On 25 September, we started the National Interclubs season with some mixed results.
The first team had a difficult start into the season facing Jean Jaurès Gent, relegated from Division 1. The visitors scored decisively in the upper half of the team, where Victor (against GM Vyacheslav Ikonnikov), Georgi and Eduardo had to resign, while Tom drew. The lower half of the team would have had to make up, but in very close games they did not succeed. David and Joel, in their debut for Europchess, drew, and also Matija and Pere could not score a full point.
The second team had a much better match, beating Brasschaat 2 with clear margin. Georgios and Johannes secured an early 2-0 lead, the former deciding his game with a nice mating combination, the latter winning two pawns quickly and then an exchange. After a loss and a draw on the middle boards, the top boards had to bring the decision. Both Martin and Mark had positional advantages in the middlegame, which they patiently converted: first Mark in a better rook endgame, then Martin thanks to powerful passed pawns.
The third team faced the first side of the 2 Fous du Diogène, who should be one of the favourites for promotion. Luis Parreira, Helge and Rafael lost against higher rated opponents, but Luis Busquets put up a great fight against IM Ekrem Cekro and was rewarded with a draw.
The second encounter with 2 Fous du Diogène was much closer. After Serge’s loss on Board 1, Jorge converted an advantageous rook endgame to equalise. Gabriele had an exciting game in which it looked like he could refute his opponent’s piece sacrifice. However, with another exchange sacrifice, the latter was able to force a draw by perpetual check. All depended then on Alessandro, who gave his debut for Europchess. Unfortunately he could not hold his position with a rook against two minor pieces, which sealed the defeat of the team.
The fifth team instead managed to beat their opponents from 2 Fous du Diogène. After an early loss of David, Bruno equalised quickly. Then Oren and Borin, both playing their first national interclubs games for Europchess drove home advantageous knight endgames, to secure the 3-1 win.