Wroclaw wins the 2020 Polish Team Championship

by André Schulz
9/4/2020 – The Polish Ekstraliga took place in Krakow from August 26 to September 3. The team from Wroclaw won the event despite losing in the eighth round against Katowice, their closest pursuers. Katowice finished a match point behind the new champions, while the team from Gorzow finished third. | Photo: Official site

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Wroclaw grabs the title

The Polish Team Championship, which was held in Krakow as a single round-robin tournament with ten participating squads, came to an end on Thursday. The Polish chess elite was present, with some foreign players added to the lineups. Two top German grandmasters also took part — Niclas Huschenbeth played first board for the Silesia Raciborz and Matthias Blübaum played board two for the Wieca Pegow. Each match was played on six boards, one of which was reserved for women players.

On paper, the team from Katowice was the favourite to get the championship title. With Jan-Krzyszof Duda, Radoslaw Wojtaszek and David Navara, they had three 2700+ players on top boards. However, Czechia’s number one David Navara was playing at the Czech National Championship and only intervened in the last two rounds.

Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Pentala Harikrishna

Jan-Krzysztof Duda facing Pentala Harikrishna in round 8 | Photo: Robert Pawlikowski

Moreover, Katowice had a false start in the championship and unexpectedly lost to the squad from Pegow in round 3. In round 5, the favourites gave up another point against Gorzow, which left them three points behind Wroclaw. The leaders had won all their matches by that point and also won their seventh-round matchup.

In round 8, the two top teams met and Katowice managed to end Wroclaw’s undefeated streak, beating their main rivals and reducing the gap to only one point.

Grzegorsz Gajewski (Katowice) was lucky to win a hard-fought game against Marcin Tazbir.

 

29.Bb4?!

[Stronger was 29.Nxg7! Kxg7 (29...Rxc3 30.Nf5 Rxf3 31.Ne7+) 30.Bb4 Re8 31.Qf5 (31.h5? Re4) 31...Rxe1 32.Qxf7+ Kh8 33.Bxe1 Bxd4 34.h5 Ne5 35.Qf8+ Kh7 36.Qe7+ Kg8 37.Rf8#]

29...f5 30.Rxf5 Rxf5 31.Qxf5 Bxd4 32.Re6?! [Better was 32.Nf6+ Bxf6 33.Re6 with an advantage. (33.Qxg6? Rxf2+ with the idea 34.Kxf2 Bd4+) ]

32...Rxf2+ 33.Qxf2 Qxe6 34.Qxd4 Qe2+

 

35.Kg1!? [One last attempt to win. Objectively better was 35.Kh3 Qf1+ 36.Kh2 (36.Kg4 Qe2+ 37.Kf5 Qc2+ 38.Kg4 (Not 38.Ke6 Qc8+ 39.Kxd5 Qc6#) 38...Qe2+) 36...Qe2+ with a perpetual check.]

35...Qxh5? [Necessary was 35...Ne5 36.Qf2 and now 36...Qxh5 with extra pawns.]

36.Bc3 [And suddenly g7 can no longer be defended.]

36...Kf8 37.g4! [The winning move. The queen cannot defend the knight any more. 37.Qxg7+ Ke8 38.Qg8+ Nf8 does not work.]

37...Qxh4 38.Qxg7+ Ke8 39.Qxg6+ Kd7 40.Kg2! 1–0

Nevertheless, Katowice needed for their direct rivals to falter in the last round in order to get tournament victory. But it was not meant to be. Katowice won 3½:2½ against Silesia Raciborz in the last round, but Wroclaw won without its top player Harikrishna against Miedzyborow with the same result, thus securing first place at the 2020 Polish Team Championship. The champions had a cohesive performance — they lost only 3 out of the 54 games they played.

Oscar Wieczorek

​Oscar Wieczorek was the best player for Wroclaw | Photo: Robert Pawlikowski

The best player for Wroclaw was Oscar Wieczorek, who obtained 6 points in the tournament. Monika Socko collected the most points (7) for the runner-up Katowice.

Monika Socko | Photo: Robert Pawlikowski

In the last round, Monika Socko showed a textbook example on how to win an endgame with rook and pawn against knight.

 

64...Kf3 65.Ka3 Ke4 66.Ka4 Kd5 67.Na5 Rb5 68.Nb3 Kc4 69.Na5+ Kc5 70.Nb3+ Kb6 71.Nd4 Rh5 72.Nb3 Rh4+ 73.Ka3 Kb5 74.Nc1 a5 75.Na2 Rh3+ 76.Kb2 Kc4 77.Nc1 a4 78.Na2 a3+ 79.Kb1 Rh1+ 80.Kc2 Rh2+ 81.Kb1 Kd3 82.Nb4+ Kc3 83.Na2+ Kd2 84.Nb4 Kd1 85.Ka1 Rb2 86.Nd3 Kc2 87.Ne1+ Kb3 88.Nd3 Rc2 0-1


Final standings

1 VOTUM SA Polonia Wrocław 2569 16 32,5
2 Wasko HETMAN GKS Katowice 2639 15 32,5
3 KSz Stilon Gorzów 2618 14 36,5
4 Wieża Pęgów 2510 12 30,0
5 KSz Miedź Legnica 2472 10 26,5
6 Klub Szachowy Silesia Racibórz 2505 7 25,5
7 KSz Hetman Płock 2451 6 24,5
8 Klub Szachowy Dwie Wieże Kraków 2415 5 22,0
9 UKS 21 Podlesie 2405 4 21,0
10 LKS Wrzos Międzyborów 2378 1 19,0

All games

 

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Topics: Ekstraliga 2020

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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