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European Online Club Cup 2021 Finals R1-4: Harikrishna's endgame magic

by Shahid Ahmed - 31/03/2021

Novy Bor made a good start with a score of 5.0/8 in the Finals of European Online Club Cup 2021. They are now at tied at the third spot with Mednyi Vsadnik and Poland Hussars. Clichy Echecs 92 and SF Deizisau e.V. are in the lead with 6.0/8. Since the gap is of only one point, Novy Bor can easily finish at the top. The team scored two wins, one draw and one loss in the first rounds. The only loss was suffered against Hamburger Schachklub 1830 in Round 3. With five more rounds to go, the tournament can be won by anyone. Finals resume today from 6 p.m. IST. Photo: Biel Chess Festival

Novy Bor makes a steady start

Harikrishna managed to recover from his forgettable Playoffs as he showcased why he is one of the best in the world today when it comes to endgame. He beat Artemiev in a knight vs bishop endgame and scored an important victory for his team Novy Bor. Harikrishna scored 1.5/2, Vidit made 2.5/4 and Sasikiran drew both of his games making 1.0/2. Wojtaszek scored 2.0/4 and Navara made 2.5/4. The only loss for the team was against Hamburger Schachklub 1830 in Round 3 where they lost by minimum margin.

Harikrishna showcased his endgame prowess against Artemiev | Photo: Biel Chess Festival

The tournament logo | Photo: European Chess Union

Mednyi Vsadnik - Novy Bor: 2-2

Fedoseev dominated the better part of the game against Vidit but in the end made a huge blunder.

Fedoseev - Vidit, Round 1

Position after 31.Nf4

31.Nf4 is a big mistake. Find out the winning continuation for black.

Sasikiran had an uneventful draw with GM Andrey Esipenko.

Novy Bor - SF Deizisau e.V. : 2.5-1.5

Vidit had a good position against Bluebaum once again but he missed the opportunity to seize it.

Vidit - Bluebaum, Round 2

Position after 22...Nb4

The game continued with 23.Nxe6 but there was something better for white. What was it? Eventually white lost its advantage and had to settle for a draw.

GM Vincent Keymer once again held Sasikiran to a short 21-move draw.

Hamburger Schachklub 1830 - Novy Bor: 2.5-1.5

Sweden no.1 Nils Grandelius had a well fought draw with Harikrishna.

Vidit had a tepid draw with GM Rasmus Svane.

Novy Bor - Ladya Kazan: 3-1

If you have to recall a name who can create magic in the endgame, Harikrishna's name definitely comes at the top among current top players.

Harikrishna - Artemiev, Round 4

Position after 42...Be3

White has a fantastic knight and black's dreadful bishop. What should white do after 42...Be3 ?

Position after 59.Nxb6

It is still not over for black. The game went on with 59...Bb2 which is incorrect and allows white to push for a win. Find out what black should have played instead.

Anish Giri tweeted about Harikrishna's endgame prowess.

Vidit had a good half chance against Gata Kamsky in the endgame but he loosened his grip too quickly and allowed Kamsky to escape with a draw.

Kamsky - Vidit, Round 4

Position after 45.Qe2

Black exchanged the queen after a couple of moves with 47...Qf3+ at the exact position shown above but what could have black done before exchanging queens?

Novy Bor suffered only one loss against Hamburger Schachklub 1830

Replay games of Indian players at the Finals

One game that has to be mentioned is between GM Artyom Timofeev of Ladya Kazan and GM Gawain Jones of 4NCL Guildford. Jones had a beautiful opportunity against Timofeev which would have netted him a full point but alas he missed it.

Timofeev - Jones, Round 3

Position after 20.Rfd1

The position screams that black should win this but somehow white king manages to escape black's grip through a slippery slope. However, black can win this after 20.Rfd1. Can you figure it out?

Standings after Round 4

Rk.SNoFED TeamGroupGames  +   =   -  TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 
Clichy Echecs 92F4301610,0020
SF Deizisau e.V.F430169,0024
Mednyi VsadnikF4211510,0013
Novy BorF421159,5023
Poland HussarsF421158,507
Odlar YurduF420249,008
Hamburger Schachklub 1830F420246,5014
Ladya KazanF411237,0013
4NCL GuildfordF410327,006
Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-CarloF400403,500


Tournament Format

Qualification phase (27th-28th of March) – Groups consisting of 8 or 10 teams each, play the Robin round event of 7 or 9 rounds. Groups will be divided according to the average rating of the four (4) basic players, with FIDE March 1st, 2021 list taken in account. Two at least teams of each group qualify for Play-offs.


Play-offs (29th of March) – The qualifiers from the 1st phase. Best ranked 9 teams proceed to the Finals.


The final group (30th-31st of March) – 10 teams play Robin round tournament of 9 rounds. The 10th team is invited by ECU, the Winner of European Women’s Online Chess Club Cup - Cercle d’Echecs de Monte-Carlo.


Time control of the event is 15 minutes + 5 seconds increment.


Saturday 27th March: 7 - 11 p.m. IST

Sunday 28th - Wednesday 31st March: 6 p.m. IST onwards

European Online Chess Club Cup 2021 schedule | Photo: European Chess Union


Total Prize fund - EUR 14000. 1st - EUR 4000, 2nd - EUR 3000, 3rd - EUR 2000, 4th - EUR 1500 and 5th - EUR 1000. Individual e-Medals are won by 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place of each board of final Group. The first winner of each Board of the final group will receive 400 euros. Reserve players are calculated on the 5th Board. The best game of the tournament will be awarded 500 euros.

The event is organized by European Chess Union and Monte-Carlo Chess Club, under the high patronage of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco.


European Chess Union

Tournament Regulations