While Europchess 1 lost against Liège 1 with a small margin, Europchess 2 and 3 scored important wins in round 4 of 20 November. They have thus both kept good chances in the fight for moving upwards in their respective divisions.
Playing with 2 IM’s and one of the strongest youngest Belgian players on the first three boards, Liège came with the best possible composition of their team. However, the match looked for a long time quite well for Europchess 1. We started with a draw by Frank Hoffmeister on board 5 with White against Gaetan Didderen (2111) after a calm opening which led to a number of simplifications and a completely equal position. Shortly thereafter, Tim Binham took the full point from IM Pascal Vandevoort (2426) on board 1. Taking advantage of the passive opening play by his opponent, Tim mounted a powerful king’s attack where his pieces could demolish the barriers surrounding the Black monarch. 1,5-0,5 after roughly two hours. Mattija Suskovic followed suit with a nice Black win over Philippe de Guildere (2144). Mattija’s opponent on board 4 thought over an hour in the opening to find a correct continuation in a sharp line. However, his line proved to be harmless, and when Mattija exchange a dangerous bishop, he could safely pocket two pawns without any danger for his king. In deep time trouble, White then even gave a full piece to get at least an open line against Black’s king, but to no avail. Matija kept iron nerves and pocketed the full point (2,5-0,5). On board 8, Pierre Fogel had to give in with Black against the gifted young Lennert Lenaerts (1989). In an English opening, White put a mighty knight on b5 which disorganised Black’s forces. He then advanced also at the king’s side and opened lines to his favour. This cost Pierre first the exchange and later on the entire game (2,5-1,5). Another unfortunate turn of events was then also witnessed on board 6, where Jenö Czuczai played with Black against Christoph Gillain (2110). Jenö first secured an equal position with a symmetric structure and opposite coloured bishops. Then, his opponent switched his dark-squared bishop on the dangerous a3-f8 diagonal. Supported by rooks on the open f-file and a passed pawn on e5 he then could start a decisive offensive which equalised the match (2,5-2,5). On board two, Tom Wiley held the position with Black against Richard Polaczek (2384). White entered into a variation with a slight edge, but a huge drawing potential. Tom played solid as a rock and a draw agreed after the time control (3 – 3). Thus attention turned to Georgi, playing White on board 3 against Stef Soors (2365). Georgi clearly outplayed his opponent with an exchange up and a passed pawn on the c-file. It all looked very promising until the moment where Black found a surprising resource which allowed him to bring his queen into an attack against Georgi’s king which had marched to g3 before. Because of this last-minute trick Georgi had to give up, which was very sad, indeed. With a 3-4 standing, Pere Moles Palleja thus pressed Lars Swijsen (1991) until the very end. A blocked rook ending looked very drawish all the time, but Pere managed to bring some activity in it on the queenside, while Black’s king was locked on the other side. However, Black defended carefully, exchanged the rooks and properly calculated that the remaining pawn ending was a draw. Hence, the final result of 3,5-4,5 went in favour of Liège. E 1 is now placed on rank 5 in Division 2 B.
Europchess 2 was host against Anderlecht 3 in an important match. On board 4, Kristian Pade Frederiksen had Black against Nordine San Lorenzon (1723). White left his King in the centre and opened up the board on the queenside. In a critical position with both opponents having less than 10 minutes on the board, Kristian made an exchange sacrifice to get attacking chances in the centre. White crumbled under the increased pressure and Kristian’s remaining attacking pieces worked together very harmoniously. He then cashed in White’s queen followed by a real mate on the board! Jozsef Molnár on board 1 with White faced Sophie Brion (1933). In the middlegame, Black tried to attack Jozséf’s king, but there was no real danger. Jozsef managed to exchange queens and then focused on the weakened queenside. After having won the third (!) pawn over there, Black gave up: 2-0. John Riksten on board 2 then secured the match points with a draw with Black against Victoria Azizova (1920). John managed to come back from a slightly worrying position and then even took over command in White’s time trouble. He probably missed a winning chance, when he did not immediately go for a rook ending with a pawn-up. This allowed White to pick up the lost pawn and a draw was later on agreed: 2,5 – 0,5. The final game of the day then saw Luis Parreira bringing home the full point against Philippe Brion (1855) on board 3. Luis got an advantage when he closed out Black’s white squared bishop and won Black’s pawn that had found his way to b3 deep in White’s camp. Luis increased his advantage steadily in the ending, and in the end even won a full piece: 3,5-0,5 and second rank in Division 4D!
Finally, the real heros of the day were found in Europchess 3, marking a clean slate with 4-0! The series started with Sergio Serrano Samper on board 3. He organised a strong king’s attack against Alan Ducruet (1200), which Black could only defend by giving up his Queen. However, even that did not prevent a mate on g7 several moves onwards! Inspired by Sergio’s win, also José Maria Ramos Florido went for the King of Italo Russso (1370) on the first board. He opened the h-line against the fianchettoed King, and Black did not find a way to defend h7 properly: 2-0. Benjamin Musall added to this with a nice win with Black over Gerald Polome (1170) on board 4. Benjamin castled on the queenside, while White’s king stayed on e1 for too long. Hence, Benjamin opened the e-file and concentrated his pieces on the centre. White did not find the right defences and lost a lot of material, including his queen at the end. With this 3-0 in the pocket, Mattias Johannson could played relaxed against Alexis Wattin (1240). He won a piece with Black against his opponent in the middlegame. White got some counterplay for the piece, but Black simplified to a won endgame. This made it to 4-0. Europchess3 is now on 2nd rank in Divison 5 L.