Europchess on tour : summer individual tournaments

It has been quite a busy summer for Europchess members. In July and August, 14 players participated in 14 tournaments in 9 countries! (still to be updated in August)

From 1 to 4 August, Martin Müller stayed in the German capital and participated in a 7-round Open with no less than 250 participants. He performed more or less on his level, and finished 89th, just one rank below his seeding position. A draw against a player rated 2192 was the highlight, whereas two other games against FMs were lost. The winner was the Elo favourite GM Matthias Blübaum (2619) with 6.5/7.

Marcello Ranucci played at the 5th International Chess Festival in Lignano Sabbiadoro near Venice from 27 July to 3 August. The festival was divided in three tournaments and Marcello was seeded in a middle rank in the B-tournament. After two expectable losses against higher-rated opponents and two expectable wins against lower-rated ones, Marcello continued with a series of five consecutive draws against equal or superior opponents. The resulting 4.5/9 meant 17th place out of 37 players and will translate into a nice Elo increase of 13 points.

Frank Hoffmeister and Johannes Bertram represented Europchess at this year’s Tournoi International du Pays de Charleroi (TIPC) from 27 July to 3 August. Frank scored an excellent result in the A-tournament: 6/9, 9th place out of 70 players and a performance of 2263. His only two losses came against Grandmasters, GM Maxim Lugovskoy (Russia, 2425) and GM Mikhail Gurevich (Belgium, 2587) who finished in 1st and 3rd place respectively. And even in these two games, Frank had equal positions until deep into the middlegame and only cracked under time pressure.

Johannes competed in the B-tournament for players <2000 Elo. Seeded 8th, he could not fulfil expectations, especially because he played in a Dr. Jekyll/Mr Hide style: a perfect 4/4 score with White, but only two draws and three losses with Black. In the end, 5/9, a performance of 1800, meant 32nd place out of 109 players. Our former colleague Jens Frederiksen scored 3/9 and finished 92nd.

Like last year, the TIPC hosted the Belgian Individual Championship, played as a 10-player round-robin tournament. 14-year old FM Daniel Dardha won the title (finishing ex-aequo with GM Tanguy Ringoir) and became youngest Belgian champion ever.

Frank and Johannes also played in the Blitz tournament, held on Wednesday evening, with similar shape as in the long tournament: Frank scored strong 7.5/11 and in 6th place he was the best non-titled player. Johannes instead did not manage well the switch from the long time control to 3’+2’’ and finished 51st out of 60 with 4/11. Also here, FM Daniel Dardha was the winner with 9/11.

On 28 July, Luis Miguel Parreira played in a little Rapid (10’+2’’) tournament in Oeiras, near Lisbon. Seeded 6th out of 25, he also finished 6th, with a score of 4/6.

One of the most prestigious tournaments this summer was the Xtracon Open in Elsinore, Denmark, the city where “Hamlet” is set; from 20 to 28 July: 368 participants from 24 different countries, among which 25 grandmasters, 15 IMs and 34 FMs. Kristian Frederiksen was seeded 238th and had a good tournament. Although in the end the score was only 4/10, it needs to be pointed out that Kristian had only two opponents rated lower than him and and reached 5 draws against players of a range of 1970-2090, thus clearly above his rating. A good performance that will bring him a rating increase of 13 points.

On 25 July, Milan Beles stopped by at the huge International Chess festival in Pardubice (Czechia), to play in one of the countless events of the festival, in this case a Blitz tournament. 5.5/11 meant a 45th place among 99 players. Given the level of the opponents Milan was probably disappointed by the result.

From 20 to 24 July, Tom Wiley travelled to Dundalk, Ireland, to participate in a 10-player round-robin tournament designed to obtain norms. Seeded only 9th in this field of norm-hungry players, Tom scored 3/9, finished 8th, and performed on a level of 2117. He drew against two IMs and the tournament winner FM Vignir Vatnar Stefansson from Iceland.

From 20 to 24 July, Leonardo Pérez de Aranda participated in the Eastman Open in Gent. With 5.5/9, he finished 57th out of 246 players. Some early setbacks led to a tournament where Leonardo had only weaker opponents.

Paula Gitu participated in a Rapid (15’+10’’) tournament in her native Moldova, in the city of Bălţi, from 19 to 21 July. She finished 7th out of 32, but given the rather low level of the tournament, her 5.5/9 were even a performance a bit under her level.

Georgi Tomov remained unbeaten in the A-Open of the 10eme Festival d’été de Strasbourg, held from 10 to 14 July. Starting out with two draws against lower-rated opponents, Georgi then picked up pace and scored 4.5 points in the remaining 5 rounds, among which 1.5/2 against fellow FMs. This brought him to shared first place, where IM Roman Skomorokhin had the better Buchholz result. The tournament was however overshadowed by a case that produced headlines in the whole chess world: the tournament’s Elo favourite GM Igors Rausis (CZE), who, although already 58 years old, recently had an enormous rating increase bringing him even above 2700, was caught cheating with a smartphone in the bathrooms. Obviously he was disqualified, but will certainly also have to face sanctions from the FIDE. See more e.g. here:

From 7 to 14 July, Mark Ouaki played in the Championnat International d’Echecs de Paris IdF 2019, in the A-Tournament (which is the second-highest of four in the event, below a “FIDE” tournament). Mark scored mainly against his opponents below 2000, but pocketed also 1.5 points against players above 2000. 4.5/9 and a performance of 2015 translated into a 36-point Elo increase. One of his wins came against fellow Europchessian Christophe Keller, who was there as well. After his loss against Mark, he had to recover against some lower-rated opponents, but managed to finish with 5/9 on 37th rank (of 105). However, the overall performance was below 2000.

From 4 to 7 July, Tom Wiley participated in a 7-rounds tournament in Vellmar (Germany), the “Vellmarer Schachtage”. After a loss in 2nd round against Rita Yaghi from Syria, Tom had to play against lower-rated players, who provided nonetheless tough opposition. In the end, Tom scored 4/7 and finished in 25th place (out of 98 players). The Open witnessed real girl power, with WFM Lara Schulze (Elo 2222, born 2002) winning the tournament (ex-aequo with FM Johannes Dorst) and WFM Antonia Ziegenfuß (Elo 2111, born 2005) finishing 3rd.

Our new member Leonardo Pérez de Aranda played in a FIDE-rated blitz tournament in Paris on 6 July. As it is sometimes the case, Blitz proved to be a story much different from classical chess. Leonardo scored 6.5/13 and found himself on a midfield rank, with a performance much below expectations.

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