Anand, Carlsen began with a draw in the European Club Cup | So Good News


GM Magnus Carlsen and GM Viswanathan Anand, two of the biggest names in the 2022 European Club Cup in Mayrhofen, Austria, were forced to settle for a first-round draw. The tournament is a seven-round Swiss competition open to European club teams and has a women’s section.

How to watch? The European Chess Club Cup games can be found here and the European Women’s Chess Club Cup can be found here. Rounds start daily at 2am Pacific/11am CEST.

Mayrhofen, in the Austrian state of Tyrol, was supposed to welcome European clubs two years ago when the Austrian Chess Federation celebrated its 100th anniversary. Unfortunately, the pandemic made this impossible, but now, in 2022, the event is taking place.

The Austrians are hosting a record 87 clubs: 70 in the open section and 17 in the women’s section. If Russian teams participated, maybe more would join.

Open tournament

The Open tournament was particularly special with the presence of two world champions. Carlsen, who has been playing chess for the first time in Austria since the age of 10, plays in his own Offerspill chess club from Norway. three on board.

Anand, now a FIDE vice-president, plays for Romanian club CSU ASE Superbet, which has sponsored the country’s super tournament in recent years. The team also includes General Richard Rapport, who completed his transfer to the Romanian Chess Federation. Interestingly, GM Gukesh D., the star of the Chennai Olympics, is in this team.

Other strong players in the field include GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Schachclub Viernheim), GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Asnieres Le Grand Echiquier) and GM Arjun Erigaisi (SC Ljubljana).

As it happened, both world champions played with black pieces in the first round and both had to go out.

Latvian GM Nikita Meshkov had a very solid performance against Carlsen, who never had a real chance to play for the win and lost 3.4 Elo points with this result.

Meshkov Carlsen Mayrhofen 2022
Meshkov vs. Carlsen. Photo: European Chess Union.

In this matchup, all five other boards won the Offerspill against Vammalan Shakkikerho, which is not surprising since clubs of different levels are paired against each other in the early rounds. At this point, Meshkovs was the sole GM alongside two FMs, one CM and two no-name players.

A similar scenario played out for CSU ASE Superbet, which also beat Iceland’s Viking Chess Club 5.5-0.5, while Anand drew with former top GM Johann Hjartarson.

Hjartarson and Anand Mayrhofen 2022
Hjartarson vs. Anand. Photo: European Chess Union.

Five teams won 6-0: Asnieres Le Grand Echiquie, SC Ljubljana, Schachclub Wiernheim, Kfar Saba Chess Club and De Pluspion Wachtebeke.

Asnieres Le Grand Echiquier’s general counsel Andriy Yesipenko won a quick and good game against IM Frode Elsness of another Norwegian club, Berum Shakselskap.

Elsness Esipenko Mayrhofen 2022
Elsness v. Esipenko. Photo: European Chess Union.

The early rounds are especially exciting for amateur players, who sometimes get the chance to play against a strong grandmaster. In Novy Bor vs. Apeldoorn, Dutch no-name Tom Meurs (2,250) outscored his 2,600 opponent in the opener, but was unable to win the winner’s game:

Women’s tournament

The women’s section is much smaller, but it features three world champions. GM Maria Muzychuk, the 2015-2016 women’s world champion who plays for SC Ljubljana, faced her older sister GM Anna Muzychuk (who plays in Monte Carlo) in the first round — a game that ended in a surprise draw.

Maria Anna Muzychuk
Maria (left) and Anna Muzychuk. Photo: official website.

Fully titled Cercle d’Echecs de Monte-Carlo, the top-ranked team has another former world champion on both boards: GM Antoineta Stefanova (third world champion on the field – GM Anna Ushenina.) She also drew her game and did so. three sat GM Pia Kramling, but it was IM Elisabeth Pechtz who decided the match on board four.

With no Russian team here, Monte Carlo’s biggest challenger is CSU ASE Superbet, which features Irina Bulmaga, Dinara Saduakasova, Ekaterina Atalik, Marcel Efroimski and WGM Jovana Rapport. Leaving Bulmaga for the first round, the team won convincingly against Sirmium (Serbia) 3.5-0.5.

Saduakasova’s knights must have driven WGM Jovana Eric crazy in this game.

On October 3-9, 2022, Mayrhofen, Austria will host the 37th European Club Cup and the 26th Women’s Club Chess Cup. Both events are seven-round Swiss, with six-man teams in the open section and four-man teams in the women’s section. Time control is 90 minutes for 40 moves and 30 minutes for the rest of the game, starting with one move and increasing by 30 seconds per move.


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