Only two rounds left to be played at the European Team Chess Championship 2023 in Budva, Montenegro, and three teams tie for the top of the Open section, while Bulgaria took the sole lead in the Women’s event.
England, Germany and Serbia score 11 match points each to head into the penultimate round as the leaders of the Open event. In the Women’s section, Bulgaria scores 12 match points, while France and Azerbaijan follow with the score of 11 match points.
Playing on the top board of the Open section, England and Germany equally shared the match points with all four games finishing in a draw. GM Nikita Vitiugov (ENG, 2712) and GM Vincent Keymer (GER, 2721) repeated the moves in a balanced middlegame and signed the scoresheet after only 2 hours of play. “It was a very boring game”, explained Vitiugov in the live studio where he analyzed the game with Keymer and GM Alojzije Jankovic.
GM David Howell (ENG, 2676) drew against GM Rasmus Svane (GER, 2647) in a position which was hard to improve, while GM Michael Adams (ENG, 2670) and GM Matthias Bluebaum (GER, 2670) agreed on a draw in a very drawish endgame. GM Alexander Donchenko (GER, 2664) had a clearly better position against GM Luke McShane (ENG, 2626), but McShane perfectly defended and didn’t give his opponent a chance for a better result.
The team of Serbia surprised better rated Romania and took a narrow 2.5-1.5 victory to join Germany and England in the lead. The Serbian team celebrated thanks to the reigning European Champion GM Alexey Sarana (SRB, 2669) who pulled off a huge victory against GM Bogdan-Daniel Deac. Sarana had a clearly better position from the early part of the game, and showed perfect endgame technique to bring his team the match victory as the other three games already finished in a draw.
Norway scored the second consecutive win in the tournament, defeating Denmark with the score of 2.5-1.5. GM Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 2829) drew against GM Jonas Buhl Bjerre (DEN, 2633), successfully escaping from a complicated position with the Queen down. Magnus joined the live studio happy that his team won the match thanks to IM Tor Fredrik Kaasen (NOR, 2471) who was victorious against GM Allan Stig Rasmussen (DEN, 2507).
Playing on the top board of the Women’s section, Bulgaria crushed the French team with the score of 3-1. GM Antoaneta Stefanova (BUL, 2417) won with black against IM Deimante Daulyte-Cornette, IM Nurgyul Salimova (BUL, 2412) defeated IM Sophie Milliet (FRA, 2375), and WGM Beloslava Krasteva (BUL, 2262) scored against IM Anastasia Savina (FRA, 2335). IM Pauline Guichard (FRA, 2347) was the only one to score for France, winning her game against FM Gergana Peycheva (BUL, 2287).
Azerbaijan scored a convincing 3-1 victory over England to score 11 match points and tie for the second place with France. IM Khanim Balajayeva (AZE, 2328) was the first one to score for Azerbaijan in the game against WGM Katarzyna Toma (ENG, 2193), and IM Gunay Mammadzada (AZE, 2441) brought another full point beating IM Jovanka Houska (ENG, 2352). IM Ulviyya Fataliyeva (AZE, 2395) signed a draw against WIM Lan Yao (ENG, 2344) escaping from a worse position, and WGM Govhar Beydullayeva (AZE, 2383) drew against IM Harriet Hunt (ENG, 2315) after a crazy game where both players had great chances for a win.
The penultimate 8th round of the European Team Chess Championship 2023 starts today at 15:00 CET and brings interesting encounters.
Top board pairings of the Open section:
Serbia (Rtg average 2628) vs England (Rtg average 2671)
Norway* (Rtg average 2633) vs Netherlands (Rtg average 2632)
Montenegro* (Rtg average 2536) vs Montenegro C (Rtg average 2344)
Germany (Rtg average 2676) vs France (Rtg average 2644)
Armenia (Rtg average 2667) vs Greece (Rtg average 2590)
Top board pairings of the Women’s section:
Poland (Rtg average 2347) vs Bulgaria (Rtg average 2362)
Azerbaijan (Rtg average 2392) vs Greece (Rtg average 2239)
Germany (Rtg average 2389) vs France (Rtg average 2357)
Georgia (Rtg average 2471) vs Armenia (Rtg average 2352)
Spain (Rtg average 2344) vs Serbia (Rtg average 2280)
Live broadcast of the games with commentaries by GM Alojzije Jankovic and Dragana Nikolovska can be followed through the ECU YouTube channel.