Plovdiv: Playoffs of the European Individual Championships

by ChessBase
5/4/2008 – Sergey Tiviakov and Kateryna Lahno won their titles outright, but there were a number of playoffs for the medals and places in the FIDE World Cup. Reconstruction everything was not easy, but we have tried to prepare a clear overview of the games, results, medal winners and qualifiers. We bring you these together with a big pictorial report from Plovdiv.

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The IX European Individual Chess Championship took place in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, from April 21st to May 3rd 2008, with one free day, on Monday, April 28. The tournament halls were in the Novotel Plovdiv. The championship was an 11 round Swiss, playing time is 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one. The total prize fund in the men's section was 92,200 EUR (first 15,000, 2nd 10,000, third 8,000, fourth 6,500, fifth 5,500 etc.) and in the women's section 34,500 EUR (first 6,000, second 5,000, third 4,000, fourth 3,000, fifth 2,000, etc.). According to Bulgarian law all prizes were taxable (10%).


The tiebreak system is not fully explained on the tournament pages. The rules state that in the European Individual Chess Championship and European Individual Women’s Chess Championship tie-breaks are organized only in the following cases:

  • to establish the Champion;
  • to establish the medal winners;
  • to establish qualifiers, for the World Chess Championship.

To do this additional matches of two games would be played, with 15 minutes on the clock and addition of 10 seconds before each move. If this match is drawn again, then two games will be played with five minutes plus two seconds per move. If this match is again drawn, then the sudden-death game will be played with white having 5 minutes on the clock and black having 4 minutes, without any addition. White has to win the sudden-death game in order to win the match.

The rules also state that in case more than three tie-break rounds had to be played, the chief arbiter was able to change the playing schedule in such a way that the tie-break matches can be finished within one day.

We have tried to figure out exactly what transpired and give you our results without a warrantee (except for the medals) that they are completely accurate or what they mean for the World Championship/Cup qualifications.

At the end of the main tournament this was the final standings in the men's section:

1 GM Tiviakov Sergei 2634 NED 8.5
2 GM Volkov Sergey 2633 RUS 8.0
3 GM Tregubov Pavel V 2629 RUS 8.0
4 GM Movsesian Sergei 2695 SVK 8.0
5 GM L'Ami Erwin 2600 NED 8.0
6 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2632 FRA 8.0
7 GM Grachev Boris 2610 RUS 8.0
8 GM Baklan Vladimir 2647 UKR 8.0
9 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy 2612 UKR 8.0
10 GM Nyback Tomi 2587 FIN 8.0

Obviously Sergey Tiviakov had won the event alone and had the Gold Medal and the title of European Championship. This is how the tiebreak games that were necessary went.

So the final results were:

Gold GM Tiviakov Sergei 2634 NED
Silver GM Movsesian Sergei 2695 SVK
Bronze GM Volkov Sergey 2633 RUS

Further qualifiers for the World Cup by virtue of the tiebreaks were:

Pavasovic Dusko
Gurevich Mikhail
Efimenko Zahar
Markowski Tomasz
Papaioannou Ioannis
Vajda Levente
Khalifman Alexander
Roiz Michael
Najer Evgeniy
Hracek Zbynek
Mamedov Rauf
Andreikin Dmitry
Akopian Vladimir
Sargissian Gabriel
Areshchenko Alexander
Gustafsson Jan
Fressinet Laurent
Galkin Alexander
Smirin Ilia
Khismatullin Denis
Lupulescu Constantin
Bologan Viktor

Women's section

In the women's section the top standings were:

1 GM Lahno Kateryna 2479 UKR 8.5
2 IM Ushenina Anna 2474 UKR 8.0
3 WGM Zhukova Natalia 2450 UKR 8.0
4 IM Cmilyte Viktorija 2466 LTU 8.0
5 IM Mkrtchian Lilit 2413 ARM 8.0
6 IM Skripchenko Almira 2443 FRA 8.0
7 IM Dembo Yelena 2429 GRE 8.0

Kateryna Lahno had won the title and Gold, the rest went into the playoffs:

The final results were:

Gold GM Lahno Kateryna 2479 UKR
Silver IM Cmilyte Viktorija 2466 LTU
Bronze IM Ushenina Anna 2474 UKR

Further qualifiers for the World Cup by virtue of the tiebreaks were:

IM Danielian Elina
IM Socko Monika
IM Lomineishvili Maia
WGM Demina Julia

Pictorial Impressions

By Diana Mihajlova

The winner: GM Tiviakov Sergei (NED) secured a clear first and Gold

Silver for Sergei Movsesian (SVK)

Bronze to Sergey Volkov of Russia [Photo Dusan Bojkov]

The beaming GM Lahno Kateryna (UKR), the European Women's Champion

IM Cmilyte Viktorija (LTU), who took Silver

Bronze for IM Ushenina Anna (UKR)

GM Cramling Pia (SWE), with Diana Mihajlova. Pia, the
the highest ranked player in the ladies’ tournament, did not make it among the top seven, but followed the leaders with 7.5.

Over a late night ice-cream in the near-by bar we chatted, among other things, about the effects of long tournaments. The ever gentle Pia Cramling admitted how hard she found to be away from her young daughter for such a long time. It is the first time she has travelled to a tournament alone, without the support of her husband, Spanish GM Juan Bellon and their little daughter, who this time had to stay home because of her school. She thought that if a chess tournament could be played like a tennis tournament would be much better: where when you lose in the first two or three rounds you simply go home; two weeks is too long. When I suggested that the absence of her family might have contributed to her somewhat poorer performance, she denied it in her ever sporting manner, but added contemplatively: ‘I know what my problems are.’ I did not want this time to delve into the secret of ‘her problems’. A slightly worst performance every now and then it is only understandable. Independently of that Pia has already secured her place in the history of women’s chess.

At the Plovdiv Championships new type of winners were introduced. Throughout the tournament the public was requested to vote for ‘Queen’ and ‘King’ of the Championships. Faithful to their home stars the public chose GM Stefanova Antoaneta (BUL) for their Queen and IM Kresimir Rusev (BUL) for their King.

Some pictures from the tournament site

42nd: FM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan, 2449, ARM, 7.0 points. We are told that 14-year-old Samvel has secured his GM title with this result.

Cool picture, cool name: IM Ciprian-Costica Nanu, 2515, ROU, 5.5 points

168th: GM Alin Berescu, 2481, ROU, 5.5 points, twice National Champion, in 2004 and 2005

72nd: 15-year-old GM Fabiano Caruana 2620, ITA, 6.5 points

257th: 12-year-old Alexander Monev, 2038, BUL, 4.5 points

305th: GM Kiril Georgiev, 2665, BUL, 3.0 points

11th: Photographers' favourite GM Antoaneta Stefanova, 2538, Bulgaria, 7.5 points

14th: IM Maia Lomineishvili, 2400, GEO, 7.5 points

60th: WIM Joanna Worek, 2244, POL, 6.0 points

63rd: WIM Lilit Galojan, 2324, ARM, 6.0 points

65th: WGM Velcheva Maria, 2262, Bulgaria, 6.0 points

Operation operation – emergency at St. George Hospital

The tournament bulleting tells us the following harrowing tale:

There is a popular saying that “life is what happens to us, while we make plans about it”. In the early hours of April 29, when the Spanish chess player Albert Muratet was preparing his game against the Bulgarian Dimitar Marholev, a sharp pain in the area of the kidneys made him forget chess variations and seek medical help. He was taken to the Saint George University Hospital – one of the best in Plovdiv. The physicians had no doubt – the patient had to undergo immediate appendicitis surgery.

Unfortunately the language barrier posed a problem. Albert initially did not consent to a surgical intervention. The Spaniard was convinced that it was some kind of kidney trouble, since he felt pain behind in the waist, while the appendix is normally in the front. The physicians however felt that Albert's appendicitis was located at the back and the pain was atypically localised.

Lucky for the patient that Dr. Assen Zlatarev appeared – a physician who has worked in Mexico for years. In perfect Spanish he not only soothed Albert, but also explained to him how serious the situation actually was. The chess player understood that he had no choice but to trust our doctors, and he underwent surgery in the afternoon of the same day. After the operation Muratet was provided a VIP room in the hospital recovery wing. Logically the attending physician was Dr. Zlatarev.

A few days after this crisis we visited Albert Muratet at the “St. George” University Hospital. We found him slightly weak, but in good spirit.


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