The games of the first round of the European Team Chess Championship started today at 3:00 PM in Budva. The President of the European Chess Union, the celebrated grandmaster Zurab Azmaiparashvili, symbolically made the first move in the game between Nino Batsiashvili and Marsel Efroimski in the top board match of the women’s competition – Georgia vs Israel. At the same time, the Board Member of the Chess Federation of Montenegro and the honorary vice-president of the European Chess Union, Veselin Vanja Draskovic, made the first move in the game of Magnus Carlsen in the match between Norway and Slovakia.
The tournament began with a major upset in the men’s competition; the top-favorite Azerbaijan was defeated by the Danish team. The hero for the Danes was Mads Andersen, who defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, a former world number two, while the remaining three games ended in draws. The uncertainty of the championship until the last move is confirmed by the draw of the second-favorite team, Romania, which shared points with the Austrian team after draws on all four boards.
The third and fourth favorites, the teams of Germany and England, celebrated in exciting finishes after decisive victories by Alexander Donchenko and Luke McShane when the score was 1.5-1.5.
The world number 1, Magnus Carlsen, won in a duel with Jergus Pecha from Slovakia, but his victory was only enough for a draw, given that Viktor Gazik defeated Arjan Tari on the second board. In other matches of the first round, favorites justified their roles and recorded triumphs.
In the women’s competition, there were no major surprises. The top-favorite, the Georgian team, was convincing in a duel with Israel, winning by a score of three to one. Arabidze, Javakhishvili, and Melia secured victories, while Efroimski defeated Batsiashvili to score one point for Israel.
In the tense match on the second board, Azerbaijan narrowly defeated Slovenia, and Laura Unuk’s victory over Ulviyya Fataliyeva was nullified by Khanim Balajayeva and Gulnar Mammadova. The selections of Germany and Greece played an exceptionally interesting match, and judging by the ratings, the Greek team achieved remarkable results, securing a draw after all four games ended in draws.
Other favorites justified their roles, except in the duel between Romania and Norway, which ended in a draw.