European Team Chess Championship 2023 kicked off with Round 1

The European Team Chess Championship 2023 kicked off today with the first round in Hotel Splendid, Budva, Montenegro.

ECU President Mr. Zurab Azmaiparashvili made the first ceremonial move on the top Women’s match between Georgia and Israel. Azmaiparashvili played 1.d4 for GM Nino Batsiashvili (GEO, 2487) who played against IM Marsel Efroimski (ISR, 2448).

ECU Honorary Vice President and Vice President of the Montenegro Chess Federation Mr. Veselin Draskovic played the first ceremonial move in the game between GM Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 2829) and GM Jergus Pechac (SVK, 2580). Draskovic played 1.d4 for Magnus Carlsen, but the World No1 chose to change it to 1.e4 afterwards.

The first round saw major upsets in the Open section. The top-seeded Azerbaijan (Rtg average 2701) lost against Denmark (Rtg average 2575) who are the 25th seeds in the tournament. GM Mads Andersen (DEN, 2612) was Denmark’s hero today as he scored a decisive victory against GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE, 2734) for a narrow team victory of 2.5-1.5.

Ranked second on the starting list of teams, Romania (Rtg average 2676) did not prevail against Austria (Rtg average 2567). GM Kirill Shevchenko (ROU, 2665) was the first one to finish his game against GM Markus Ragger (AUT, 2615). They agreed to a draw after a theoretical repetition of moves. The other three games finished with the same result after long fights, thus the match finished with a score of 2-2.

Led by Magnus Carlsen (NOR 2829), Norway (Rtg average 2633) didn’t manage to score a victory against 27th-seeded Slovakia (Rtg average 2516). Five-time World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen won his game against GM Jergus Pechac, but GM Viktor Gazik (SVK, 2547) tied the result after defeating GM Aryan Tari (NOR, 2620) on the second board. With draws on the last two boards, the match finished in a tie 2-2.

A few surprising results marked the start of the Women’s competition. Ranked third on the starting rank list, Germany (Rtg average 2385) played 2-2 against 19th-seeded Greece (Rtg average 2239). All the games finished in a draw although it seemed that GM Elisabeth Paehtz (GER, 2473) and WGM Dinara Wagner (GER, 2467) had good chances to prevail against IM Stavroula Tsolakidou (GRE, 2389) and FM Anastasia Avramidou (GRE, 2143), respectively.

The team of Romania (Rtg average 2296) played against Norway (Rtg average 2038). Despite the huge difference in ratings, Norway managed to hold a draw and the match finished with a score of 2-2. WIM Olga Dolgova (NOR, 2218) scored a full point against WGM Mihaela Sandu (ROU, 2292) on the first board, while WIM Lehaci Miruna-Daria (ROU, 2225) scored against Ingrid Skaslien (NOR, 1941). With draws on the third and the fourth board, the match finished in a tie.

The first two top seeds Georgia (Rtg average 2471) and Azerbaijan (Rtg average 2392) won their matches in the first round against Israel (Rtg average 2263) and Slovenia (Rtg average 2240) respectively.

The second round starts today at 15:00 CET and brings exciting encounters in both sections. The top board pairings are:

Open event:

  1. Germany (Rtg average 2676) vs Hungary (Rtg average 2609)
  2. Austria (Rtg average 2567) vs Norway* (Rtg average 2633)
  3. Albania (Rtg average 2397) vs Montenegro* (Rtg average 2536)
  4. Czech Republic (Rtg average 2604) vs England (Rtg average 2671)
  5. Armenia (Rtg average 2667) vs Croatia (Rtg average 2594)

Women’s event:

  1. Spain (Rtg average 2344) vs Georgia (Rtg average 2471)
  2. Azerbaijan (Rtg average 2392) vs Netherlands (Rtg average 2320)
  3. Ukraine (Rtg average 2365) vs Switzerland (Rtg average 2314)
  4. Hungary (Rtg average 2312) vs Bulgaria (Rtg average 2362)
  5. France (Rtg average 2357) vs England (Rtg average 2301)

Results, rankings and pairings can be found here.

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

Official website of the event

Photo Galleries

Photos by Mark Livshitz and ECU press