The top seeded teams continued with crushing the lower rated opposition in the 2nd round of the Open section in 2013 European Chess Club Cup.
SOCAR allowed only one draw to the Swedish team Limhamns SK as IM Bjorn Ahlander held Teimour Radjabov on the first board.
Russian teams Malachite and Saint-Petersburg had no mercy and demolished their opponents with perfect 6-0 score. En Passant did manage to snatch two draws from the 4th seed Ugra.
Alexei Shirov (Malachite) won his game rather quickly. He said he sharpened the play in the opening wanting ‘to punish his opponent for the non-theoretical move 6…Be7.’
He expressed opinion that any of the four top seeded clubs can win the Cup.
Shirov also elaborated about his activities as tournament organizer. Since dropping out from the elite group he didn’t get many invitations for top events and he suddenly got some spare time. Some people turn to teaching but he decided to organize tournaments in Latvia.
It was quite tough in the beginning, because it takes about 2-3 months of daily work to prepare an event, but he was persistent and now everything goes easier.
Shirov added that the Latvian Chess Federation has announced the traditional Vladimir Petrov Memorial, which brings chess back to the famous venue Jurmala.
Chinese Grandmaster Wang Hao joined SOCAR only recently, after approaching Teimour Radjabov at the tournament in Norway and asking ‘if the club needs him’. Last year he missed the European Club Cup because he had problem with visa, but this time he arrived directly from Kings Tournament in Bucharest and was happy to grab three rest days in between.
About today’s game, Wang Hao said that he had deeply analysed the line that his opponent chose. The Chinese didn’t allow any counterplay or activity and won the game without much effort.
In the casual chat, he said that Wang Yue and himself are already considered veteran players in China. There are many good youngsters, like Wei Yi and Yu Yangyi, but they are forced to travel to Europe to play in tournaments, and this costs a lot.
In the Women section the defending champion Cercle d’Echecs de Monte-Carlo narrowly defeated Mika Chess Club thanks to the victory of Anna Muzychuk against Elina Danielian.
Ugra won against CS Politechnica-Antibiotice Iasi with the same score, while Jelica PEP and SHSM Nashe Nasledie crushed ASVOE Pamhagen and Fischer Chieti respectively with 4-0.
BAS celebrated a minimal victory against MRU – Vilniaus Fortas.
In the next round top match is Cercle d’Echecs de Monte-Carlo – Ugra.
Hou Yifan is participating in her first event after taking back the title of the World Champion. She pointed that she arrived to Rhodes only one day before the tournament start and didn’t have much time for acclimation.
Today she was matched Harika Dronavalli and the game ‘was quite normal’. She played her regular line and the middlegame was equal. Pieces were exchanged and finally they reached Queens’ endgame which is drawn.
There was much talk about the food in China and Hou Yifan was asked how she likes food in Europe. She said that she is managing well, although sometimes she has to skip the plates or if possible remove certain ingredients. She is happy that the vegetables are fresh and she enjoys the fruit.