The 21st European Individual Women Chess Championship, which started on 9th August was concluded on the 20th. With 11 rounds played, or just a little less than 640 games, this event treated us with a lot of thrills, brilliant games, and upsets. You can find all the games here.

[Title image credit – Vlad Ghita]

The winners

The Armenian GM, Elina Danielian, who managed to remain undefeated throughout the event was crowned Champion with a 9/11 score. IM Iulija Osmak, who led for much of the tournament eventually got 2nd place with 8.5/11. 21 year old WIM Oliwia Kiolbasa from Poland had an impressive tournament with a 2511 performance rating, and duly received 3rd place with 8/11.

The top 10 qualify for the next FIDE Women’s World Cup, with Anna M. Sargsyan also qualifying to FIDE Women’s Grand Swiss 2021 as the 1st placed player in the Under 20 category.

The highlights

Round 3: WIM Oliwia Kiolbasa (2288) vs WIM Irina Petrova (2110)

Oliwia displayed her capabilities from the beginning, showing high-class positional understanding and attacking spirit. She outplayed her opponent from early on in the game

https://lichess.org/study/KaxYDaCr/Q47gxIuv#31

With her opponent already being in a tough spot, and after the inaccurate 16…Bg7, she took advantage of the position and black’s weaknesses. She responded with 17. Bb4, putting further pressure on d6 pawn, and after 17… a5 (definitely not black’s best option) 18. Bxd6 f5 19. Bxe7 Qxe7 20. d6 Qd8 21. Nc5 she had a strong passed pawn, her queen, and the rest of her pieces ready to invade. Irina Petrova had no good options left. The continuation is definitely worth watching.

Round 11: GM Elina Danielian (2401) vs WIM Mai Narva (2276)

With Elina Danielian needing a win to secure the title, and Mai Narva tied 3rd-5th and still having medal chances, there was significant pressure on both players. Mai managed to equalize early and get a comfortable position. Her major problem was her time usage, which made her rely on increment later on in the game. This strategy cost her; she was forced to play moves with no clear purpose, in order to avoid flagging. Eventually, Elina managed to take advantage of this issue, and gave her opponent the final blow.

https://lichess.org/study/BvGcpsTB/4SckG4Fy#68

In this position she played 35. Nd5+ followed by 35… Kf8 36. Be3, having full control of the position. Only to make things worse, Narva played 36… Nc5; 37. Nb6 Nxb3 38. Nxc8 followed, and black was forced to resign soon afterwards. Elina Danielian secured 1st place and Mai Narva stayed in 8th, in an impressive tournament for both.

The tactics

Missed the games? We have prepared a puzzle set with some of the tactics in the event’s games, for you to test and sharpen your skills!

https://lichess.org/study/ACPgOehI/DjMrMhx4

The future

The next European Women’s Championship will be held in Prague, possibly in the 2nd half of August 2022.

Did you highlight any other games? Did some player impress you? Please let us know in the comments!