The 3rd PCU International University Chess Cup – in support of the Olympic principles of Fair Play and Universal Friendship – was organized from 3 to 5 December 2021 in the University of Antwerp’s Hof van Liere. After organizing the 2nd PCU Chess Cup online in 2020, the 3rd edition was held on venue in Antwerp again. The participation success of the online edition led to an online event being included in the program: a Blitz Chess tournament was organized on the platform Lichess.org to enable all interested participants unable to travel to participate. In total, more than 150 chess players representing 34 universities in 20 countries participated in one of the competitions of the PCU Chess Cup.
Even with the tightening Covid-19 measures in Europe and the rise of the omicron variant, the PCU Chess Cup was able to welcome participants from Switzerland, France, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
- University of Antwerp (Belgium)
- AP University College (Belgium)
- KU Leuven (Belgium)
- Ghent University (Belgium)
- ETH Zürich (Switzerland)
- Radboud University (Netherlands)
- University of Luxembourg (Luxembourg)
- Paris Saclay University (France)
On 1 December, 126 participants logged in to the lichess.org platform to play 11 rounds of Blitz Chess. Due to the time difference, the tournament had students starting between 10 am and 2 am. After 600 games played, the University of Padua (Italy) took home the victory, occupying the top-2 spots in the final ranking, with Margareth Olde taking the title of Champion with 9.5/11. Teammate Tommasso Bergamasco took second place, ahead of Mikhail Khmelev from Financial University (Russia). Most represented Universities were the University of Padua (Italy, 36), the University of Louvain (Belgium, 9) and Brunel University London (England, 7). Full game results and overview can be found on the Lichess Tournament page. Ranking and results including university names can be found on the PCU Committee website.
Two days later, on 3 December, the PCU Chess Cup kicked off in Antwerp with the Opening Ceremony, where the tournament was officially opened by Dr. Koenraad Keignaert, head of the Organizing Committee, who invited all participants to join the Welcome Blitz Tournament, where participants got to know each other and played 9 rounds of 3’+0” Blitz Chess. Ezra Terryn, representing Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China) narrowly took home the victory over Bjarne Van Dijck (University of Antwerp, Belgium), after finishing on the same number of points. Maxim Slagter (Ghent University, Belgium) took home the third place, after finishing with the same number of points as Luca Olariu (Radboud University, Netherlands).
On Saturday 4 December the official tournament of the PCU Chess Cup started with 5 rounds of Rapid Chess 25’+10” being played, only taking time off for a lunch break. After each round, participants could rest and discuss their games over the board with a coffee or tea in the resting area. At the end of the day Bjarne Van Dijck (University of Antwerp, Belgium) and Luca Olariu (Radboud University, Netherlands) lead the tournament with 4.5/5, followed closely by Stefano Sapienza (University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg) and Bram Knoop (Radboud University, Netherlands) with 4.0/5.0. One of these four would probably take home the title. After a full day of chess, the participants were able to enjoy a late dinner in an Antwerp city center restaurant, after which most of the students went out for drinks.
On Sunday 5 December the final two rounds were played, in which during round 6 the deciding game was played: Bjarne Van Dijck drew to Bram Knoop, leaving the way open for Luca Olariu (Radboud University, Netherlands) to claim the title with two wins in the final rounds. Luca – the new PCU Chess Cup Champion 2021 – follows on the honor list Ekatarina Diakonova (Financial University, Russia) in 2019 and Vladislav Kiselev (Moscow Power Engineering Institute, Russia) and Ilia Vetokhin (Financial University, Russia) in 2020. Bjarne Van Dijck (University of Antwerp, Belgium) took home the silver medal, and Stefano Sapienza (University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg) narrowly beat Keano De Baets (KU Leuven, Belgium) to win the third place.
At the Honouring and Closing Ceremony which directly followed the last round, the final ranking was announced and top-3 players were awarded Cups and Medals by PCU Chess Cup President Dr. Koenraad Keignaert, after which a final lunch was offered to participants.
During the PCU Chess Cup the final exhibition of the 2020 University of Antwerp & Panathlon Drawing & Photo Contest. The exposition of 15 artworks and 10 photographs from students all over the world added to the atmosphere and cultural program of the tournament. Participants to the PCU Chess Cup were also able to vote for their favorite painting and win a small prize.
After a weekend full of chess, fair play and international friendship, all participants returned home; while during the Closing Ceremony the dates of the next edition of the PCU Chess Cup were announced: 2-4 December 2022).
Full results of all games of the PCU Chess Cup are available here.
All photos from the event can be found on Google Photos.