The European blitz championship took place in Skopje between December 6th-7th. The 20 year old Russian grandmaster Vladislav Artemiev won with the impressive score of 18,5/22.
Blitz games are known to be exciting yet full of inaccuracies, mistakes or just blunders. On the other hand players have the opportunity of displaying things they master at automatic level. Most typically these are small tactical tricks, as for instance the combination based on a geometrical motif below:

Kalezic (2460) – Artemiev (2709)
European Blitz championship
Skopje 2018

36…Rxe4! 37.Rxe4
White avoids the immediate fork with …Nxf3+ but will have to allow it a couple of moves later:
37…g2 38.Rg4 g1Q 39.Rxg1 Nxf3+ 40.Ke3 Nxg1
and Black soon won.

From Artemiev’s “collection” in Skopje, I find the following technical game by far more impressive. The way he gradually increased his positional domination makes one doubt whether this was a blitz game at all:

Guseinov (2664) – Artemiev (2709)
European Blitz championship
Skopje 2018

The start of a long and coherent plan aimed at getting a global control on light squares.
24.f3 a5 25.a3 a4 26.Kf1 Rd7 27.Bg1 Rc4 28.Bh2 g6!
Preparing to undermine White’s main bastion on light squares.
29.Rd3 f5 30.exf5 gxf5
After the exchange of the e4–pawn, the next phase will consist of space gaining in the centre.
31.Ke2 Bf8 32.Kf1 Be7 33.Ke2 Rc5 34.Kf1 e5 35.Ke2 Bd8 36.Bg1 Rc4 37.Bh2 Bc7 38.Kf1 d5 39.Bg1 Rd8 40.Bf2 Rd7 41.R3d2 Bd8 42.Re2 Bf6 43.Red2 Rd8 44.Re2 Rd6 45.Red2 d4
The culmination of Black’s territorial ambitions.
This feeble try to challenge Black in the centre will backfire after Black’s accurate answer.
46…e4! 47.cxd4 Kd5

After a short phase during which Black played on dark squares, he switches back to the light-squares strategy. White is very passive and the only thing needed by Black is opening the position somewhere.
48.Be3 Rd7 49.Ke2 Rg7 50.Kf1 Rb7 51.Rb1 b4 52.axb4 Rbxb4 53.Ra1 Rb3
The apogee of the domination on light squares. As highlighted by Bronstein in a famous comment in his no less famous book Zurich 53, this should result into a decisive attack against White’s pieces placed on dark squares. From this point of view, the next few moves are quite logical.
54.Ke2 Bd8 55.Ra2 Ba5 56.Rd1 Rc2+
White lost his bishop and after a series of unnecessary moves, the game.

Subscribe to Grandmasters' newsletter!

Enjoy reading?

Share this article with your friends!