Europchess 1 beats strong rival and takes the lead
In the last round before Christmas, all our three teams had very strong opponents. While Europchess 3 were narrowly defeated 1.5-2.5 against Fontaine l’Eveque 4 and Europchess 2 lost 1-3 in Ghent 8, Europchess 1 was able to beat Ghent 5, taking the lead in Division 3 D.
Playing in the nice clubhouse of Ghent, Europchess 1 faced their fifth team with an ELO average of 2059. On board six, Jozsef Molnar gained an advantage early on with White in an unusual Sicilian defence against Luc Van Hoecke (1990). Jozsef continued with strong middle-game play and once he implanted his knight on f6 against Black’s castled king, his opponent ceded defeat. The situation on the two first boards looked equal for a long time, but when time control was reaching both Tom and Georgi clinched the positions in their favour.
On board one, Tom had easily equalised from the opening with Black against Johnny Schalkx (2198) and focused on restraining White’s doubled c-pawns. When White moved his queen to away a3, Tom switched his attention to the kingside and damaged White’s pawn formation, which led to the full point shortly after.
Georgi on board 2 played with White against a Stonewall formation from Johan Krijgelmans (2112). He exchanged Black’s “good” dark-squared bishop and was better developed. Nevertheless Black started an attack on the kingside, which Georgi refuted nicely by entering with his Queen to e7 (!) and opening lines. By the time control, we were thus a safe 3-0 up.
Mattija on board 5 first suffered from quite a passive position with Black and an uncastled king. However, his opponent Frank De Vreese (2001) did not find the right continuation, and after the exchange of Queens, Matija recovered and even got a winning rook ending with a pawn up. He converted this into a full point when both his rooks entered White’s second rank.
On board 3 Frank, with Black, got the better double-knight ending against Wim Verspoerten (2044). He commanded more space and his knights could attack White’s weaknesses. Frank increased his positional leverage so that he got a winning position after time control. However, on move 42, rather than completing his prepared breakthrough after which the opponent would have given up, Frank organised a “self-mate” in one.
Luckily neither this bitter pill nor Jozsef Barta‘s first loss for Europchess in three years (!)cost us any match points. Jozsef lost two pieces for a rook with White against Alain Mauquoy (2011) in the early middle game and tried hard to complicate the position. However, Black kept his advantage alive and Jozsef resigned after the time control was safely reached by his opponent.
KGSRL 5 Ghent – EUROPCHESS 2 – 4
Europchess 2 had a hard lot against Ghent 8 as Eduardo was prevented from coming due to a medical emergency. On board 4, Paris Sansoglou played for the first time for our team, but with Guido Deschamps (1770) he faced an experienced opponent who outplayed him with Black.
This meant that the competition was practically over early on – however, with good morals Serge Le Gal fought back on board 3 beating Vincent Vercruysse (1863) with Black. Serge won a pawn in the middle game and converted this into a winning position. Later, his opponent then misread the position. He took a pending knight but opened the way for a mate in two!
On board two, Edit Kollo fought hard against Bart Vermeiren (1864). She got a good position with White after the opening, but in the middlegame an exchange got lost at a certain point. Black then played safely and managed to win before the time control. The second team is now ranked on place 10 from 12 and must mobilise its forces against relegation in the forthcoming matches next year.
KGSRL 8 Ghent – EUROPCHESS 3 – 1
Going to Fontaine l’Eveque 4, Europchess 3 met a strongly aligned team. On board 4, Vladymyr Dedobbeleer soon got into trouble with White against Renau Barreau (1879). Due to an oversight he lost a pawn and an exchange, after which the opponent pocketed the full point without further ado.
On board 3, Kristian Pade Frederiksen had a hard fight with Black against Andre Brasselle (1886). However, despite a difficult position with Black Kristian recovered during his own time trouble and could reverse the position, even going for the full point.
On board one, José Maria Ramos Florido was less lucky with Black against Joffrey Wattin (1959). While having equalised after the opening, he lost ground in the middle game and suffered defeat.
In this situation, Luis Parreira tried his best with White against Bruno Russo (1945). He won two pieces against a rook, but as the position was blocked there was no practical way how to make the material advantage be felt. He thus had not alternative but ceding the draw- Europchess hence suffered its first loss in the season, but as Division 4 G is heavily contested, all chances still remain alive drawing from the current 3rd place.
Fontaine – EUROPCHESS 2.5 – 1.5