URAL & Monte Carlo win European Club Cup
Winning six of their seven matches, URAL Sverdlovskaya finished first in the open section of the European Club Cup. Like last year, Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo won the women's section, this time with five wins and two ties. Both URAL's Vladimir Malakhov and Bank King's Artashes Minasian won all their games, scoring a 3000+ rating performance. Report with all final standings, many pictures and a video.
The 24th European Club Cup and the 13th European Club Cup for Women took place from October 16 to 24 in Kallithea, Greece. There were 81 teams (63 men & 18 women) participating and many big names were present in Greece, such as Ivanchuk, Carlsen, Radjabov, Shirov, Svidler, Aronian, Koneru, Hou Yifan and Stefanova. As reported earlier, there was a dress code and so many teams played their games with special T-shirts - an excellent new development in our opinion!
The winner in the open section was URAL Sverdlovskaya, which won six of their seven matches and lost one, in the fourth round against MIKA Chess Club (that played in Greece with the line-up Carlsen, Aronian, Gelfand, Sargissian, Jobava and Pashikian). German champion OSC Baden-Baden was leading the field after round 4, 5 and 6 but in the last round their match against CC "Bosna" Sarajevo ended in 3-3, allowing URAL to overtake them.
Here's the composition of the winning team and their individual scores, followed by the final standings of the open section:
In the women's section it was Cercle d'Echecs Monte Carlo who retained last year's title by winning two matches and drawing two. After beating Aspropirgos Attikis in round 5 they grabbed the lead, and didn't let go after beating EPAM in the 6th round and drawing T-com Podgorica in the last round.
Here's the composition of the winning team and their individual scores, followed by the final standings of the women's section:
Individual performances (Open section)
URAL's victory was partly based on Vladimir Malakhov's fantastic performance: he won all of his seven games, scoring a rating performance of 3187 (although we should add that these numbers don't mean that much, especially with 100% scores). Two other players scored above the magical 3000 but Vladimir Baklan (playing for PVK Kiev Chess) only played three games. He won all three which left him a 3004 performance but more importantly, Artashes Minasian won all of his six games for Bank King, ending with a 3002 performance.
Werder Bremen did a nice job obeying to the new dress code...
...and so did Linex-Magic, with Adams and Ponomariov...
...and Economist SGSEU-1 Saratov with Wang Yue and Alekseev...
...and OSC Baden-Baden here with Nisipeanu, Bacrot and Svidler
But some players have shirts that you just don't want to interchange for a T-shirt, like Aronian...
Bologan: "A T-shirt, fine, but my T-shirt"
Carlsen, this year playing for the Armenian Club Mika, and it shows on the shirt as well
Some very experienced players prefer to focus on the games...
...or did the organizers stop bothering about the dress code at some point? Anyway, here we recognize Chuky's Real Madrid outfit
Two Sergei's: Karjakin...
Radjabov-Carlsen, not a Dragon this time
TPS Saransk, with Ivanchuk, Volokitin and Sakaev
One of the crucial matches: MIKA Chess Club vs URAL Sverdlovskaya (round 4), the only match URAL lost
Not helping Kramnik this time: Loek van Wely, who easily drew Ivanchuk thanks to life-long experience in the Najdorf
German champion OSC Baden-Baden who were overtaken in the last round and had to be satisfied with second place
The winners, with Radjabov, Dreev and Kamsky and Grischuk proudly showing the trophy
Individual performances (Women's section)
Besides Evgenija Ovod, who played just three games but won them all for her team Spartak Vidnoe, the best scoring player in the women's section was Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo's second board Nana Dzagnidze. She scored an outstanding 6/7 with a 2707 rating performance. Antoaneta Stefanova (also Spartak Vidnoe) was the best board one with 5/6 and a 2694 performance.
The playing hall for the women's section
Nadezhda and Tatiana Kosintseva, playing for Spartak Vidnoe...
...with Antoaneta Stefanova on board one here, and coached by former Kasparov second Yuri Dokhoian
Hou Yifan, board for Vidnoe during the last for rounds
IM Anna Ushenina, team member of Economist SGSEU Saratov
The world's number two Humpy Koneru, playing for Monte Carlo
WGM Anna Sharevich from Belarus, playing for EPAM
WIM Vera Papadopoulou (Aspropirgos Attikis)
Here's a selection of top level games from the ECC for replay. Especially Aronian-Volokitin is warmly recommended!
To finish this article we embed one of the many videos that were published at the tournament website. Former second of Vladimir Kramnik GM Loek van Wely comments on the ECC and on the Anand-Kramnik match (recored October 21st). (Too bad that Loek's name is spelled wrongly four times, but OK.)
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