European Chess Club Cup 2021 - first 5 rounds

European Chess Club Cup (ECCC) is played once a year and is one of the most prestigious team tournaments in the chess world.
The tournament is played on 6 boards, with 7 rounds and some of the best players in the world participates.

Since the Norwegian Chess Federation received 5 spots in the tournament for 2021, Offerspill was given one place on rating. We quickly decided to play as there has been so few tournaments during the pandemic, and gathered a strong, all Norwegian team, including Magnus Carlsen, Aryan Tari, Johan-Sebastian Christiansen, Frode Urkedal, Benjamin Haldorsen, Lucas Ranaldi, plus the two super reserves Anders Hagen and Jon Kristian Haarr.

Getting to the tournament was not easily done. The city of Struga at Ohrid Lake is lacated a 2 hours drive from Skopje airport, and at least for my own sake the trip took about 7 hours after the bus broke down.

Driver trying to fix the bus

In the end I arrived safely non the less to the 5 stars playing hotel which included a waterpark.

Benjamin, Johan-Sebastian, Lucas and Frode warming up to the tournament
The Hotel

1st round went quite easily only with one hiccup on the first board

final results round 1
Looking sharp Lucas
Blazers from our sponsor Kindred
Frode in action

In the second round on the other hand, disaster struck. Even though we met a team with approximately the same rating only myself and Lucas managed to take some points.

Worth to be noted is also the winner from Norway Chess Open, D Gukesh who barely won on the first board.

Final results round 2
At least I managed to win my game
The playing hall
Anders "Menny" Hagen
Christiansen sacrifised a pawn early against Gukesh and got a great position, but blundered in the time trouble.

For the third round we received important backup when Magnus and Aryan arrived after finishing their tournament in Norway Chess.

Magnus received a huge amount of attention
Aryan looking as sharp as ever

Magnus' opponent played brilliantly and was extremely close to securing the draw, but Magnus fought on won in the end:

Final results in round 3

In round 4 we played yet another lower rated team. Magnus crushed on the first board, and we lost only one game by Benjamin (even though JS was in big trouble as well!).

final results round 4
Black did not find the winning move in the time trouble and lost. Tricky position.
Another offerspiller - Jesper Thybo, playing for the danish team XtraCon
Magnus won easily

In the 5th round we suddenly faced the top seed, Alkaloid.

The top seed team

Even though the team benched Shankland we simply got demolished 0,5-5,5.
A sad result as we had a lot of good positions and during the game the hope of a win was definitely alive.

Despite correct offerspill I managed to lose the position 
Frode missed a winning move in this position. 

Magnus was the only one who managed to get a half point against Mamedyarov, but he was also in big trouble.

Not our proudest moment

There are now 2 rounds remaining in the tournament, and we don't have any chances of a top placement. Magnus also left as he is going to play the final in the Champions Chess Tour.

You can follow and play through all the games on Lichess

All the results on Chess-results

Homepage of the tournament

Klarer Magnus remis mot Mamedyarov??