Chess players and spectators from all over the world have already got used to the idea that European Blitz and Rapid chess championship take place in Warsaw in the middle of December.
Each year many strong players from over 20 European counties gather to fight for medals. The competition was great – it is not common that more than 700 chess players participate in tournaments, over 50 with grandmaster title.
As usual, the event consisted of two parts – blitz was played on Friday and rapid took place during the entire weekend. Though Friday’s tournament attracted fewer players, the strongest ones participated in both tournaments. And it took a lot of power, stamina and physical effort to earn a golden medal.
That’s why it’s even more impressive that a current winner, French grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave managed to win golden medal for the second time (the previous one in 2010).
Blitz tournament, as in previous years, consisted of 11 double rounds (22 games). Maxime won the tournament with a splendid finish as he won last 6 matches against such strong players like Naiditsch, Friedman, Motylev, Sargissian, Bukavshin and Romanov. He finished with a fantastic 18,5/22, not losing any single match.
Second place came to Gabriel Sargissian from Armenia, who was one point behind and was the only player who kept the pace with a winner. Third place came to Vladislav Tkachev of France, though he suffered an unexpected 2-0 defeat in 4th round against Polish young FM, Kacper Drozdowski.
European Rapid Chess Championships took place 15-16 December 2012 in Warsaw. The tournament venue was in the Palace of Culture and Science. High price found of 22.000 Euro attracted 775 players from 27 countries including 67 grandmasters, therein 7 rated over 2700.
The tournament constituted of 11 rounds with time rate 15 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. By equal score players with higher average rating of opponents were privileged, as no tie-breaks were to be played.
First place was tied by 4 players, but golden medal went to Aleksey Dreev from Russia, who scored 9,5 points out of 11 games and received 4.000 Euros.
Silver medal was won by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who left Warsaw with two medals.
Bronze was taken by Alexei Shirov, who impressed spectators with outstanding finish (4 out of last 4 games). Least luck had Sergei Rublevsky who took fourth place due to lowest rating performance.
Apart from main prizes organizers prepared many additional ones, for best women, seniors, in rating and age categories. The best women out of one hundred taking part in the tournament was Laura Rogule from Latvia, who was also the best women in blitz tournament.