Records and beauties – Saint-Vincent wrap-up

by ChessBase
9/30/2005 – The recent European Chess Club Championships in Saint-Vincent, Italy, ended with some surprises. In a richly illustrated final report of the event, which includes replayable annotated games, Frits Agterdenbos looks back at a week of great excitement, giving full credit to the players and their achievements.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Saint-Vincent – The Records
European Chess Club 2005

Photos and text by Frits Agterdenbos


In Saint-Vincent, a small city in the upper Northwest of Italy, the European Chess Club 2005 was held 18-24 September. Saint-Vincent has about 5000 residents and is located in the officially bilingual region of Valle d'Aosta.

People speak both Italian and French, that is: they should. Valle d'Aosta is the Italian name of the region, Vallée d'Aoste is French. In English one would say: Aosta Valley. Valle d’Aosta is Italy’s smallest "regio" (120,000 residents) with a somehow non-Italian look, sometimes rather more Swiss-like.

But also the Roman and medieval past are still visible. Saint-Vincent is well-known as a much frequented health resort. It is also famous for its Casino, the Casino de la Vallée which was one of the main sponsors of the event. Both in summer and in winter the city attracks lots of tourists. Saint-Vincent is close to high alpine mountains such as the Mont Blanc, the Cervino (Matterhorn) and the Monte Rosa. The city itself is 575 metres above sea level.


The organisers of the tournament announced a new record in European Chess Club history. With 48 men's and 11 women's teams the event was even bigger than the 2004 edition in Turkey, when 36 men and 10 women teams participated. Indeed there were 401 registered players in both men and women sections, of whom were 123 GMs and 87 IMs. So without GM or IM title you were in a minority.

Tournament director Agostino Scalfi, arbiter Dirk De Ridder (men's competition)
and arbiter Werner Stubenvoll (women's competition)

The Giants

Top ranked players with 2700+ were Ivanchuk, Kramnik, Bacrot, Aronian, Gelfand, Grischuk, Akopian and Bologan, in total eight players. So with eight such players in the tournament how many clashes between 2700+ do we get to see? If all eight were on the same team the answer would be zero, if they were spread across eight different teams it would be 28 (in seven rounds). In Saint-Vincent the eight 2700+ players were divided over four teams, and we saw seven encounters. All were drawn except for Ivanchuk-Bologan in the final round.

Kramnik (NAO)


Gelfand (Polonia)

20 moves

round 3

Ivanchuk (Polonia)


Bacrot (NAO

17 moves

round 3

Aronian (Tomsk-400)


Kramnik (NAO)

85 moves

round 4

Bacrot (NAO)


Bologan (Tomsk-400)

57 moves

round 4

Akopian (Ural)


Bacrot (NAO)

25 moves

round 5

Aronian (Tomsk-400)


Gelfand (Polonia)

24 moves

round 7

Ivanchuk (Polonia)


Bologan (Tomsk-400)

71 moves

round 7

Click to replay the only decided game: Ivanchuk-Bologan (7)

Winning Teams Men's Section

The winners of gold, silver and bronze in the men’s section all made 12 matchpoints:

  Team + =
1 – Gold Tomsk-400 6 0 1
2 – Silver Polonia Plus GSM 6 0 1
3 – Bronze NAO Chess Club 6 0 1

All three teams lost one match and won the rest. In round three NAO beat Polonia Plus GSM; in round four Tomsk-400 surprisingly beat NAO; and in round seven Polonia Plus GSM beat Tomsk-400.

Tomsk-400 lost to Polonia Plus GSM 2½-3½ in the final round, but 2½ points were just enough to keep half a point ahead of Polonia and claim Gold. NAO won in the seventh round, beating SK Rockaden Stockholm with 4½-1½, which was enough to grab Bronze. Two match points behind were a group of five teams: Ural, Werder Bremen, TV Tegernsee, I&A Tbilisi and TPS.

GOLD: Tomsk-400, with Tkachiev, Inarkiev, Bologan, Jakovenko, Belozerov, Smirnov, Aronian and captain Boris Shaidullin

SILVER: Polonia Plus GSM, with Ivanchuk, Markowski, Krasenkow, Macieja, Socko, Gelfand and Kempinski

BRONZE: NAO, with Karjakin, Radjabov (hidden), Bacrot, Vallejo Pons, Lautier, Kramnik, Fressinet, Grischuk and captain

Winning Teams Women's Section

Women's Section
1 – Gold NTN Tbilisi 4 2 1
2 – Silver Southern Ural 4 2 1
3 – Bronze Internet CG Podgorica 4 2 1

The winners of Gold, Silver and Bronze in the women’s section all made ten matchpoints. All teams dropped four points: In round 1 Internet CG Podgorica lost to Platina; in round 2 Southern Ural lost to Platina, NTN Tbilisi drew with AVS and Internet CG Podgorica drew with BAS Beograd; in round 3 Southern Ural drew with Internet CG Podgorica; in round 6 Southern Ural drew with NTN Tbilisi; in round 7 Internet CG Podgorica beat NTN Tbilisi.

One match point behind there is a group of three teams: BAS Beograd, FINEK St. Petersburg and Platina. The number one ranked AVS (Stefanova, N. Kosintseva, T. Kosintseva, Zhukova and Kursova) disappointed with a number seven place.

GOLD: NTN Tbilisi, with captain Nona Gaprindashvili and players Tsereteli, Lomineishvili, Javakhisvili, Matnadze and Dzagnidze

SILVER: Southern Ural, with Shumiakina, Mkrtchian, Kovalevskaya, Lahno and Kochetkova

BRONZE: Internet CG Podgorica, with Chelushkina, Bendarac, captain, Maric, Cramling and Peptan

Individual Medallists Men's Section

There were prizes and medals to be earned for individual board performances based on percentage.

Board 1 men’s section
from left to right: Lars Karlsson Bronze (80%), Vugar Gashimov Silver (85,7%) and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Gold (90%) with Elo performance 2913.

Board 2 men’s section from left to right: Arkadij Naiditsch Bronze (78,6%), Vassili Ivanchuk Gold (85,7%) with Elo performance 2940, and Mika Karttunen Silver (80,0%).

Board 3: Michal Krasenkow silver (78,6%) with Elo performance 2803

Board 4: Joel Lautier gold (85,7%) with Elo performance 2861

Board 5
: Artem Iljin silver (78,6%) with Elo performance 2719. An IM with GM power!

Board 6 men’s section from left to right: Sergey Karjakin Bronze (83,3%), Ernesto Inarkiev Silver (83,3%) with Elo performance 2811 and Raoul Van Ketel Gold (91,7%).

Raoul Van Ketel (34 years old) from the Dutch team LSG scored with 91,7% the best overall percentage. He earned the FM title by passing the 2300. Raoul has a lot of organisational and managerial experience in the chess world. He finished a academic education in literary theory.

Individual Medallists Women's Section

Board 1 women’s section: Hoang Thanh Trang Gold (80,0%) with Elo performance 2623. Her July rating is 2476, with a number 15 ranking on the FIDE top 50 list for women.

This lady is 25 years old. Hoang is her family name. Trang, which should be pronounced “Ciang” is her name, while Thanh (which means something like “blue sky”) is her second name, called in Vietnam “intermediate name”. She was born in Hanoi, but when she was ten years old her family moved to Budapest, where they presently live. She was World Champion for girls under 20 in 1998. Hoang is WGM and IM with two GM norms. She is studying economy at the University of Budapest.

Board 2 women’s section
: Nino Khurtsidze Bronze (58,3%) and
Pia Cramling Silver (78,6%) with Elo performance 2562.

Board 3
: Ekaterina Korbut Silver (80,0%) with Elo performance 2635.

Ekatrina's July rating is 2409, with a number 10 ranking on the FIDE top 100 list for girls. She is 20 years old and plays for FINEK St. Petersburg. She is born in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, but at the age of 13 her family moved to Russia, where they are living in Orel. Last year she won the under 20 world champion title. She describes her playing style as aggressive, as white always opening with 1.e4 and playing for a win.

Board 4: Irina Sudakova Bronze (70,0%), Julia Kochetkova Gold (80,0%) and Ana Matnadze Silver (71,4%).

Other personal records

The very popular Vassily Ivanchuk (on photo with tournament director Agostino Scalfi) was the highest ranked player in Saint-Vincent with Elo 2752. He won the gold medal on board two, scoring 6/7. Ivanchuk made the highest Elo performance: 2940, and was the winner of the only non-draw game between 2700+ giants (against Bologan). During the closing ceremony he held a nice speech. His fans will be sorry they won’t see him playing in San Luis.

Kramnik-Dreev, ½-½ in round five. Kramnik (NAO) played four games, against Gelfand, Aronian, Dreev (all draw) and McShane (won), scoring 2,5/4, an Elo performance of 2788.

Levon Aronian, board 1 of Tomsk-400, had an Elo performance of 2718, almost equal to his July rating of 2724. In Zegrze Poludniowe, Warsaw earlier this year he won silver at the European Individual Championship.

Zahar Efimenko, Ukrainian top GM, board two of Werder Bremen, made an Elo performance of 2685. Team with the most nationalities was Werder Bremen: 6 different passports (ENG, UKR, CZE, FIN, GER, DEN), one more than NAO (RUS, FRA, AZE, ESP, UKR).

GM Antoaneta Stefanova, world champion, won Silver on board 1, playing for AVS. With an Elo of 2501 she was the highest ranked lady in Saint-Vincent.

Betul Cemre Yildiz (born in 1989), playing for Marmaris Munic SC, Turkey, was one of the three women playing in the men’s section. 


 An anonymous observer of male beauties made the next choice for the two most handsome male players.

Willem Muhren

Alexander Grischuk

An (other) anonymous observer of female beauties made the next choice for the two most beautiful female players:

Marion Adriaans

Bianca Muhren


The European Club Cup is one of the massive spectacles, which you really shouldn’t miss, neither if you are player or journalist. There is a good mixture of team competition and relaxed inter-teams relationships. In Saint-Vincent there was the perfect condition of player hotels within 500 metres walking distance from the playing venue, and a very good climate.

Talking with captains one could learn that the phenomenon European Club Cup is not a really known event by all entitled chess clubs. Perhaps there is a job to do for some national chess federations. And also for the chess clubs by making in their agendas a note of the European Club Cup 2006, which will be held from 7–15 October 2006 in Fuegen, Austria (see ECU event page).

Looking ahead

The Italians will be soon again the organizers of an important chess event: the 37th Chess Olympiad in Turin next year (20 May to 4 June 2006). The photo on the left shows Michele Cordara, general manager in the organising committee of the Chess Olympiad. The photo on the right shows Gianpietro Pagnoncelli, member of the organising committee and president of the Italian Chess Federation.

A final view of the mountains of Saint-Vincent


Frits Agterdenbos, 45, lives in Heemstede, not far from Amsterdam, and was one of the leading chess photographers in the eighties. From 1979–1991 his pictures appeared in several magazins, including New in Chess, Schakend Nederland, Inside Chess, BCM, Chess, Europe Echecs and Schach. In 1984 his Dutch book “64 Schaakportretten” (in English “64 Chess Portraits”) was published. In 1991 he “retired” as a chess photographer to finish his studies and in 1997 he received a diploma as an insurance mathematician (actuary). Since 1998 he has been a self-employed, working under the company name “Acturix”, which is his actuarial consultancy firm.

Now Frits is back as a chess photographer! In January 2005 he picked up his old passion, and publications show he still knows how to handle his camera. He combines his insurance job and chess photography with being a husband and a father of the beautiful Elena (three years old). You will find his photos on,, and, and many more websites and magazines. You can contact him under f.agterdenbos (at)

Previous ChessBase reports

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register