Europchess players battle with GMs at Limburg Open

From 10 to 13 June 2011, the 5th ENCI Limburg Open chess tournament was played in Maastricht.  A total of 307 participants were divided into three groups according to ratings.  In the A group (for players with a rating above 2000) there were seven grandmasters (Fedorchuk, Turov, Berg, Ernst, Fier, Shchekachev, Swinkels) and numerous IMs.  This year’s representatives from Europchess were Tom Wiley and Georgi Tomov, who were respectively the 30th and 31st rated players.

The tournament was won by Alexandr Fier from Brazil with six points out of seven, half a point ahead of Andrei Shchekachev, Benjamin Bok, Sipke Ernst and Maxim Turov, who all had five and a half.  At the start of the last round Fier was one of three players with five points, but whereas Shchekachev and Bok played a very short draw against each other, Fier managed to win with Black against Sergey Fedorchuk in order to claim the first prize.

One of the two half-points dropped by Alexandr Fier came in the first round, against Georgi Tomov.  Georgi grabbed a centre pawn at the cost of the exchange, with Fier’s queen appearing to be trapped in the corner of the board.  Fier gained play against Georgi’s king but then blundered while trying to exploit Georgi’s time trouble.  In a still tense position, with Georgi having to make seven moves in less than a minute, the players agreed a draw.  Georgi went on to score draws with Black against Mark Haast (2249) and IM Maarten Solleveld (2507) and convincing wins with White against Andreas Jagodzinsky (2163) and Christian Luncescu (2190), but lost two games when trying to defeat his two lowest-rated opponents Christopher Brookes and Wolfgang Scholzen.  The game with Brookes featured a very sharp ending arising from the Berlin Defence to the Ruy Lopez; Georgi has annotated the game here.  Georgi finished on 3.5 out of 7 with a Tournament Performance Rating of 2258.

Tom Wiley took a half-point bye in the first round.  In rounds two and three he played solid draws with White against Thomas Henrichs (2483) and with Black against Jaap Nabuurs (2112).  In rounds four and five he defeated Albert De Wit (2054) and Tom Bus (2206) before drawing in round six with IM Martijn Dambacher (2500).  In the last round Tom was

in principle playing to win one of the lesser money prizes, although this wasn’t very likely when paired with Black against GM Robin Swinkels (2483).  Swinkels won the game (and a share of sixth prize), although not without offering Tom a few chances along the way.  Tom finished with 4 out of 7 and a Tournament Performance Rating of 2378.  The game against Tom Bus is annotated here.

Other members of Europchess are recommended to consider adding the Limburg Open to their schedule next year.  The timetable coincides neatly with a holiday weekend, and it gives a chance to compete against lots of strong players in a comfortable venue located just over one hour’s drive from Brussels.  Full information about the tournament, including complete results and many photographs, is available at

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