Nepomniachtchi and Cmilyte lead in Rijeka

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Efimenko and Jobava lead in RijekaWith two rounds to go, Ian Nepomniachtchi is in sole lead at the European Individual Championship. The Russian GM scored 7.5/9. In the women's section Viktorija Cmilyte leads with the same score.

The 11th European Individual Men and Women's Chess Championship is held from 5th to 19th of March 2010 in Rijeka, in new Zamet Centre sports hall. The event is organized by chess club "Rijeka", in agreement with the Croatian Chess Federation under the auspices of the City of Rijeka and the European Chess Union. It is open to all players representing the chess federations which comprise the European Chess Union (FIDE zones 1.1 to 1.9) regardless of their title or rating. There is also no limit of participants per federation.

The championship is an 11-round Swiss in accordance with the ECU Tournament Rules and FIDE Rules of Chess. The rate of play is 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one. As always, the European Championship is a qualification event for the next World Cup. According to FIDE regulations and the decision of the ECU Board, 22 players will qualify.

Rounds 8-9

Baadur Jobava continued strongly in round 8, with a nice victory over Hungarian GM Zoltan Almasi.

Jobava-Almasi Position after 15...bxc5Jobava-Almasi
Georgia's number one comes with an impressive, positional pawn sacrifice: 16.b4!? cxb4 17.axb4 Qxb4 18.Rfb1 Qe7 19.Nd4 g6 20.Bxe4 dxe4 21.Qb3 and White had a long-term initiative. Almasi defended well, until he erred in the rook ending with 36...f4, where 36...Kf8 might have saved the game.

The other leader after 7 rounds, Ukrainian Zahar Efimenko, drew relatively quickly with Armenian grandmaster Vladimir Akopian. Ivan Sokolov and Ian Nepomniachtchi won their games and joined Efimenko at second place. The Russian GM did it with a nice sacrifice:

Nepomniachtchi-Inarkiev Position after 32...Rb6Nepomniachtchi-Inarkiev
Do you see it? 33.Nxf7! Wham! 33...Kxf7 34.exd5 cxd5 35.Rc7 and Black had to give his queen with 35...Rd7, but it didn't help.

Another pretty game from round 8 was the folllowing.

Svetushkin-Landa Position after 12...Qxb2Svetushkin-Landa
White had answered the move 11...Qb4 with the strong 12.c4! which means he probably was already intending his next move, again proving that "it's never good to take on b2". 13.cxd5! Nc3 14.dxe6!! Nxd1 15.exd7+ Kd8 16.Raxd1 and the two pieces and the pawn on d7 which kept the king in the centre were more than enough compensation for the queen.

Yesterday, on the top board of round 9, Ian Nepomniachtchi grabbed sole lead:

Nepomniachtchi-Jobava Position after 23...Re8Nepomniachtchi-Jobava
Another White game for Nepomniachtchi, and another inspired attack that brings quick victory: 24.e6! Nxe1 25.Rxe1 fxe6 26.Rxe6 Kh8 27.h3 Rxe6 28.Bxe6 Bb5
29.f5! Qe8 30.f6 Qf8 31.f7 and Black resigned.

The Championship will see two more rounds, today and tomorrow. 22 players will qualify for the next World Cup. Tiebreaks will be played on Thursday to establish the Champion, to establish the medal winners and to establish qualifiers for the World Cup.

European Championship 2010 | Round 9 Standings (top 40)
European Championship 2010 | Round 5 Standings
Full standings here

Selection of games rounds 8-9

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Ian Nepomniachtchi

Ian Nepomniachtchi (2656, Russia) leads the European Individual Champioship with a score of 7.5/9. His perfomance rating is 2864.

Viktorija Cmilyte

Viktorija Cmilyte (2485, Lithuania) leads the Women's section, also with a score of 7.5/9 and with a perfomance rating of 2658.

Photos courtesy of the official website, more here


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