Russian Grandmaster Evgeniy Najer has won the European Individual Championship in Jerusalem after drawing with compatriot Denis Khismatullin in the final round. After a fine tournament he could afford to offer a draw on move 28 in a very favourable position and still finish half a point clear of the field on 8.5/11. He was joined on the podium by David Navara and Mateusz Bartel, with the latter taking bronze after defeating Ian Nepomniachtchi in the game of the final round – don’t miss video analysis from Jan Gustafsson.At 37 Evgeniy Najer is a veteran Russian grandmaster who has spent many years with a rating above 2600 but has never quite managed that final leap above 2700. Lately he’s been putting the emphasis more on work as a coach, accompanying the extremely successful Russian women’s team to international events, but his current triumph is unquestionably the highlight of his career.
In fact one of the Russian team members congratulated him and revealed that prior to the European Championship he’d had a training session with the team, which apparently did him no harm as well!
The game of the day, and the great surprise, was a calamitous defeat for Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi at the hands of Poland’s Mateusz Bartel. In the final rounds six of the encounters between players on 7 points ended in the draw that was required to ensure World Cup qualification for both players. Only this game worked out differently, although you might not have expected it when Bartel played the quieter 3.Bb5 Sicilian.
Jan Gustafsson takes a look at the game below (hopefully the echo for a couple of minutes during the video won't detract too much from the show - we couldn't bring ourselves to ask Jan to film it a fourth time! ):
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Ian Nepomniachtchi wasn’t too thrilled with how his tournament ended:
There was a silver lining, though – although “only” 23 players qualified for the World Cup from the 2015 European Championship enough of the players above him had qualified by other methods to mean Nepomniachtchi made the cut. In fact everyone down to no. 30 Nikita Vitiugov (who qualified on rating) will be appearing in the FIDE World Cup in Baku this September.
So one grueling tournament ends, but there's no rest for some of the players. Navara and Eljanov are already in Reykjavik, where the Reykjavik Open begins today. That’s going to be no less grueling, with no rest days and even a double round on Wednesday! You will of course be able to follow all the action live here on chess24.
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