Wednesday, 23 March 2011

2011 European Championship

393 players. 163 Grandmasters. The bottom half of the field starting at 2432. These are some of the features of the 2011 European Championship, which started last night in Aix les Bains, France.
This huge tournament has become one of the centre pieces of the European Chess Union, with a number of qualifying spots for the World Cup up for grabs.
Given the strength of the field the first round saw a number of upsets, but I was surprised at what happened on the top 10 boards. 6 of the 10 games were drawn (including a 19 move draw on board 1), while 5th seed Dmitry Jakovenko even lost to an opponent rated 293 points below him. Further down the results began to appear more 'normal' although a couple of high profile players still struggled against lower rated opponents. This may have an interesting effect on the tournament as the normal strategy of getting to +4/+5 and drawing your way to a qualification place may be complicated by a number of top seeds hacking their way back into contention.
Information can be found at the official website, and results can be found at chess-results.

Jakovenko,Dmitry - Smirnov,Artem
European Championship Aix-les-Bains (1), 22.03.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 Ne4 7.Qc2 f5 8.Nf3 b6 9.g3 Bb7 10.Bg2 Nf6 11.0-0 Be4 12.Qc3 Qe8 13.b3 d6 14.Bb2 Nbd7 15.Rfd1 Qh5 16.Qd2 Rae8 17.Rac1 h6 18.b4 g5 19.a4 Ng4 20.h3 Ngf6 21.c5 Nd5 22.cxd6 cxd6 23.Bf1 N7f6 24.Nh2 g4 25.e3 gxh3 26.b5 Ng4 27.Qe2 Bg2 28.Ba3 Rd8 29.Rc6 Rf7 30.Rdc1 Bxf1 31.Rxf1 Rfd7 32.e4 Ndf6 33.d5 exd5 34.exf5 Qxf5 35.Bb2 Re8 36.Qc2 Qe4 37.Qxe4 dxe4 38.f3 exf3 (D)
39.Bxf6 f2+ 40.Kh1 Nxf6 41.Rxf2 Ne4 42.Rfc2 Nxg3+ 43.Kg1 Ne2+ 0-1

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