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Matthias Bluebaum Wins 2022 European Championship
Matthias Bluebaum. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Matthias Bluebaum Wins 2022 European Championship

PeterDoggers
| 7 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Matthias Bluebaum won the 2022 European Championship in Terme Catez, Slovenia on Wednesday. The German grandmaster edged out GM Gabriel Sargissian on tiebreak. Bronze went to the 2018 champion, GM Ivan Saric, of Croatia. The top 20 players qualified for the 2023 FIDE World Cup.

The coronavirus pandemic obviously hasn't come to an end just yet, but it's having much less of an impact this year in Europe. Large chess events can now be held again reasonably normally, such as the Reykjavik Open which started yesterday, and the European Championship, which finished also yesterday.

Held for the first time in Slovenia, this European individual saw 317 players from 39 countries coming together at the Terme Catez spa complex in Brezice (east Slovenia), along the border of Croatia and just 30 km from Zagreb. No fewer than 114 players are holding the grandmaster title.

According to the official reporting, a few players tested positive before starting their tournament. From the results of the games, it can be deduced that two players never played any games and one player missed the first round but then stopped his tournament after his second round. With such a big field, these numbers could have been worse!

Many of the participants had one clear goal: to finish among the top 20 players, which would mean qualification for the 2023 World Cup. Among the group who managed were the relatively unknown Azerbaijani players IM Abdulla Gadimbayli and GM Misratdin Iskandarov, but also the veteran GM Zdenko Kozul, the winner of the European Championship in 2006.

GMs Aleksandar Indjic (Serbia) and Haik Martirosyan (Armenia) finished 21st and 22nd on tiebreak but qualified anyway since Bluebaum and GM Mustafa Yilmaz (Turkey) had already qualified from the 2021 European Championship.

The change from 20 qualifiers instead of 23 was made at the European Chess Union's board meeting which took place in Thessaloniki, Greece in early February 2022. Due to the many pandemic postponements, it was decided that the qualification pathway of the European Championships for the open and women’s competitions were changed to a three-year cycle. Also in 2023, the European individual will provide 20 spots.

European Championship 2022 | Final Standings (Top 30)

Rk. SNo Fed Title Name Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3 Rp rtg+/-
1 20 GM Bluebaum, Matthias 2642 8.5 2594 69.0 74.0 2785 20.4
2 7 GM Sargissian, Gabriel 2681 8.5 2578 72.5 77.5 2772 13.1
3 4 GM Saric, Ivan 2687 8.0 2589 73.0 78.5 2742 8.2
4 9 GM Cheparinov, Ivan 2672 8.0 2585 69.5 74.0 2742 9.7
5 17 GM Santos, Latasa Jaime 2648 8.0 2546 70.5 76.5 2705 8.0
6 35 GM Yilmaz, Mustafa 2624 8.0 2530 64.0 69.0 2688 9.5
7 26 GM Ponomariov, Ruslan 2636 8.0 2523 59.5 64.5 2680 6.4
8 32 GM Durarbayli, Vasif 2628 8.0 2509 67.0 73.0 2669 5.9
9 131 IM Gadimbayli, Abdulla 2451 7.5 2637 70.0 74.0 2717 39.9
10 65 GM Iskandarov, Misratdin 2577 7.5 2631 73.5 79.0 2731 23.8
11 12 GM Guseinov, Gadir 2661 7.5 2589 69.5 74.5 2703 6.7
12 29 GM Ter-Sahakyan, Samvel 2632 7.5 2567 70.0 75.0 2681 7.8
13 22 GM Sargsyan, Shant 2639 7.5 2567 65.5 71.0 2682 6.7
14 102 GM Kobo, Ori 2510 7.5 2564 67.5 71.5 2655 23.9
15 31 GM Moussard, Jules 2630 7.5 2558 67.5 72.5 2672 6.9
16 14 GM Tari, Aryan 2653 7.5 2553 65.0 70.0 2670 3.1
17 3 GM Anton Guijarro, David 2694 7.5 2551 67.0 71.0 2660 -3.0
18 21 GM Kuzubov, Yuriy 2639 7.5 2547 70.0 74.5 2657 3.3
19 37 GM Kozul, Zdenko 2619 7.5 2545 65.5 71.0 2659 6.9
20 93 GM Nesterov, Arseniy 2522 7.5 2540 67.0 70.5 2641 18.8
21 44 GM Indjic, Aleksandar 2605 7.5 2536 66.0 71.0 2647 7.6
22 28 GM Martirosyan, Haik M. 2633 7.5 2531 67.0 73.0 2648 3.0
23 43 GM Bernadskiy, Vitaliy 2606 7.5 2530 68.0 72.5 2644 6.6
24 18 GM Ragger, Markus 2647 7.5 2521 65.0 69.0 2629 -0.8
25 34 GM Lagarde, Maxime 2626 7.5 2518 65.0 69.5 2624 2.1
26 30 GM Abasov, Nijat 2630 7.5 2518 64.5 69.0 2636 1.6
27 23 GM Petrosyan, Manuel 2637 7.5 2518 63.0 68.5 2637 1.2
28 38 GM Bartel, Mateusz 2616 7.5 2502 63,0 68,0 2620 1.2
29 51 GM Iturrizaga Bonelli, Eduardo 2594 7.5 2496 62,0 67,5 2611 3.4
30 41 GM Brkic, Ante 2607 7.5 2483 61,5 66,0 2602 0.1

Big names who failed to make the cut were the top two seeds, GM David Navara (Czech Republic) and GM Anton Korobov (Ukraine), but also e.g. GM Markus Ragger (Austria), and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (Germany). 

The way Bluebaum collected his 8.5 points over the 11 rounds was remarkable. After a draw in the first round, he won six(!) games in a row but then slowed down again. With four draws at the end, he remained at the top and even had the slightly better tiebreak.

Arguably his most interesting game was against the local GM Matej Sebenik:

The European Individual Chess Championship took place March 27-April 6, 2022 in Terme Catez, Slovenia. The format was an 11-round Swiss. The time control was 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with a 30-second increment per move starting from move one. You can find all games for replay here.

PeterDoggers
Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by Chess.com in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!


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