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Monday, 29 Jun 2020 20:01
Saša Martinović wins Croatian Championship

Some encouraging news came from Croatia. As this Mediterranean country is getting back normal life and over-the-board chess, the local federations staged an Individual Croatian Championship. The 12-player round-robin brought together the strongest Croatian grandmasters and was held in Vinkovci (Robert Fischer won a tournament there back 1968!) from June 19 to June 29.

The competition turned into a very close affair that came down to the wire in the end. In the central game of the last round, the tournament leader Ante Brkić (sitting on 6.5 points) was swept away by Zdenko Kožul’s powerful attack on the kingside. This victory allowed the veteran to catch up with the leader. You can watch this key game here.

Meanwhile, Saša Martinović, who was trailing the leader by ½ point, gradually outplayed Ognjen Jovanić and scored arguably the most important victory in his career that brought him his first title of Croatian champion.  Interestingly enough, the eventual winner drew his first nine (!) games but a very strong finish (3 out of 3) catapulted him to the top position in the final standings.

Zdenko Kozul tied for the second position but took silver thanks to better tiebreak criteria; bronze went to GM Robert Zelčić.

Final standings

1

GM

Martinović Saša

2532

7.0

2

GM

Kožul Zdenko

2597

6.5

3

GM

Zelčić Robert

2527

6.5

4

GM

Stević Hrvoje

2575

6.5

5

GM

Brkić Ante

2593

6.5

6

GM

Šarić Ante

2541

6.0

7

GM

Jovanić Ognjen

2524

5.5

8

GM

Palac Mladen

2529

5.0

9

GM

Bosiočić Marin

2625

5.0

10

GM

Rogić Davor

2492

5.0

11

IM

Plenča Jadranko

2483

3.5

12

GM

Kovačević Blažimir

2410

3.0


Live games: https://hrvatski-sahovski-savez.hr/ftp/CroCh2020/