European Club Cup: more champions stumble

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage

On the day when both Anand and Carlsen went down in Sao Paulo, more big names lost on a different continent: Boris Gelfand, Hou Yifan and Ruslan Ponomariov. Four teams won all of their four matches: Saint-Petersburg Chess Federation, OSG Baden Baden, SHSM-64 and Tomsk-400.

For more info see also our announcement here.

General info

Event27th European Club Cup for Men and 16th European Club Cup for Women | PGN: Men, Women
DatesSeptember 24th - October 2nd, 2011
LocationRogaska Slatina, Slovenia
System7-round Swiss
PlayersE.g. Ponomariov, Grischuk, Radjabov, Gelfand, Mamedyarov, Svidler, Adams, Wang Hao, Vitiugov, Moiseenko, Giri, Nepomniachtchi
Time control90 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
PrizesThe first team prize in the men's section is €12,400 and in the women's €4,000.
NotesTeams consist of six players

Rounds 3-4

As we mentioned in our previous report, the men's section of this year's European Club Cup has no less than 62 teams. Although the favourites are now getting paired against each other, there's still a good chance that the winner of the event hasn't played all of its rivals. The reason is that only 7 rounds Swiss are being played - a system that's been criticised by several people, including top grandmaster Shakhriyar Mamedyarov who plays for SOCAR from Azerbaijan - with an average rating of 2718 the favourite in Rogaska Slatina. Shortly before the tournament started, Mamedyarov said in an interview for the Azeri website

I consider 7 rounds to be too short a distance for such a tournament. One loss and you’re a long way from the medals. My teams scored 10 points out of 10 twice in the five opening rounds, but one or two failures and we were left without medals. There are lots of clubs but few rounds. (...)

(Translation by Colin McGourty for WhyChess)


Ironically, this is more or less what happened to SOCAR in Slovenia. After beating the teams Solingen and Libertas Nereto both with 5.5-0.5, they suddenly dropped two expensive match points after losing 2.5-3.5 to Bosna Sarajevo. In that match Predojevic and Stojanovic were the heros of the day, beating Mamedyarov (!) and Kasimdzhanov.

In that 3rd round, Candidates winner Boris Gelfand of Israel won an attractive game against Baadur Jobava of Georgia.

[Event "27th ECC"]
[Site "Rogaska Slatina SLO"]
[Date "2011.09.27"]
[Round "3.2"]
[White "Gelfand, Boris"]
[Black "Jobava, Baadur"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E10"]
[WhiteElo "2746"]
[BlackElo "2712"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r1r3k1/p4pbp/1q4p1/1P1PBb2/1nB3n1/1PN1PN2/5PPP/R2QK2R w KQ - 0 18"]
[PlyCount "23"]
[EventDate "2011.09.25"]
[WhiteTeam "SHSM-64"]
[BlackTeam "A DAN DZO & PGMB"]

18. Bxg7 Nc2+ 19. Qxc2 Bxc2 20. Bd4 Qd8 21. O-O Qe7 22. Rfc1 Bf5 23. e4 Bd7 24.
h3 Nf6 25. d6 Qd8 26. e5 Nh5 27. Nd5 Kf8 28. Be3 Ng7 29. Bg5 1-0

In the next round, however, Gelfand suffered a loss with the black pieces against Dmitry Jakovenko. This game, a Lasker QGD, followed a recent Radjabov-Kramnik game for no less than 36 moves! The rook ending might well have been drawn, but in the end Jakovenko managed to pull it off.

[Event "27th ECC"]
[Site "Rogaska Slatina SLO"]
[Date "2011.09.28"]
[Round "4.1"]
[White "Jakovenko, Dmitry"]
[Black "Gelfand, Boris"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D56"]
[WhiteElo "2716"]
[BlackElo "2746"]
[PlyCount "127"]
[EventDate "2011.09.25"]
[WhiteTeam "Ugra"]
[BlackTeam "SHSM-64"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. e3 Ne4 8. Bxe7
Qxe7 9. Rc1 c6 10. Bd3 Nxc3 11. Rxc3 dxc4 12. Bxc4 Nd7 13. Qc2 b6 14. Bd3 Nf6
15. Rxc6 Nd5 16. Qb3 Nb4 17. Rc1 Nxd3+ 18. Qxd3 Bb7 19. O-O Bxf3 20. gxf3 Qg5+
21. Kh1 Qd5 22. Qe4 Qxa2 23. Rg1 Rfc8 24. Qb7 Rf8 25. Qe4 Rfc8 26. Qb7 Rf8 27.
Rc7 Qxb2 28. Rxf7 Rxf7 29. Qxa8+ Kh7 30. Qe4+ Kg8 31. Qa8+ Kh7 32. Qe8 Rc7 33.
Qg6+ Kh8 34. Qe8+ Kh7 35. Qxe6 Qxf2 36. Qe4+ Kg8 37. h3 $146 ({Radjabov-Kramnik,
Candidates (Kazan) finished in a draw here after} 37. Qe8+ Kh7
38. Qe4+ Kg8 39. Qe8+) 37... Qc2 38. Qe8+ Kh7 39. d5 Qf5 40. Qe4 Qxe4 41. fxe4
Kg8 42. e5 Kf7 43. Rf1+ Ke8 44. e6 Ke7 45. e4 Kd6 46. Rf8 Rb7 47. Rd8+ Ke7 48.
Rc8 Kd6 49. Kg2 b5 50. Kf3 b4 51. Kf4 b3 52. Rc6+ Ke7 53. Ke5 b2 54. d6+ Kd8
55. e7+ Kd7 56. Rc8 Rb5+ 57. Kd4 Rb4+ 58. Kc3 Kxc8 59. e8=Q+ Kb7 60. Qd7+ Ka6
61. Qc8+ Rb7 62. Qc4+ Rb5 63. Qa2+ Kb6 64. d7 1-0

Boris Gelfand, top board for SHSM-64. Next to him Wang Hao (China) and Fabiano Caruana (Italy). Photo Vladimir Barsky, many more here.

Despite his loss on the top board, Gelfand's team SHSM-64 (Moscow) defeated Ugra 3.5-2.5. They're leading the tournament with 8/4, together with two other Russian teams, Saint-Petersburg Chess Federation and Tomsk-400, and OSG Baden Baden of Germany. An interesting video interview with Gelfand can be watched at the official website (but we haven't been able to find the direct link). In today's round SHSM-64 plays OSG Baden Baden while Saint-Petersburg faces Tomsk-400.

World Cup winner Peter Svidler played for his home town team Saint-Petersburg in rounds 3 and 4. A nice win in his favourite Grünfeld against IM Arnd Lauber was followed by a draw against Hungarian GM Ferenc Berkes, who was an exchange up for two pawns in the final position, which does look like a draw:

[Event "27th ECC"]
[Site "Rogaska Slatina SLO"]
[Date "2011.09.28"]
[Round "4.3"]
[White "Svidler, Peter"]
[Black "Berkes, Ferenc"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B12"]
[WhiteElo "2740"]
[BlackElo "2706"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "6k1/1p4p1/p5r1/4P3/b1P5/7P/1P4P1/4BBK1 b - - 0 36"]
[PlyCount "1"]
[EventDate "2011.09.25"]
[WhiteTeam "Saint-Petersburg Chess Federation"]
[BlackTeam "Bosna Sarajevo"]

36... Bb3 1/2-1/2

In the women's section AEM Luxten Timisoara (GM Nana Dzagnidze, IM Anna Zatonskih, IM Lela Javakhishvili, IM Cristina-Adela Foisor and IM Anastasia Bodnaruk) is the surprising leader as the only team that won all four matches. They will face their first clearly stronger team today: AVS (GM Antoaneta Stefanova, GM Kateryna Lahno, GM Viktorija Cmilyte, IM Mariya Muzychuk and WGM Natalia Pogonina). As reported before, reigning champions Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo (GM Hou Yifan, IM Anna Muzychuk, GM Pia Cramling, GM Monika Socko and IM Almira Skripchenko) lost in the first round, and a second loss in the 4th round to the aforementioned AVS team made their tournament a big disappointment so far.

With three games ending in draws, crucial was World Champion Hou Yifan's loss to former World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova, who played a model game with White.

[Event "16th ECC w"]
[Site "Rogaska Slatina SLO"]
[Date "2011.09.28"]
[Round "4.2"]
[White "Stefanova, Antoaneta"]
[Black "Hou, Yifan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D38"]
[WhiteElo "2528"]
[BlackElo "2578"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "117"]
[EventDate "2011.09.25"]
[WhiteTeam "AVS"]
[BlackTeam "Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo"]

1. d4 e6 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bxf6 Qxf6 8.
Qb3 c5 9. e3 O-O 10. a3 Bxc3+ 11. Qxc3 Nd7 12. Be2 b6 13. O-O Bb7 14. b3 Rac8
15. Rfc1 Rc7 16. dxc5 Qxc3 17. Rxc3 Rxc5 18. Rcc1 Rfc8 19. Rcb1 Nf8 20. b4 Rc3
21. Nd4 a6 22. Nf5 Rd8 23. Rc1 Rxc1+ 24. Rxc1 Ne6 25. h4 h5 26. Nd4 Nxd4 27.
exd4 g6 28. Rc7 Bc8 29. a4 Bd7 30. a5 b5 31. f3 Be8 32. g4 Rd6 33. gxh5 gxh5
34. Rc8 Kf8 35. Kf2 Ke7 36. Ra8 Rc6 37. Ke3 Bd7 38. Kf4 Kf6 39. Bd3 Bc8 $2 ({
After} 39... Be6 {it's not clear whether White can make progress, e.g.} 40. Rb8
$6 Rc3) 40. Rb8 $1 {Now this is very strong.} Be6 41. Rb6 Rc3 42. Ke3 Rb3 43.
Rxa6 Rxb4 44. Rb6 Ra4 45. Rxb5 Ra3 46. Kd2 Ra2+ 47. Kc3 Ra3+ 48. Kc2 Ra4 49.
Rc5 Rxd4 50. a6 Ra4 51. Kb3 Ra1 52. Kb4 Ke5 53. Ra5 Rxa5 54. Kxa5 Bc8 55. a7
Bb7 56. Kb6 Ba8 57. Kc7 d4 58. Be4 d3 59. Bxd3 1-0

Here are some more games from the rounds 3 and 4:


All photos © Vladimir Jagr for

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