Wednesday 25 November 2015

Russia win ETCC Open

Russia has won both the Open and Womens Sections of the European Teams Championship. For a long time this sort of news would be in the same category as "sun rises in east" and "water is wet". However in recent times the Open team has struggled to match its individual talents, with wins in World Teams (2005, 2009, 2013) being the main exception.
The last time Russia won this event was 2007, and the drought is even longer for the Chess Olympiad (2002). There have been a few theories put about why this is so, but the two I lean towards are (a) the pressure of expectation and (b) they still haven't quite mastered the team oriented approach (+1=3 match results).
On the other hand the Womens Team has bee far more successful. They have won all the events since 2007, with the exception of 2013, and have won the last 3 Olympiads as well. In this case the I suspect the gap in talent between Russia and other teams is a little greater than in the Open section, so individual ability counts for more.
As for the other teams, Armenia finished second on tie-break, ahead of Hungary and France. England seemed happy with their top 10 finish (despite being 5th seed), while Norway had the services of Magnus Carlsen on top board, although the mid table finish, and his own score of 50% showed that it is not only teams that have trouble in this format.

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