European Individual Chess Championship 2021, Round 11
The 11th and final round of the event was due to start 2 hours earlier that the previous rounds, at 13.00 (i.e. 14.00 our time) rather than 15.00 (i.e. 16.00 our time).
The only players left in contention for the title were
In as much as the top-board pairing must result in one or other player finishing on 8˝ or else Demchenko ending on 9, it follows anyone currently with less than 7˝ points cannot take the title.
The critical top three pairings in the final round were:
First of the above three to finish was board 3. Mamedov threw everything he could at Black but ended up with a draw by repetition.
Next to finish was board 1, where Demchenko appeared to sacrifice the exchange for a pawn and the advantage of the bishop pair, but although this might have looked like an attempt to go for a win, a draw was immediately agreed.
That left all hanging of board 2. If either player won he would share first place with Demchenko, otherwise the latter would be the winner. Here Black seemed to be wandering into dangerous waters in a 2R + same-colour B + 5P ending when he played 23. … d4. Would 16-year-old German Vincent Keymer engineer a win? (He will be 17 on 15/11/2021.) The answer turned out to be “yes”.
Thus Demchenko and Keymer tie on points for 1st & 2nd place. Whether they share the prize money is unclear. Normally there are rapidplay play-offs to resolve ties for the European Championship, but on this occasion the matter was resolved by tie-breaks, as on Chess-results.com, which put Anton Demchenko first.
The top 23 players qualify for the FIDE World Cup 2023, applying a tie-beak system if necessary, but none of the England contingent got any near the top 23.
The three England players’ pairings were as follows (two paired against each other):
Gawain Jones played another odd game, sacrificing a pawn for the bishop pair, and seemingly saying, “Long-term your weaknesses are worse than my weaknesses.” The result was a draw.
Lorin D’Costa and Edmund Player drew their game.