Skopje: Siberia and Nona ECC 2015 champions

by Sagar Shah
10/26/2015 – Team Siberia from Russia and Nona from Georgia won the European Club Cup open and women’s sections. Both dominated right from the start and gave no chances to others to wrest the lead from them. The event turned out to be quite horrible for some of the top players, but one guy must be extremely happy with his performance: Vladimir Kramnik who is now world number four!

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Watch it live on Playchess! + Women's section

European Club Cup R5: Siberia and Nona ECC 2015 champions

Final report by Sagar Shah / Photos by Maria Emelianova and ChessPro

The 31st European Club Cup and 20th European Club Cup for Women were held from the 18th to 24th of October 2015 in Skopje, Macedonia. Fifty teams from different parts of Europe participated in the open event, while the women section consisted of twelve teams. Both the championships were seven round Swiss events with six boards per team in the open and four per team in the women’s. The time control was 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 first prize in the open section was €12,000, while for the women it was €7000.

As the last round began in Skopje, Siberia was leading by clear two points with a perfect score of 12.0/12. Behind them were four teams with a score of 10.0/12: SOCAR, Mednyi Vsadnik, Beer-Sheva and Obiettivo. This is how the final round pairing looked:

The top three boards pairing of the final round (seven)

Alkaloid was able to beat Beer Sheva quite easily by a score of 4.5-1.5. Ivanchuk, Andreikin, Kryvoruchko and Yu Yangyi won their games. Huzman beating Jakovenko was quite an upset. Alkaloid was on eight points before the start of the last round. With this victory they ended up with same score as their opponents – 10.0/12. Both the teams were out from the medal contention.

Mednyi Vsadnik and SOCAR were pitted against each other. The defending champions and the top seeds SOCAR definitely wanted to prove their might by finishing the last round on a high. But their opposing Russian team was no pushover. It was a tense struggle that ended in a 3-3 draw.

Svidler had beaten Topalov, just a few weeks ago at the World Cup 2015, with the white pieces,
but their game at the European Club Cup ended peacefully.

Anish Giri drew his game against Lenier Dominguez, and Fabiano Caruana split the point with Nikita Vitiugov. The last board game between Ildar Khairullin and Eltaj Safarli also ended in a draw. Michael Adams was able to give SOCAR the lead with a great win over Maxim Matlakov.

[Event "European Club Cup 2015 - Open"] [Site "Skopje"] [Date "2015.10.24"] [Round "7.4"] [White "Adams, Michael"] [Black "Matlakov, Maxim"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C92"] [WhiteElo "2742"] [BlackElo "2689"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "77"] [EventDate "2015.10.18"] [EventType "team"] [EventRounds "7"] [EventCountry "MKD"] [WhiteTeam "SOCAR (AZE)"] [BlackTeam "MEDNYI VSADNIK (RUS)"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d6 9. h3 Re8 10. d4 Bb7 11. Nbd2 Bf8 12. a3 h6 13. d5 Nb8 14. Nh2 Nbd7 15. Ng4 Nc5 16. Nxf6+ Qxf6 17. Bc2 c6 18. b4 Nd7 19. Nb3 cxd5 20. Na5 Rab8 21. Nxb7 Rxb7 22. Qxd5 Rc7 23. Qd3 Rec8 24. Bd2 Nb6 25. a4 Nc4 26. axb5 axb5 {[%cal Rc4d2] [#] Black has just played his knight to c4 and attacked the bishop on d2. Instead of retreating it, Michael Adams finds a truly amazing solution.} 27. Bb3 $1 {The threat is of course to take on c4. If rook takes back then b5 remains weak. And if the pawn recaptures, then the b4 pawn is a passer.} Nxd2 28. Qxd2 Rxc3 {Did Mickey blunder a pawn?} 29. Re3 $1 {Of course not! He had seen extremely deep into the position. He realised that in the ensuing opposite coloured bishop scenario, initiative would be more imporant than material. The rook lift to e3 threatens Rf3 putting pressure on f7. But what if Black takes on e3?} Rxe3 30. fxe3 $1 {Fantastic play by England number one! The f-file has opened up and Michael can now pressurize the f7 pawn.} Rc7 31. Bd5 {Black is a pawn up but his bishop on f8 is clearly inferior to the monster on d5.} g6 32. Qd3 Qg5 33. Rf1 h5 34. Rf3 Qh4 35. Kh2 $1 {Safegaurding his king before embarking on the queen invasion.} Bh6 36. Qxb5 Kh7 37. Qe8 Bg7 38. Bxf7 Re7 39. Qd8 {Everything is falling apart: the d6 pawn is hanging, later the g6 pawn will disappear. All in all Matlakov's decision to resign was a perfectly valid one.} 1-0

Michael Adams (left) scored 5.0/6, beating strong players like Rublevsky, Li Chao
and Matlakov to perform at an Elo of 2941, gaining 15 Elo points in the process

SOCAR’s chances of winning the final round were spoilt when Shakhriyar Mamedyarov slumped to a defeat against Maxim Rodshtein, and the match ended in a 3-3 tie.

Maxim Rodshtein played a brilliant game to defeat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
and level the scores [picture from Baku World Cup 2015]

Both the teams ended the event with a score of 11.0/14. SOCAR won the silver medal and Mednyi Vsadnik had to settle for the bronze.

Coming to the top board clash between Siberia and Obiettivo: the board one clash between Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Leko ended in a draw. The game between Levon Aronian and Sergey Karjakin also ended in a truce. Hikaru Nakamura and Alexander Grischuk played some crazy stuff where it was extremely difficult to understand what was going on. Finally pieces were exchanged and the game ended in a draw. The first set back for Siberia came when Li Chao lost against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

[Event "European Club Cup 2015 - Open"] [Site "Skopje"] [Date "2015.10.24"] [Round "7.4"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Li, Chao B"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D10"] [WhiteElo "2758"] [BlackElo "2750"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventDate "2015.10.18"] [EventType "team"] [EventRounds "7"] [EventCountry "MKD"] [WhiteTeam "OBIETTIVO RISARCIMENTO PADOVA (ITA)"] [BlackTeam "SIBERIA (RUS)"] {This game follows the contours of the game Carlsen- Mamedyarov from Shamkir 2015. That game is given in the notes to this battle.} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 g6 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O b6 8. a4 a5 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. b3 Ne4 $6 {Mamedyarov also had chosen this move against Carlsen and we can be sure that MVL remembered that game.} 11. Nxe4 $1 dxe4 12. Nd2 Bb7 13. Ba3 f5 14. Rc1 Nd7 {First new move but doesn't change anything. Mainly the knight which will come to c4 is going to cause immense problems to Black.} (14... Kh8 15. Nc4 Nd7 16. d5 Rc8 17. d6 e6 18. b4 axb4 19. Bxb4 Bd5 20. a5 bxa5 21. Bxa5 Qe8 22. Qa4 Bc6 23. Qb4 Rb8 24. Nb6 Ne5 25. Qc5 Ba8 26. Bc3 Nd7 27. Bxg7+ Kxg7 28. Nxd7 Qxd7 29. Qe5+ {1-0 (29) Carlsen,M (2863)-Mamedyarov,S (2756) Shamkir 2015}) 15. b4 Nf6 16. bxa5 bxa5 17. Nc4 Nd5 18. Ne5 f4 19. Qb3 Rb8 20. Bb5 Bxe5 (20... f3 21. Nd7 $18) 21. dxe5 fxe3 (21... f3 22. g3 {There is no way to take advantage of the weakened light squares.}) 22. fxe3 Rxf1+ 23. Rxf1 Rc8 24. Bc4 Qd7 25. e6 $1 Qc6 (25... Qxe6 26. Rd1 $18) 26. Rc1 Nb6 27. Ba6 $1 Bxa6 (27... Qxc1+ 28. Bxc1 Rxc1+ 29. Kf2 Bxa6 30. Qxb6 $18) 28. Rxc6 Rxc6 29. Bxe7 Bc4 30. Qc3 Nd5 31. Qxa5 Nc7 32. Qa7 {A very easy win for Maxime and quite a huge blow to Siberia.} 1-0

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave scored a powerful victory over Li Chao in the final round

Anton Korobov drew his game against Daniele Vocaturo. Now everything depended on Wang Yue. He was playing against Etienne Bacrot, and the Chinese player did not disappoint.

[Event "European Club Cup 2015 - Open"] [Site "Skopje"] [Date "2015.10.24"] [Round "7.5"] [White "Wang, Yue"] [Black "Bacrot, Etienne"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E71"] [WhiteElo "2724"] [BlackElo "2697"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "107"] [EventDate "2015.10.18"] [EventType "team"] [EventRounds "7"] [EventCountry "MKD"] [WhiteTeam "SIBERIA (RUS)"] [BlackTeam "OBIETTIVO RISARCIMENTO PADOVA (ITA)"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. h3 O-O 6. Nf3 e5 7. d5 Nh5 8. g3 f5 9. exf5 gxf5 10. Ng5 Nf6 11. g4 Qe8 12. gxf5 Bxf5 13. Be3 Na6 14. Rg1 Kh8 15. Bd3 e4 16. Be2 Nc5 17. Qd2 c6 18. O-O-O cxd5 19. cxd5 Rc8 20. Kb1 a6 21. h4 b5 22. Ne6 Nxe6 23. dxe6 b4 24. e7 Qxe7 25. Na4 a5 26. Qxd6 Qxd6 27. Rxd6 Rfd8 28. Rxd8+ Rxd8 {[#] The position looks almost equal, but Wang Yue has seen deeper.} 29. Rg5 $1 {The bishop cannot really move as then the a5 pawn would fall.} Rd5 30. Nb6 Re5 (30... h6 $1 31. Nxd5 hxg5 32. Nxf6 Bxf6 33. hxg5 Be5 $16 {is a pawn down position, but I guess Black has some drawing chances.}) 31. Bd4 e3+ 32. Kc1 Re4 33. Bxf6 Bxf6 34. Rxf5 {White has won a piece and Wang Yue was able to convert the position in spite of the limited material on the board.} exf2 35. Bd3 Re1+ 36. Kc2 Bxh4 37. Nd5 Kg7 38. Rf4 Rh1 39. Ne3 Rh2 40. Nf1 Rh3 41. Be4 Bf6 42. Rxf2 a4 43. Rf3 Rh4 44. Bd3 Rh5 45. b3 axb3+ 46. axb3 Rc5+ 47. Bc4 h5 48. Ne3 h4 49. Nd5 Be5 50. Kd3 Bd6 51. Ke4 Ra5 52. Kf5 Ra1 53. Kg4 Rh1 54. Ne3 {With this victory the match ended in a 3:3 draw.} 1-0

Wang Yue’s win helped Siberia level the scores in the last round

Thus Siberia drew the match with a score of 3.0/3 and became the 2015 European Club Cup Champions with a margin of two points. They won six of their matches and drew one to end of 13.0/14.

Team Siberia, with Vladimir Kramnik, Levon Aronian, Anton Korobov, Wang Yue, Li Chao, Dmity Kokarev, …

….Alexander Grischuk and Dmitry Bocharov (right), won the European Club Cup 2015

If there was one player who performed phenomenally in the tournament, it has to be Vladimir Kramnik who scored 4.5/5, beating players like Nepomiachtchi, Topalov, Svidler and Ivanchuk. He gained 19 Elo points and now has a live rating of 2796, and fourth place on the FIDE rating lists. What a tournament for the Big Vlad!

Final top ranking (after seven rounds)

Rk.
SNo
Team
  + 
  = 
  - 
 Pts 
 TB2 
 TB3 
1
2
SIBERIA (RUS)
6
1
0
13
246,0
28,5
2
1
SOCAR (AZE)
5
1
1
11
239,0
28,0
3
5
MEDNYI VSADNIK (RUS)
5
1
1
11
199,5
28,0
4
4
OBIETTIVO RISARCIMENTO PADOVA (ITA)
5
1
1
11
199,0
24,5
5
6
AVE NOVY BOR (CZE)
5
0
2
10
220,0
31,0
6
3
ALKALOID (MKD)
5
0
2
10
212,0
27,5
7
8
SHSM LEGACY SQUARE (RUS)
5
0
2
10
201,0
29,0
8
7
UNIVERZITY-BELORECHENSK (RUS)
5
0
2
10
198,5
29,5
9
14
LSG LEIDEN (NED)
5
0
2
10
162,5
27,5
10
19
SC MPA - MARIA SAAL (AUT)
5
0
2
10
155,5
25,5
11
10
BEER-SHEVA (ISR)
5
0
2
10
147,5
26,5

Women’s section

Right from the start the Georgian team of Nona dominated the field scoring one victory after another. In the end they won all their matches and lifted the title with a score of 14.0/14! Three points more than the silver medalists Gambit Asseko See and bronze medal winner Ugra.

The Georgian team Nona consisting of Nana Dzagnidze, Bela Khotenashvili,
Lela Javakhishvili, Nino Batsiashvili and Miranda Mikadze won the gold medal

Nana Dzagnidze’s strong performance of 5.5/7 on the top board helped Nona to not lose a single match. Bela Khotenashvili scored 5.5/7 on the second board, Javakhishvili made 5.0/7 and Batsiashvili mustered up 5.5/6. It was truly a team effort.

Team Gambit Asseko See lead by Antanoeta Stefanova finished second

Aleksandra Goryachkina didn’t really impress in this tournament,
but there is no doubt about how talented this young girl really is

Final Ranking (after seven rounds)

Rk.
SNo
Team
  + 
  = 
  - 
 Pts 
 TB2 
 TB3 
1
1
NONA (GEO)
7
0
0
14
157,0
22,0
2
3
GAMBIT ASSEKO SEE (MKD)
5
1
1
11
122,5
21,5
3
4
UGRA (RUS)
4
2
1
10
100,5
18,0
4
2
SHSM LEGACY SQUARE (RUS)
4
1
2
9
123,0
18,0
5
8
BOSSA NOVA (BLR)
4
0
3
8
62,0
14,0
6
7
ASD CIRCOLO SCACCHI R.FISCHER (ITA)
3
1
3
7
49,0
12,5
7
5
SPB (RUS)
3
0
4
6
66,0
13,5
8
6
DE STUKKENJAGERS (NED)
2
1
4
5
63,0
11,0
9
10
RISHON LEZION (ISR)
2
1
4
5
42,0
10,5
10
9
MIDLAND MONARCHS (ENG)
1
2
4
4
47,0
10,0
11
11
OSLO SCHAKSELSKAP (NOR)
1
2
4
4
33,0
8,5
12
12
HERZLIYA CHESS CLUB (ISR)
0
1
6
1
39,5
8,5


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Topics European Team

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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Aighearach Aighearach 10/28/2015 11:59
I would love to see an eventual Carlsen vs Kramnik WCC match. According to some website in classical Carlsen is up 5-4-13 and in rapid+exhibition Kramnik is up 7-6-12. It would be like a murder mystery... a lot of subtle dancing around, and then somebody is bleeding, but we're not even sure who is cut!
satkul satkul 10/28/2015 08:50
Can we have the Kramnik Topo game here with annotations?
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 10/27/2015 01:07
A great game by Adams, but Matlakov should have played 30... d5! That seemed (of course with hindsight) logical to me (black gets counterplay against pawn b4), and the engine confirmed it. Best for white seems 31 Bxd5 (31 exd5? e4 is even good for black and 31 Qxd5 Rd8 32 Qxb5 Rd2 also gives enough counterplay), but for instance in the line 31... Rc7 32 Ra8 Qd6 33 Kh2 g6 34 Rb8 Kg7 35 Rxb5 Qa6 36 Ra5 Qb6 37 Ra4 Bd6 it is difficult to see how white can make progress.
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