December recap – international

25/01/2020
By admin

Paula Gitu competes with Europe‘s top women players in Monaco  +++  Martin Müller scores against masters in Croatia  +++

Two Europchess players used the month of December to escape the Brussels winter and play some chess at the coast of the Mediterranean.

On the weekend of 29 November to 1 December, Paula Gitu competed in the European Women Individual Rapid and Blitz Championships, held in Monaco. The event started with the 13-round Blitz tournament. Paula lost in the first round to GM Valentina Gunina, and then had a tournament with either quite strong or much lower-rated opponents. Scoring little against the stronger opponents, Paula finished with 5.5/13 on 65th rank (out of 86) and a performance of only 1819.

The following rapid tournament went much better for her. Also here, Paula opened her tournament with a prestigious encounter. She played nobody less than GM Maia Chiburdanidze (2475), the former 5-time women world champion – and got a draw! After losing to GM Marie Sebag (2452) in the second round, she again had to collect her points from lower-rated opponents, but beat also two players rated above 2250 in the second half of the tournament. All in all, 6.5/11 and a performance rating of 2108 were good for Rank 32 (out of 104) – a good result and a 34-point rating improvement.

Both the Blitz and the Rapid Championship were won by GM Alexandra Kosteniuk from Russia.

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Martin Müller instead travelled to the Croatian city of Zadar, to participate in a strong open from 15 to 22 December. Alongside other well-known chess friends from Brussels (CREB’s Yves Duhayon, Pantin’s Pierre Robert, Brussels’ Philippe Lombart), Martin played in the B-tournament, which shows already of what high level the event was. He had some good results, like a draw against the experienced IM Rikard Medančić (2166) and a win against the top-seed FM Miro Bobanac (2254). However, two losses against strong, upcoming teenagers, still rated below 2000, somewhat spoiled his overall result. He finished 30th with 5/9 and a performance similar to his rating.

Yves Duhayon was the best Brussels-based player with 6.5 points. The A-tournament was won by GM Ante Brkić.

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