France in Sole Lead at ETC, Ukraine Tops Women's Section
France is leading the open section of the European Team Championships in Warsaw, Poland after five rounds of play. The team, consisting of Etienne Bacrot, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Romain Edouard, Vladislav Tkachiev and Hicham Hamdouchi scored 9 match points, one more than Greece, Georgia and Azerbaijan. In the women's section Ukraine has a commanding lead of 10 match points, after winning their first five matches.
Photos © Marek Skrzypczak courtesy of the ETC
So far in Warsaw Romain Edouard is the big hero of the French team. The two leaders, Czech Republic and France, met in the fourth round and, scoring his third win in a row, Edouard decided the match. Excellent technique:
Both Azerbaijban-Hungary and Greece-Georgia ended in 2-2, and so France reached an unshared first place. On of the top matches was Ukraine vs. Armenia and even though Ukraine did not travel to Warsaw with its strongest possible line-up, they still managed to beat the three-times Olympic champions. Volokitin and Fedorchuk beat Movsesian and Petrosian respectively, both as Black.
Belarus beat Turkey, but on board one Dragan Solak played a great game where two pawns were sacrificed in a Delayed Poisoned Pawn variation. White won back the material and kept the initiative till the end.
After their disappointing start, Russia finally got their act together and crushed Austria 4-0. The game on board one, however, was not a one-way affair as Ragger missed one or two wins:
Peter Svidler won a text-book strategical game where the knight on d4 was dominating black's bishop. Instructive!
England won a good match as well, beating Montenegro 3,5-0.5. Especially the game by Michael Adams was splendid - it seems the English GM has won quite a few endings with opposite-colored bishops and rooks lately:
Italy has become stronger and stronger in recent years, and on Monday they were too strong for Bulgaria. On board one, the two top 10 players Topalov and Caruana drew, and boards 2 and 3 saw the same result. Axel Rombaldoni decided this match as his opponent, in a lost position, allowed a mate in three:
In the fifth round France maintained their lead despite playing 2-2 with Hungary (all games were drawn) as the match between Romania and Ukraine also ended in a tie. The Czech Republic lost to Azerbaijan, who moved up to shared second place together with Greece and Georgia, who beat Belarus and Israel respectively.
The top game of this round was the following, part of the match Italy-Russia.
This was the only draw Italy could score; the other three games were won by the Russians. Brunello was outplayed on both flanks by Svidler:
Morozevich started an amazing combination which was perhaps not fully correct, but Godena got confused:
Armenia did better on Tuesday and defeated Slovenia 3-1. Levon Aronian won his game against Dusko Pavasovic easily using a sideline in the Ruy Lopez:
European Team Championship 2013 | Round 5 Standings
In the women's section Ukraine still has a perfect score. In the fifth round they crushed Poland 3.5-0.5. Kateryna Lagno beat Monika Socko convincingly on board one:
European Team Championship 2013 | Women | Round 5 Standings