Russian teams win the European Club Cup as Carlsen plays the last OTB games before the game

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Mednyi Vsadnik from St. Petersburg won the European Club Cup 2021 in Struga, North Macedonia. South Urals (also Russia) won the women’s tournament. GM Magnus Carlsen played for Norway’s Offerspill and scored 2.5 / 3 in his last classic OTB event before the World Cup.

The European Club Cup, which will be held for the 36th time, was one of many events that happily returned to the chess calendar at a time when the coronavirus situation is more and more under control in many European countries. The event, a seven-round Swiss team competition with 38 teams on six boards, took place this year in Struga, North Macedonia.

The St. Petersburg Mednyi Vsadnik (Bronze Horseman), the winner of this year’s Russian team championship, also turned out to be the strongest in Europe. The team, named after a statue of Peter the Great in St. Petersburg, but also after a famous poem by Alexander Pushkin, was the only one to score 13 match points. They won the first prize of 10,000 euros.

The best performance for the team, which also won in 2018, was 2021 FIDE nominee GM Kirill Alekseenko, who returns well into the 2700 club after an excellent 5.5 / 6. With the still very popular 3.h4 Anti-Grunfeld he scored a remarkably quick win against Austrian grandmaster Markus Ragger:

Kirill Alekseenko. Photo: Maria Emelianova / Chess.com.

During the three days that the world champion attended, the event attracted more attention. Together with his compatriot GM Aryan Tari, Carlsen traveled to Struga last Sunday and ended up playing in three of the seven rounds.

His opponent from Belgium FM Jelle Sarrau was very, very close to a draw in his first game after essentially creating a fortress:

It was also interesting to see how Carlsen used the King’s Indian for his third game, his only encounter with a top grandmaster. After a typical positional pawn sacrifice on the queenside, the champion suffered a lot in the final, but finally held the draw:

Magnus Carlsen European Club Cup 2021
Magnus Carlsen traveled to North Macedonia for three games at the European Club Cup. Photo: Maria Emelianova / Chess.com.

Carlsen may have played his last OTB games before the match, but you can see him in action in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Final starting today. You can watch the games here as part of our live games platform.

Champions Chess Tour Final 2021
Champions Chess Tour Final 2021


European Club Cup 2021 | Final score (Top 20)

Rk. SNr LINED team + = TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4
1 2 Mednyi Vsadnik 6th 1 0 13 236.5 29.5 174.0
2 3 AVE Novy Bor 5 2 0 12th 201.5 27.5 172.5
3 9 Vugar Gashimov 5 1 1 11 191.0 28.5 164.0
4th 4th KPRF 5 0 2 10 201.5 27.5 171.5
5 11 Skakfelag Selfoss 5 0 2 10 188.5 28.0 157.0
6th 6th Team XtraCon 5 0 2 10 175.5 26.5 166.5
7th 10 Slovenian Ruma 5 0 2 10 150.5 24.0 162.5
8th 1 alkaloid 4th 1 2 9 229.0 29.5 174.0
9 5 Silla-Valencia origin of chess 4th 1 2 9 201.0 26.5 180.0
10 12th Chess Society Riehen 4th 1 2 9 142.0 24.5 143.0
11 13 Stocholms SS 4th 1 2 9 129.0 22.0 157.0
12th 7th BEER SHEVA 4th 0 3 8th 168.0 24.0 163.5
13 8th Offers Spill Chess Club 4th 0 3 8th 143.0 25.0 150.5
14th 17th Prilep 4th 0 3 8th 123.0 19.5 164.5
fifteen fifteen Maribor Poligram 4th 0 3 8th 114.5 21.5 161.0
16 20th Lunds ASK 4th 0 3 8th 110.5 21.0 145.0
17th 19th ASNIERES Le Grand Echiquier 3 1 3 7th 113.5 20.0 143.0
18th 21 Andreu Paterna 3 1 3 7th 99.0 18.5 154.0
19th 23 Gambit Bonnevoie 3 1 3 7th 93.0 19.0 148.0
20th 24 Viking chess club 3 1 3 7th 76.5 19.0 128.0

(Full final scoring here.)

The European Women’s Club Cup was held for the 25th time. The format in this case was a round robin between eight teams that consisted of only four boards.

There, too, a Russian team emerged victorious: Southern Urals. The team scored a perfect 14/7 to get the trophy and € 6,000. Both GM Valentina Gunina and IM Olga Badelka made 5/6.

Here is Gunina’s win in the final round, escaping from a losing position in the opening:

Valentina Gunina chess
Valentina Gunina. Photo: Maria Emelianova / Chess.com.

European Club Cup 2021 | Final score (Top 20)

Rk. fed team 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4
1 Southern Urals 3 3 4th 14th 117.0 22.0 90.0
2 Monte Carlo 1 2 3 4th 3 11 95.0 19.0 62.0
3 GRECO – Kiev Chess Federation 2 2 4th 3 3 10 93.5 18.0 55.0
4th SK Erste Bank Baden 1 1 2 9 74.0 15.0 47.0
5 Kumanovo ½ 0 0 ½ 2 2 4th 23.5 7.5 20.3
6th Tajfun – SK Ljubljana ½ 1 2 ½ 3 65.5 9.5 14.8
7th alkaloid ½ 2 3 64.5 11.0 13.8
8th MSK Centar 0 1 1 2 51.0 10.0 9.5


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