Jones Beats Shirov In Final To Clinch European Blitz Title
GM Gawain Jones won the European Online Blitz Championship, held online over the weekend. The English grandmaster defeated the legendary GM Alexei Shirov in the final.
The championship took place on Tornelo on Dec. 18-20. Organized by the European Chess Union and the Silesian Chess Federation, it had a total prize fund of 12,000 euros ($14,672).
A total of 353 players from 40 European federations participated, including 134 grandmasters and 100 international masters.
On Friday, an 11-round Swiss qualifier was played at a 3|2 time control. The top 16 players moved on to a playoff phase. Besides Jones and Shirov, they were GMs Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Robert Hovhannisyan, Levan Pantsulaia, Vladimir Onischuk, Aleksandar Indjic, David Navara, Mikhail Demidov, Bogdan-Daniel Deac, Eltaj Safarli Eltaj, Matthias Bluebaum, Mustafa Yilmaz Mustafa, Manuel Petrosyan, Georg Meier, and IM Deniz Ozen.
The knockout phase consisted of four-game matches of 3|2 games followed by an armageddon. Both semifinals, Bluebaum-Shirov and Jones-Navara, indeed saw an armageddon game, which was played at five vs. four minutes without increment and Black having draw odds.
Jones won his game as Black as he refuted a pawn move from his opponent that seemed to trap his knight but didn’t:
The final started with a draw, after which Jones defeated Shirov twice in a row.
𝐉𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐬 𝐆𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐄𝐮𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐧 𝐎𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐁𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐳 #Chess 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎!@GMGawain convincingly won the Final match against Shirov Alexei to win the event, while Bluebaum Matthias won David Navara in the match for the 3rd place!
— European Chess Union (@ECUonline) December 20, 2020
Both games are worth checking out. In the first, the Englishman played a fine strategic game (including a positional exchange sacrifice) but almost spoiled it at the end.
Jones’ early rook sacrifice in game three was a nice way to clinch the first prize of 2,500 euros ($3,057). As he revealed on Twitter, Shirov (who earned 2,000 euros or $2,445) fell for a known opening trap.
The best female players all won 200 euros: GM Antoaneta Stefanova, WGM Anna Sargsyan, and GM Monika Socko.
Well I didn’t make it easy for myself. Thought I’d blown it when I squandered a 2-0 lead against David, such elite players don’t tend to give you second chances. Got my luck in the Armageddon. Then a Dragon punt and Scotch Gambit opening trap sees me over the line #Katowice2020
— Gawain Jones (@GMGawain) December 20, 2020
All games of the finals