Almost The Longest Game Ever Played At European Club Cup
A view of the playing hall, with the top women's team from Monte Carlo. Photo: ECC.

Almost The Longest Game Ever Played At European Club Cup

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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30 | Chess Event Coverage

With three rounds to go, four teams still have a perfect score at the European Club Cup, now underway in Montenegro. In the women's section, two teams are tied for first place.

The competition for club teams is a seven-round Swiss, without a rest day. The location is the Karisma hotel in Ulcinj, about 10 km from the Albanian border.

One of the games in the open section went on for 236 moves, one of the longest games in chess history. More on that below. 

 

Open

In the open group, where teams of six players compete, 66 teams are playing. There's a total of 457 players from 48 federations; 119 of them are grandmasters.

Four clubs have started with four victories, including the reigning champion Mednyi Vsadnik (St. Petersburg). The club bears the same name as a statue of Peter the Great in their city and of a famous Aleksander Pushkin poem: the Bronze Horseman.

Then there is Vugar Gashimov of Azerbaijan, a club named after the Azerbaijani grandmaster who died too young; Obiettivo Risarcimento, the Italian team from Padova and SK Joly Lysa nad Labem of the Czech Republic.

The third round was marked by the game between David Howell and Pentala Harikrishna, the top boards for their teams Valerenga of Norway and Novy Bor of the Czech Republic respectively. (Note that last year's top board for Valerenga, Magnus Carlsen, is not playing this year.)

The Howell-Hari game was special for its sheer length: 236 moves! At move 54 the following endgame was reached.

Howell was forced to play a pawn on move 104 to avoid the 50-move rule. On move 153 he played another pawn move, then on move 165 another one and then on move 200 "action" started, after White had played his king back and forth to the queenside and kingside several times.

A most curious game:

David Howell Pentala Harikrishna 2019 European Club Cup
David Howell, playing the longest game of his life vs. Pentala Harikrishna. Photo: ECC.

According to Tim Krabbé's list, just three games in history lasted longer. Using the TWIC database, this author found one more: Felber-Lapshun, New York 1998 (238 moves).

The longest chess game in history, played over the board by humans, is still Ivan Nikolic vs. Goran Arsovic, Belgrade 1989, in which the infamous RB-vs.-R endgame appeared at a time when one still had 100 moves without captures to try and win it, instead of 50. Arsovic held the draw, by the way.

Chess.com reached out to Howell. His comment:

Yes, I understand the game looks odd. Guess it's just my warped sense of chess enjoyment. 😓 At first I was playing on so that our board six, a young player (17-year-old IM Tor Fredrik Kaasen) didn't feel alone. But then I realized it's very rare to get the chance to go for 200 moves, so I couldn't resist continuing.

"I'm just annoyed at myself for not going for the world record (which would have been easily attainable if I hadn't pushed h5 or b4 so soon and then sacrificed my knight on c7).

After the game Howell had a somewhat unpleasant experience, about which he tweeted:

In that same third round, Bronze Horseman scored an important victory against Alkaloid of Skopje, Macedonia, the winners in 2016. The match was decided on board five, where Pavel Ponkratov, a 31-year-old GM from Chelyabinsk, defeated Yuriy Kryvoruchko from Lviv.

Bo. Fed Mednyi Vsadnik Rtg 3½:2½ Fed Alkaloid Rtg
5.1 Dominguez Perez, Leinier 2762 ½ - ½ Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2772
5.2 Matlakov, Maxim 2710 ½ - ½ Andreikin, Dmitry 2733
5.3 Alekseenko, Kirill 2715 ½ - ½ Shankland, Sam 2679
5.4 Fedoseev, Vladimir 2672 ½ - ½ Inarkiev, Ernesto 2665
5.5 Ponkratov, Pavel 2619 1 - 0 Kryvoruchko, Yuriy 2683
5.6 Goganov, Aleksey 2565 ½ - ½ Kovalev, Vladislav 2674
Bronze Horseman Alkaloid European Club Cup 2019
Bronze Horseman vs. Alkaloid. Photo: ECC.

The next day, the team from St. Petersburg also set aside another big favorite: Novy Bor, the winner in 2013. In a similar match in terms of score, there were once again five draws and a decision on board five.

Bo. Fed AVE Novy Bor Rtg 2½:3½ Fed Mednyi Vsadnik Rtg
2.1 Harikrishna, Pentala 2731 ½ - ½ Dominguez Perez, Leinier 2762
2.2 Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi 2722 ½ - ½ Matlakov, Maxim 2710
2.3 Navara, David 2703 ½ - ½ Alekseenko, Kirill 2715
2.4 Ragger, Markus 2669 ½ - ½ Fedoseev, Vladimir 2672
2.5 Sasikiran, Krishnan 2660 0 - 1 Rodshtein, Maxim 2653
2.6 Bartel, Mateusz 2636 ½ - ½ Ponkratov, Pavel 2619

This was a tough loss for the team and especially for the Indian GM Krishnan Sasikiran, who spoiled a winning position. The winning move was tough to spot and quite similar to what Dubov missed yesterday in his second rapid game with Duda.

In Thursday's fifth round, Obiettivo Risarcimento plays club Vugar Gashimov, and on board two it's SK Joly Lysa nad Labem vs. Mednyi Vsadnik.

2019 European Club Cup | Round 4 Standings (Top 10)

Rk. SNo Fed Team + = - TB1 TB2 TB3
1 13 Vugar Gashimov 4 0 0 8 72,0 17,0
2 2 Mednyi Vsadnik 4 0 0 8 69,0 17,0
3 4 Obiettivo Risarcimento Padova 4 0 0 8 68,5 19,0
4 11 SK Joly Lysa nad Labem 4 0 0 8 58,0 16,5
5 6 Molodezka 3 0 1 6 68,0 17,5
6 3 AVE Novy Bor 3 0 1 6 63,0 17,0
7 8 Valerenga 3 0 1 6 62,0 15,5
8 1 Alkaloid 3 0 1 6 60,0 17,0
9 5 Primorsky District 3 0 1 6 59,5 15,5
10 7 Moscow Chess Team 3 0 1 6 56,5 19,0

(Full standings here.)

Henrik Carlsen Baerum Schakselskap European Club Cup
There's a Carlsen playing in this ECC after all: Henrik, Magnus's father, here on the left, in action for Baerum Schakselskap. He has 1.5/4 so far, which is more or less according to his Elo of 2074. Photo: ECC.

Women

In the women's group, where teams of four players compete, 14 teams are playing, with a total of 67 players from 23 federations. Eleven of them are grandmasters, with 11 WGMs and 18 IMs.

Two teams are leading, with seven match points. In the third round, Cercle d'Echecs Monte Carlo and the Kyiv Chess Federation played 2-2, and both won in the other three rounds.

In the second round, the Italian ladies from Caissa Pentole Agnelli held their own on the first three boards, with an IM holding a GM to a draw three times. Monte Carlo ended up winning the match on the last board, with a crushing win.

Bo. Fed 5 Caissa Pentole Agnelli Rtg 1½:2½ Fed 2 Cercle d'Echecs Monte Carlo Rtg
1.1 IM Khademalsharieh, Sarasadat 2491 ½ - ½ GM Koneru, Humpy 2577
1.2 IM Paehtz, Elisabeth 2484 ½ - ½ GM Cramling, Pia 2443
1.3 IM Zimina, Olga 2406 ½ - ½ GM Socko, Monika 2417
1.4 IM Brunello, Marina 2378 0 - 1 LIT IM Daulyte-Cornette, Deimante 2405
Daulyte-Cornette Marina Brunello European Club Cup Women 2019
Deimante Daulyte-Cornette vs. Marina Brunello. Photo: ECC.

The same round saw another early top clash, between Kiev of Ukraine and Ugra of Russia. The latter are playing with the Ukrainian former women's world champion Anna Ushenina, who lost to another former world champ: Mariya Muzychuk.

Bo. Fed Title Kyiv Chess Federation Rtg 3 : 1 Fed 4 Ugra Rtg
2.1 GM Muzychuk, Mariya 2552 1 - 0 GM Ushenina, Anna 2439
2.2 GM Muzychuk, Anna 2543 ½ - ½ WGM Pogonina, Natalija 2479
2.3 IM Abdumalik, Zhansaya 2472 1 - 0 WGM Girya, Olga 2476
2.4 IM Gaponenko, Inna 2427 ½ - ½ IM Guseva, Marina 2366
Kyiv vs Ugra 2019 European Club Cup Women 2019
Kyiv vs Ugra. Photo: ECC.

2019 European Club Cup (Women) | Round 4 Standings

Rk. SNo Fed Team + = - TB1 TB2 TB3
1 2 Cercle d'Echecs Monte Carlo 3 1 0 7 41,0 10,5
2 1 Kyiv Chess Federation 3 1 0 7 38,0 10,5
3 3 Nona 2 2 0 6 32,0 9,5
4 7 AVE Novy Bor 2 1 1 5 30,0 10,0
5 10 ZSK Maribor 2 1 1 5 24,5 8,5
6 6 Odlar Yurdu 1 2 1 4 29,0 9,0
7 5 Caissa Pentole Agnelli 2 0 2 4 26,5 9,0
8 4 Ugra 2 0 2 4 25,0 9,0
9 9 Jelica PEP 2 0 2 4 20,5 8,0
10 8 SPB Chess and Draughts Sport School 1 1 2 3 24,0 9,0
11 11 Gambit Asseco SEE 1 1 2 3 16,0 8,5
12 13 Rishon Lezion 1 0 3 2 6,0 4,0
13 14 Hertzeliya Chess Club 1 0 3 2 3,0 4,0
14 12 MNE Woman Chess 0 0 4 0 5,0 2,5

Games via TWIC.

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