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Russian Teams Win At European Club Cup As Carlsen Plays Last OTB Games Before Match
Magnus Carlsen. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Russian Teams Win At European Club Cup As Carlsen Plays Last OTB Games Before Match

PeterDoggers
| 13 | Chess Event Coverage

Mednyi Vsadnik of St. Petersburg has won the 2021 European Club Cup in Struga, North Macedonia. South Ural (also Russia) won the women's tournament. Playing for Norway's Offerspill, GM Magnus Carlsen scored 2.5/3 in his last classical OTB event before the world championship.

Held for the 36th time, the European Club Cup is one of many events that has happily returned to the chess calendar in a period when the coronavirus situation in many European countries is more and more under control. The event, a seven-round Swiss team competition with 38 teams playing on six boards, was held in Struga, North Macedonia this year.

St. Petersburg's Mednyi Vsadnik (Bronze Horseman), the winner of this year's Russian Team Championship, turned out to be the strongest in Europe as well. The team, named after the statue of Peter the Great in St. Petersburg and also after a famous Aleksander Pushkin poem, was the only one to score 13 match points. They won the first prize of 10,000 euros.

The best performer for the team, which also won in 2018, was 2021 FIDE Candidate GM Kirill Alekseenko, who returns well into the 2700 club after scoring a splendid 5.5/6. He got a remarkably quick win against the Austrian grandmaster Markus Ragger using the still quite popular 3.h4 Anti-Grunfeld:

Kirill Alekseenko
Kirill Alekseenko. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

The event attracted more attention during the three days that the world champion participated. Together with his compatriot GM Aryan Tari, Carlsen traveled to Struga last Sunday and ended up playing in three of the seven rounds.

In his first game, his opponent from Belgium, FM Jelle Sarrau, was very, very close to drawing the game after basically having created a fortress:

It is also interesting to see Carlsen employ the King's Indian for his third game, his only encounter with a top grandmaster. After employing a typical, positional pawn sacrifice on the queenside, the champ was suffering quite a bit in the endgame but eventually held the draw:

Magnus Carlsen 2021 European Club Cup
Magnus Carlsen traveled to North Macedonia for three games at the European Club Cup. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Carlsen might have played his last OTB games before the match, but you can still see him in action starting from today in the Finals of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. You can follow the games here as part of our live games platform.

Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021
Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021.


2021 European Club Cup | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo FED Team + = - TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4
1 2 Mednyi Vsadnik 6 1 0 13 236.5 29.5 174.0
2 3 AVE Novy Bor 5 2 0 12 201.5 27.5 172.5
3 9 Vugar Gashimov 5 1 1 11 191.0 28.5 164.0
4 4 KPRF 5 0 2 10 201.5 27.5 171.5
5 11 Skakfelag Selfoss 5 0 2 10 188.5 28.0 157.0
6 6 Team XtraCon 5 0 2 10 175.5 26.5 166.5
7 10 Sloven Ruma 5 0 2 10 150.5 24.0 162.5
8 1 Alkaloid 4 1 2 9 229.0 29.5 174.0
9 5 Silla-Valencia Origin of Chess 4 1 2 9 201.0 26.5 180.0
10 12 Schachgesellschaft Riehen 4 1 2 9 142.0 24.5 143.0
11 13 Stocholms SS 4 1 2 9 129.0 22.0 157.0
12 7 BEER SHEVA 4 0 3 8 168.0 24.0 163.5
13 8 Offerspill Chess Club 4 0 3 8 143.0 25.0 150.5
14 17 Prilep 4 0 3 8 123.0 19.5 164.5
15 15 Maribor Poligram 4 0 3 8 114.5 21.5 161.0
16 20 Lunds ASK 4 0 3 8 110.5 21.0 145.0
17 19 ASNIERES Le Grand Echiquier 3 1 3 7 113.5 20.0 143.0
18 21 Andreu Paterna 3 1 3 7 99.0 18.5 154.0
19 23 Gambit Bonnevoie 3 1 3 7 93.0 19.0 148.0
20 24 Viking Chess Club 3 1 3 7 76.5 19.0 128.0

(Full final standings here.)

The European Women’s Club Cup was held for the 25th time. The format, in this case, was a round-robin with eight teams consisting of only four boards.

Also there, a Russian team emerged as the winner: South Ural. The team scored a perfect 14/7 to get the trophy and 6,000 euros. Both GM Valentina Gunina and IM Olga Badelka made 5/6.

Here's Gunina's last-round win, where she escaped from a lost position out of the opening:

Valentina Gunina chess
Valentina Gunina. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

2021 European Club Cup | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. Fed Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4
1 South Ural 3 3 4 14 117.0 22.0 90.0
2 Monte-Carlo 1 2 3 4 3 11 95.0 19.0 62.0
3 GRECO – Kyiv Chess Federation 2 2 4 3 3 10 93.5 18.0 55.0
4 SK Erste Bank Baden 1 1 2 9 74.0 15.0 47.0
5 Kumanovo ½ 0 0 ½ 2 2 4 23.5 7.5 20.3
6 Tajfun – SK Ljubljana ½ 1 2 ½ 3 65.5 9.5 14.8
7 Alkaloid ½ 2 3 64.5 11.0 13,8
8 MSK Centar 0 1 1 2 51.0 10.0 9.5

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