The opening stage of the European Championship in chess has revealed major and minor surprises so far. Dmitry Jakoneko had to comply with a draw against Lilit Mkrtchian and had to give up one point. Markus Ragger started unsuccessfully, while in the duel of generations Judith Polgar clearly prevailed over Aleksandra Goryachkina. Daniel Friedman and Phillip Schlosser began the tournament with victories. The European Individual Chess Championship has officially begun!
The host of this event is the Armenian Chess Association. As widely known, chess is of great importance in Armenia. It is taught as a regular subject in schools and the Armenian President himself, Sersch Sargsjan, has dedicated his life to chess by stepping up as the President of the Armenian Chess Association also.
Sargsjan was literally his own honorary guest at the opening ceremony and festivities in the National Theater. Executive Director of the Organization is the former top-grandmaster Smbat Lputjan who has arranged sophisticated chess events in Armenia as the head organizer for many years. With the support of the State President he is not lacking financial funds to embed these high-rated tournaments in vibrant surroundings. The overall prize fund of this year’s European Individual Championship amounts to 160.000€! If Levon Aronian manages to prevail at the Candidates’ Tournament, there is a chance that the next World Championship duel might also be hosted by Armenia.
The opening stage spared out great sensations, but there were indeed a few surprises. Dmitry Jakovenko lost half a point to opponent Lilit Mkrtchian, while Anton Korobov was defeated by Kirill Alekseenko on board number 4. Alexander Moissenko, Maxim Matlakov, Gabriel Sargissian, Andrei Volokitin, and Vladirmi Akopian were also not able to take out their technically weaker opponents. Defeated by FM Roman Kotzlin, Markus Ragger also experienced a bad start into this major chess event.
Picture: Tournament Website
written by Philipp, translated by Birthe