Parligras is the Romanian Champion 2016

by Sagar Shah
4/23/2016 – After a gap of 15 years Mircea-Emilian Parligras once again became the Romanian National Champion. "Every time I said to myself – maybe next year. Now that it has finally happened, it is like a dream come true!" These were the feelings of Mircea after winning the title. In this article you will find an interview with the 35-year-old grandmaster and also two instructively annotated games by him. Parligras also shares with us his secrets of success and future plans.

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Mircea Parligras wins the Romanian Championship after 15 years

Pictures by WIM Raluca Sgircea of thinking squares

Situated on the right bank of Ialomita river, the city of Targoviste was host to the 2001 Romanian National Championships. A young 21-year-old with a rating of 2431 came to the tournament as the 11th seed out of 16 participants. Top seeded Vladislav Nevednichy rated 2587 was a clear favourite to win the title. However, this young man who never really cared to become an International Master, went on a rampage. He scored six wins and nine draws and with a score of 10.5/15 became the 2001 Romanian National Champion. In the process he also gained 35 Elo points and made a GM norm. As you might have guessed this young talent was none other than Mircea-Emilian Parligras.

Mircea became a grandmaster in 2002 (like Kramnik, he too became a GM without an IM title) and his Elo kept climbing. As on January 2012 his rating was 2650 and he was ranked 103rd in the world. Parligras kept getting stronger and won many tournaments but the National title that he had won in 2001 remained the lone great achievement as far as that tournament was concerned in his illustrious career. The 35-year-old grandmaster did not give up. After a gap of 15 years Mircea Parligras once again dominated the National Championships and became the Romanian Champion!

Held in Baile Olanesti, a mountain resort famous for its thermal springs, the Romanian National Championships took place from the 2nd to the 10th of April 2016. It was a 51-player, nine round Swiss event with Constantin Lupulescu (2624) as the top seed. Mircea Parligras, who began as the second seed, played sublime chess and won the tournament by a full point with a score of 7.5/9. He scored wins over strong players like Georgescu, Dolana, Miron and David and drew with Lupulescu, Marin and Deac. With a performance of 2708, he gained 13.5 Elo points. 

First Mircea Parligras (centre), Second Constantin Lupulescu (left) and third Tiberiu Georgescu

Final Ranking after 9 Rounds

Rk. SNo   Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3 
1 2 GM Parligras Mircea-Emilian ROU 2586 7,5 2708 40,0 0,0
2 1 GM Lupulescu Constantin ROU 2624 6,5 2582 38,0 0,0
3 9 GM Georgescu Tiberiu-Marian ROU 2449 6,0 2531 37,5 0,0
4 6 IM Miron Lucian-Costin ROU 2511 6,0 2522 38,0 0,0
5 7 IM Deac Bogdan-Daniel ROU 2497 6,0 2522 37,0 0,0
6 5 GM Jianu Vlad-Cristian ROU 2556 6,0 2521 37,0 0,0
7 3 GM Marin Mihail ROU 2584 6,0 2489 37,0 0,0
8 4 GM Nevednichy Vladislav ROU 2562 6,0 2474 36,0 0,0
9 11 IM Anton Teodor ROU 2418 6,0 2439 34,5 0,0
10 8 GM Berescu Alin-Mile ROU 2454 6,0 2438 32,5 0,0

Complete list of final standings

Top three spots for the Romanian Women Championship: First WGM Luminita Cosma (centre), second WGM Mihaela Sandu (right) and third WIM Angela Dragomirescu. The complete list of final standings for the women tournament can be found here.

After the tournament ended we got in touch with Mircea for an interview. The questions deal with Mircea's emotions post winning the tournament after a gap of 15 years, his preparation for the event, the routine that he followed, his favourite game and his future plans. Parligras also sent us annotations of his games against Georgescu and Miron.

Interview with the 2016 Romanian Champion: Mircea-Emilian Parligras

SS: Mircea, you won the Romanian national title after a gap of 15 years! How does it feel?

MP: It's a dream come true. The last time I had won the national title was in 2001. In all these years I tried to win it again, but it just didn't happen. Many times my result was good, but not good enough. And every time I said to myself – maybe next year. So now that I finally did it, I feel really good, I have no words to describe it.

SS: You dominated the field in brutal fashion, winning the tournament by a full point. What would you say were the reasons for that? 

MP: I had a very good start, five out of five. I motivated myself to keep playing for a win instead of trying to secure my result with some draws. Besides this it helped that I didn't miss opportunities. It's very easy to miss a chance and make a draw, then another, and very soon it becomes much more difficult to win the tournament. I have to say that my opponents were also ambitious and they too were playing for a win, like in the fourth and seventh round games against Miron and David.

SS: Who did you think were your biggest competitors at the event?

MP: Obviously the favourite was Lupulescu, the highest rated player in the tournament and several times Romanian champion. My other competitors were players rated above 2500, like Marin, Nevednichy, Jianu. Basically you never know beforehand. If a player is in good shape he has the chance to win the title.

SS: What did you do before the tournament to get in the right shape?

MP: Besides the usual preparation, I worked on tactics to get in good shape. But actually the difference was made in other areas of my life. This year I moved to Bucharest, which was a major change. Also, I recently started to coach, which brought some balance in my life. Another thing, I worked on my attitude. I prepared myself in a way that if I lead the tournament, I should just keep playing for a win in the next rounds as well.

SS: During the tournament were you following a routine every day?

MP: I went to sleep around midnight and I was trying to sleep as much as I could. I was skipping breakfast, I had some snacks in my room and I was preparing until lunch. About 45 before the game I went for a coffee with my friend Constantin Lupulescu, in order to get relaxed. In the evening I was checking the Internet, and would go for a walk.

SS: Are you in favour of this Swiss tournament to determine the Romanian National Champion or you would prefer Round Robin system in future?

MP: I prefer the Round Robin system. However, I think the there are other things that improved in the last few years: the Championship is not in winter anymore, no more double rounds, and there are semifinals for the qualification. There are still improvements to be made: better prize fund, better hotel and better playing hall.

SS: The first two rounds were relatively easy for you. In the third round you faced GM Tiberiu Georgescu Marian. And the following position arose:

How far had you seen when you made the move Nb5. Can you tell us about your calculations?

MP: Tiberiu told me he spotted Nb5 immediately after he moved, and went away from the board, so that I couldn't read anything on his face. Actually this resource is unexpected and works only because Black has the rook on a7. After I saw Nb5, I thought I was winning, but then I saw he had some tricks related to Bxh3 and it was not so easy. I was practical, made the strong moves quickly and won.

Parligras - Geogrgescu, round three (Analysis by Parligras)

[Event "ch-ROU 2016"]
[Site "Olanesti ROU"]
[Date "2016.04.04"]
[Round "3.1"]
[White "Parligras, Mircea"]
[Black "Georgescu, Tiberiu"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D35"]
[WhiteElo "2586"]
[BlackElo "2449"]
[Annotator "Mircea"]
[PlyCount "77"]
[EventDate "2016.04.02"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "ROU"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2016.04.04"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 Be7 6. e3 c6 7. Bd3 Nbd7 8. h3
O-O 9. Qc2 Re8 10. Nf3 Nf8 11. O-O Be6 12. Rab1 a5 13. a3 N6d7 14. Bf4 Ng6 15. Bh2 Ra7 {This came
as a surprise, the rook is misplaced here} ({I was thinking of} 15... Nb6) 16.
b4 Nb6 $2 (16... axb4 17. axb4 {and only now} Nb6 {White is slightly better,
but it's a normal position.}) 17. Nb5 $1 cxb5 18. Bc7 Qd7 19. Bxb6 Raa8 20.
bxa5 Bxh3 $1 {His only chance. And now it's a critical moment where I spent a
lot of time.} 21. Ne5 $5 (21. gxh3 $2 Qxh3 22. Nh2 Bd6 23. f3 Nh4 {looks
dangerous, and indeed, Black has enough counterplay.}) (21. Bxg6 $1 {was the
best way to continue.} hxg6 22. gxh3 (22. Ne5 Bf5 $1) 22... Qxh3 23. Ne5 {
with a large advantage.}) 21... Nxe5 22. dxe5 Rec8 23. Qe2 Bg4 24. f3 Bf5 25.
Rxb5 Rc6 $1 {Of course, the rook is joining the attack. Now it was not so easy
for me.} 26. Bxf5 Qxf5 27. Rxd5 $2 {I only considered taking the pawn,
although I saw his reply} (27. f4 $1 {was very strong, when my king will be
safe and the d5 pawn will drop off soon}) 27... Qh5 $1 28. g4 $1 {Otherwise
Black plays Rh6} Qg6 29. Qd3 h5 $2 {Tiberiu thought he was losing here anyway.}
({However, after} 29... Qh6 $1 {Black has compensation and stays in the game.
We were both short on time, so anything could happen.}) 30. Qxg6 Rxg6 31. Rd7
Bxa3 32. Rxb7 hxg4 33. f4 $18 {The ending is just lost.} Rc6 34. Ra1 Bc5 35.
Bxc5 Rxc5 36. a6 Rcc8 37. a7 Rf8 38. Kg2 Kh7 39. Kg3 1-0

SS: In round four against Miron you unleashed a new move with 12…Qc7!?

Miron - Parligras, round four

This position was reached between Carlsen and Naiditsch in Grenke Blitz, but Naiditsch played Rb8 and subsequently lost his game. Was this move Qc7 prepared or an over-the-board inspiration? And how do you assess the resulting queen vs two rooks position?

MP: I had prepared this move at home. I think the position is unclear, and probably balanced. My opponent thought it was better for him. As the game showed, my queen was quicker in grabbing material than his rooks! Although all my games were very important, I would like to highlight this game with Miron because I managed to win against a strong opponent with the black pieces.

Miron - Parligras, round four (annotations by Parligras)

[Event "ch-ROU 2016"]
[Site "Olanesti ROU"]
[Date "2016.04.05"]
[Round "4.1"]
[White "Miron, Lucian"]
[Black "Parligras, Mircea"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B91"]
[WhiteElo "2511"]
[BlackElo "2586"]
[Annotator "Mircea"]
[PlyCount "82"]
[EventDate "2016.04.02"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "ROU"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2016.04.11"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. g3 e5 7. Nde2 Nbd7 8. a4
Be7 9. Bg2 O-O 10. O-O b6 11. Nd5 (11. h3 {followed by g4 and Ng3 is another
typical plan.}) 11... Nxd5 12. Qxd5 Qc7 $5 (12... Rb8 13. Nc3 Nf6 14. Qd3 h6
15. Nd1 b5 16. axb5 axb5 17. Ne3 {Perhaps it's slightly better for White, but
nothing special Balogh- Areshchenko/ Mamaia 2015}) 13. Qxa8 {After some
thought Lucian decided to take up the challenge.} Bb7 14. Qa7 ({After} 14.
Qxf8+ {I was not decided how to take the queen. Probably I would have played
Kxf8.}) 14... Ra8 15. Qxa8+ Bxa8 16. Nc3 h6 {I wanted to avoid Bg5.} 17. Rd1
Nf6 18. h3 Qc4 $5 19. Rd3 ({Here I thought he would repeat the moves with} 19.
Bf1 Qe6 (19... Qb4 {looks too risky after} 20. Bd2) 20. Bg2 Qc4 $11) 19... Bxe4
20. b3 Qc6 21. Nxe4 Nxe4 22. Ba3 (22. c4 {was a better way to continue, when I
think the position is balanced.} f5 23. Be3 $1 Qc7 24. Bxe4 fxe4 25. Rd5 $13)
22... f5 23. c4 Qc8 $1 24. Bxe4 $2 {He tried to simplify the position and make
a draw. However, this is bad for him.} ({After} 24. g4 {I liked} Ng5 $1) ({
Perhaps it was best to just sit and wait with a move like} 24. Re1) 24... fxe4
25. Re3 Qxh3 26. Rxe4 h5 $1 {Now I get attacking possibilities. The queen on h3 is
there to stay.} 27. Re3 ({Actually I was more concerned about} 27. Rae1 {
and after} d5 (27... h4 $5 28. R1e3 Bg5 $1 {is winning}) 28. Bxe7 dxe4 {
White can try to set up a fortress.}) 27... Bg5 28. Rd3 h4 29. Bxd6 e4 {
Here I calculated a forced sequence to win the game.} (29... Bf4 {is good as
well}) 30. Rd5 hxg3 31. Bxg3 Be3 $1 {Diagram [#] This was important.} 32. Bd6
Qg4+ 33. Kf1 Qf3 34. Ra2 Qh1+ ({I was considering} 34... Bh6 {as well}) 35. Ke2
Qb1 36. Kxe3 Qxb3+ 37. Kd4 (37. Kxe4 Qxa2 {is also hopeless.}) 37... Qxa2 38.
a5 bxa5 39. Bf4 a4 40. Ra5 Qxf2+ 41. Be3 Qc2 0-1

SS: In the first round you played the Qc2 variation of the Nimzo. In the fifth round you decided to go for the Kasparov Variation with 5.g3. You have almost never used this line. What inspired to play it?

MP: I have played Qc2 before, and I'm comfortable with those positions. However, in the game against the talented junior Andrei-Theodor Dolana (who had four out of four by beating two GMs until then) I wanted to play something different, in order to surprise him. I think he mixed up his analysis and therefore he got a worse position quite soon.

SS: Your sixth round opponent was Bogdan-Daniel Deac. The young boy is one of the best talents of Romania. What is your assessment of him as a player and were you nervous facing him?

Strongest Romanian junior: 15-year-old Bogdan-Daniel Deac

MP: I was confident before the game against him because of my good performance in the tournament until then. Neither of us took many risks, so the game ended in a draw. Bogdan is obviously a very talented player. His rating is around 2500, he already has two GM norms and soon enough will become a GM.

SS: At what point did you think that you would surely win the event?

MP: After the draw with Deac I thought I would make it. However, I was sure only after I won the next game against Alexandru-Vasile David, where I had a bad position out of the opening.

SS: You are very good friends with Constantin Lupulescu. He has been your room-mate in many foreign tournaments. What were the emotions before the last round?

Parligras took absolutely no risks and drew his last round game against Lupulescu

MP: I was quite relaxed because I was leading by a full point, and I had a very good tiebreak. With a draw Constantin came second, so neither of us took many risks. 

SS: You rating was 2650 in 2012. It has been in this 2580 zone for almost three years now. How do you explain this drop in form?

MP: It's easier to lose rating points than to win them! Jokes aside, it's probably because my preparation wasn't good enough, and I missed many opportunities during the games. But I hope that this is the start of my comeback. Finally, it seems that I am back in good shape!

SS: What tournaments will you play next?

MP: I will play the European Individual Championship in Kosovo from 11-24th May, which will be a major test for me.

SS: What are your long term plans in chess?

MP: My long term plan is to improve my play, which will lead to a higher rating and good results in tournaments. I want to see how far I can get, ideally above 2700, and to keep that rating. On a shorter term it would be good to reach 2650 again.

SS: And lastly if there was any advice that you would like to give to the young and budding talents out there, what would it be?

MP: Follow your dreams, and one day they will come true!


The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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floryncd floryncd 4/23/2016 10:35
I hope Parligras one day will face Carlsen and get at least a draw!!