Anand, Carlsen Start With Draws In European Club Cup

Anand, Carlsen Start With Draws In European Club Cup


GM Magnus Carlsen and GM Viswanathan Anand, the two biggest names in action at the 2022 European Club Cup in Mayrhofen, Austria, had to settle for draws in the first round. The tournament is a seven-round Swiss event for European club teams with open and women’s sections.

How to watch? The games of the European Chess Club Cup can be found here while the European Women’s Chess Club Cup can be found here. The rounds start each day at 2 a.m. Pacific/11:00 CEST.

Mayrhofen, a town in the Austrian state of Tyrol, was supposed to welcome the European clubs two years ago, when the Austrian Chess Federation celebrated its 100th anniversary. Alas, the pandemic made that impossible but now, in 2022, the event is taking place after all.

The Austrians are hosting a record number of 87 clubs: 70 in the open section and 17 in the women’s section. More would probably have joined if Russian teams could have participated.

Open tournament

The open tournament is extra special thanks to the participation of two world champions. Carlsen, who is at a chess event in Austria for the first time since he was 10 years old, plays for his Offerspill Chess Club from Norway, the seventh-seeded team with GM Aryan Tari alongside five more Norwegians, but also Chessbrah GM Eric Hansen on board three.

Now a FIDE vice president, Anand plays for the top seed, CSU ASE Superbet, the Romanian club with the same sponsor as the super tournament that has been held in the country in recent years. The team also includes GM Richard Rapport, who has completed his transfer to the Romanian Chess Federation. Interestingly, GM Gukesh D., the star of the Chennai Olympiad, is also on this team.

Other strong players in the field include GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Schachclub Viernheim), GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Asnieres Le Grand Echiquier), and GM Arjun Erigaisi (SK Ljubljana).

As it happened, both world champions played with the black pieces in round one, and both had to settle for draws.

The Latvian GM Nikita Meshkovs played a very solid game against Carlsen, who never had realistic chances to play for a win and lost 3.4 Elo points with this result.

Meshkovs Carlsen Mayrhofen 2022
Meshkovs vs. Carlsen. Photo: European Chess Union.

In this match vs. Vammalan Shakkikerho, all other five boards won for Offerspill, which is not surprising since clubs of very different levels are paired against each other in the early rounds. In this case, Meshkovs was the only GM alongside two FMs, a CM, and two untitled players.

It was the same scenario for CSU ASE Superbet, who also won 5.5-0.5 vs. Iceland’s Viking Chess Club while Anand played an uneventful draw with former top GM Johann Hjartarson.

Hjartarson vs. Anand Mayrhofen 2022
Hjartarson vs. Anand. Photo: European Chess Union.

Five teams did win with a 6-0 score: Asnieres Le Grand Echiquier, SK Ljubljana, Schachclub Viernheim, Kfar Saba Chess Club, and De Pluspion Wachtebeke.

Asnieres Le Grand Echiquier’s top board GM Andrey Esipenko won a quick and nice game against IM Frode Elsness of Bærum Schakselskap, another club from Norway.

Elsness Esipenko Mayrhofen 2022
Elsness vs. Esipenko. Photo: European Chess Union.

The early rounds are especially interesting for amateur players, who sometimes get a chance to play against a strong grandmaster. In the match Novy Bor vs. Apeldoorn, the Dutch untitled player Tom Meurs (2250) outplayed his 2600-opponent completely in the opening but failed to win a winning endgame:

Women’s tournament

The women’s section is much smaller but also has two world champions playing. GM Mariya Muzychuk, the 2015-2016 women’s world champion and playing for SK Ljubljana, faced her older sister GM Anna Muzychuk (playing for Monte Carlo) in the first round—a game that, not unexpectedly, ended in a draw.

Mariya Anna Muzychuk
Mariya (left) and Anna Muzychuk. Photo: official website.

Fully named Cercle d’Echecs de Monte-Carlo, the top-seeded team has the other former world champion on board two: GM Antoaneta Stefanova. She also drew her game and so did board three GM Pia Cramling, but it was IM Elisabeth Paehtz who decided the match on board four.

As there is no Russian team here, Monte Carlo’s biggest rival is CSU ASE Superbet, who play with IMs Irina Bulmaga, Dinara Saduakassova, Ekaterina Atalik, Marsel Efroimski, and WGM Jovana Rapport. Leaving Bulmaga out for this first round, the team scored a convincing 3.5-0.5 win vs. Sirmium (Serbia).

Saduakassova’s knights must have driven WGM Jovana Eric crazy in this game.

The 37th European Club Cup and the 26th European Women’s Chess Club Cup take place October 3-9, 2022 in Mayrhofen, Austria. Both events are a seven-round Swiss with teams of six players in the open section and teams of four in the women’s section. The time control is 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one.


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