Reports | October 31, 2009 4:05

Gold for Azerbaijan and Russia in Novi Sad

etc09Azerbaijan won the 17th European Team Championship in Novi Sad today thanks to a 2.5-1.5 victory against The Netherlands. Russia, held 2-2 by Spain, took silver and Ukraine won the bronze medal. The Russian women won the gold medal ahead of Georgia and again Ukraine.

The 17th European Team Championship was organized by the European Chess Union and Serbia Chess Federation. The Championship was held in Novi Sad, Serbia (80 km northwest of the capital Belgrade and 280 km south of Budapest).

The dates were October 21th (day of arrival) until October 31th 2009 (day of departure). It was a nine round Swiss played from October 22nd to 30th, without a rest day. The time control was 90 min. for 40 moves + 30 min. & 30 sec. increment.


Round 9

etc09Vugar Gashimov already posted it on Facebook, at 20.13 CET: "AZERBAIJAN European champion!!!!!!!!!" He played an important role in today's last round, beating Stellwagen in the only decisive game of the match Azerbaijan-Netherlands. In a Caro-Kann Advance Gashimov kept a small edge in the form of bishop versus knight, and eventually he reached a rook ending with an extra pawn. This shouldn't have been enough though, because Stellwagen defended very well and in fact reached a theoretical draw (diagram). However, after 70...Rf4? Black was lost anyway, where six other rook moves would have drawn, as the tablebase shows.

It was a crucial moment for the tournament, since Russia had already played 2-2 earlier on, against Spain. Svidler and Shirov drew, and so did Jakovenko and Illescas. Morozevich beat Vallejo with Black, but Alekseev later lost to Salgado Lopez and this eventually decided matters since although they ended on half a board point more than Azerbaijan, the Russian team had one match point less...

Azerbijan was the only country to end on 15 match points; Russia took silver with 14. Armenia eventually went home without a medal since Ukraine had the better tiebreak. In the top six of best performers, three are from the winning team: Gashimov, Mamedov and Mamedyarov. The winner in that section was Eljanov who ended on a 2823 performance (6/8). The surprise of the tournament was Jon Ludvig Hammer, whose 6.5/9 and 2792 performance on first board for Norway could have easily been scored by, well, someone like Magnus Carlsen.

In the women section Russia and Georgia were on a different level, both finishing four points ahead of the rest of the field. Although they beat Russia in the second round, Georgia had to be satisfied with silver after scoring two board points less. Ukraine took bronze with 12 points. Also here Azerbaijan did very well; as 'gg' commented, "they came an inch from a medal, same points as Ukraine and same first tiebreak. They missed out on the bronze on the second tiebreak. All five Ukrainan women were well over 2400, all the Azeris were in the 2200s, four of them 2233 or lower."

Russia's board one and two had the highest performance ratings: Nadezhda Kosintseva, who won the only decisive game in the last round, scored a fantastic 8/9 which was good for a 2665 performance. Alexandra Kosteniuk did only slightly worse with 6/8 (2621 performance).

All results round 9

European Team Ch 2009 | Final Standings

European Team Ch 2009

European Team Ch Women 2009 | Final Standings

European Team Ch 2009

Selection of games round 9

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Photo courtesy of the official website


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Erik Fokke's picture

It was indeed a distressing moment to see Stellwagen miss 70. ..., Rb4, after his heroic defensive play before his loosing 70. ..., Rf4?.

It was a fantastic game, that should have been a draw. I hope Stellwagen will write about this game in NIC and in doing so at least will come over this very unfortunate loss.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

So did Armenia walk out before Azerbaijan got the gold medal?

gg's picture

"Too bad Azerbaïdjan doesn’t belong to Europe"

tuko's picture

Well deserved victory by Azerbaijan! And brave Gashimov! Look at his 3rd and 4th round entertaining (against Georg Meier (2664) and Michael Roiz (2658)). Bravo, guys!

Felix Kling's picture

The stellwagen diagram reminds me of the capablanca - menchik game (it's in the endgame manual by dvoredckij) where both sides misplay such a rook endgame (pawn on the 6th rank) horribly :)

I the diagram, the obvious move is Rb4 with checks from the side. Re4 also seems to work, Rh1 with checks from the back, too. But Rb4 is quite an easy move, I wonder if Stellwagen didn't have much time left...

Prashant's picture

I think Eljanov has best performance....2823

WGIFM's picture

@Simon Or geographically speaking Israel. But in chess they belong to the European Federations. Just like in football (where in even Kazakhstan plays in Europe) or Australia plays in Asia. That is normal for me. Why should the chess word strictly follow the geographical borders created by geographers? For me Armenians, Turkish, Georgian and Azerbaijan players are as much European as Topalov or Adams. No mentioning that without them the whole event would have been much more boring.

@iraqi master
I agree Moro had a splendid tournament. And Gashimov -in a completely different style.

Iraqi Master's picture

I think Morozevich was the best player in the tournement with performance rate 2820 and all his games was so fantastic !!!

Simon's picture

Too bad Azerbaïdjan doesn't belong to Europe...(like Armenia or Georgia)

but they do have a great team!

Castro's picture

"Azerbijan was the only country to end on 15 board points"

"match poins" is meant.

Muadhib's picture

I think this is just beginning for Azerbaijan. Their players have matured and are coming in their best years. And their advantage is that that they have been playing together in a team since their childhood.

I think they will scoop more medals in the next decade, this was just a beginning.

vooruitgang's picture

I agree with you Erik...Stellwagen is an exciting attacking player. That he can play at such a high level and devote time also to his school studies is admirable. My hope is that he can absorb this loss and continue providing us with his wonderful games and insightful analysis. It happens to all great players.

Thomas's picture

"It happens to all great players"
For example
Carlsen-Aronian 0-1(93) Linares 2009
Aronian-Carlsen 1-0(74) Tal Memorial 2006

In both cases (in all three cases) the games lasted around six hours or longer, in such a situation "nobody is perfect" ... .

T. Goto's picture

Gashimov has been steadily rising up the rank and now the top player from Azerbaijan. His steadiness reminds me of that of Jakovenko from a little while ago. I wish the best for this Azeri Grand Master. And yes, Morozevich has been fantastic! As usual, we couldn't predict anything about his plays or results of him. It's great to have a player like him. Ivanchuk and Morezevich never fail to bring unpredictability which machines won't provide us. Also, from women's section, I was really impressed by Nadezhida Kosintseva's performance. She played all nine games and scored 88.9%. That's a quite a feat, I must say!

Wim's picture

The Duttch team performed very well in this field. They are becoming more and more mature every year. My compliments for this team!

Ianis's picture

Yes , it was a nice performance of the Dutch team , which without key players made a good tournament

Congrats to the Azeris for the gold , i thought Russia or Armenia would win it before the tournament started , but Gashimov and his teammates were excellent throughout

Ramil Ahmadov's picture


learn your bloody geography prior to idiotic comments regarding Azerbaijan not belonging to Europe.

Petr's picture

Congrats on winning to Azerbaijan and Russia!

And as I am from the Czech Republic I have to say it is really pity that our women didn't win in the last round against Ukraine - they would grab bronze medals then!

Muadhib's picture

With the new rating list out this is how the pairing tree for World Cup is supposed to look

P.S.: Sorry for off-topic.

dan's picture

Macro economically speaking It's a good thing they become be part of Europe. for Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and the rest of European nations. For chess (and other sports) it's also good for the rest of Asia as they did not compete with us. :)

Pol-Ger's picture

Dear Chessfriends, Pupils and Teachers

one point which is most funny to me, is: Why did so many peolpe took the artificial (geographic / geological) differentiation between Europe and Asia as the only true (or superior) core of this issue ?

dan's picture

Geographical Azerbaijan is in the crossroad between Asia and Europe. They join the European federation (as in soccer also) is more a political, rather than on geographical context.

vosuram's picture

USSR chess school is still dominating...

Fred's picture

To Simon: Look at the map my friend, it's Armenia which really doesn't belong to Europe, Azerbaijan is in the same status as Georgia - half European. Or you think only Christians have such a honour to be Europeans :-)))

Thomas's picture

Daaim, conversely one could also argue that the Middle East is closer to Europe than to Asia (in a chessic context primarily India and China)? BTW, there is one "stan" (Kazakhstan) which, for a small part, belongs to Europe if the Ural River is taken as a boundary ... indeed it participates in European soccer competitions.

"there is no logical reason that Israel plays in Europe"
Whether logic or not, I guess the main reason is that it is not welcomed by its Asian Arab neighbors (for example, it wasn't welcome at the Dubai Olympiad).

Daaim Shabazz's picture

True... Azerbaijan, Gerogia and Armenia is much closer to Middle East than Europe and even Moscow. The "stans" (Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Krygyzstan, Uzbekistan) are also geographically referred to as "Central Asia", far east of Europe and much closer to China. Israel and Turkey both get to play in European Championship too. Historic-political allegiances and ethnic groupings may have more to do with these memberships than anything else. Otherwise there is no logical reason that Israel plays in Europe. It is interesting to see the nations that compete in the Asian Games... the "stans" as well as Middle Eastern nations. There was a time, only 50-60 years ago, when Saudi Arabia was considered part of Africa when the term "Middle East" didn't exist. Interesting how these designations evolve over time.

AH's picture

No, Daaim - just more Azeri disinformation.

Two of the Armenian players left the hall after receiving their individual medals, not wishing to hang around for the ceremonies, as many do not (long before the bronze medal teams were announced much less the gold).

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