The third round of the European Team Chess Championship 2023 was played yesterday in Budva, Montenegro, and both Open and Women’s sections got two leaders with perfect score.
Poland and Germany are co-leading the Open championship, while Azerbaijan and France emerged as the leaders of the Women’s event scoring 6 match points, each.
Ranked 3rd on the starting list, Germany was a favourite in the match against Serbia, and after tight fights claimed a narrow 2.5-1.5 victory. GM Matthias Bluebaum (GER, 2670) defeated GM Aleksandar Indjic (SRB, 2601) in a game full of twists, while GM Alexander Donchenko (GER, 2664) scored against GM Velimir Ivic (SRB, 2557). GM Alexandr Predke (SRB, 2661) scored for Serbia playing against GM Vincent Keymer (GEr, 2721) but it wasn’t enough for the Serbian team, since the reigning European Individual Champion GM Alexey Sarana (SRB, 2669) couldn’t take more than half a point against GM Rasmus Svane (GER, 2647).
The Polish team surprised a slightly better rated team of France and narrowly won the match to join Germany in the lead of the event. GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek (POL, 2668) was victorious against GM Etienne Bacrot (FRA, 2668), and GM Bartosz Socko (POL, 2545) scored against GM Laurent Fressinet (FRA, 2640). GM Maxime Lagarde (FRA, 2629) took a full point for France after defeating GM Szymon Gumularz, but the game on the second board between GM Mateusz Bartel (POL, 2651) and GM Jules Moussard (FRA, 2639) finished in a draw and Poland earned two match points.
Norway suffered the second consecutive loss in the tournament after getting defeated by Iceland today. World No1 Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 2829) won with whites against GM Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson (ISL, 2518), but GM Hannes Stefansson (ISL, 2518) and IM Hilmir Freyr Heimisson (ISL, 2377) scored for Iceland. With draw on the third board, Iceland won the match with the final score of 2.5-1.5
The favourites on the top boards of the Women’s section justified their roles and won their matches without major trouble.
Azerbaijan was convincing against Poland and won the match with the score of 3-1. IM Ulviyya Fataliyeva (AZE, 2395) defeated IM Oliwia Kiolbasa (POL, 2371) and IM Khanim Balajayeva (AZE, 2328) took over WGM Jolanta Zawadzka (POL, 2342). IM Gunay Mammadzada (AZE, 2441) drew against GM Monika Socko (POL, 2378) as Socko converted a slightly better position in a perpetual check, and IM Gulnar Mammadova (AZE, 2350) signed a draw with WIM Alicja Sliwicka (POL, 2296) after a threefold repetition.
The team of France took a huge 3.5-0.5 victory against Spain, as IM Deimante Daulyte-Cornette (FRA, 2369), WGM Mitra Hejazipour (FRA, 2323) and IM Pauline Guichard (FRA, 2347) won their games against IM Marta Garcia Martin (ESP, 2350), IM Sabrina Vega Gutierrez (ESP, 2381) and WFM Ines Prado Acebo (ESP, 2246). WGM Tatiana Grabuzova (ESP, 2188) was the only one to earn points for Spain, taking a draw against IM Anastasia Savina (FRA, 2335).
The fourth round is scheduled for 15:00 CET today and brings direct encounters between the leaders.
Top board matches of the Open section:
Germany (Rtg average 2676) vs Poland (Rtg average 2618)
Finland (Rtg average 2412) vs Norway (Rtg average 2633)
Montenegro* (Rtg average 2536) vs North Macedonia (Rtg average 2401)
Netherlands (Rtg average 2632) vs Romania (Rtg average 2676)
Armenia (Rtg average 2667) vs Israel (Rtg average 2592)
Top board matches of the Women’s section:
Azerbaijan (Rtg average 2392) vs France (Rtg average 2357)
Germany (Rtg average 2385) vs Hungary (Rtg average 2312)
Georgia (Rtg average 2471) vs Netherlands (Rtg average 2320)
Spain (Rtg average 2344) vs Bulgaria (Rtg average 2362)
Switzerland (Rtg average 2314) vs Armenia (Rtg average 2352)
Live broadcast with commentaries by GM Alojzije Jankovic and Dragana Nikolovska can be followed through the ECU YouTube channel.