Five rounds are played at the European Team Chess Championship 2023 and Germany emerged as the sole leader of the Open section, while France and Azerbaijan co-lead in the Women’s Championship.
In the direct encounter for the sole lead, Germany defeated Armenia yesterday, with a convincing score of 3-1. GM Vincent Keymer (GER, 2721) couldn’t get a better present for his 19th birthday than a team win and a beautiful victory against GM Haik Martirosyan (ARM, 2708). GM Matthias Bluebaum (GER, 2670) brought the second full point to Germany defeating GM Hrant Melkumyan (ARM, 2650) with a stunning Queen sacrifice, while the games on the second and the fourth boards finished with draws.
The team of Romania defeated Poland to join the race for the top. GM Richard Rapport (ROU, 2748) was victorious against GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek (POL, 2668) and GM Bogdan-Daniel Deac (ROU, 2700) scored against GM Pawel Teclaf (POL, 2571). The games on the other two boards between GM Kirill Shevchenko (ROU, 2665) and GM Mateusz Bartel (POL, 2651), and GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (ROU, 2591) and GM Szymon Gumularz (POL, 2580) were drawn, so the 2nd-seeded Romanian team won with the match with the final score of 3-1.
Lower rated Moldova surprised Norway yesterday as the match finished in a tie with the 2-2 result. GM Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 2829) couldn’t prevail against GM Ivan Schitco (MDA, 2503) who played a very solid game. GM Victor Bologan (MDA, 2573) defeated GM Lars Oskar Hauge (NOR, 2498), while IM Tor Fredrik Kaasen (NOR, 2471) scored against FM Jegor Lashkin (MDA, 2457). With draw on the second board between IM Andrei Macovei (MDA, 2446) and GM Aryan Tari (NOR, 2620), the teams equally shared 2 match points.
After five played rounds, Germany leads the Open tournament scoring 9 match points. They are followed by Serbia, Romania, England and Netherlands who tie for second place with a score of 8 match points, each.
Today is the free day and the games continue tomorrow at 15:00 CET. The top-board pairings are:
- Germany (Rtg average 2676) vs Romania (Rtg average 2676)
- Norway* (Rtg average 2633) vs Switzerland (Rtg average 2508)
- Belgium (Rtg average 2422) vs Montenegro* (Rtg average 2536)
- Netherlands (Rtg average 2632) vs England (Rtg average 2671)
- Serbia (Rtg average 2628) vs Armenia (Rtg average 2667)
France and Azerbaijan in the Women’s section won their matches in the 5th round to maintain the lead in the event.
Azerbaijan scored a narrow victory against Germany, celebrating a win of IM Gunay Mammadzada (AZE, 2441) against GM Elisabeth Paehtz (GER, 2473). The other three games finished in draws, although WGM Josefine Heinemann (GER, 2318) had very good chances for better result in a position where she signed the scoresheet. WGM Hanna Marie Klek (GER, 2282) also had her chances to score for Germany, but she missed the opportunity to gain a decisive advantage and the game eventually transposed into an equal endgame.
The team of France crushed Armenia, scoring huge 3.5-0.5 victory. WGM Mitra Hejazipour (FRA, 2323) defeated WIM Mariam Mkrtchyan (ARM, 2347), IM Pauline Guichard (FRA, 2347) was victorious against GM Elina Danielian (ARM, 2413), while IM Anastasia Savina (FRA, 2335) scored against WIM Susanna Gaboyan (ARM, 2171). IM Lilit Mkrchian (ARM, 2387) was the only one to earn points for the Armenian team, drawing her game against IM Deimante Dulyte-Cornette (FRA, 2369).
With Round 5 victories, France and Azerbaijan score 9 match points each, tying for the top. Bulgaria closely follows with the score of 8 match points.
After today’s free day, the Round 6 will bring interesting encounters tomorrow. The top board pairings in the Women’s section are:
- Bulgaria (Rtg average 2362) vs Azerbaijan (Rtg average 2392)
- France (Rtg average 2357) vs Georgia (Rtg average 2471)
- Netherlands (Rtg average 2320) vs Germany (Rtg average 2385)
- Greece (Rtg average 2239) vs Armenia (Rtg average 2352)
- Switzerland (Rtg average 2314) vs Poland (Rtg average 2347)
Photos by Mark Livshitz