European Club Cup Jam-Packed With Stars

European Club Cup Jam-Packed With Stars

| 8 | Chess Event Coverage

Many chess stars gathered Sunday in the Serbian city of Novi Sad for the 32nd European Chess Club Cup and the 21st European Chess Club Cup for Women.

Photo Lennart Ootes.

Novi Sad certainly is a chess-minded city. In 1990, while still part of Yugoslavia, it hosted the 29th chess olympiad. Gold was won by the Soviet Union, despite the absence of both Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov—They were playing their fifth and last world championship match.

The team consisted of Vassily Ivanchuk, Boris Gelfand, Alexander Beliavsky, Leonid Yudasin and Evgeny Bareev. (The women's olympiad was won by Hungary, who played with the three Polgar sisters and—a tough trivia question—who played Hungary's fourth board? Answer: WGM Ildikó Mádl.)

26 years later, the top two boards of the Soviet Olympic team are back in Novi Sad. Ivanchuk is playing for seventh-seeded Ashdod from Ukraine, whereas Gelfand plays for the strong Italian club OR Padova, who are seeded third.

The top favorite in Novi Sad is Siberia, the reigning champions. They play with e.g. Vladimir Kramnik, Anish Giri, Alexander Grischuk, Evgeny Tomashevsky, and Li Chao. Second-seeded Alkaloid have six 2700+ players, one more than Siberia. Their top guns are Ding Liren, Dmitry Andreikin, Pavel Eljanov, Dmitry Jakovenko and Yu Yangyi.

Many more famous grandmasters are playing (although not all of them played in the first round), such as Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Levon Aronian (both Padova), Peter Svidler, Leinier Dominguez (both Mednyi Vsadnik), Pentala Harikrishna, (Ave Novy Bor), and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (VSK Sveti Nikolaj Srpski). The full list of players, in order of rating, can be found here.

2016 European Club Cup | Top 8 Teams

Bd Title SIBERIA Rtg Fed Bd Title ALKALOID Rtg Fed
1 GM Kramnik, Vladimir 2810 1 GM Ding Liren 2764
2 GM Giri, Anish 2767 2 GM Andreikin, Dmitry 2736
3 GM Grischuk, Alexander 2751 3 GM Eljanov, Pavel 2757
4 GM Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2722 4 GM Jakovenko, Dmitry 2709
5 GM Li Chao B 2730 5 GM Yu Yangyi 2721
6 GM Korobov, Anton 2689 6 GM Kryvoruchko, Yuriy 2702
7 GM Rublevsky, Sergei 2689 7 GM Nedev, Trajko 2480
8 GM Bocharov, Dmitry 2593 8 IM Pancevski, Filip 2503
Bs Title OR PADOVA Rtg Fed Bd Title MEDNYI VSADNIK Rtg Fed
1 GM Vachier-Lagrave, M. 2811 1 GM Svidler, Peter 2742
2 GM Aronian, Levon 2795 2 GM Dominguez Perez, Leinier 2752
3 GM Gelfand, Boris 2720 3 GM Vitiugov, Nikita 2718
4 GM Leko, Peter 2693 4 GM Bu Xiangzhi 2698
5 GM Bacrot, Etienne 2691 5 GM Matlakov, Maxim 2691
6 GM Vocaturo, Daniele 2599 6 GM Rodshtein, Maxim 2696
7 GM David, Alberto 2574 7 GM Fedoseev, Vladimir 2673
8 GM Dvirnyy, Danyyil 2552 8 GM Khairullin, Ildar 2630
1 GM Harikrishna P. 2768 1 GM Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2762
2 GM Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2744 2 GM Rapport, Richard 2730
3 GM Navara, David 2725 3 GM Morozevich, Alexander 2683
4 GM Shirov, Alexei 2677 4 GM Ivanisevic, Ivan 2645
5 GM Wang Hao 2680 5 GM Markus, Robert 2652
6 GM Laznicka, Viktor 2664 6 GM Perunovic, Milos 2616
7 GM Sasikiran, Krishnan 2654 7 GM Milanovic, Danilo 2507
8 GM Bartel, Mateusz 2646 8 IM Bozic, Milan 2398
Bd Title ASHDOD Rtg Fed Bd Title SHSM L.S. MOSCOW Rtg Fed
1 GM Ivanchuk, Vassily 2733 1 GM Inarkiev, Ernesto 2714
2 GM Vallejo Pons, Francisco 2716 2 GM Dubov, Daniil 2648
3 GM Smirin, Ilia 2674 3 GM Malakhov, Vladimir 2698
4 GM Volokitin, Andrei 2668 4 GM Zvjaginsev, Vadim 2675
5 GM Moiseenko, Alexander 2650 5 GM Grachev, Boris 2632
6 GM Georgiev, Kiril 2621 6 GM Najer, Evgeniy 2683
7 GM Kogan, Arthur 2522 7 GM Popov, Ivan 2596
8 GM Golod, Vitali 2545

A total of 62 teams are playing, including 145 grandmasters, representing 47 chess federations in Europe. They play seven rounds with teams of six players, using the Swiss pairing system. The time control is 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move one.

The venue is the Hotel Park in Novi Sad; the players are playing in two not-very-spacious ballrooms. It is so crowded that 30 minutes into the first round, the organizers had to send away the spectators.

(It's possible that this was also an anti-cheating measure. Besides security badges, there doesn't seem to be any other anti-cheating policy.)

A rather crowded playing hall during the first round. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

Jam-packed with international stars, the tournament was officially opened on Saturday, and the first round was played on Sunday. With strong teams paired against (much) weaker ones, there wasn't a single team upset.

On the individual boards there were a few surprising results. Quite a few IMs held their GM opponents to a draw, including Oslo Schakselskap's Nicolai Getz and Lars Oskar Hauge who played Siberia's top boards Alexander Grischuk and Evgeny Tomashevsky.

IM Lars Oskar Hauge (r.) held Evgeny Tomashevsky to a draw.Photo Lennart Ootes.

JSV SISSA's second board Lucas van Foreest, who scored an IM norm two weeks ago in Hoogeveen, started with a win against Ashdod's Andrei Volokitin. The Ukrainian player wasn't on top of the latest Marshall theory and got outplayed the endgame.

Lucas van Foreest (l.) scored a GM scalp in round one.Photo Lennart Ootes.

Lucas's older brother Jorden, the reigning Dutch Champion, played the mighty Ivanchuk on board one. Having skipped the Olympiad for a draughts tournament, Chuky played his first chess game since August and had an enjoyable "comeback."

Playing for Ezerelio Vaivorykste, IM Valeriy Kazakovskiy defeated Cheddleton's GM David Howell. That game, however, is not (yet) available because only the top 15 matches are played on electronic boards.

En Passant, another Dutch team, was close to an upset on board one. Retired grandmaster Friso Nijboer, who doesn't play much chess these days, got a winning position against Gelfand but spoiled it in time trouble. Nijboer has always been a time-trouble junkie and thinking for 40 minutes on move 12, and another 16 on move 13, didn't exactly help.

The remaining six rounds will be played Monday through Saturday, with no rest day. Draws may not be agreed before move 30. The winning team gets 8,000 EUR although that is only a fraction of the sponsor's fees received by the top players.

GM Heikki Westerinen played board 2 for Finland in 1990.Photo Lennart Ootes.

The European Club Cup for women will be covered in a separate news post.

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.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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