Chess24 Sopiko Scotch

18th European Teams 2011 (9)

Germany triumph in European Teams after beating Armenia

Georg Meier looking confident against Sergei Movsesian where he outplayed him on the black side of a French to win Germany the title. Photo ©

Georg Meier looking confident against Sergei Movsesian where he outplayed him on the black side of a French to win Germany the title. Photo © | http://euro2011.chessdom.com

The European Team Championships can never have been as dramatic as they were in Porto Carras in 2011. Various teams looked like they might win it, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Bulgaria all led at one point or another. It was however the unfancied 10th seeds Germany that held their nerve to win their 7th match dispatching Armenia 2.5-1.5 for a fantastic result. Azerbaijan finished second after beating Romania. Hungary provided the final shock coming from nowhere to take bronze by beating Bulgaria 4-0. After a couple of hours play it didn't look like they would win any games but then things went their way in an astonishing turn around. This left Armenia in fourth, any normal win by Hungary would have given Armenia the bronze. Russia finished 5th in another disappointing performance but maybe the seeds of better to come were seen in the later rounds. The official coverage was by ChessDom who were very happy with the interest in the event displayed by visits to the official website.

The European Team Championship finally found a team that wanted to win it. Germany beat Armenia 2.5-1.5 in a nail-biting final round struggle. Arkadij Naiditsch made no attempt to disguise the limits of his ambitions against the much stronger Levon Aronian as he hacked pieces off to a draw in 11 moves as white in a Ruy Lopez Berlin. Daniel Fridman on board three achieved nothing with white against Vladimir Akopian and drew in 21 moves. So the match came down to just two games.

Everyone gathered round Meier against Movsesian as they realised it could be the decisive game

Everyone gathered round Meier against Movsesian as they realised it could be the decisive game. Photo © ChessDom http://euro2011.chessdom.com/

Sergei Movsesian was completely outplayed by Georg Meier, who was black, in what turned out to be the decisive game of the match. Meier seemed to be far better aquainted with the variation of the French Defence that can come from a number of move orders and by move 23 had a huge advantage and brought home the point reasonably securely in 52 moves.

Georg Meier

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Sergei Movsesian

Position after 22...Ne6. White is already struggling to survive.

23. Ra1 Bxe2 24. Kxe2 Qa6+ 25. Kf2 Nd3+ 26. Kg2 Ndxf4+ 27. Bxf4 Nxf4+ 28. Kh1 Qh6 29. Bf1 c4 30. Qf2 Rb6 31. Qc2 g5 32. Qa4 g4 33. Qxa7 Qe6 34. Rg1 Kh8 35. Nd2 Rb2 36. Rd1 Rg8 37. Bg2 Bh4 38. Qa5 Bf2 39. Rgf1 Be3 40. Rxf4 Bxf4 41. Nf1 Qh6 42. Qxd5 Bxh2 43. Qc6 Qxc6 44. Bxc6 Bf4 45. Re1 g3 46. Bg2 Rgb8 47. a4 Rb1 48. Re2 R8b2 49. Rxb2 Rxb2 50. a5 Ra2 51. Bc6 Kg7 52. e6 Kf6 0-1

With two quick draws and Meier quickly getting a huge advantage Armenia knew fairly early on that their hopes resided with Gabriel Sargissian's game against Jan Gustafsson. Sargissian took the technical route quickly arriving at a position where he had a slightly better pawn structure and a knight that was slightly better than his opponent's bishop.

Jan Gustafsson

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Gabriel Sargissian

Position after 19...Nc5

Sargissian looked to be making progress for a while but Gustafsson defended actively and his exchange sacrifice on move 52 seemed well judged but did put a lot of pressure on him to be accurate.

Jan Gustafsson

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Gabriel Sargissian

Position after 63.R1g5+. It seems this really is a draw if black doesn't lose material right here.

63... Kf6 64. Kd4 Rb5 65. R5g6+ Kf5 66. Rg1 Ke6 67. R1g6+ Kf5 68. Rg1 Ke6 69. R7g6+ Ke7 70. R1g5 Bf7 71. Rxb5 Bxg6 72. Ke5 Kf7 73. Rb7+ Kg8 74. Kf6 Be4 75. Rg7+ Kh8 76. Rg4 Bc2 77. Rg3 Be4 1/2-1/2

Gustafsson who has had some rough results recently thus became Germany's final round hero alongside Georg Meier.

Arkadij Naiditsch after his win in round 8 suggested that their loss to Bulgaria actually did them a favour as the next couple of rounds gave them favourable draws. He also praised the role of Rustam Kasimdzhanov in helping the whole team prepare their openings for the event saying his experience was invaluable. In truth Germany didn't have that easy a draw only failing to play top seeds Russia, and that was more Russia's fault than anyone elses. 7 wins 1 draw and 1 loss was a fantastic result.

Rd1: Germany 3-1 Montenegro. Rd2: Germany 2-2 Israel. Rd3: Germany 2.5-1.5 Hungary (eventually finished 3rd) Rd4: Germany 3.5-0.5 Ukraine. Rd5: Bulgaria 3-1 Germany. Rd6: Germany 3-1 Italy. Rd7: Germany 2.5-1.5 Romania. Rd8: Germany 2.5-1.5 Azerbaijan. Rd9: Germany 2.5:1.5 Armenia.

The winning side was Bd1 Arkadij Naiditsch 5/8 (Perf 2794), Bd2 Georg Meier 5.5/9 (2758), Bd3 Daniel Fridman 4.5/8 (2692), Bd4 Jan Gustafsson 4.5/7 (2732), Bd5 Rainer Buhmann 3/4 (2717).

Azerbaijan

Azerbiajan were perhaps the most impressive team in the event but they blew it all against Germany in Round 8. Photo © ChessDom http://euro2011.chessdom.com/

Azerbaijan will surely feel they threw it away losing to Germany the day before when a draw would have done. They finished the event with a 3-1 win against Romania with the top ratings performer in the entire event Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (7/9 2866 performance) winning yet again.

Teimour Radjabov after his disappointing performance the previous day (it happens) finished with a quick draw against Constantin Lupulescu. Vugar Gashimov outclassed Mircea-Emilian Parligras winning in 51 moves on the black side of a Modern Benoni. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov just pushed over Levente Vajda in an almost effortless win. Mihail Marin took a very quick draw against Gadir Guseinov.

Levente Vajda

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Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Position after 21...Bd7. This position is actually remarkably difficult for black to hold.

22. f4 Nf7 23. Rh7+ Kf6 24. exf5 gxf5 25. fxe5+ Nxe5 26. R1h6+ Kg5 27. Nf4 Nxd3+ 28. Nxd3 1-0

Hungary beat Bulgarian 4-0

Hungary beat Bulgarian 4-0 when they probably had the worst of it after a couple of hours play. Photo © ChessDom http://euro2011.chessdom.com/

Armenia must have been confident of taking bronze even with a narrow loss in the final round but they reckoned without one of the most remarkable results in an event of remarkable results. Hungary whitewashed Bulgaria 4-0. Earlier in the event Veselin Topalov warned of Bulgaria's habit of self-destruction late in team events and this was a terrible example of what he meant.

Topalov rolled the dice against Leko and lost

Topalov rolled the dice against Leko and lost. Photo © ChessDom http://euro2011.chessdom.com/

To be fair to Bulgaria it all went wrong very late in the day. Veselin Topalov was doing fine as black for a long while against Peter Leko and it isn't even that clear where his decisive error came. Ivan Cheparinov turned down what looks like a draw by repetition on move 28 misjudging the resulting position.

Zoltan Almasi

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Ivan Cheparinov

Position after 28.f3? Cheparinov wins the queen for two rooks but his position deteriorates quickly.

28... gxf6 29. Rd7+ Qxd7 30. Nxd7 Kg7 31. Nxf6 Re1+ 32. Kf2 Rf1+ 33. Ke2 Kxf6 34. Qa4 Kf7 35. Qc6 Re8+ 36. Kd2 Rf2+ 37. Kd1 Bf5 0-1

Aleksandar Delchev would probably have drawn with 31...Qd4 but his 31...Qa7 failed to a nice combination.

Aleksander Delchev

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Csaba Balogh

Position after 31.Qf5

31... Qa7?

(31... Qd4 32. c3 Qxc3 33. Bxf7 Qc1+ 34. Kg2 Qf4 35. Bxe8+ Qxf5 36. exf5 Kxe8)

32. g6 Nf6 33. gxf7 Bd7 34. Qxh7 1-0

Kiril Georgiev completed the disaster turning an almost decisive advantage on move 18 against Zoltan Gyimesi into a loss in 94 moves in the game that won Hungary bronze above Armenia in one of the very final games to finish.

Sergey Karjakin who finally came good at the end and Ian Nepomniachtchi

Sergey Karjakin who finally came good at the end and Ian Nepomniachtchi. Photo © ChessDom http://euro2011.chessdom.com/

Russia beat Slovenia 3-1. Peter Svidler drew comfortably on the black side of a Gruenfeld against Alexander Beliavsky. Ian Nepomniachtchi ground away against Jure Skoberne but even over the course of 90 moves he never really had any winning chances.

Alexander Grischuk's sacrificial attack should have only been good enough for a draw but it was difficult for Luka Lenic to find his way through the complictions and he lost quickly.

Luka Lenic

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Alexander Grischuk

Position after 27...Rd6

28. Bxf7 Rxf7 29. Nxg6+ Kh7 30. Nf8+ Kg8 31. Re8 Qxf2+?!

31... Qc6 should hold

32. Kh2 g5? 33. Ne6+ Kh7 34. Nxg5+ hxg5 35. Qh5+ Rh6 36. Qxg5 1-0

Much like with Grischuk a huge rating advantage meant that Sergey Karjakin could simply overwhelm his opponent Jure Borisek with tactical complexity. Karjakin has had a baptism of fire in his first events for Russia but maybe the final few rounds in this event have shown that he has turned the corner.

Sergey Karjakin

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Jure Borisk

Position after 24.b4

24... Nd4 25. Qd1 Bh4 26. Rf1 Nxc2 27. Qxc2 Rd3 28. Bc5 Rbd8 29. Nb1 Bg5 30. Kh1 Bf4 31. Bg1 f5 32. exf5 e4 0-1

The Netherland beat the Czech Republic after Jiri Stocek made a one move losing blunder in a sharp position against Daniel Stellwagen. The rest of the games were drawn including Giri-Navara.

Spain beat France thanks to Alexei Shirov's win against Laurent Fressinet. The first of three games I saw where equalish Rook, Queen and Pawn endings quickly became decisive showing just how tricky they can be.

Laurent Fressinet

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Alexei Shirov

Position after 28.Qf3

28... f4 29. e6 h6 30. e7 Re8 31. Kg1 Qh4 32. Kf1 Rc8 33. Qe4 Re8 34. Qe5 1-0

Poland beat France 3-1 thanks to wins from Mateusz Bartel and Bartlomiej Macieja.

Sabino Brunello beat Stelios Halkias in the only decisive game for Italy's win against Greece.

Michael Adams was the only real bright spot for England as he was top performer on board 1

Michael Adams was the only real bright spot for England as he was top performer on board 1. Photo © ChessDom http://euro2011.chessdom.com/

Michael Adams took his scored to 6.5/9 and a performance of 2841, the best on board 1 and second only to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov over all performance rating with clever play in a major piece ending against Vassily Ivanchuk who I think might have been able to have put up better resistance.

Vassily Ivanchuk

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Michael Adams

Position after 28...Rc8

29. c6 bxc6 30. b6 Qe7 31. Qb2 Rb8 32. Ra1 Qc5 33. b7 Qxc4 34. Qe5 Rxb7 35. Ra8+ Be8 36. Rxe8+ Kf7 37. Rh8 Qb5? 38. Qd6 Qb4 39. Qd8 Qb2 40. Rf8+ Kg7 41. Rg8+ 1-0

Nigel Short did very well on the black side of a Queen's Gambit Declined against Pavel Eljanov but blundered it all away in one move in a tricky but surely holdable Queen, Rook and Pawn ending.

Nigel Short

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Pavel Eljanov

Position after 39.Rxe4. Here 39...Qc2 should be played.

39... Kh7 40. Qd3 Kh8 41. Re8+ Kg7 42. Qg3+ Kf6 43. Qf4+ 1-0

Zahar Efimenko ground down Nicholas Pert on the white side of a quiet Gruenfeld. Gawain Jones and Alexander Moiseenko drew after just 13 moves.

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