7th European Team Chess Championship: Skara 1980

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[ Basic data | Tournament review | Individual medals | Interesting games ]

Basic data

7th European Team Chess Championship
(see all-time tournament summary)
Dates: Preliminaries: September 1978 - February 1979
Final: 18th - 27th January 1980
City: Final: Skara, Sweden
Venue: Final: N/A
Tournament Director: N/A
Chief Arbiter: N/A
Teams participating: Preliminaries: 18 in six groups.
Spain and Algeria withdrew from group 1.
Denmark withdrew from group 6.
Final: 8
Players participating: Preliminaries: 133 (incl. 32 GMs and 54 IMs)
Final: 80 (incl. 47 GMs and 27 IMs)
Games played: Preliminaries: 184
Final: 224
Competition format: Preliminaries:
Groups 2, 3, 4 and 6: eight board double round robin.
Group 5: eight board round robin.
Final: Eight board round robin.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Match points
Time control: 40 moves in 2 hours 30 minutes, then 16 moves in each next hour
Official logo: Skara 1980
Downloadable game file: Preliminaries: 80prel.zip
Final: 80etch.zip

Tournament review

The 7th European Team Championship final was scheduled in Skara, Sweden. Due to format alteration the length of the ETCh cycle was reduced from four to three years. 20 teams applied, of which one (USSR) qualified by default as title holders one (Belgium) withdrew before the start and 18 had to fight for right to compete in the Championship final in the preliminaries. England threw out West Germany to whom they lost 7½-8½ thanks to a big win over Wales which turned to be ample installment for future success. The Germans are until today the only team in the ETCh history to win all of preliminary matches and fail to qualify. From group 3, Israel qualified at the cost of the Netherlands whom they overtook by virtue of match point record (round 1 win 4½-3½ was decisive) as both teams finished with 19 game points. Sweden sensationally hammered Romania 6½-1½ in the early stage of group 5 qualifiers and went through together with Hungary, and last round's win over the Hungarians did not help Romania at all.

The event attracted most top European players to Sweden. The Soviets and the Hungarians went to training camps short before the start of the Championship. The English team sent their best squad to Skara thanks to sponsorship of Duncan Lawrie bank. Only 14-year-old Short was absent because of his school duties. Top rated players were World Champion Karpov, Tal and Portisch. USSR had highest overall team ELO (2631) ahead of Hungary (2554) and Yugoslavia (2520). Sweden, the hosts, and Israel were aiming at avoiding very bottom of the table.

The opening day saw the Soviets barely halving to England and Karpov sensationally losing to Miles' after 1. ... a6??!! opener in the game that soon became an epitome of the power of creativity and braveness. Sweden created another sensation of the day beating Hungary 4½-3½. Czechoslovakia, fourth seeds (thus dreaming about reaching medal zone) lost badly to Israel, who took early lead defeating Sweden by the same 5-3 margin on day two. The Soviets had another bad day only drawing to Hungary. In the next round team USSR finally accelerated wiping out hosts Sweden 6-2. The Israeli leaders lost to Yugoslavia who took over the lead ahead of the Soviets. In round 4 both Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union won, but Soviet margin was by far more impressive to let the Soviet squad move into the lead at last. Israel shared points with England to retain third position. On day five England sensationally defeated Yugoslavia 6-2 (the margin hardly achievable even for the Soviets) and Hungary conceded another bad loss against Israel. Standings after day five: USSR 25½; Yugoslavia 21½; Israel and England 21. In penultimate round the Soviets defeated Israel 6-2 to seal their gold medals and deny Israeli hopes. Hungary fought very hard to finally defeat Yugoslavia in another chapter of their neverending holy war. England beat Sweden and moved into clear second position, a fraction ahead of Yugoslavia. Hungary were lying in fourth, one point behind the Balkan team. Last round was a real horror. Yugoslavia lost 5-3 to USSR and they might feel lucky with it. Hungary-England was a close run all day long, a few package deal offers were bid and rejected. Hungary needed a 5-3 win in which case they would finish in second position or, alternatively, 4-4 draw to secure bronze. The Hungarians finally went on to a great win earned by Sax and Faragó to get silver while England took bronze. Yugoslavia fell down to fourth. Bulgaria beat Israel on the last day and moved up to 5th. Czechoslovakia were lying in sixth ahead of Israel, while Sweden did badly after first round's show and finished in eight.

The Soviets took seventh consecutive gold but it was not easy at all in Skara. Needless to say, none of their top three players managed to score a single game win! Karpov's round 1 debacle against Miles was so much a shocker that he only managed to draw all of his remaining games to produce the only ever minus score at the team championships (ETCh, WTCh, the Olympiads). Most points were contributed by 17-year-old Baku prodigy Harri Kasparov (as he used to be spelledthose times). The Hungarians took bronze because of teams' overall strength and good leadership by Portisch who, by the way, for the third time in his history of ETCh appearances scored one win and the bunch of draws. England enjoyed great come-back after dreadful play in Moscow three years earlier. Unlike the Soviets, they scored best at top (Olympic) boards. Another curiosity is that of 14 games won in overall as much as 12 they won with black pieces (only Mestel won two games with white)! Yugoslavia missed the podium because of 6-2 loss to England. Gligorić's 5½/7 secured him individual board medal and was best result of his team. Of other teams best results were achieved by: Popov of Bulgaria 5/7 (ELO 2637!); Ftáčnik of Czechoslovakia 6/7 (ELO 2792!!) - second individual performance of the event after Kasparov; Liberzon of Israel 3½/7 (all drawn!) and Andersson of Sweden - 4/7.

Individual medals

1st Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Miles, Anthony John England ENG 7 64.3
2. GM Andersson, Ulf Sweden SWE 4 7 57.1
3. GM Portisch, Lajos Hungary HUN 6 58.3

2nd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Gligorić, Svetozar Yugoslavia YUG 7 78.6
2. GM Stean, Michael Francis England ENG 7 64.3
3. GM Smejkal, Jan Czechoslovakia CSR 4 7 57.1

3rd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Nunn, John Denis Martin England ENG 5 7 71.4
2. GM Ivkov, Borislav Yugoslavia YUG 6 58.3
3. GM Adorján, András Hungary HUN 7 50.0

4th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Polugaevsky, Lev Soviet Union URS 7 64.3
2. IM Speelman, Jonathan Simon England ENG 6 58.3
3. GM Sax, Gyula Hungary HUN 7 50.0
3. GM Plachetka, Ján Czechoslovakia CSR 7 50.0

5th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Kraidman, Yair Israel ISR 7 64.3
1. GM Keene, Raymond Dennis England ENG 7 64.3
3. GM Geller, Efim Soviet Union URS 4 6 66.7

6th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. IM Ftáčnik, Ľubomír Czechoslovakia CSR 6 7 85.7
2. GM Balashov, Yury Soviet Union URS 4 6 66.7
3. IM Ornstein, Axel Sweden SWE 4 7 57.1
3. IM Birnboim, Nathan Israel ISR 4 7 57.1

7th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Romanishin, Oleg Soviet Union URS 4 6 66.7
2. IM Mestel, Andrew Jonathan England ENG 6 58.3
3. GM Vadász, László Hungary HUN 5 50.0

8th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. IM Popov, Luben Bulgaria BUL 5 7 71.4
2. GM Vaganian, Rafael Soviet Union URS 6 75.0
3. IM Pintér, József Hungary HUN 7 64.3

1st Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. IM Yusupov, Artur Soviet Union URS 4 87.5
2. GM Šahović, Dragutin Yugoslavia YUG 4 62.5
3. GM Spasov, Luben Bulgaria BUL 5 50.0

2nd Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. IM Kasparov, Garry Soviet Union URS 6 91.7
2. IM Kaiszauri, Konstanty Sweden SWE 5 70.0
3. GM Vukić, Milan Yugoslavia YUG 3 5 60.0
3. GM Spiridonov, Nikola Bulgaria BUL 3 5 60.0

Interesting games

Ermenkov blundered in a won ending letting White extricate.
Karpov, Anatoly (URS) - Ermenkov, Evgeny (BUL) ½ - ½

A terrible mistake in a won position.
Smejkal, Jan (CSR) - Gligorić, Svetozar (YUG) 0 - 1

Karpov was so surprised to see 1. e4 a6?! that Black soon equalized.
Karpov, Anatoly (URS) - Miles, Anthony (ENG) 0 - 1

Black took the poisoned pawn first, then poisoned piece, then took the game.
Velimirović, Dragoljub (YUG) - Nunn, John (ENG) 0 - 1

Exchange sacrifice followed by mating attack on black squares.
Ermenkov, Evgeny (BUL) - Portisch, Lajos (HUN) 0 - 1

White had good attacking chances but recklessly weakened f4 square.
Ljubojević, Ljubomir (YUG) - Miles, Anthony (ENG) 0 - 1

Weakened Kingside on 6th move caused problems for Black.
Gligorić, Svetozar (YUG) - Karlsson, Lars (SWE) 1 - 0

This game is a dance of two on a flimsy rope!
Nunn, John (ENG) - Adorján, András (HUN) ½ - ½

Tal's temperament did not follow deep calculation.
Karlsson, Lars (SWE) - Tal, Mikhail (URS) 1 - 0