Often with big tournaments (and particularly strong opens) the tournament is eventually won by a player who comes up the rails, who wasn’t in the meat of the tournament, ends up getting a lucky draw and gets home in front with a couple of important wins at the end. Cue disgruntled and jealous reactions by those players who have been up there from the get go, and have had one hard game after the other.
However this wasn’t the case in this years European championships held in Kosovo. Ernesto Inarkiev, a Russian Grandmaster originally hailing from Siberia but now living in Moscow, was among the early leaders and went on to dominate throughout the tournament.
Recently I started reading Dvoretsky’s biography. His work with Inarkiev figures prominently in the book. What’s clear from reading between the lines in that book is that Inarkiev has worked extremely hard to get where he is, which is European champion now. He must have had a lot of drive to push himself as a chess player, because living out in Siberia couldn’t have been easy as you’re talking about having to travel huge distances to play in Europe for example. Now he’s based in Moscow so it’s a lot easier.
If i’m honest, not having a strong enough work ethic is probably what has held me back as a player. If you look at the top players in any kind of sporting activity, the ONE thing that separates them from the rest is that they all work much harder than your average competitor. Inarkiev has that, and I don’t.
Probably his most crucial win came against Navara, always a dangerous opponent.
Certainly the most memorable game of the whole event, which can only be described as an attacking masterpiece, was played by Dubov.
An example of a game where White wasn’t as tactically alert as Danil Dubov occurred in the same round:
I think it’s fair to say that neither David Howell or Gawain Jones will look back on this event with great memories, but they still competed well. Both finished on 6.5/11. Given the winner got 9/ 11, you could say they need to find some improvement, but I think it’s just a case of not being in particularly good form at that moment. David had an up and down event and had a relatively easy win in round seven:
Gawain lost a crucial games to Kozul in round nine. Gawain has had a fantastic run of late, winning in Dubai for example. Mind you perhaps this game was a reminder how strong these opens are and how every game is tough. You just can’t relax anywhere. After all Kozul had won the European championships only a few years ago.
Nevertheless he bounced back in round 10 when he beat a veteran:
Danny Gormally is a talented English Grandmaster. He lives in the bustling market town of Alnwick, somewhere near Scotland.
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