Torn from oblivion: *European Club Chess Cup* of 2016.
Torn from oblivion: *European Club Chess Cup* of 2016 in Novi Sad, Serbia

Torn from oblivion: *European Club Chess Cup* of 2016.

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  What is *European Champions League*, with Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo in soccer, *European Chess Club Cup* in chess it is, clash between the best European clubs. Same as in soccer, clubs are competing for the title, almost every club is mix of domestic players and *Legionaries*. Competing is taking place on 6 boards.

   *European Chess Club Cup* of 2016 in Novi Sad, the second most populated city in Serbia, by names at least, been the strongest so far. After all, lets hear how these names are sounding...

    *Alkaloid*, Northern Macedonia - Ding Liren, Jakovenko Dmitry...

     *Mednyi Vsadnik*, Russia - Peter Svidler...

      *Ashdod*, Israel - Vassily Ivanchuk ,  Francisco Vallejo Pons...

      *Odlar Yurdu*, Georgia - Rauf Mamedov, Teimour Radjabov...

      *Siberia*, Russia - Vladimir Kramnik, Anish Giri...

      *OR Padova*, Italy - Levon Aronian, Maxime Vachier - Lagrave...

       ...only some of the names are that started to gather in Novi Sad on November the 5th 2016. Writer of these lines been engaged by the organizing committee of the event - to host players, to make them their stay in Novi Sad they remember with joy. Plan of organizers been 25 teams to accommodate in a several Novi Sad hotels all around the city, and on each and every tournament day busses to circle around the city, to collect players and to take them to the biggest Novi Sad hotel, *Park*, where battles on the 64 squares took place from November the 6th to November the 12ve.

  Teams started to arrive in the early afternoon on November the 5th, asking details about Novi Sad, where was music festival *Exit* taking place, what was the course of Serbian *Dinar* towards *Euro* on a certain day, where was some restaurant, national kitchen if possible, to eat something good...

  Swedish *SK Rockaden*, Blomquist, Barkhagen... They had arrived in Novi Sad to compete, to give their best. Aware they were not belonging to the teams from whom battle for the title was expected, they, as soon as they had arrived, started to communicate with hosts in a pleasant, relaxed manner, analyze a bit, stood together. What was really pleasant to see about them it was,- these days, when after each and every tournament round player is returning to the hotel, opening laptop for three minutes to see where he missed some chance during the game, do it without communication with anybody - characteristic of Swedish team been that they`ve got together after each and every tournament round. And in an old fashioned manner analyzed on chess board without using computer, they commented on each others game that just had been finished, one phenomenal atmosphere among them.

   Characteristic of some other teams been desire for some brandy after each and every tournament round, as a form of preparation for the next round tomorrow. Every player has his own ritual, and knows what is the best for him.

   The most of teams however, especially those that arrived to win, been dedicated to the cause, and they presented what life of professional these days looks like, early evening to go to sleep, early morning to wake up, not eating much,- in one word, preparation for the game is required in a full sense, not just  that is required preparing of the certain variation on the board,

   After opening ceremony, the first round started on November the 6th 2016.

  Battles started with full intensity, teams been exchanging in lead, but this didn`t leave negative consequence on the behavior of players, at least on the behavior of those the biggest among them, like Kramnik. Always ready to exchange a few in a relaxed manner about everything with organizers, with spectators. Confirming old wisdom, the biggest star man is, his behavior so natural it is.

  Decisive round been the 5th, when *Alkaloid* defeated *Mednyi Vsadnik* with the smallest possible margin, 3,5 - 2,5, took solid grip on a lead. From creative point of view, the most interesting duel in the same round been between *AEM Luxten*, club from Timisoara, Romania and *OR Padova*, where everything was trembling cause of pulsating energy on the board and cause of sharp positions.


  During tournament, one round passed without Peter Svidler joined the board, coach of *Mednyi Vsadnik*, correctly predicted team could manage in the certain round without the best player even. While tournament round in *Hotel Park* been in a full scale, Svidler stayed in another hotel, analyzed in an empty hall of *Novi Sad Hotel* some position together with teammate Vitiugov. After a bit of hesitation, I approached.

   *I am only a bit over 2200, but may I join analyze? I ll be silent, I promise*.

  It was one pleasant afternoon, reminiscences of which are lasting until today. Unfortunately, Svidler today doesn`t compete for the Russian national team, in interview in 2024 he says, *You are asking about where I am, and it honestly feels kind of irrelevant. The longer I talk about what my situation is, the faker it sounds to me, because I am not the victim here and whatever inconveniences exist in my life right now are completely irrelevant compared to what is happening in Ukraine, to Ukrainians.*

  *European Chess Club Cup* of 2016 finished with the triumph of *Alkaloid* from Northern Macedonia with a narrow margin, in front of *Mednyi Vsadnik*.

  In women competition, *Cercle D`Echecs*, Monte Carlo triumphed.

  Nice days those were. There were no clouds, although November been.