easily convert this into a win. Kiolbasa thus called it a day.

Nurgyul Salimova

Nurgyul Salimova | Photo: Mark Livshitz

In sole second place stand Azerbaijan, who defeated Greece in round 8, thanks to a win by Gunay Mammadzada on board 1. Mammadzada defeated Stavroula Tsolakidou, who came from collecting four wins in a row and a GM norm. Fittingly, Mammadzada herself grabbed her first GM norm with the win!

In the final round, Bulgaria will face the top seeds from Georgia, Azerbaijan will play Serbia (currently fourth in the standings), and third-placed France will play Ukraine.

Standings after round 8

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

...32 teams

All games - Round 8

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.