Reports | October 11, 2012 13:21

Many top GMs at European Club Cup, first round today in Eilat

European Club Cup poster

Today the European Club Cup takes off in Eilat, Israel. Except for the participants of the Masters Final in Bilbao, almost all of the world's top players are present. The top 20 in Eilat: Radjabov, Nakamura, Ivanchuk, Morozevich, Kamsky, Grischuk, Topalov, Mamedyarov, Wang Hao, Svidler, Gelfand, Ponomariov, Dominguez, Leko, Wojtaszek, Jakovenko, Giri, Volokitin, Navara and Adams!

Event 28th European Club Cup for Men & 17th European Club Cup for Women | Chess-Results
Dates October 11th-17th, 2012
Location Eilat, Israel
System 6-player round robin
Players Top players include Radjabov, Nakamura, Ivanchuk, Morozevich, Kamsky, Grischuk, Topalov, Mamedyarov, Wang Hao, Svidler, Gelfand, Ponomariov, Dominguez, Leko, Wojtaszek, Jakovenko, Giri, Volokitin, Navara, Adams
Rate of play

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.

Extra Players are not allowed to offer a draw before move 40. The zero tolerance rule for arriving at the board is in effect

Today the first round of the European Club Cup will be played in Eilat, Israel. Teams from each European federation are allowed to take part in this competition. The event is open to:

  • Saint-Petersburg Chess Federation (Russia), the current cup holder in the men's competition.
  • AVS (Russia), the current cup holder in the women's competition.
  • Two clubs per federation in which a national team championship is organized. One club per federation in which no national team championship is organized.
  • Third club is allowed to that federation(s) in which a national team championship is organized provided that at least 20 grandmasters and/or players with a FIDE-rating over 2600 have participated in this national team championship.
  • One additional club (only in the men's competition) for the federations which are ranked in the first five places of the federation ranking list. For the competition of 2012 the federations are: Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Germany.

The Championships (Open and Women) will both be a 7-round Swiss with one round per day and no rest days. The time control will be 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. Besides trophies and medals, there's a 40,000 Euro prize fund to fight for in the Open section and a 9,000 Euro prize fund in the Women's section.

From the list of participants below it's not difficult to conclude which team is this year's favorite at the ECC. For your information, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) is considered to be one of the largest oil companies in the world, worth US $20 billion according to a 2007 report.

List of participants (top 50)

No. Title Name Rtg FED Team Bo.
1 GM Radjabov Teimour 2792 AZE SOCAR Azerbaijan 1
2 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2786 USA Obiettive Risarcimento 1
3 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2771 UKR Ashdod 1
4 GM Morozevich Alexander 2758 RUS Economist-SGSEU Saratov 4
5 GM Kamsky Gata 2755 USA SOCAR Azerbaijan 5
6 GM Grischuk Alexander 2752 RUS SOCAR Azerbaijan 4
7 GM Topalov Veselin 2751 BUL SOCAR Azerbaijan 3
8 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2748 AZE SOCAR Azerbaijan 2
9 GM Wang Hao 2748 CHN SHSM-64 2
10 GM Svidler Peter 2747 RUS Saint-Petersburg Chess Federation 1
11 GM Gelfand Boris 2736 ISR SHSM-64 1
12 GM Ponomariov Ruslan 2735 UKR Tomsk-400 1
13 GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2734 CUB Saint-Petersburg Chess Federation 2
14 GM Leko Peter 2734 HUN SHSM-64 3
15 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw 2733 POL G-Team Novy Bor 1
16 GM Jakovenko Dmitry 2732 RUS Ugra 1
17 GM Giri Anish 2730 NED SHSM-64 4
18 GM Volokitin Andrei 2724 UKR Ashdod 2
19 GM Navara David 2722 CZE G-Team Novy Bor 2
20 GM Adams Michael 2720 ENG OSG Baden-Baden e.V. 1
21 GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2720 RUS Economist-SGSEU Saratov 5
22 GM Andreikin Dmitry 2718 RUS Economist-SGSEU Saratov 1
23 GM Shirov Alexei 2718 LAT Ugra 2
24 GM Malakhov Vladimir 2713 RUS Ugra 3
25 GM Riazantsev Alexander 2712 RUS SHSM-64 5
26 GM Areshchenko Alexander 2710 UKR Tomsk-400 2
27 GM Bacrot Etienne 2705 FRA OSG Baden-Baden e.V. 2
28 GM Korobov Anton 2705 UKR Ugra 4
29 GM Naiditsch Arkadij 2704 GER OSG Baden-Baden e.V. 3
30 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 2704 RUS Economist-SGSEU Saratov 2
31 GM Moiseenko Alexander 2700 UKR Economist-SGSEU Saratov 6
32 GM Movsesian Sergei 2699 ARM Saint-Petersburg Chess Federation 4
33 GM Bologan Viktor 2695 MDA Tomsk-400 3
34 GM Rublevsky Sergei 2693 RUS Ugra 5
35 GM Vitiugov Nikita 2691 RUS Saint-Petersburg Chess Federation 3
36 GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2690 UZB OSG Baden-Baden e.V. 4
37 GM Efimenko Zahar 2689 UKR Saint-Petersburg Chess Federation 5
38 GM Van Wely Loek 2688 NED Gros Xake Taldea 1
39 GM Sutovsky Emil 2685 ISR SOCAR Azerbaijan 6
40 GM Alekseev Evgeny 2683 RUS Economist-SGSEU Saratov 3
41 GM Inarkiev Ernesto 2683 RUS Tomsk-400 4
42 GM Eljanov Pavel 2681 UKR Ashdod 3
43 GM Sasikiran Krishnan 2680 IND G-Team Novy Bor 4
44 GM Laznicka Viktor 2678 CZE G-Team Novy Bor 3
45 GM Zvjaginsev Vadim 2678 RUS Saint-Petersburg Chess Federation 6
46 GM Dreev Aleksey 2677 RUS Ugra 6
47 GM Grachev Boris 2672 RUS SHSM-64 6
48 GM Georgiev Kiril 2668 BUL Obiettive Risarcimento 2
49 GM Matlakov Maxim 2665 RUS Saint-Petersburg Chess Federation 7
50 GM Bauer Christian 2664 FRA Gros Xake Taldea 2

Source: Chess-Results

The rounds start at 15:00 CET, live here. The European Chess Union has decided to apply accelerated pairing, meaning that teams from the top half of the draw have to meet each other already at the first round. For example, SOCAR are facing Ashdod, the highest rated team from the host country, whose lineup includes three members of the Ukrainian national team: Ivanchuk, Volokitin and Eljanov.

No less fascinating will be the match between SHSM-64 Moscow and Beer-Sheba. The world championship challenger Boris Gelfand is sitting out against the team whose lineup includes his trainers Roiz, Rodshtein and Huzman, but with Peter Leko and Anish Giri playing the top two boards, Moscow are still the favorites, although not by much.

The opening ceremony is going to start today at 14:25 local time (also 14:25 CET), half an hour before first round, and will be broadcast by Chess.TV.

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.


Ellie's picture

Why is the European club cup being played in Asia?

Bardamu's picture

In sports, Israel is often seen as part of Europe, because they're boycotted by their neighbouring countries. It would be a shame if the Israelian sporters couldn't compete with others.

Joe Fiasco's picture

Indeed, and culturally they are certainly closer to the European heritage, so in that way, it is somewhat more logical either.

However it may be, Eilat is an amazing place and an excellent choice for a chess tournament of this caliber!

Anonymous's picture

It's all about semantics. Very political. e.g. Egypt used to be in Africa but, it was moved to the middle east in the 70's.

RealityCheck's picture

It's all about semantics. Very political. e.g. Egypt used to be in Africa but, it was moved to the middle east in the 70's.

Aiy9W's picture

to be fair it's at the African border of Asia

Thomas's picture

These discussions come back whenever there is a European event with participants from Israel (even if it doesn't take place in Israel) - whatever the pros and cons may be, people should get used to it in chess and in many other sports.

The venue is certainly attractive, but maybe too expensive for many weaker (amateur) teams: just 34 teams this time, vs. 62 last year (Rogaska Slatina, Slovenia), 49 in 2010 (Plovdiv, Bulgaria), 54 in 2009 (Ohrid, Macedonia), ... .

Harrry_Flashman's picture

Thomas , we are used to Israel in European competitions but that doesn't mean that Israel is an european country . It never was , it isn't and it will never be.

Morley's picture

With Nakamura's loss and Kamsky's win, the top tqo American players have switched places. On the live list, at least, Kamsky is in tenth. Anyone know the last time that happened?

Bronkenstein's picture

Last time - during the last year´s World Cup IIRC, Kamsky Was briefly ahead of Naka on live rating list, untill Svidler (the eventual Wcup winner) eliminated Gata by 2:0, in addition putting him ´back´ behind Nakamura again.

Bronkenstein's picture

As Casey pointed out below - he was ahead on September 2011 rating list (Wcup took part 28th August - 20th September , I remember some ´shuffling´ between them on ´live´) - and judging by subsequent FIDE rating lists, it was, including live, the last time until now, .

Casey Abell's picture

Did some quick checking on the FIDE site. The September 2011 list had Kamsky at #10 with 2756 and Nakamura at #12 with 2753. This may have been the last time Kamsky was ahead on the official list. The live ratings, of course, change all the time.

Casey Abell's picture

Replying to myself? Sure. Anyway, I checked every FIDE list since September 2011. Yep, that was the last time Kamsky was ahead of Nakamura on the official list.

What in the world is going on with Naka? The tweets mentioned a mysterious "her" whose calming presence puts everything into perspective. Don't want to play shrink, but maybe the calming presence is also sending his game into the tank.

noyb's picture

Poor Nakamura is in a complete and total psychological tailspin. Needs a sports psychology coach!

sulutas's picture

Frankly, I used to enjoy those mimics and gestures of Naka when he is about to lose OTB if I could see the game live (as Germans call: Schadenfreude!) , but today I had a chance when I saw Naka about to lose (again! and again!) to Andreikin and I really felt bad for him. I wish he had taken a break at least until the London Chess Classic - he definitely needs it.

Anhtukasparov's picture

Go Naka!

Anonymous's picture

Although not playing for the United States, Caruana is now the highest ranked native-born American.

Thomas's picture

And the highest-rated native-born American playing for the USA seems to be Samuel Shankland (of course, this distinction doesn't make much sense for Nakamura).

I am a bit puzzled that "everyone" is talking only about Nakamura's loss as if nothing else happened. It doesn't help that Internet transmission was sub-optimal: almost all live games broke down very early, when I switched from Russian to English live commentary I still heard Russian plus English in the background.
But more important for the tournament was the loss of the big favorites SOCAR Azerbaijan (Volokitin crushed Mamedyarov, this game is available).

As to Nakamura's loss, without further information I propose two reasons which might be sufficient: The KID is risky (the game score goes 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7, that's it), and Andreikin is a strong though underestimated and under-invited opponent.

Frits Fritschy's picture

Check out today's Volokitin-Mamedyarov, SOCAR-Ashdod. I especially like white's last move...

Thomas's picture

Other games become gradually available at Chessbomb: Eljanov's endgame win with black against Topalov also hurt the big favorite SOCAR. Giri-Rodshtein 1-0 also has a nice zugzwang motive at the end.

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