European Chess Club Cup: St Petersburg, Monaco Take Titles
Arkady Dvorkovich presents the trophy to the Mednyi Vsadnik team. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

European Chess Club Cup: St Petersburg, Monaco Take Titles

| 47 | Chess Event Coverage

The European Club Cup became a "Petersburg Tale" as Mednyi Vsadnik defeated Sjakklub Valerenga and then edged out AVE Novy Bor on tiebreak. Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo won the women's section.

The European Club Cup lasts just seven rounds, but it was still one round too many for Magnus Carlsen's Valerenga. Its successful run finished in a big anticlimax as the two heroes of the previous two matches were the ones who lost their games in the match with the eventual tournament winner, Mednyi Vsadnik.

Carlsen himself tried Viktor Korchnoi's 5...exf6 Caro-Kann for the first time in his career. He was put under pressure by Peter Svidler, but held a B-vs-N ending:

Svidler vs Carlsen European Club Cup

The start of round seven's top match. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The match was marred by an early mega-blunder by Borki Predojevic, the match winner in round five for Valerenga against Odlar Yurdu. He must have forgot that one point of Ne1 was to protect the queen:

In the other decisive game, Nils Grandelius, yesterday's matchwinner against Alkaloid, went down against Vladimir Fedoseev.

It was the second club cup for St. Petersburg, who also won in 2011 under the name "Saint-Petersburg Chess Federation." The last few years it's called "Mednyi Vsadnik" which means Bronze Horseman, like the famous and influential narrative poem by Alexander Pushkin.

Three players were part of both teams: Svidler (of course), Nikita Vitiugov and Maxim Matlakov. As we know, Svidler's tournament wasn't great, but Vitiugov (5/6), Fedoseev (6/7) and Matlakov (5/6) had the best performances of the tournament on boards two, three and four respectively, a rather unique result for one team.

Dvorkovich Peter Svidler

In a speech at the closing ceremony, Svidler (next to FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich) thanked his teammates "for winning this tournament." | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Carlsen played his last game before the title match next month. Now we know that he will come to London still as the world number-one, but the margin will be only three points: 2835 vs 2832 for Caruana. (This also means that the ratings of the players will not change in case of a draw, and each win will yield five Elo points.)


The live ratings top 10 after the ECC. | Source: 2700chess.

The 2013 champions Novy Bor did well, and finished in second place. That was thanks to a convincing 2-4 win vs Odlar Yurdu—like at the Olympiad, the Azerbaijani team was losing steam towards the end of the event. Czech Republic's top players David Navara and Viktor Laznicka won their games against Rauf Mamedov and Nijat Abasov respectively.

Here's Navara's win:

Novy Bor ECC 2018

The Novy Bory team. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The Russian team Molodezhka ended up winning bronze on tiebreak after a 3-3 against Obiettivo Risarcimento Padova. The Italians had one player who won all his games: Daniele Vocaturo scored 5/5. Here's his last-round win:

Daniele Vocaturo European Club Cup

Daniele Vocaturo (left) vs Mikhail Antipov. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Molodezkha trophy ECCC

Molodezhka came third. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Ding Liren

Ding Liren defeated Zahar Efimenko to make his unbeaten streak 94 games. He's now two games away from beating Mikhail Tal's streak in the earlier 1970s. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

2018 European Club Cup | Final Standings (Top 10)

Rk. SNo Fed Team + = - TB1 TB2 TB3
1 4 Mednyi Vsadnik St.Petersburg 6 0 1 12 229,5 30,5
2 2 AVE Novy Bor 5 2 0 12 217,5 30,0
3 7 Molodezhka 5 1 1 11 231,0 31,0
4 6 Obiettivo Risarcimento Padova 4 3 0 11 228,0 29,0
5 5 Valerenga Sjakklubb 5 1 1 11 219,5 26,0
6 1 Alkaloid 5 1 1 11 219,0 30,0
7 9 Itaka 5 0 2 10 184,0 27,0
8 27 CC Gambit Asseco SEE 4 2 1 10 136,5 23,0
9 3 Odlar Yurdu 4 1 2 9 209,0 30,5
10 8 Beer Sheva Chess Club 4 1 2 9 176,5 26,5

The women's section used a complicated pairing system this year, but it did result in a final between the two favorites. The match between Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo and Nona eventually ended in 2-2.

On board two, Pia Cramling suffered her first and only loss of the tournament against Nino Batsiashvili. If Batsiashvili is not the first player in the history of the game who played the move Qg2-h1 as a theoretical novelty, it surely hasn't happened many times before.

However, it was board one where Monaco scored the full point, and that earned it the title, according to the regulations. Anna Muzychuk personally won the trophy with her win against Nana Dzagnidze:

Cercle d'Echecs Monte Carlo European Club Cup 2018

The winning team Cercle d'Echecs de Monte Carlo. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

2018 European Club Cup (Women) | Final Standings

Rk. SNo Fed Team + = - Pts
1 2 Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo 6 1 0 13
2 1 Nona 5 2 0 12
3 5 Kyiv Chess Federation 5 1 1 11
4 4 Ugra 4 1 2 9
5 6 Odlar Yurdu 4 0 3 8
6 7 SSHOR 2 3 2 7
7 3 Caissa Italia Pentole Agnelli 3 1 3 7
8 10 ZSK Maribor 2 2 3 6
9 8 Mulhouse Philidor 2 1 4 5
10 9 Beer Sheva Chess Club 1 1 5 3
11 11 Caissa Italia Banca Alpi Marittime 1 1 5 3
12 12 AMO Galaxias Thessaloniki 0 0 7 0

Games via TWIC.

Monte Carlo ECC

The Monaco team with Pia Cramling, Monika Socko, Anna Muzychuk, Almira Skripchenko and Deimante Cornette. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Nona ECC 2018

Nona, left-right: Nino Batsiashvili, Nana Dzagnidze, Salome Melia, Lela Javakhishvili, Bela Khotenashvili and team captain Marika Japaridze. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Women European Club Cup

The Monaco, Nona and Ugra teams together. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Azmaiparashvili Dvorkovich Makropoulos

ECU president Zurab Azmaiparashvili, FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich and former FIDE deputy president Georgios Makropoulos together at the closing ceremony. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The tournament used the same tiebreak rules as the Olympiad and also here, not everyone was happy with that. recently published comments from grandmasters on what's wrong with that tiebreak system.

The dress code is another issue that could use some more deliberation. The story is known: shorts were not allowed according to regulations, but several players, including Carlsen, arrived for multiple rounds in shorts anyway.

Carlsen shorts European Club Cup

Carlsen's attire for most of the tournament. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

In the early rounds nothing was said and done, but the organizers and arbiters did speak about it. Reportedly, Carlsen's team captain urged his player to wear something else before round four and, a few minutes late, the world champion appeared in a suit and shirt.

As has found out, Carlsen decided to make a little joke about it. On his scoresheet, instead of the names of the players ("Carlsen" and "Donchenko"), he wrote: "Absolutely No Shorts Allowed." 

Carlsen Scoresheet European Club Cup

Magnus Carlsen's scoresheet of his round-four game against Donchenko.

Previous report:

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

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