#ETCC2023 – Last round to determine the Winners

The European Team Chess Championship 2023 is getting closer to its end, and the last round is scheduled for today at 15:00 CET.

Serbia and Germany co-lead in the Open section scoring 13 match points each, while Bulgaria scores 14 match points in the Women’s section to be the sole leader of the Women’s event.

Playing on the top board of the Open section, Serbia once again surprised and defeated one of the favourites for the top – England. GM Alexandr Predke (SRB, 2661) and GM Robert Markus (SRB, 2582) drew their games against GM Nikita Vitiugov (ENG, 2712) and GM Michael Adams (ENG, 2670), leaving GM Velimir Ivic (SRB, 2557) and GM Alexey Sarana (SRB, 2669) to fight with black pieces. Ivic didn’t have trouble scoring with black against GM Ravi Haria (ENG, 2508), while the reigning European Champion Alexey Sarana held a draw against GM David Howell (ENG, 2676) in the endgame with a pawn down.

Germany took a narrow 2.5-1.5 victory over France thanks to GM Rasmus Svane (GER, 2647) who took a decisive victory against GM Jules Moussard (FRA, 2639). GM Vincent Keymer (GER, 2721) escaped from a very troublesome position and drew against GM Etienne Bacrot (FRA, 2668), while GM Maxime Lagarde (FRA, 2629) and GM Alexander Donchenko (GER, 2664) signed a draw in a slightly better position for the French grandmaster. With a draw on the third board between GM Matthias Bluebaum (GER, 2670) and GM Laurent Fressinet (FRA, 2640), the match finished in favor for Germany.

The match between Greece and Armenia finished in a tie, and heading into the last round, both teams kept their chances for medals. GM Haik Martirosyan (ARM, 2708) won against GM Nikolas Theodorou (GRE, 2619), while GM Stamatis Kourkoulos-Arditis (GRE, 2543) defeated GM Hrant Melkumyan (ARM, 2650) to equalize the score. With draws on the second and the last board, the match finished with the score of 2-2.

Croatia scored an important 2.5-1.5 victory over Romania to stay in the race for the top. With the three games finishing in a draw, GM Ante Brkic (CRO, 2622) was the one to prevail against GM Bogdan-Daniel Deac (ROU, 2700) with plenty of luck on his side. Having a better position, Deac faced time trouble and didn’t manage to play it out. With two seconds on the clock, the Romanian grandmaster dropped a Rook from his hand and didn’t complete the move on time.

The team of Bulgaria is only one step away from winning the European Women’s Team Chess Championship 2023! Scoring a 2.5-1.5 victory against Poland yesterday, Bulgaria scores 14 match points to be the sole leader of the Women’s section with only one round to go.

IM Nurgyul Salimova (BUL, 2412) was convincing yesterday against IM Oliwia Kiolbasa (POL, 2371) and scored the first point for Bulgaria. WGM Beloslava Krasteva (BUL, 2262) followed, defeating WIM Alicja Sliwicka (POL, 2296) and the Bulgarian players took the 2-0 lead in the match. GM Antoaneta Stefanova (BUL, 2417) missed her chances to beat GM Monika Socko (POL, 2378) but draw was enough for the team victory despite FM Gergana Peycheva’s (BUL, 2287) loss to WGM Jolanta Zawadzka (POL, 2342).

Azerbaijan is in clear second place before the last round, with the score of 13 match points. The team of Azerbaijan defeated Greece yesterday with the final score of 2.5-1.5, thanks to the victory on the first board. IM Gunay Mammadzada (AZE, 2441) defeated IM Stavroula Tsolakidou (GRE, 2389), while the other three games finished with draws.

France and Serbia are still in the race for the medals, as France scores 12 match points after yesterday’s tied match to Germany, while Serbia scores 11 match points after defeating Spain in the 8th round.

The last round of the event which is scheduled for 15:00 CET today brings interesting encounters for the top.

Board 1 – Open section: Croatia (Rtg average 2594) vs Germany (Rtg average 2676)
1. GM Ivan Saric (CRO, 2659) vs GM Vincent Keymer (GER, 2721)
2. GM Rasmus Svane (GER, 2647) vs GM Ante Brkic (CRO, 2622)
3. GM Sasa Martinovic (CRO, 2542) vs GM Alexander Donchenko (GER, 2664)
4. GM Dmitrij Kollars (GER, 2642) vs GM Marin Bosiocic (CRO, 2537)

Board 2 – Open section: Greece (Rtg average 2590) vs Serbia (Rtg average 2628)
1. GM Nikolas Theodorou (GRE, 2619) vs GM Alexandr Predke (SRB, 2661)
2. GM Alexey Sarana (SRB, 2669) vs GM Dimitrios Mastrovasilis (GRE, 2573)
3. GM Stamatis Kourkoulos-Arditis (GRE, 2543) vs GM Aleksandar Indjic (SRB, 2601)
4. GM Evgenios Ioannidis (GRE, 2502) vs GM Velimir Ivic (SRB, 2557)

Round 8 video recap:

Board 1 – Women’s section: Bulgaria (Rtg average 2362) vs Georgia (Rtg average 2471)
1. GM Antoaneta Stefanova (BUL, 2417) vs GM Bella Khotenashvili (GEO, 2498)
2. GM Nino Batsiashvili (GEO, 2487) vs IM Nurgyul Salimova (BUL, 2412)
3. FM Gergana Peycheva (BUL, 2287) vs IM Lela Javakhishvili (GEO, 2440)
4. IM Salome Melia (GEO, 2354) vs WGM Beloslava Krasteva (BUL, 2262)

Board 2 – Women’s section: Serbia (Rtg average 2280) vs Azerbaijan (Rtg average 2392)
1. IM Teodora Injac (SRB, 2431) vs IM Gunay Mammadzada (AZE, 2441)
2. IM Ulviyya Fataliyeva (AZE, 2395) vs WIM Adela Velikic (SRB, 2273)
3. WGM Marina Gajcin (SRB, 2236) vs WGM Govhar Beydullayeva (AZE, 2383)
4. IM Khanim Balajayeva (AZE, 2328) vs WIM Tijana Mandura (SRB, 2178)

Live video broadcast with commentaries by GM Alojzije Jankovic and Dragana Nikolovska can be followed through the ECU YouTube channel.

Useful links:
Official website of the event
Photo gallery
Results, rankings & pairings

Photos by Mark Livshitz