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European Teams: Italy Does It Again
The start of Italy vs Turkey. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

European Teams: Italy Does It Again

Also in the second round of the European Team Championship Italy managed to beat a higher rated team. Sabino Brunello decided their match against Turkey. Tied for first place after two rounds, with four match points, are Armenia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, and Russia.

Bo. 6 Armenia Rtg - 19 Greece 1 Rtg 2½-1½
1/1 GM Aronian, Levon (w) 2801 - GM Papaioannou, Ioannis (b) 2652 1 - 0
1/2 GM Movsesian, Sergei (b) 2671 - GM Banikas, Hristos (w) 2584 0 - 1
1/3 GM Sargissian, Gabriel (w) 2657 - GM Pavlidis, Antonios (b) 2546 1 - 0
1/4 GM Melkumyan, Hrant (b) 2642 - GM Halkias, Stelios (w) 2583 ½ - ½

After sitting out the first round, the one 2800 player in the tournament entered the playing hall today: Levon Aronian. He started with an important win vs Ioannis Papaioannou as Armenia scored a narrow 2.5-1.5 win vs Greece. Aronian was mostly in control, although there was one moment in timetrouble where Papaioannou missed a chance:

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Levon Aronian started his tournament with a win. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Bo. 20 Romania Rtg - 7 Hungary Rtg ½ -3½
2/1 GM Lupulescu, Constantin (w) 2620 - GM Leko, Peter (b) 2679 ½ - ½
2/2 GM Parligras, Mircea-Emilian (b) 2616 - GM Rapport, Richard (w) 2686 0 - 1
2/3 GM Deac, Bogdan-Daniel (w) 2560 - GM Almasi, Zoltan (b) 2707 0 - 1
2/4 GM Szabo, Gergely-Andras-Gyula (b) 2563 - GM Berkes, Ferenc (w) 2661 0 - 1

Yesterday Hungary beat Iceland 3-1 and today the win was even bigger: 3.5-0.5 vs neighbour Romania. On board two Richard Rapport's opening didn't make a great impression, but in the endgame he was just that little bit more effective than his opponent (while having a bishop vs a knight helped too).

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There was room for improvement in the opening, but then Richard Rapport showed some endgame magic. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Bo. 10 Netherlands Rtg - 3 Ukraine Rtg 2½:1½
3/1 GM Giri, Anish (w) 2762 - GM Eljanov, Pavel (b) 2720 1 - 0
3/2 GM l'Ami, Erwin (b) 2611 - GM Ponomariov, Ruslan (w) 2687 ½ - ½
3/3 GM Bok, Benjamin (w) 2611 - GM Kuzubov, Yuriy (b) 2690 ½ - ½
3/4 GM Sokolov, Ivan (b) 2603 - GM Kravtsiv, Martyn (w) 2677 ½ - ½

With draws on the other boards, Anish Giri became the match winner in the battle between the Netherlands and Ukraine. Pavel Eljanov has been looking a little bit shaky lately, and today he missed the main tactic Giri had been playing for (although by that point his position was pretty bad already).

It was impressive to see that Giri had already analysed a line (9...c4) which hadn't been played on the highest level yet, because it was a suggestion by the computer. It's hard to surprise a top GM these days!

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Anish Giri and Pavel Eljanov shortly after their game finished. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Bo. 13 Georgia Rtg - 11 Czech Republic Rtg 1½-2½
4/1 GM Jobava, Baadur (w) 2705 - GM Navara, David (b) 2726 0 - 1
4/2 GM Mchedlishvili, Mikheil (b) 2604 - GM Laznicka, Viktor (w) 2654 ½ - ½
4/3 GM Pantsulaia, Levan (w) 2586 - GM Stocek, Jiri (b) 2581 1 - 0
4/4 GM Jojua, Davit (b) 2591 - GM Plat, Vojtech (w) 2551 0 - 1

Georgia's chances rely much on whether their top gun Baadur Jobava is in good shape or not. Today was not a great day for him. In fact it was was quite a devastating loss he suffered vs. David Navara, the kind that looks like Master vs Amateur. It was part of a 2.5-1.5 victory for the the Czech Republic.

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Navara crushed Jobava today as Black. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Bo. 12 France Rtg - 15 Spain Rtg 2-2
5/1 GM Bauer, Christian (w) 2647 - GM Anton Guijarro, David (b) 2651 ½ - ½
5/2 GM Gharamian, Tigran (b) 2626 - GM Salgado Lopez, Ivan (w) 2629 ½ - ½
5/3 GM Fressinet, Laurent (w) 2657 - GM Lopez Martinez, Josep Manuel (b) 2607 ½ - ½
5/4 GM Maze, Sebastien (b) 2614 - GM Ibarra Jerez, Jose Carlos (w) 2561 ½ - ½

Neighbouring countries Spain and France played 2-2. Ivan Salgado Lopez could, and should have decided this match in Spain's favor as he outplayed Tigran Gharamian from a Caro-Kann. But what an amazing exchange sacrifice Black came up with! Very creative, and it worked!

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Ivan Salgado arriving at the board. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Bo. 16 Belarus Rtg - 1 Russia Rtg 1½-2½
6/1 GM Zhigalko, Sergei (w) 2638 - GM Grischuk, Alexander (b) 2785 ½ - ½
6/2 GM Kovalev, Vladislav (b) 2636 - GM Nepomniachtchi, Ian (w) 2733 ½ - ½
6/3 GM Stupak, Kirill (w) 2578 - GM Matlakov, Maxim (b) 2730 0 - 1
6/4 GM Fedorov, Alexei (b) 2582 - GM Dubov, Daniil (w) 2677 ½ - ½

Top seed Russia quietly moved to four match points as well. After a 2.5-1.5 win vs Slovenia yesterday they scored the same vs Belarus today. This time it was Maxim Matlakov who decided the match, with quite an excellent game. The white player will probably be annoyed for losing a game that seemed so close to a draw.

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The start of the Belarus-Russia match. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Bo. 14 Croatia Rtg - 17 Serbia Rtg 2½-1½
7/1 GM Saric, Ivan (w) 2662 - GM Markus, Robert (b) 2644 1 - 0
7/2 GM Bosiocic, Marin (b) 2619 - GM Ivanisevic, Ivan (w) 2593 ½ - ½
7/3 GM Jankovic, Alojzije (w) 2575 - GM Perunovic, Milos (b) 2608 ½ - ½
7/4 GM Martinovic, Sasa (b) 2565 - GM Indjic, Aleksandar (w) 2591 ½ - ½

In yet another derby, Croatia defeated Serbia thanks to Ivan Saric's excellent win on board one. This guy knows how to handle a French Winawer!

Bo. 18 Turkey Rtg - 22 Italy Rtg 1½-2½
8/1 GM Solak, Dragan (w) 2626 - GM Vocaturo, Daniele (b) 2607 ½ - ½
8/2 GM Yilmaz, Mustafa (b) 2633 - GM Brunello, Sabino (w) 2555 0 - 1
8/3 GM Can, Emre (w) 2604 - GM Godena, Michele (b) 2489 ½ - ½
8/4 GM Sanal, Vahap (b) 2549 - GM Moroni, Luca Jr (w) 2506 ½ - ½

Finally we reach the match that got the headline for the article. After their shocking win vs Azerbaijan, Italy defeated another country where a Turkic language is spoken: Turkey.

With lower ratings on all four boards, it was another excellent achievement as boards one, three and four held the draw, and Sabino Brunello won his game. Like Rapport, the opening was a bit strange but as soon as he got the key move 22.f5 in, Brunello was in his element.

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Sabino Brunello on a good day to pose for the camera. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Bo. 2 Azerbaijan Rtg - 23 Austria Rtg 4-0
13/1 GM Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar (w) 2791 - GM Ragger, Markus (b) 2659 1 - 0
13/2 GM Naiditsch, Arkadij (b) 2702 - GM Shengelia, David (w) 2556 1 - 0
13/3 GM Mamedov, Rauf (w) 2678 - IM Dragnev, Valentin (b) 2466 1 - 0
13/4 GM Guseinov, Gadir (b) 2647 - IM Diermair, Andreas (w) 2488 1 - 0

The Azerbaijan team was spotted having a few drinks after their loss to Italy yesterday. Maybe that wasn't such a bad idea because today they came back with a vengeance, and beat Austria 4-0! Especially Rauf Mamedov's game was fun.

Bo. 8 Poland Rtg - 29 Greece 2 Rtg 3-1
11/1 GM Wojtaszek, Radoslaw (w) 2737 - GM Nikolaidis, Ioannis (b) 2519 ½ - ½
11/2 GM Duda, Jan-Krzysztof (b) 2706 - IM Theodorou, Nikolas (w) 2512 1 - 0
11/3 GM Piorun, Kacper (w) 2640 - GM Mastrovasilis, Athanasios (b) 2488 1 - 0
11/4 GM Tomczak, Jacek (b) 2583 - FM Malikentzos, Sotirios (w) 2434 ½ - ½

Jan-Krzysztof Duda had some scary moments after he forgot to play an important move in the Taimanov. White was close to winning, but going for the brilliancy prize wasn't a good idea:

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Was Duda distracted by board three when he erred in the opening? Or did Kacper Piorun realize what was happening next to him? :-) | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Bo. 4 England Rtg - 25 Norway Rtg 3-1
9/1 GM Adams, Michael (w) 2727 - GM Tari, Aryan (b) 2578 ½ - ½
9/2 GM Howell, David W L (b) 2698 - GM Hammer, Jon Ludvig (w) 2632 1 - 0
9/3 GM Jones, Gawain C B (w) 2662 - IM Christiansen, Johan-Sebastian (b) 2462 1 - 0
9/4 GM Mcshane, Luke J (b) 2647 - IM Notkevich, Benjamin Arvola (w) 2458 ½ - ½

Without Nigel Short England defeated Norway 3-1. David Howell's win vs Jon Ludvig Hammer was really complicated, but even without annotations it's worth showing, one reason being that Black castled queenside on move 37. :-)

The European Team Championship takes place 28 October - 6 November in the Creta Maris Resort in Hersonissos, Crete, Greece. The Open section has 40 teams with in total 199 players, including 138 grandmasters.

Teams consist of four players but countries are allowed to bring one extra player. The tournament is a 9-round Swiss. The time control is 90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30-second increment per move starting from move one. Draw offers are only allowed after move 30.

ETCC 2017 | Top Pairings, Round 3

No. SNo Team MP Res. : Res. MP Team SNo
1 7 Hungary 4 : 4 Netherlands 10
2 11 Czech Republic 4 : 4 Russia 1
3 14 Croatia 4 : 4 Armenia 6
4 22 Italy 4 : 3 Germany 9
5 5 Israel 3 : 3 France 12
6 8 Poland 3 : 3 England 4
7 15 Spain 3 : 2 Azerbaijan 2
8 19 Greece 1 2 : 2 Romania 20
9 3 Ukraine 2 : 2 Portugal 34
10 21 Slovenia 2 : 2 Belarus 16

Download Tournament PGN

Games from TWIC.

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As always, the Dutch women brought their mascotte with them. Expect a separate report on the women's tournament by IM Jovanka Houska. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

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