Belgian League – Round 7

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Round 7: Europchess Unbeatable at Home!

In Round 7, the first team secured a draw against a strongly composed Eynatten 3. The second team won convincingly against division trailer Epicure 2, while the third team took the full match points against Caissa Europe 5, who only showed up with three players.

In Division 2 B, the first team met tough resistance from Eynatten 3 who travelled to Brussels with a player average of 2173 ELO. After an hour, Frank Hoffmeister on board 4 and Jozsef Barta on board 6 got almost simultaneous draw offers from Grigorij Bachkourinskij (2185) and Claus Michael Andok (2134), respectively. As both had equalised the game with Black but did not see a clear-cut possibility to play for a win, two half points were pocketed in some relatively uneventful games. Tom Wiley, playing White on board 1 against Thomas Trella (2415) followed soon after. Tom’s opponent played the opening very confidently and countered White’s possible break in the centre with active play over the h-file. As both players could not make significant progress, a just draw was agreed. The same also occurred in the game of Carl Buhr against Robert Philippowski (2276). White went for an early exchange of queens, trying to bother Carl’s queenside. But Black played a series of accurate moves to simplify the position, and when a position with rooks and bishops of opposite colours was reached, the players shared the point s well. With the 2-2 from three black boards and a White board against a higher rated player, chances at that moment looked well from a team’s perspective. However, when approaching time controls, the situation got worse on board 7 for Pierre Fogel against Johannes Mundorf (2080) and José Maria Ramos Florido against Mikhael Gurevich (1962). Pierre had tried to open up a blocked position by a risky pawn advance on the kingside with the White pieces. While his efforts looked quite innovative, the game tilted to Black’s favour when Pierre displaced his queen and Black seized control and material in the centre. Also José Maria had to give in after having achieved a rather comfortable position with Black in the opening. However, in the middlegame White could intrude his position and put a rook on a7. When he then increased the pressure with his other pieces, the team score got down to 2-4. Fortunately, the pendulum swung back again, when Georgi won his game with White against Valeer Maes (2184). Since the opening, Black’s bishop remained blocked by his own pawns, and Georgi commanded more space. He then weakened Black’s kingside in order to win access to dark squares for his knight and completed his superior strategy with a nice combination after time control. In this situation of 3-4, Jenö Czuczai pressed for a win with White in a superior endgame against Frank Dischinger (2176). Jenö had won the exchange in the middlegame, which was later transformed into two extra-pawns, doubled on the d-file. Supported by his king, rook and bishop, Jenö made the first one march on to d7. He thereby knocked out Black’s defence who had unsuccessfully tried to block the position with his King, rook and knight. This well-deserved point brought the final score to a 4-4 and 3rd rank in the division for Europchess 1.

The second team delivered a convincing 3,5-0,5 win against Epicure 2. While John Riksten made an early draw with Black on board 2 by move repetition with Luc Hermann (1898), Luis Parreira outplayed Francois Mertens (1685) on board 3 with White. A highly unorthodox opening lead to a complicated game, where Black seemed to have done well by implanting a strong knight on d4. However, Luis was able to exert some pressure on the opponent’s king side. When he entered into his position with Queen and knight, he gained the full point rather quickly. In return, Jozsef Molnar on board 1 went over the full distance with White against Bernard Sojka (1917). Jozsef gained a pawn in the opening and kept it throughout the entire middlegame. Before the time control, however, the opponent gained it back and seemed to stand solidly. On move 41, he even claimed to have won the game on time and called the arbiter to verify. As the claim was unfounded, the game resumed and Jozsef found a very strong move to shatter Black’s pawn formation in front of the king. Several moves later, Jozsef crowned his impressive performance with a mating attack. On board 4, Kristian Pade Frederiksen also won in an unusual endgame of rook, bishop and 4 pawns vs. two rooks on the 7th rank against Jacques Delvaux (1498). Against the timid opening from White, Kristian organised a king attack over the open g-file, and seemed to prevail when the h-file was also cleared for his rooks. However, a combination was not immediately successful and White struck back when threatening mate against Black’s lonely king. Kristian kept cool in time pressure and brought back his remaining rook to the 8th rank. With the king’s safety restored the free pawns then proved to be decisive. Europchess 2 is now clear first in Division 4 D with 3 points ahead, as the closest contender Woluwé 1 only secured a draw in this round.

The third team had to wait for 50 minutes for their opponents from Caissa Europe 5 from Mons. Moreover, their first board did not show up, giving a win by forfeit to Mattias Johannson. On board 2, Luis Busquets played Black against Johan Cloes (1631). White tried start a pawn storm against the King, but Luis was able to keep the position closed. On the other hand, his counter-play on the queenside did not yield any decisive breakthrough either, which made the players concluding a peace-treaty when the middlegame petered out. On board 4, Benjamin Musall scored a full point against Sandrine Bierna (1200). Although Benjamin lost a piece against a pawn after the opening, he was able to keep the position in balance. Later on, he even won a full rook and when the remaining knight from White was pinned, the full point was on his side. In return, Robert Hlep lost  against Marlier O’Bryn (1465). After a mistake in the opening, Robert lost too much material to bounce back. Black safely exchanged pieces and netted the point of honor for the guest team. With the two match points, Europchess 3 has further advanced in the table and ranks now fourth in Division 5 L.

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