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European Chess Championship – history, facts, heroes

European Chess Championship – an international tournament held by the European Chess Union. The first championship was held in 2000, and is now held annually. In addition to the fact that European champions in the absolute and women’s categories are determined at the tournament, another specificity of this tournament is the determination of players applying for participation in the World Chess Championship and the Women’s World Chess Championship.

Historical background
Unofficially, the first European Championship was held in Munich in September 1942. The organization of this tournament was handled by the Erhardt Post, who at that time held the post of president of the German Chess Union. But because of the events of World War II, chess players from countries fighting with Germany were unable to take part in the tournament.

This tournament has never been officially recognized as a championship, as it was held as propaganda of the Nazi regime.

The winner of this tournament, with a score of 8.5 points out of a possible 11, was world champion Alexander Alekhine, who at that time was the representative of France.

The participation of Alekhine, Keres, Bogolyubov, Stolz Junge made the tournament in Munich the strongest in 1942.

Championship Features
The tournament is held separately in the male and female categories according to the Swiss system with a different number of rounds. The only exception was the first championship in the women’s championship, which was held as a tournament right through.

As in other chess competitions, the male section is an open tournament in which players of both sexes can participate, and only female players can participate in the female section.

In 2002, Judit Polgar was one step away from third place in the men’s championship, but lost the bronze medal, losing in the match with Zurab Azmaiparashvili. In 2011, Polgar managed to get a bronze medal in the absolute championship in the championship, which was held in Aix-les-Bains in France.

Since the European Chess Championships are part of the World Championship of the International Chess Federation, starting in 2001, they used the new fast FIDE time control. As a result of this, many participants complained of increased stress during the game due to lack of time, as well as a significant decrease in the quality of games. Also at the tournaments there were complaints from participants and journalists about the low standards of accommodation and food in official hotels, which were selected by local organizers for the championships.

Another problem of the European Chess Championship was the uncertainty regarding qualifications for the World Chess Championship, since it was not clear whether winning the European Championship had any value for the World Cup. For example, the 2002 European champions received 5 qualification places for the 2003 World Cup, which was simply not held.

European Chess Championship 2017
In 2017, the European Chess Championship was held in Minsk. The chess player from Russia Maxim Matlakov won the match. In total, 400 chess players representing 38 countries took part in the tournament.
In the 11th final tournament, during a game with a chess player from Georgia, Baadur Jobava, Matlakov managed to reduce the game to a draw. Before the start of the confrontation, both chess players had an equal number of points, but Matlakov pulled himself out to leadership positions in additional indicators. With a draw in the final round, the Russian managed to get the champion title, having an asset of 8.5 points. The third place was also managed to get the Russian Vladimir Fedoseyev.

Women’s European Chess Championship 2017
The 18th European Women’s Chess Championship was held in Latvia in April 2017. The right to hold this event was assigned to the Latvian Chess Federation in September 2016 during the General Assembly of the European Chess Union, which was held during the chess Olympiad in Baku.

The Radisson Blu Hotel in the central part of Riga was chosen as the venue for the championship.

The championship was held according to the Swiss system. A total of 11 rounds were held, time control was carried out for each player. 90 minutes were allocated for the first 40 moves, and then for the remainder of the game – another 30 minutes plus 30 seconds for each move.

The total prize pool of the tournament was 70 thousand euros. The distribution of cash prizes took place between the first 20 participants:

1st place – 12 thousand euros;
2nd place – 10 thousand euros;
3rd place – 8 thousand euros;
4-20 places – 1 thousand euros.
The participants, who took 14 first places in the standings, received qualification places for the next women’s world chess championship.

The total number of participants was 144 people, they represented 33 European countries.

In the decisive 11th round, a Georgian chess player Nana Dzagnidze was able to draw a draw in a game with Natalia Pogonina. With a score of 8.5 points, Dzagnidze won the European Championship.

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