European Online Chess Championship 2020


In times of the Coronavirus, where all traditional “on-the-board” chess competitions are suspended, opportunities to play tournaments online flourish. The European Chess Union joined the trend and organised from 16 to 31 May the European Online Chess Championship via the platform Players from all over Europe competed successively in five different rating groups, with a 10’ + 2’’ increment time control. The best 250 players in each ratings group qualified for a final on a second day, and the best 100 of each group’s final qualified for the higher rating group.

Eleven Europchess members took up the challenge. Group A has the highest number of participants and was of course quite unpredictable as there were numerous unrated players and also lots of youth players. Guus van de Schouw was the best Europchess participant here, with 50%. Inese Kausa, Leslie Black and Jorge Pereiro Pinon finished in the lower third of the field, but also gained experience and some respectable points.

Some days later, Group C started with four more EU players, and again a very peculiar field. Due to abnormally low FIDE rapid ratings, there were several IMs and FMs among the participants. Tom Jayes (Boitsfort) showed solid chess and made it to the qualifiers stage the next day with his 4.5/7. Mark Ouaki, Johannes Bertram and Luis Miguel Parreira instead did not manage to score enough in the competitive field and finished in the lower half. In the final, Tom scored again very well and reached 4.5 points after 6 rounds. Despite two losses in the final two rounds against high-rated players, he finished 96th and qualified also for group D. However, due to time constraints he did not use this entry right.

In Group D, Paula Gitu alternated losses and wins to finish with 3/7., while Tim Binham had a bad day and could not adapt so well to the online chess.

Rossen Rusev was our only participant in the Grandmaster Group E. In Round 1, he achieved a nice draw against GM Robert Hovhannisyan from Armenia, but then the risks of online chess struck. Unfortunately, during Round 2, he lost the connection to the server, lost on time, and was then not readmitted to Round 3. Quite a pity…

The overall title was decided in a 16-player knockout format. GM Alexey Sarana from Russia became European Champion by beating Czech Super-GM David Navara in the final.

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