European Rapid and Blitz Chess Championship 2023 concluded in Croatia

The 2023 European Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships concluded yesterday in Zagreb, Croatia.

The event was played from 14-16 December, with the participation of nearly 700 players coming from 41 European federations.

The first event on the schedule was the European Rapid Chess Championship 2023 which took place on 14-15 December with more than 450 players. The event was played in 11 rounds, swiss system, and the last round determined the Winner and the medalists.

Heading into the final round of the Rapid event, as many as four players scored 8.5 points each to tie for the first place: GM Haik Martirosyan (ARM, 2634), GM Alexey Sarana (SRB, 2649), GM Bogdan-Daniel Deac (ROU, 2623), and GM Casper Schoppen (NED, 2553). While Haik Martirosyan and Deac-Bogdan Daniel drew their 11th-round games, Alexey Sarana vs Casper Schoppen ended up the last ongoing game in the venue.

Sarana had a practical endgame with the Bishop pair which eventually converted into an endgame with two Bishops against the Knight and two pawns. With perfect endgame technique, Alexey Sarana managed to pull off a victory and to emerge as the sole Winner of the event with the score of 9.5 points.

It was the third European title for Alexey Sarana this year! After winning the European Individual Chess Championship 2023 in Vrnjacka Banja, Alexey Sarana won the European Team Championship 2023 with the Serbin team as the best individual 2nd board player in the event!

GM Haik Martirosyan and GM Bogdan-Daniel Deac tied for silver, scoring 9 points each. With better tiebreak criteria, Haik Martirosyan came second. Bogdan-Daniel Deac won bronze medal.

The European Blitz Chess Championship 2023 was played yesterday, with 13 single rounds and nearly 600 players in the field.

GM David Navara (CZE, 2661) emerged as the sole leader of the event after 12 played rounds with 10.5 points, and four players closely followed with the score of 10 points: GM Denis Kadric (MNE, 2591), GM Etienne Bacrot (FRA, 2640), GM Rauf Mamedov (AZE, 2635), and GM Vasyl Ivanchuk (UKR, 2678). Once again, the final round got to determine the Winner and the medalists.

12-time Czech Chess Champion David Navara had white pieces against Etienne Bacrot and gained a big advantage from the opening, but the French Grandmaster missed his chances to equalize the game. David Navara eventually won the game to emerge as the Winner of the event with the final score of 11.5/13 points.

After winning the European Blitz Championship 2022 in Katowice, Poland, David Navara successfully defended his title in Zagreb!

Vasyl Ivanchuk won against Rauf Mamedov (AZE, 2635) to win silver medal with the score of 11 points, while Denis Kadric and Ivan Saric (CRO, 2586) tied for bronze medal scoring 10.5 points each. Having better tiebreaks, Denis Kadric came third and Ivan Saric finished the event in the fourth place.

8-year-old super talented Bodhana Sivanandan (ENG, 1944) made an astonishing result in the Blitz competition. She scored 8.5/13 points to win the 1st women prize and earn 211.2 blitz ELO points!

The Closing ceremony of the event took place yesterday evening in the playing venue with the attendance of the ECU President Mr. Zurab Azmaiparashvili, ECU Vice President Mr. Alojzije Jankovic, the President of the Croatian Chess Federation Mr. Ivica Brkic, Minister of tourism and sports of Republic of Croatia Mrs. Nikolina Brnjac, Head of Croatian Prime minister office Mr. Zvonimir Frka-Petešić, famous football player Mr. Zvonimir Boban, Ambassador of Georgia in Croatia Mr. Zaza Gogsadze, FIDE Secretary General Mr. Lukasz Turlej and other distinguished guests.

Final rankings
Photo gallery can be found on the Facebook page of the event

Photos by Luka Rifelj