Mourning French Team Beats Armenia As ETCC Takes Off

Mourning French Team Beats Armenia As ETCC Takes Off

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Nov 14, 2015, 4:34 PM |
8 | Chess Event Coverage

On a very sad day for their country, France defeated Armenia in round two of the European Team Championship, which took off on Friday in Reykjavik, Iceland.

The world is in shock about what happened in Paris on Friday night, and that includes the chess world. The second round of the European Team Championship started with a minute of silence.

The head of the World Chess Federation wrote:

On behalf of the FIDE Presidential Board and myself, let me express the deepest condolences to France over the terrorist attacks in Paris.
We stand in solidarity with people in France.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
FIDE President

Solidarité with France.

In Reykjavik, the French team was in fact on top boards today. Wearing black arm bands, they played (or, rather, tried to) against Armenia, three-time Olympic champions and the European Champion of 1999.

“It was of course very strange to play. It was very sad,” said Laurent Fressinet to Chess.com. “But at least we could think a little bit about something else, after what happened yesterday.” 

France's board two was obviously following the news the night before, and had difficulties falling asleep. “We are still in shock. But life goes on, and we have to show to the terrorists that they won't terrorize us and we should continue and fight, and freedom will prevail.”

“I have to say I was in the same situation as Laurent,” Maxime Vachier-Lagrave told Chess.com. “Even today during the preparation I still couldn't focus so much, even though we had an important match. Somehow over the board, let's say after an hour of play, I was at least managing to focus on the problems I had to solve. I took my mind off it for a while but of course there is a long way to go before we can go back to normal life, but we have to.”

France (L-R): Bacrot, Edouard, Fressinet and MVL (with team captain Sebastien Mazé).

Despite the situation, France actually managed to win their match against Armenia. With draws on boards 2-4 it was MVL who, with a bit of luck, sealed the win by beating Levon Aronian.

Here's a video of the final phase of this game, taken from our live broadcast (which you can follow daily from 3pm local time or 7am Pacific at Chess.com/TV) with commentary by GM Simon Williams and WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni:

“It actually feels very unimportant, to be honest,” Vachier-Lagrave said to Chess.com after the game. “After what I witnessed yesterday I am really in shock and chess was not the most important thing today.”

France is now sharing the lead with only four other teams. Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine and Spain are the other countries that started with two victories. 

Evgeny Tomashevsky's win over Alexander Ipatov, from Russia-Turkey in round one, was very smooth but only after Black didn't give back material immediately:


The tournament is held in the spacious Laugardalshöll in Reykjavik, Iceland.

For decades Vassily Ivanchuk has been leading the Ukrainian team, and he still is. In the first round he won a good game against Romania's board one Constantin Lupulescu (as Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu is playing for Germany these days).

Ivanchuk vs Lupulescu from the Ukraine-Romania match. | Photo Einar Óla.

Back to France, who defeated Sweden 3-1 in the first round. Here's Romain Edouard's win over Tiger Hillarp Persson, followed by his explanation of the game from our live broadcast:



More spectacle was seen in the following wonderful game from the first round. It was played on board one of the hard-fought battle between Lithuania and Serbia. This match which finished in 2-2 with four decisive games.

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov

One of the teams trailing the leaders by a point is the Netherlands, who started with a win but then played 2-2 against Croatia today. Anish Giri and Erwin l'Ami drew with Ivan Saric and Mladen Palac, but Ivan Sokolov lost to Ante Brkic.

Loek van Wely leveled the score and got a firm handshake from team captain Vladimir Tukmakov after nicely trapping no less than three of his opponent's pieces on the queenside:

Netherlands-Croatia | Photo ETCC2015.

After two rounds, the two local teams are placed 23rd and 24th with one loss and a tied match. The regular Iceland team is playing with e.g. Hannes Stefansson and Hedinn Steingrimsson, but there is also the Iceland Legends, with Helgi Olafsson, Johann Hjartarson, Jon Arnason, Margeir Petursson and yes, also Fridrik Olafsson.

A total of 36 teams are participating, and that includes more than 130 grandmasters. We're not even counting some strong coaches, such as Judit Polgar for Hungary.

And what about Alexander Motylev, Evgeniy Najer, Alexander Riazantsev, Vladimir Potkin and Sergei Rublevsky? They're all in Reykjavik, but not playing!

Russia has been playing with Peter Svidler, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Dmitry Jakovenko so far; Alexander Grischuk skipped the first two rounds.

This went somewhat unnoticed, as there's another player who hasn't made an appearance for his team yet: Magnus Carlsen. He saw his team mates GM Jon Ludvig Hammer and IMs Aryan Tari, Frode Urkedal and Johan Salomon lose in the first round, but win in the second. Armenia awaits.

2015 European Team Championship | Round 2 Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo FED Team + = - TB1 TB2 TB3
1 3 AZE Azerbaijan 2 0 0 4 7 6,5
2 1 RUS Russia 2 0 0 4 6 6
3 2 UKR Ukraine 2 0 0 4 6 6
4 14 ESP Spain 2 0 0 4 5 6
5 4 FRA France 2 0 0 4 5 5,5
6 7 HUN Hungary 1 1 0 3 8 6
7 17 GEO Georgia 1 1 0 3 6 6
8 9 NED Netherlands 1 1 0 3 6 5,5
9 5 ENG England 1 1 0 3 6 5
10 16 CRO Croatia 1 1 0 3 6 5
11 8 POL Poland 1 1 0 3 3 5
12 15 SRB Serbia 1 1 0 3 2,5 4,5
13 6 ARM Armenia 1 0 1 2 6 5,5
14 10 GER Germany 1 0 1 2 6 4
15 21 SLO Slovenia 1 0 1 2 4 5
16 19 TUR Turkey 1 0 1 2 4 4,5
17 18 GRE Greece 1 0 1 2 4 3,5
18 29 MNE Montenegro 1 0 1 2 4 3,5
19 23 ITA Italy 1 0 1 2 3 4,5
20 28 SUI Switzerland 1 0 1 2 3 4,5

In the women's section there are 30 teams, but only four started with two wins. That includes top favorites Georgia and Russia, but also Ukraine and Italy. 

Ukraine started with a 2.5-1.5 win over England, despite a loss by default on board one: Anna Muzychuk, one of the two Muzychuk sisters, missed her connecting flight to Reykjavik and failed to make it in time for the round!

The next day she was there, and drew her game with Jolanta Zawadzka but saw all her team mates win their games against Poland. Her sister Mariya, the reigning women's world champion, defeated Monica Socko in exactly the same Sicilian Dragon as in one of the games of the top boards in the Open section, Movsesian-Edouard.

2015 European Team Championship (Women) | Round 2 Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo FED Team + = - TB1 TB2 TB3
1 1 GEO Georgia 2 0 0 4 7 6
2 3 UKR Ukraine 2 0 0 4 7 6
3 15 ITA Italy 2 0 0 4 6 7
4 2 RUS Russia 2 0 0 4 6 6
5 12 SRB Serbia 1 1 0 3 6 6
6 5 FRA France 1 1 0 3 6 5
7 11 ESP Spain 1 1 0 3 6 5
8 8 ROU Romania 1 1 0 3 6 4,5
9 10 NED Netherlands 1 1 0 3 4 6
10 7 GER Germany 1 1 0 3 3,5 5,5
11 9 HUN Hungary 1 1 0 3 3 5
12 18 ENG England 1 0 1 2 6 5
13 14 TUR Turkey 1 0 1 2 6 4,5
14 13 AZE Azerbaijan 1 0 1 2 4 4
15 6 ARM Armenia 1 0 1 2 4 3,5
16 21 LAT Latvia 1 0 1 2 3 5
17 26 DEN Denmark 1 0 1 2 3 5
18 4 POL Poland 1 0 1 2 2 4
19 16 CZE Czech Republic 1 0 1 2 2 3,5
20 19 AUT Austria 1 0 1 2 1 4

The European Team Championship, a nine-round Swiss, takes place 13-22 November in Laugardalshöll, an indoor sporting arena in Reykjavik, Iceland. It also served as the venue for the Match of the Century.

Chess.com is providing a daily live broadcast on Chess.com/TV with commentary by GM Simon William, WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni and guests. Between 13 and 22 November (except for a rest day on the 18th), tune in from 3pm local time (7am Pacific).

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