Sunday 4 December 2016

Team chess leagues are very popular and most European countries have one. The best teams from each country earn the right to compete in the continental championship.

Published 25/10/2015 | 02:30

Team chess leagues are very popular and most European countries have one. The best teams from each country earn the right to compete in the continental championship.

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At present 50 teams (including two Irish teams - Adare and Gonzaga) are taking part in the 31st European Club Cup in Skopje. The favourites are club SOCAR from Azerbaijan (with Topalov, Giri and Caruana and Russian team Siberia (with Kramnik, Aronian and Grischuk). I would like to show one game from this tournament.

Vachier-Lagrave - Studer

1.g3 Nf6 2.Bg2 d5

3.Nf3 e6 4.0-0 Be7

5.d4 0-0 6.c4 c6

7.Nc3 dxc4

This move doesn't look very logical to me, as Black won't be able to keep the extra pawn. Therefore it would be better to play 7...b6 or 7...Nbd7, keeping better control over the centre.

8.Ne5 c5?!

Another inaccurate move - Black should have played 8...Nd5 instead.

9.dxc5 Qc7 10.Nxc4 Qxc5

11.b3 Rd8? (D)

Black had to defend with 11...Nc6 12.Ba3 Nb4, maintaining a reasonably safe position.

Black's play in the opening has been less than convincing and the French Grandmaster took advantage of it with a positional sacrifice:

12.Ba3! Rxd1

13.Rfxd1 Qh5 14.Bxe7 Nbd7

15.Bf3 Qf5 16.Rac1

Although nominally Black is slightly ahead, his position is lost as he can't develop the queenside.

16...Ne8

17.Ne4 e5 18.Ncd6 Nxd6

19.Nxd6 Qe6 20.Nxc8 1-0

Sunday Independent

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