Italy Upsets Azerbaijan In Round 1 European Teams
Italy beat Azerbijan in the first round. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Italy Upsets Azerbaijan In Round 1 European Teams

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Oct 28, 2017, 3:56 PM |
19 | Chess Event Coverage

The European Team Championship started on Saturday in Crete, Greece, The first round saw an upset on the high boards as one of the favorites, Azerbaijan, lost to Italy.

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. World Cup winner and newly wed Levon Aronian is the highest rated participant (but didn't play in the first round):

Top 20 Participants in Crete

No. Fed Title Name Rtg Team Bo.
1 GM Aronian, Levon 2801 Armenia 1
2 GM Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2791 Azerbaijan 1
3 GM Grischuk, Alexander 2785 Russia 1
4 GM Giri, Anish 2762 Netherlands 1
5 GM Radjabov, Teimour 2741 Azerbaijan 2
6 GM Gelfand, Boris 2737 Israel 1
7 GM Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2737 Poland 1
8 GM Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2733 Russia 2
9 GM Matlakov, Maxim 2730 Russia 3
10 GM Vitiugov, Nikita 2728 Russia 4
11 GM Adams, Michael 2727 England 4
12 GM Navara, David 2726 Czech Republic 1
13 GM Eljanov, Pavel 2720 Ukraine 1
14 GM Almasi, Zoltan 2707 Hungary 1
15 GM Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2706 Poland 2
16 GM Jobava, Baadur 2705 Georgia 1
17 GM Naiditsch, Arkadij 2702 Azerbaijan 3
18 GM Rodshtein, Maxim 2699 Israel 2
19 GM Howell, David W L 2698 England 1
20 GM Short, Nigel D 2698 England 3

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.

In the open section the two teams with an average rating above 2700 should be considered the main favorites: Russia (playing with Alexander Grischuk, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Maxim Matlakov, Nikita Vitiugov and Daniil Dubov) and Azerbaijan (Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Teimour Radjabov, Arkadij Naiditsch, Rauf Mamedov, and Gadir Guseinov).

Here's an overview of the 10 strongest countries playing:

2017 European Team Championship | Top 10 Teams

Bo. Fed 1. RUSSIA (2744) Rtg            Bo. Fed 6. ARMENIA (2693) Rtg
1 GM Grischuk Alexander 2785 1 GM Aronian Levon 2801
2 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 2733 2 GM Sargissian Gabriel 2657
3 GM Matlakov Maxim 2730 3 GM Movsesian Sergei 2671
4 GM Vitiugov Nikita 2728 4 GM Melkumyan Hrant 2642
5 GM Dubov Daniil 2677 5 GM Gabuzyan Hovhannes 2583
Bo. Fed 2. AZERBAIJAN (2728) Rtg Bo. Fed 7. HUNGARY (2683) Rtg
1 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2791 1 GM Almasi Zoltan 2707
2 GM Radjabov Teimour 2741 2 GM Berkes Ferenc 2661
3 GM Naiditsch Arkadij 2702 3 GM Erdos Viktor 2624
4 GM Mamedov Rauf 2678 4 GM Leko Peter 2679
5 GM Guseinov Gadir 2647 5 GM Rapport Richard 2686
Bo. Fed 3. UKRAINE (2697) Rtg Bo. Fed 8. POLAND (2674) Rtg
1 GM Eljanov Pavel 2720 1 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw 2737
2 GM Ponomariov Ruslan 2687 2 GM Duda Jan-Krzysztof 2706
3 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy 2692 3 GM Piorun Kacper 2640
4 GM Kuzubov Yuriy 2690 4 GM Bartel Mateusz 2613
5 GM Kravtsiv Martyn 2677 5 GM Tomczak Jacek 2583
Bo. Fed 4. ENGLAND (2696) Rtg Bo. Fed 9. GERMANY (2649) Rtg
1 GM Howell David W L 2698 1 GM Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter 2672
2 GM Mcshane Luke J 2647 2 GM Bluebaum Matthias 2643
3 GM Short Nigel D 2698 3 GM Meier Georg 2655
4 GM Adams Michael 2727 4 GM Svane Rasmus 2595
5 GM Jones Gawain C B 2662 5 GM Fridman Daniel 2626
Bo. Fed 5. ISRAEL (2695) Rtg Bo. Fed 10. NETHERLANDS (2648) Rtg
1 GM Gelfand Boris 2737 1 GM Giri Anish 2762
2 GM Rodshtein Maxim 2699 2 GM l'Ami Erwin 2611
3 GM Sutovsky Emil 2683 3 GM Bok Benjamin 2611
4 GM Nabaty Tamir 2661 4 GM Sokolov Ivan 2603
5 GM Smirin Ilia 2635 5 GM Van Foreest Jorden 2609

The women's tournament is also a 9-round Swiss. This will be covered in a separate report.

Back to the open section, where the first round started with a big upset as Italy managed to beat Azerbaijan 2.5-1.5. On the first three boards Vocaturo drew with Radjabov,  Brunello beat Naiditsch and Dvirnyy lost to Mamedov. The big hero was 17-year-old GM (in the tournament still listed as IM) Luca Moroni who won against GM Gadir Guseinov as Black on board four:

Azerbaijan made a little bit harder for themselves to win a third title.

England started with a slightly disappointing 2-2 vs Moldova with two draws, Luke McShane winning on board four but Nigel Short, who just won a tournament in the Philippines last week, lost and endgame to Viktor Bologan that should have been a draw:

A young Norwegian team consisting of Jon Ludvig Hammer (Magnus Carlsen sadly isn't playing this year, unlike two years ago in Reykjavik), Johan Salomon, Johan-Sebastian Christiansen and Benjamin Notkevich tied 2-2 with Israel who played with Boris Gelfand, Maxim Rodsthein, Emil Sutovsky and Ilya Smirin. Here's the win by Christiansen:

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At 27, Jon Ludvig Hammer is the oldest player in the Norwegian team. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

As the organizing country, Greece is playing with three teams: Greece 1, Greece 2 and Greece Crete. Their second team held Germany to 2-2. That was it, in terms of surprising results.

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Germany's Georg Meier and Matthias Bluebaum. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Jorden van Foreest travelled straight from the Hoogeveen tournament to Crete, just like tournament director Loek van Wely, who is the Dutch team captain. Board 4 of the Netherlands won a very long game:

Tomorrow we'll see even bigger clashes. Basically every round this tournament guarantees interesting matchups!

ETCC 2017 | Top Pairings, Round 2

No. SNo Flag Team MP Res. : Res. MP Team Flag SNo
1 6 Armenia 2 : 2 Greece 1 19
2 20 Romania 2 : 2 Hungary 7
3 10 Netherlands 2 : 2 Ukraine 3
4 13 Georgia 2 : 2 Czech Republic 11
5 12 France 2 : 2 Spain 15
6 16 Belarus 2 : 2 Russia 1
7 14 Croatia 2 : 2 Serbia 17
8 18 Turkey 2 : 2 Italy 22
9 4 England 1 : 1 Norway 25
10 24 Moldova 1 : 1 Israel 5

Games from TWIC.

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