Belgian League – Round 11

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Round 11: Decent closure of a successful season for all three teams

In the final round of 25 March 2012, both Europchess 1 and 3 won, whereas Europchess 2 lost its only match of the season. Since it was already qualified for promotion, this did not matter much, though.

Europchess 1 hosted another local rival, namely CREB 1. On board 7, Eduardo Semanat Planas played a double fianchetto with White against Christian Thierens (1947). He exercised some pressure against two pawns on c6 and d6, but then his opponent managed to push one of them to d3 to restrain Eduardo’s game. In time trouble, however, he overlooked a tactical trick when trying to defend his advanced pawn. This cost him a rook and Eduardo won the game: 1-0 for Europchess. CREB then equalised through a win from Beksoltan Masgutov (2120) against Jenö Czuczai on board 5. After a very good opening Jeno gained better position and in the middle game he became very active and gained space advantage. Then, at the time control, Jeno overlooked a combination of his opponent, who by the way is the top scorer of CREB in this season, in an otherwise drawish endgame. Nonetheless, Jeno scored 6 points out of 11 (almost 60%) and thus he has become one of our best scorer in Europchess 1. Afterwards, Tom Wiley drew his game with Black on board two against Rafe Martyn (2264). After a complicated opening, it seems as if Black got some play against White’s King with a centrally posted queen, an active rook and a bishop vs. knight. White managed, however, to exchange the queens and attention switched to the queenside. In the ensuing rook ending, neither side could press for a win, bringing the score to 1,5-1,5. Our first board, Timothy Binham, then contributed another half-point with White against Yves Duhayon (2265). After a calm opening, Black tried to open the king side against Tim’s king. In return, White had some play on the queenside and in the centre. However, after a number of exchanges, including a black knight on g4 against a good white bishop on e3, a peace treaty was concluded (2-2). Georgi Tomov on board 3 outplayed Denis Luminet (2183) with White. In typical Georgi-style, he sacrificed a pawn for positional compensation on the queenside. His opponent tried to push back on the kingside, but due to a premature advance of the g-pawn his initiative could be stopped. Georgi then invaded Black’s position on the queenside with his two rooks, regaining his material with profit and taking the full point (3-2). On board 4, Frank Hoffmeister won with Black against Giang Nguyen Thu (2118). He equalised easily in the opening and then started a minority attack on the queenside. These efforts yielded an extra pawn on the a-file, and Frank was able to push it to a2 in White’s zeitnot. After the time control, the opponent resigned before the promotion of the pawn would have caused the loss of a full rook (4-2). In this comfortable situation, Mattias Johansson and Svetlozar Andreev finalised their black games against Paul Demoulin (1881) and Martin Müller (2071) on board 8 and 6, respectively. Mattias had survived a somewhat chaotic opening to a playable ending, where suddenly his re-connected double pawns in the centre promised him some chances. White tried to push his free pawn on the g-file, but Mattias could pocket it with careful play. In the ensuing rook ending, observers were not agreed whether Black was to win or not. Finally, the ending proved to be a draw, which also secured the full match points for us (4,5-2,5). Unfortunately, Svetlozar Andreev finally lost his game against all odds. He had played a very stable opening and created some chances on the queenside. White came under severe pressure in a queen/rook ending, and Svet was pressing for a win. Somewhat miraculously, White was able to escape with his king and all of a sudden created mating threats himself, forcing Svetlozar to resign. But as the team had already won, this turn of events was not too dramatic, after all. Europchess 1 ended on a good 5th rank in Division 2 B and has shown that it can normally match all other teams in the division well.

In return, the second team suffered against CREB 2. As John Riksten on board 2 forfeited his game against Thierry Loir (1651), the team had to score 2,5 points in the remaining games to win. However, this was not in the cards that day. On board 4, Kristian Frederiksen took a risk to attack with Black against White’s centre and on the queenside. His opponent, Aleksander Boski (1619), started an attack on Kristian’ weakened kingside in return, which proved to be more powerful. This brought  the score to 0-2. On board 3, Luis Parreira pressed hard to win with White against Marc van de Water (1633). In a difficult middlegame, Black’s queen had stranded on a2, but the remaining pieces were unable to lock her in. So, after some simplifications, a rook ending was reached which seemed to favour White. However, when Luis entered into the pawn ending, tables turned as the pawn ending proved to be more complicated (0-3). Luckily, Jozsef Molnár on board 1 won an attacking game against Henri Winants (1798). When he organised a discovered attack on queen and rook, his opponent gave the Queen for a rook and a piece. However, this clearly did not prove enough against Jozsef who swapped off the remaining material to pocket the full point through an advance of his free pawns. Despite this 1-3 loss in the last round, the second team is promoted to the 3rd division next year.

The third team delivered a neat 4-0 victory against Humbeek 5. On board 1, José Maria Ramos Florido played a variation with White which he knew well and which led to a balanced but tense position. When complications arrived in the middle game, his opponent Eric van Nooten (1292) was not able to defend properly. He succumbed to a fatal attack against his king who was still in the centre. Black resigned after 26 moves. Edit Kollo on board 2 finished off Arno Van Roy (1161) with Black. Edit took a long time to get her pieces into play and used almost all her thinking time for that. However, even under severe time pressure she kept cool and gained the full point by mating her opponent! Similarly, Serge Le Gal won with White against Dirk Verschuren (unrated). Serge organised a very precise pressure play against Black’s isolated d5-pawn, and for some unknown reason Black steered his knight towards a2 (!). Serge then neutralised the only potential helper (a black bishop on e6), by putting his own bishop on d4, blocking the d5-pawn. A few moves later he collected the stranded knight on a2 and won the game easily. Finally, Robert Hlep played a nice game with Black against Johan van Roy (unrated). Robert won a piece with a double attack from an advancing pawn, but White got a passed pawn on d6 as compensation. The technical phase was not easy, but Robert managed to simplify the position in his favour to bring his superior material to a full point. Europchess 3 thus ended on 5th rank in Division 5 L, which is a very good result for a team with many newcomers.

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