Sjugirov, Inarkiev and Meier lead at European Championship

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Playing hallSanan Sjugorov, Ernesto Inarkiev (both from Russia) and Georg Meier (Germany) are leading the pack in Budva, Montenegro where the European Championship has reached the 5th round.

Photo © Nebojsa Baralic The 10th European Chess Championship, an 11-round Swiss, takes place in Budva, Montenegro from March 5th (day of arrival) until March 19th (day of departure) 2009. It's organized by the Montenegro Chess Federation under the auspices of the City of Budva and the European Chess Union.

Budva on the map

Budva is a coastal town in Montenegro with around 15,000 inhabitants. The coastal area around Budva, called the Budvanska rivijera, is the centre of Montenegro's tourism, and is well known for its sandy beaches, diverse nightlife, and beautiful examples of Mediterranean architecture. Budva is 2,500 years old, which makes it one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic sea coast. (Source: Wikipedia.)

Splendid hotel

The tournament hall is the congress hall of the “Splendid spa & resort hotel”.

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. The first prize is € 15,000, second is € 12,000 and the third player earns € 10,000.

After five rounds only Sjugirov, Inarkiev and Meier are on 4.5 points. Among Sjugirov's scalps are Cheparinov, Nikolic and Van Wely - the Dutchman had started well with three wins and a draw. Inarkiev, the Russian GM who is named after Ernesto "Che" Guevara, had a slightly lighter program but he did beat the champ of 2006, Zdenko Kozul.

Georg Meier is repeating his great form at the Olympiad: in Budva he started with 4/4 (beating e.g. Popov and Gagunashvili) before drawing with Inarkiev.


Leaders Meier and Inarkiev drew in the fifth round | Photo © Nebojsa Baralic

Below you'll find a selection of interesting games from the first five rounds. Special attention please for Motylev-Nijboer - a fantastic, hyper sharp game! The Dutchman also grinded down Postny and is having an excellent tournament so far, after his dreadful Corus C where he blundered in so many great positions. A Nijboer in good shape is worth at least 2650!


Joe Gallagher (2480, Switzerland)

Jan Timman, that other big name from The Netherlands, plays his first tournament since the Wold Open in Leon in December, but that was rapid. Antwerp, August 2008, was his last in classical chess, and it shows - the former world's no. 2 is extremely rusty thus far, losing to IMs Anisimov (2488) and Talla (2407) in rounds 2 and 3. He showed his love for endings, and a sparkle of his great knowledge, in his round 5 game.

Another ChessVibes favorite, Greek GM Vasilios Kotronias, started with a loss in the first round against compatriot IM Ioannis Georgiadis (2383) but then recovered well with four wins in a row. Yesterday he defeated top seeded Francisco Vallejo Pons.

I've also included a game by former opening theoretician Joe Gallagher from Switzerland, who was a professional poker player already when "colleagues" like Grischuk and Gustafsson were still in high school! Perhaps somebody disclosed to him that the King's Indian is playable again? In any case, Gallagher (2480) is performaning at a 2685 level so far!

Games selection

Playing hall

The playing hall in Budva | Photo © Nebojsa Baralic

[TABLE=638] Full standings here.


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