Gelfand Mouse Slip: Slovak GM Pechac Responds With Gracious Draw Offer
GM Jergus Pechac. Photo: European Chess Union.

Gelfand Mouse Slip: Slovak GM Pechac Responds With Gracious Draw Offer

| 68 | Chess Event Coverage

If a Fair Play Award is handed out for 2021, GM Jergus Pechac will probably receive it. The 19-year-old Slovak GM graciously offered a draw when GM Boris Gelfand blundered a full queen due to a mouse slip. Pechac advanced anyway by winning the armageddon.

The game was played in the second round of the European Hybrid Qualification Tournament, which is currently underway and serves as a qualifier for the FIDE World Cup in July in Sochi, Russia. With his draw offer, Pechac risked not reaching the third round.

The tournament is played in a "hybrid" format, which means that it is a combination of online and over-the-board play. All the federations have specially designated and approved venues from which their players play together, with the moves being transmitted online to the opponents. These venues are supervised by local arbiters and cameras. The format is similar to the World Cup itself, with two classical games and in case of a tie, a playoff.

Russia European Hybrid Chess
Team Russia plays from the Central Chess Club in Moscow. Photo: European Chess Union.

After two draws in the classical games and the first rapid game, Gelfand's mouse slipped in the opening of the second rapid game. Realizing what had just happened, Pechac offered a draw instead of taking the white queen.

Unlike at the World Cup, the players don't play a series of blitz games but head straight to an armageddon game if the score is still equal after the rapid. You could say that Caissa rewarded Pechac for his sportsmanship as he won a dramatic game:

Slovak venue European hybrid chess
A screenshot of the Slovak venue. Photo: European Chess Union.

A total of 264 players from 35 European federations are playing, and 240 competed in the first round. The 24 top seeds were qualified directly for round two (five players ended up withdrawing).

Among the rating favorites who were eliminated in the first round were GM Alexander Moiseenko of Ukraine, who lost to 17-year-old FM Frederik Svane of Germany, and the Croatian GM Marin Bosiocic, who went down against the also 17-year-old Bulgarian Tsvetan Stoyanov.

Besides Gelfand, some more big names didn't survive round two: GM David Navara (who lost to the Spanish GM Jose Ibarra), and GM Pavel Eljanov (who lost to the Polish IM Szymon Gumularz).

The European Hybrid Qualification Tournament takes place May 24-30, 2021 on tornelo. A total of 36 players (the winners in the fourth round) will qualify for the World Cup. The time control of the standard games is two hours for the whole game with a 30-second increment per move. The rapid games are played at 10+3. The armageddon is five vs. four minutes and a two-second increment each after move 60, with draw odds for Black. The event has a total prize fund of $32,000 with $3,000 going to the winner.

Similar hybrid qualification tournaments for the World Cup are currently underway for other regions. You can follow the American tournament here, the Asian tournament here, and the Indian tournament here.

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