Zoltan Almasi becomes European Rapid Chess Champion
Tuesday, 21 December 2010 19:17

After two days, 13 rounds and two tie-break games Zoltan Almasi of Hungary became the best player in the European Rapid Chess Championship that took place in Warsaw during last weekend.

Almasi did not participate in the European Blitz Championship 2010 for a simple reason – he couldn’t make it through Warsaw in time. Perhaps this boosted his chances to win the rapid, because the top players from the blitz event (Vachier-Lagrave, Ponomariov) flopped on the second day.

Zoltan Almasi was in the leading group throughout the entire competition, and didn’t lose a game during both days. The biggest chill gave the final game against Gashimov. The Hungarian needed only a draw to secure victory, but the game was very unclear and the advantage was passing from one side to another. Finally Zoltan managed to exchange queens and transpose the position into an endgame with no chances for Gashimov. Bronze medal came to Vassily Ivanchuk, who defeated Alexei Shirov. Two other players who participated in tie-breaks were Anton Korobov and Arkadij Naiditsch.

Best Pole was the national champion, GM Mateusz Bartel, who had a plenty of luck in the final game, but deserved it throughout entire tournament (for example he drew to Ponomariov) and lost only one game against Shirov. A big disappointment was result of GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek, who was happy to get 21th place. He lost one game in 12 moves, leaving his bishop unprotected to GM Tomasz Markowski attack!

The biggest surprise was a splendid placing of the 14-years old Jan Krzysztof Duda, who made 9.5/13 and came finally as 32th out of over 700 players. He was worse then another wunderkind, Ilya Nyzhnyk of Ukrain, but only by Bucholtz points.

Prize for the best woman came to Judit Polgar, as everybody expected. Though she can’t be pleased with final result, she managed to be in front of Monika Socko and Julia Kochetkova of Slovakia.

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