Matthias Bluebaum wins the 2022 European Championship

GM Matthias Bluebaum won the 2022 European Championship in Terme Catez, Slovenia on Wednesday. The German grandmaster edged out GM Gabriel Sargissian in the tiebreaker. Bronze went to 2018 GM champion Ivan Saric of Croatia. The top 20 players have qualified for the FIDE World Cup 2023.

The coronavirus pandemic is obviously not over yet, but it is having much less impact this year in Europe. Major chess events can now be held reasonably normally again, such as the Reykjavik Open which started yesterday, and the European Championship, which also ended yesterday.

Played for the first time in Slovenia, this European individual event brought together 317 players from 39 countries at the Terme Catez spa complex in Brezice (eastern Slovenia), along the Croatian border and just 30 km from Zagreb. No less than 114 players hold the title of grandmaster.

According to the official report, a few players tested positive before starting their tournament. From the results of the games, it can be deduced that two players never played games and one player missed the first round but then stopped his tournament after his second round. With such a large plot, these numbers could have been worse!

Many participants had a clear goal: to finish among the top 20 players, which would mean qualification for the 2023 World Cup. Among the group that succeeded were the relatively unknown Azerbaijani players IM Abdulla Gadimbayli and GM Misratdin Iskandarov, but also veteran GM Zdenko Kozul, winner of the European Championship in 2006.

GMs Aleksandar Indjic (Serbia) and Haik Martirosyan (Armenia) finished 21st and 22nd in the tie-break but still qualified, since Bluebaum and GM Mustafa Yilmaz (Turkey) had already qualified from the 2021 European Championship .

The change from 20 qualifiers to 23 was made during the European Chess Union Board meeting that took place in Thessaloniki, Greece in early February 2022. Due to the many postponements of the pandemic, it has been decided that the qualification route for the European Championships for open and women’s competitions has been changed to threecycle of the year. Also in 2023, the European individual will offer 20 places.

European Championship 2022 | Final ranking (Top 30)


































Rk. SNo fed Title name Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3 R.p. RTG+/-
1 20 GM Bluebaum, Matthias 2642 8.5 2594 69.0 74.0 2785 20.4
2 7 GM Sargissian, Gabriel 2681 8.5 2578 72.5 77.5 2772 13.1
3 4 GM Saric, Ivan 2687 8.0 2589 73.0 78.5 2742 8.2
4 9 GM Cheparinov, Ivan 2672 8.0 2585 69.5 74.0 2742 9.7
5 17 GM Santos, Latasa Jaime 2648 8.0 2546 70.5 76.5 2705 8.0
6 35 GM Yilmaz, Mustafa 2624 8.0 2530 64.0 69.0 2688 9.5
7 26 GM Ponomariov, Ruslan 2636 8.0 2523 59.5 64.5 2680 6.4
8 32 GM Durarbayli, Vasif 2628 8.0 2509 67.0 73.0 2669 5.9
9 131 I AM Gadimbayli, Abdulla 2451 7.5 2637 70.0 74.0 2717 39.9
ten 65 GM Iskandarov, Misratdin 2577 7.5 2631 73.5 79.0 2731 23.8
11 12 GM Guseinov, Gadir 2661 7.5 2589 69.5 74.5 2703 6.7
12 29 GM Ter-Sahakyan, Samvel 2632 7.5 2567 70.0 75.0 2681 7.8
13 22 GM Sarkissian, Shant 2639 7.5 2567 65.5 71.0 2682 6.7
14 102 GM Kobo, Ori 2510 7.5 2564 67.5 71.5 2655 23.9
15 31 GM Moussard, Jules 2630 7.5 2558 67.5 72.5 2672 6.9
16 14 GM Tari, Aryan 2653 7.5 2553 65.0 70.0 2670 3.1
17 3 GM Anton Guijarro, David 2694 7.5 2551 67.0 71.0 2660 -3.0
18 21 GM Kuzubov, Yuri 2639 7.5 2547 70.0 74.5 2657 3.3
19 37 GM Kozul, Zdenko 2619 7.5 2545 65.5 71.0 2659 6.9
20 93 GM Nesterov, Arseniy 2522 7.5 2540 67.0 70.5 2641 18.8
21 44 GM Indjic, Aleksandar 2605 7.5 2536 66.0 71.0 2647 7.6
22 28 GM Martirosyan, Haik M. 2633 7.5 2531 67.0 73.0 2648 3.0
23 43 GM Bernadsky, Vitaly 2606 7.5 2530 68.0 72.5 2644 6.6
24 18 GM Ragger, Markus 2647 7.5 2521 65.0 69.0 2629 -0.8
25 34 GM Lagarde, Maxime 2626 7.5 2518 65.0 69.5 2624 2.1
26 30 GM Abasov, Nijat 2630 7.5 2518 64.5 69.0 2636 1.6
27 23 GM Petrossian, Manuel 2637 7.5 2518 63.0 68.5 2637 1.2
28 38 GM Bartel, Mateusz 2616 7.5 2502 63.0 68.0 2620 1.2
29 51 GM Iturrizaga Bonelli, Eduardo 2594 7.5 2496 62.0 67.5 2611 3.4
30 41 GM Brkic, Ante 2607 7.5 2483 61.5 66.0 2602 0.1

Big names that failed to make the cut were the two top seeds GM David Navara (Czech Republic) and GM Anton Korobov (Ukraine) but also for example GM Markus Ragger (Austria) and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (Germany ).

The way Bluebaum collected his 8.5 runs over 11 innings was remarkable. After a draw in the first round, he won six (!) games in a row but then slowed down again. With four draws at the end, he stayed ahead and even managed the tie-break a little better.

His most interesting match was arguably against local GM Matej Sebenik:

The European Individual Chess Championship took place from March 27 to April 6, 2022 in Terme Catez, Slovenia. The format was an 11-round Swiss. The time control was 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move from the first move. You can find all the games in replay here.

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