Vincent Keymer posted a 2812 performance as German club Deizisau won the 1st ever European Online Chess Club Cup ahead of Clichy from France and Mednyi Vsadnik from Russia. Keymer’s colleague Georg Meier posted an even better 2896 performance, though it didn’t count towards board prizes as he didn’t play the required 7 games. Jan-Krzysztof Duda’s 6/8, a 2890 performance, was officially the best result, but his club Poland Hussars just missed out on medals in 4th place.
When favourites and international all-stars Baden-Baden were knocked out of the European Club Cup in the playoffs, few could have predicted that their all-German partner team Deizisau would win the whole event! They began the 10-team final as only the 7th seeds and were one of only 3 teams that never scored more than 2.5 points in a match… but Deizisau did that to win no less than 6 matches, lost just one, and finished a point clear at the top.
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Deizisau showed incredibly consistency, with their one loss, to Novy Bor, also by the narrowest of margins. In such a tough event it’s never going to be easy, and Andreas Heimann was thrown in at the deep end, suffering defeats to David Navara and Andrey Esipenko in the four games he played, all with the black pieces. Matthias Bluebaum faced fierce competition on top board and lost four of his last five games, but the win over Shakhriyar Mamedyarov the round before that earned his team a win.
Shak’s 27…Nd4? was unfortunate!
28.Bg5! trapped the black queen and won on the spot. That wasn't the only mishap Mamedyarov suffered.
Alexander Donchenko did well on 2nd board, however, and there were two stars: Georg Meier, who scored 5/6, and 16-year-old Vincent Keymer, whose finishing streak was vital to the team’s success.
That doesn’t mean it was always smooth! Deizisau seemed certain to lose to the St. Petersburg team of Mednyi Vsadnik (“Bronze Horseman”) after wins for Vladimir Fedoseev (6 wins, 3 losses, a 2823 performance) and 19-year-old Andrey Esipenko (3 wins, 4 draws, a 2767 performance), while Keymer was losing to Pavel Ponkratov… until a sudden twist!
56…Qf3?? allowed 57.Qc3+ and there’s no choice for Black, since 57…Ke4 is mate-in-1, in two different ways. 57…Ke2 58.Nd4+ was game over, however - Black not only loses his queen but gets mated.
In the end Bronze Horseman took bronze medals, while Clichy Echecs 92 picked up silver. It had been easy to smile at their leader Jorden van Foreest’s performance, since he played his first game for his team in the last round of the second stage, the playoff, and lost! He then lost the first game of the finals as well, but five wins and no losses followed from the Tata Steel Masters champion.
The loss to Duda was nothing to be ashamed of, since the Polish no. 1 starred with a 2890 rating performance.
That included an amazing escape from a position an exchange and a passed pawn down against Vidit – though the Indian star could boast of coming through the whole event unbeaten, with one or two close shaves!
Duda’s colleague Bartosz Socko was also the top performer on board 3, but Poland Hussars finished just short, matching Mednyi Vsadnik in match points but losing out on the podium on game points. It turns out there were still prizes down to 5th place, taken by Mamedyarov’s Odlay Yurdu. We know that, since Ladya Kazan could finish only 8th.
There was a consolation prize for Ladya’s leader Vladislav Artemiev, however, since Vlad took home the Vassily Smyslov best game prize for his stunning win over Mateusz Bartel that we covered in our previous report.
All in all, the 1st Online European Club Cup seems to have been a success, even if we all hope for a return to over-the-board international team events in the not too distant future.
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