Reports Nov 14, 2016 | 5:10 PMby Colin McGourty

Novi Sad 5-7: Hou Yifan and Ivanchuk star

Vassily Ivanchuk was the surprise star of the 2016 European Club Cup, beating Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the final round to claim the gold medal on the top board after playing every game and scoring 5.5/7. That was only good enough for 4th place for his team, with Ding Liren’s Alkaloid winning five matches then drawing all games in their last two to become European Champions by a point. Hou Yifan, meanwhile, combined individual and team glory – she won all six games she played, while Cercle d’Echecs Monte-Carlo won all seven matches to cruise to the women’s title.

The joy of victory! | photo: Lennart Ootes, European Club Cup Facebook

Let’s start with the women’s event where, as we mentioned, the team from Monte Carlo made light of the competition. When we last reported after four rounds they’d already beaten their main rivals and it seemed nothing could stop them. So it proved – they were already confirmed as champions with a round to spare and still went on to score a 4:0 whitewash in the final round. Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan epitomised that spirit as she shrugged off some poor form of late to score a perfect 6/6:

The team finished 3 points clear of Georgia’s NONA Batumi in 2nd place (on the left) and 4 ahead of Russia’s Ugra in third, with a larger gap to the other contenders | photo: Lennart Ootes, European Club Cup Facebook

The men’s event, meanwhile, went down to the wire, though surprisingly it turned out the decisive match was in Round 5. Peter Svidler’s Mednyi Vsadnik from St. Petersburg and Ding Liren’s Alkaloid from Skopje went into the round as the only two teams with a perfect four wins out of four.

Dmitry Andreikin scored a very solid +2 for Alkaloid, with no defeats | photo: Lennart Ootes, European Club Cup Facebook

Svidler continued his stunning form with a third win in a row (and a second with Black) by grinding out a victory against Ding Liren, but for the first time Alkaloid took advantage of their ability to field a 2700+ player on every board and managed to emerge victorious:

Andreikin’s knight almost single-handedly managed to win one, then two pawns and the game against Leinier Dominguez:

35…Nd5! 36.Qd3 Nb4 37.Qe3 Nd5 Repeating moves to reach the time control) 38.Qd3 Nb4 39.Qe3 Qa5! Eyeing a2 and d2. 40.a4 Nd5! 41.exd5 Forced. 41…Rxd2 42.Rxd2 Rxf1+ 43.Ka2 Bxd5 and Black was a pawn up with f3 also dropping.   

All 12 games were drawn in Alkaloid’s last two matches against Kramnik’s Siberia (who finished 2nd) and Inarkiev’s SHSM “Legacy Square” Moscow (3rd), which turned out to be enough to win the event by a clear point.

High spirits at the start of a crucial match | photo: Lennart Ootes, European Club Cup Facebook

The most hotly contested final match was perhaps between Siberia and Mednyi Vsadnik. The tense 87-move battle on top board could have gone either way, but in the end a second win for Anish Giri was balanced out by Vladimir Fedoseev making up for his loss in Round 5. 

These were Giri’s first victories since becoming a father and took him back into the world Top 10.

When you know you've got your man beat... | photo: Lennart Ootes, European Club Cup Facebook

Giri will now switch into spectactor mode, and gave a useful prediction...

There were some spectacular wins with the black pieces for players who have become almost forgotten men of chess of late but ended with gold medals. Richard Rapport decided to burn all his bridges with a piece sac in a bad position against Teimour Radjabov, but it didn’t exactly end well:

Got you! 

The way in which Vassily Ivanchuk refuted a white attack wasn’t quite so spectacular, but what an opponent – high flying Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. 35...b5! was game over: 

Maxime had no choice but to give up an exchange as well as already being down a pawn, with Black’s “centralised rooks” dominating the position. 

Ivanchuk is up to world no. 20 but could have scored more after having a much better position against Loek van Wely

That win was enough for 3rd seeds OR Padova to slump to 12th place, with Levon Aronian also failing to hit form on second board.

Two stallwarts of the game! | photo: Lennart Ootes, European Club Cup Facebook

The final standings at the top (sorry, Cheddleton!) were as follows:

Rk.SNoTeamGames  +   =   -  TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 
24Mednyi Vsadnik751111229,530,0170,0
38SHSM Legacy Square Moscow751111217,030,5164,0
59Odlar Yurdu743011207,028,5164,0
85AVE Novy Bor750210216,531,5160,0
96VSK Sveti Nikolaj Srpski750210187,025,5188,0
1015Schachgesellschaft Zurich742110178,028,0154,5
1111Ladya Kazan750210166,527,5151,0

Can the winning team of chess players solve their flag malfunction? (it reads Alkaloid, Skopje... kind of!) | photo: Lennart Ootes, European Club Cup Facebook

They did it! | photo: Lennart Ootes, European Club Cup Facebook

So that’s all from a very attractive event that was inevitably somewhat overshadowed by the goings on in New York! Peter Svidler didn’t have long to relax before he had to set out again for Hamburg to commentate on the Carlsen-Karjakin match...

It seems that worked...

Carlsen-Karjakin will of course be here.

See also:

Sort by Date Descending Date Descending Date Ascending Most Liked Receive updates

Comments 5

Guest 4518294472
Join chess24
  • Free, Quick & Easy

  • Be the first to comment!


Create your free account now to get started!

I am aged 16 or older.

By clicking ‘Register’ you agree to our terms and conditions and confirm you have read our privacy policy, including the section on the use of cookies.

Lost your password? We'll send you a link to reset it!

After submitting this form you'll receive an email with the reset password link. If you still can't access your account please contact our customer service.

Data Consent Details

We respect your privacy and data protection guidelines.

Using chess24 requires the storage of some personal data, as set out below. You can find additional information in our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, Disclaimer and Terms of Website Use. Please note that your data settings can be changed at any time by clicking on the Data Settings link in the footer at the bottom of our website.

data details

Necessary Data

Some data is technically necessary to be able to visit the page at all. A so-called cookie stores identifiers that make it possible to respond to your individual requests. It contains a session ID - a unique, anonymous user ID combined with an authentication identifier (user_data). A security identifier (csrf) is also stored to prevent a particular type of online attack. All of these fields are alpha-numeric, with almost no relation to your real identity. The only exception is that we monitor some requests with the IP address that you are currently using, so that we are able to detect malicious use or system defects. Additionally, a technical field is stored (singletab) to ensure that some interactions are only processed in the browser tab that is currently active. For example, a new chess game will not be opened in all your current tabs. We use your local storage to save the difference between your local clock and our server time (serverUserTimeOffset), so that we are able to display the date and time of events correctly for you. You can also enable more data fields, as described in the other sections. Your personal decision on which data storage to enable is also stored as necessary information (consent).

Settings Data

We offer a range of personal settings for your convenience. Options include which opponents you prefer to be paired against, your preferred chessboard and pieces, the board size, the volume setting of the video player, your preferred language, whether to show chat or chess notation, and more. You can use our web page without storing this data, but if you would like to have your individual settings remembered we recommend enabling this feature. For logged-in registered users this setting is mandatory to store information about your privacy settings, users you have blocked and your friendship settings. As a registered user we also store your data consent in these settings.

Social Media Data

We embed a Twitter feed showing activity for the hashtag #c24live and also make it possible to share content in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. If you enable this option social networks are able to store data in your cookies or local storage for the purpose of these features.

Statistics Data

We would like to measure how our page is used with Google Analytics, so that we can decide which features to implement next and how to optimize our user experience. If you enable this feature Google will store your device identifiers and we will send tracking events (such as page requests) to Google Analytics. These have no direct relationship to your person except for the IP address currently being used.

Marketing Data

To help cover the cost of free services we would like to show you advertisements from our partner networks. Members of these networks store data on the banners shown to you and try to deliver ads that are relevant. If you choose not to allow this kind of data we have to show more anonymous advertisements and will be more limited in the free services we can offer.

Other Data

For registered users we store additional information such as profile data, chess games played, your chess analysis sessions, forum posts, chat and messages, your friends and blocked users, and items and subscriptions you have purchased. You can find this information in your personal profile. A free registration is not required to use this application. If you decide to contact the support team a ticket is created with information that includes your name and email address so that we can respond to your concern. This data is processed in the external service Zendesk. If you subscribe to a newsletter or are registered we would like to send you occasional updates via email. You can unsubscribe from newsletters and as a registered user you can apply several mail settings to control how your email address is used. For newsletters we transfer your email address and username to the external service MailChimp. If you buy content or subscriptions on chess24 we work with the payment service provider Adyen, which collects your payment data and processes information about the payment such as fraud protection data.