The 2013 European Team Chess Championship was held in Novotel Centrum hotel in Warsaw, Poland, in November 7th-18th. I was blessed with an opportunity to represent the Lithuanian national team in this competition and everything turned out much better than expected :) But we will get to that in due time!
You can find part 2 here: http://www.chess.com/blog/TVEDAS/road-to-the-first-im-norm-part-2
So, we were zero out of two matches after the first two days. It was a rather strange feeling - of course, losing both matches has hurt a lot, but at the same time we realized that we only lost two individual games out of 8 (all versus GMs), so we were not trounced without a fight. If only we found a way to win some games instead of drawing.. Clearly, not all hope was lost.
The atmosphere in the team was still great. We had a late night gym session after the loss to Poland, slept in, ate big, healthy breakfast together and went to our rooms to prepare. Today's opponent - FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).
The Macedonians also outrated us, but the margins were not as big as in the previous matches. We realized that if we were to try to salvage this tournament, this was an absolute must-win match. It was a huge motivation and we came to the playing hall feeling very pumped up. Fist bumps between us before the start has also helped to increase that feeling :)
My opponent was GM Zvonko Stanojoski (2417 ELO at the time). I was playing black and I decided to try the Modern Tiger, an opening pioneered by GM Tiger Hillarp-Person. I have played it extensively in various rapid and blitz games before this tournament with amazingly good results, so I was really eager to test it before international competition. This is how it went!
Boy, did that feel good! My Modern Tiger has held its own and the GM scalp was mine. On top of that, even more importantly, we won the match 4-0 - what a statement! I was really really proud of the guys. We went to dinner together and everyone was absolutely elated and excited for the future. That is what one win can do to you!
As for myself, I was in an amazing mood. 2/3 versus three GM's - I was definitely not expecting such start. It really gave me confidence and belief that I can fight versus everyone in this tournament and as we all know, confidence can do wonders!
However, a really strong opponent awaited for me tomorrow.. GM Kacper Piorun from the second Polish team. Will the team and me personally be able to deliver again?! ;)