Anton Demchenko is in pole position, leading before the final round with 8 points out of the 10 rounds. Four players trail him with 7.5 points. Only these five can win the tournament.
Demchenko had the white pieces vs Vincent Kemyer who played the trendy …exf6 line in the Caro-Kann. Keymer managed to attack in the middlegame and that attack crashed through
30…Rxe2! was entirely correct and Keymer should have finished the job. At some point he was -8 and could have chosen between 36…Bd5 or 36…Qd2 lead to a win but Demcenko escaped after 36…bxc4+
36…Bd5! would have been a beautiful winning move for Vincent Keymer against European Championship leader Anton Demchenko! It's still not over, but after 36…bxc4+? instead White was back in the game: https://t.co/B1J67Pp9Uj #c24live pic.twitter.com/HVzZdjelmG
— chess24.com (@chess24com) September 4, 2021
Demchenko managed to hold and they repeated the final position three times although Keymer having to claim the draw when nobody was playing for a win looked a little bit weird. Keymer may regret this missed opportunity, he would have been the outright leader and would have a game with the white pieces in the last round. Instead he still has chances but needs to count on other players to help him.
Rauf Mamedov lost for the first time on the second board when Bogdan-Daniel Deac out of the blue put himself in contention for the title with a nice win with the black pieces.
Deac will have the white pieces vs Demchenko and might be a surprise winner if everything goes his way in the last round.
Keymer still has a good chance as we mentioned earlier. He needs to count on Demchenko not winning his game, preferably losing, and then he needs to win on demand with the white pieces against Daniele Vocaturo. Vocaturo also has 7,5 points and needs a win with the black pieces against Keymer.
Vocaturo seemed to win a nice positional game today and as a bonus he tried to get a “touchdown” with his king!
Last but not least, Alexey Sarana also has an outside chance. Obviously he’ll need to win in the last round but he will need to do so with the black pieces against Mamedov. If he shows the same will to win as he did today, perhaps he should not be counted out.
After 60 moves against Daniel Fridman, Sarana didn’t seem to have much. Computer should 0.00 but still he managed to win a pawn a few moves later and then on move 76 he trapped his opponent’s rook.
76.Nf2! and the rook will not survive.
The final round promises to be an exciting one with the fight for the title being wide open and the players fighting for the title can safely do so as a loss in the last round will still yield them a spot in the top 23 which qualifies for the World Cup.
A lot of guys on the bubble have a stressful game tomorrow. Those on 6.5 points may not be able to advance with a draw unless they have a good tiebreak so many players on 6,5 points will feel the pressure of having to play for a win.
10th round commentary
Final round starts at 13:00.