Saric Leads European Championship During Rest Day

Saric Leads European Championship During Rest Day

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
May 18, 2016, 2:13 AM |
8 | Chess Event Coverage

Ivan Saric is the sole leader at the European Championship in Gjakova, Kosovo. The Croatian number-one grandmaster is the only player on 5.5/6 and he's ahead of a group of five players on five points.

Wednesday is a rest day in Gjakova and so this is a good moment to provide another update. An incident during the fourth round didn't make the previous report.

It was about the game between Polish GM Dariusz Swiercz (2656) and the young Romanian player Bogdan-Daniel Deac (2501). The latter probably had a cold as he was coughing a lot, and at some point the chief arbiter asked him to wear a mouth cap. Deac was in time trouble when this happened, took the cap, but lost the game.

Representatives of the Romanian Chess Federation sent a letter of concern to the tournament's Appeal Committee. Here's part of it:

“After a while, when our player was obviously uncomfortable wearing it, and instinctively took it off, the Chief Arbiter once again insisted that Bogdan should wear the mask all the time, regardless the time trouble, position on the board and the inconvenient [sic] provided by being forced to play with the mask.”

Later in the letter the Romanians question the neutrality of the arbiter, who is from Poland, just like Swiercz.

The appeals committee gave a short statement even though the letter it received was not an official protest.

“The Appeal committee regrets that not all possible channels of communication were used and believes that in the future proper ways of protest or complaint that are in line with FIDE- and ECU regulation, will be followed. The Appeal committee examined all relevant information from sides involved and eye-witnesses and came to a conclusion that the conduct of the arbiters and their decisions were appropriate and according to FIDE rules. The Chief arbiter acted in a polite and support manner.”

Back to the tournament, where Baadur Jobava (Georgia), Ernesto Inarkiev (Russia), and Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Poland) were the three players who started with 4.0/4. Logically, two of them met on board one for round five.

Inarkiev-Wojtaszek was a theoretical battle in the Najdorf, English Attack where the Russian GM brought a novelty on move 18. The older example was a correspondence game from 2005. Both players seemed very well prepared, and played very accurately in this not-so-easy queenless middlegame.

Baadur Jobava (Georgia) comfortably held the draw against Nikita Vitiugov (Russia) on board two, and top seed David Navara did even better with the black pieces. The Czech GM outplayed Sergei, the strongest of the two Zhigalko brothers from Belarus, in a Caro-Kann.

Ivan Saric of Croatia punished his opponent for his unambitious play in the opening. It's not a good idea to play like this and go for an ending where the opponent has the bishop pair — especially when he's higher rated!

Daniil Dubov (Russia) made one mistake but it was enough to be with his back against the wall throughout his game with Laurent Fressinet (France). That must have been a pretty horrible game to play!

Two more games from the fifth round. First Ivan Cheparinov, who has started to play more chess again. The Bulgarian GM still has a uncompromising style, which often leads crazy games like the following (where playing the Benoni as Black always deserves some credit too!).

Cheparinov vs Pantsulaia. | Photo Gunnar Björnsson.

And then the first loss by the reigning European champion. Evgeny Najer probably didn't complain too much afterward since his opponent Aleksey Goganov played a fantastic game where almost half of his moves were made by pawns!

The sixth round saw two relatively quick draws on the top boards (Wojtaszek-Navara and Jobava-Inarkiev).

The top boards in round six.| Photo Gunnar Björnsson.

Only one player on 4.5 points managed to win: Saric, who beat Maxim Matlakov of Russia. This game was a Marshall Ruy Lopez with no fewer than 32 moves of theory. In this typical ending with a pawn for White and the bishop pair for Black, the latter lost surprisingly quickly. (He also resigned surprisingly quickly.) 

Two 2700 GMs showed their supremacy. Mustafa Yilmaz of Turkey was actually doing OK for a long time but eventually started to go wrong against Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine) in another English Attack.

Paco Vallejo came well prepared for his game with Denis Khismatullin and reached a very promising position out of the opening: an extra pawn on the queenside and a knight that turned out to be stronger than opponent's bishop. Usually two rooks are a bit better than a queen, but not here.

Saric, here in between Jobava and Inarkiev leads after six rounds. | Photo Gunnar Björnsson.

Not all games are interesting — on the contrary. This tournament doesn't have any anti-draw rules, and because many players are mainly trying to finish among the top 23 players (to qualify for the 2017 World Cup), there have been several very short draws. Some examples:

  • Stocek-Kravtsiv, round six: 10 moves.
  • Berkes-Vitiugov, round six: 10 moves.
  • Esen-Oleksiyenko, round five: 11 moves.
  • Piorun-Andriasian, round six: 12 moves.
  • Khismatullin-Ponomariov, round five: 12 moves.

After the rest day, five more rounds will be played. 

European Championship | Round 6 Standings (Top 30)

Rk. SNo Title Name Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4 TB5 Rp rtg+/-
1 30 GM Saric Ivan 2650 5,5 0 19,5 22,5 3 5 2938 17
2 2 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw 2722 5 0 21,5 24,5 3 4 2894 12,2
3 26 GM Jobava Baadur 2661 5 0 21 24 3 4 2844 13,8
4 1 GM Navara David 2735 5 0 20,5 23 3 4 2865 9
5 12 GM Inarkiev Ernesto 2686 5 0 20,5 22,5 3 4 2858 12,6
6 37 GM Kovalenko Igor 2644 5 0 19 20 3 4 2770 9,3
7 3 GM Vitiugov Nikita 2721 4,5 0 21,5 25 3 3 2785 4,8
8 32 GM Ipatov Alexander 2648 4,5 0 20 22,5 2 3 2749 6,7
9 50 GM Salgado Lopez Ivan 2618 4,5 0 20 22 3 3 2680 6
10 13 GM Cheparinov Ivan 2685 4,5 0 19,5 23 2 4 2718 3
11 5 GM Vallejo Francisco 2700 4,5 0 19,5 23 2 3 2765 4,9
12 4 GM Ponomariov Ruslan 2715 4,5 0 19,5 22,5 3 3 2772 4,4
13 55 GM Zubov Alexander 2612 4,5 0 19,5 22 2 2 2754 9,6
14 60 GM Goganov Aleksey 2600 4,5 0 19,5 21 3 3 2707 9,7
15 8 GM Fressinet Laurent 2692 4,5 0 19 22,5 3 3 2775 6,3
16 42 GM Berkes Ferenc 2636 4,5 0 19 22 3 3 2735 8,6
17 51 GM Anton Guijarro David 2616 4,5 0 18,5 21 3 3 2631 2,4
18 29 GM Bartel Mateusz 2653 4,5 0 18 21 3 3 2704 4,6
19 49 GM Nabaty Tamir 2619 4,5 0 18 19,5 2 3 2667 4,5
20 59 GM Ter-Sahakyan Samvel 2601 4,5 0 17,5 19 3 4 2642 5,1
21 69 GM Demchenko Anton 2589 4,5 0 17 18,5 3 3 2709 10,5
22 7 GM Matlakov Maxim 2693 4 0 21,5 25 3 3 2719 2,2
23 84 GM Kovalev Vladislav 2562 4 0 20,5 23 3 3 2689 10,7
24 61 GM Parligras M-E 2599 4 0 20,5 22 2 4 2627 3,9
25 20 GM Laznicka Viktor 2668 4 0 20 23 3 3 2649 -0,5
26 95 GM Stocek Jiri 2534 4 0 20 22,5 2 1 2715 12,4
27 33 GM Zhigalko Sergei 2647 4 0 20 22 3 3 2655 1,7
28 77 GM Vocaturo Daniele 2574 4 0 20 22 3 3 2712 11,6
29 58 GM Andriasian Zaven 2602 4 0 20 21,5 3 3 2687 8,1
30 70 GM Brkic Ante 2584 4 0 19,5 22 3 4 2610 3,6

(Full standings here.)

The 17th European Individual Championship is taking place May 11-24 in Gjakova, a city in western Kosovo. The tournament is an 11-round Swiss. A total of 245 players are playing, including 103 GMs and 29 IMs. The prize fund is 120,000 / $135,708 with a 20,000 / $22,618 first prize. The top 23 players will qualify for the 2017 World Cup.

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