Siberia & Nona Winners At European Club Cup

Siberia & Nona Winners At European Club Cup

| 25 | Chess Event Coverage

Siberia (Russia) finished undefeated and won the European Club Cup on Saturday after playing 3-3 against Obiettivo Risarcimento in the final round. Nona (Georgia) won gold, and all its matches, in the women's section.

“I feel great,” said GM Pavel Maletin, the coach of Siberia after his team had finished the European Club Cup in Skopje undefeated. “It was a difficult tournament. A lot of tough games, tough matches. I was worried about all players of our team every day!”

There was certainly relief in Maletin's words, because of some tense moments during the final day. After about two and a half hours it was clear that Li Chao, one of the two Chinese players in the team, was going to lose.

In the same variation of the Schlechter System, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov had lost to Magnus Carlsen earlier this year. Li Chao failed to resurrect the line, whereas Maxime Vachier-Lagrave played an excellent game:

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov

A good game on the last day for MVL.

The other Chinese player compensated for this loss with the following, fine game. It was the decisive one which secured the match point, and the first place for Siberia. After the game, and one cigarette, Wang Yue explained the game in's live broadcast.

One of the crucial games: Wang Yue vs Bacrot.

It should be mentioned that last round started with a one-minute of silence for Croatian grandmaster Krunoslav Hulak, who passed away on Friday. All players got off from their seat to pay tribute.

Vitiugov, Giri and everyone else during the moments of silence for Hulak.

In the previous round it had been the other way around, with a win for Li Chao and a loss for Wang Yue. Siberia won that match, against the local team Alkaloid, as Kramnik scored his fourth win in a row.

The Russian profited from a total collapse by Ivanchuk, and is now back to being the world #4 in the live ratings.

Vladimir Kramnik, now 4th in the world.

A wild game in the final round, as part of the top match, was Grischuk vs Nakamura. This London System is becoming ridiculously popular among top players, but luckily it can also lead to games like this:

Nakamura scored 3.0/6 and a 2660 performance.

Last year's winners SOCAR eventually finished second on tiebreak after a 3-3 in the final round with Mednyi Vsadnik of Russia, who came third — with just a tiny tiebreak edge over Obiettivo. 

(After match points, the first tiebreak was not game points but Olympiad-Sonneborn-Berger: SB without the lowest result.)

Novy Bor, the winners in 2013, finished in fifth place. The Czech/Indian squad had been somewhat unlucky with two 2.5-3.5 losses (to Alkaloid and SOCAR).

In the last round they crushed the Zurich team 5-1, with Radek Wojtaszek winning a good game against Alexei Shirov:

Besides Kramnik, the list of top scorers in Skopje includes Aleksej Aleksandrov (who scored 5.0/5 for University Belorechensk), Evgeniy Najer (4.5/5 for SHSM Legacy Square Moscow) and Michael Adams (5.0/6 for SOCAR).

Michael Adams had an pretty good week in Skopje.

2015 European Club Cup | Final Standings (Top 10)

Rk. SNo Team Games + = - TB1 TB2 TB3
1 2 SIBERIA (RUS) 7 6 1 0 13 246 28,5
2 1 SOCAR (AZE) 7 5 1 1 11 239 28
3 5 MEDNYI VSADNIK (RUS) 7 5 1 1 11 199,5 28
5 6 AVE NOVY BOR (CZE) 7 5 0 2 10 220 31
6 3 ALKALOID (MKD) 7 5 0 2 10 212 27,5
7 8 SHSM LEGACY SQUARE (RUS) 7 5 0 2 10 201 29
8 7 UNIVERZITY-BELORECHENSK (RUS) 7 5 0 2 10 198,5 29,5
9 14 LSG LEIDEN (NED) 7 5 0 2 10 162,5 27,5
10 19 SC MPA - MARIA SAAL (AUT) 7 5 0 2 10 155,5 25,5

(Full final standings here.)

The Georgian ladies who formed the Nona team together were in a class of their own in this tournament. All seven matches were won. Gambit Asseko-See (Macedonia) came second, and Ugra (Russia) third.

Nona's Nana Dzagnidze scored 5.0/6 but her team mate Nina Batsiashvili did even better with 5.5/6. Antoaneta Stefanova and Shen Yang both scored 4.5/5 for Gambit Asseko.

The Nona team at the start of round seven.
Awaiting the prize giving, Caruana and Giri attracted some high-level kibitzers.

Giri is one of the participants of the Bilbao Masters, which has its first round on Monday. His opponents in the double round robin will be Vishy Anand, Ding Liren and Wesley So.

For many other players in Skopje, the next event will be European Team Championship, 12-22 November in Reykjavik. Like in Skopje, will be providing the live broadcast on

Next year the European Club Cup will be held in another former Olympiad city: Novi Sad, Serbia.

Items from the 1972 Olympiad in the Skopje City Museum. | Photo Mike Klein.
The Millennium Cross,  a 66-metre (217 ft) high cross situated
on the top of the Vodno Mountain, constructed to serve as a
memorial of 2,000 years of Christianity in Macedonia and the world.
At night the cross shines down over the city.
View over Skopje from the start of the ropeway on Vodno Mountain.

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