European Individual Championships
The strongest European Championships so far are taking place in Rijeka, Croatia. Statisticians calculated that twenty seven from thirty best women in Europe are taking part of the event. The only missing are the world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, as well as the young mothers Katerina Lahno and Natalia Pogonina. The male part is also seeing most of the top European players, including nine who are rated over 2700 Elo barrier. The consistency of the players is also very good, and there are almost hundred participants over 2600. There are almost 600 participants in total in the tournaments. Both the champions from the last edition- Russians Tatiana Kosintseva and Evgeny Tomashevsky are defending their titles.
Starting from the first rounds many of the top seeds already lost points, but this is hardly a surprise since they had to face strong opposition, even GMs in most of the cases.
Almost all participants live in the nearby town of Opatija, in luxury hotels, and have to travel every day some hour before the start of the round.
The “zero tolerance” rule is causing some troubles because of that. The first round saw one of the buses arriving only three minutes before the round, and many participants literally running to catch their games. However, only in the second round in the male tournament there were five games decided by default. This is too much, and most of the players strongly disagree with the rule. Indeed such measures will be very appropriate for super-tournaments, where you have six-fourteen players, and it will be shame for the audience to see empty boards at the start of the round. However in such a massive tournament, with so many players and additional transfer of almost all of them many unforeseen consequences can appear, and prevent the players from arriving in time. Probably fifteen minute tolerance is the best solution of the problem.
Except for this problem Croatians are providing excellent conditions for the championships. The hall is spacious and both women and men share the same place. There are free refreshments in the hall, as well as internet access in the venue. Food in the hotels is excellent, service is great. The weather is relatively cold, but Adriatic see is nevertheless beautiful.
The widely respected Croatian GM Miso Cebalo and world senior champion is commenting the tournament for the official site.
In brief- interesting games have started, and we expect even more fascinating chess in the coming rounds.