Interclubs 2012-2013 – Round 4

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Round 4 – Disappointing Day All Round

It was a miserable Sunday afternoon for Europchess in the Belgian interclub leagues as all teams conceded match defeats and failed to score a single board win. Europchess 1 were well beaten by a determined CREB 1 side that had a 2600+ rated grandmaster in their ranks, while Europchess 2 slumped to a fourth loss in a row and are now facing relegation. Europchess 4 couldn’t cope with their objectively stronger opponents and only Europchess 3 survived the day unharmed as they had a bye.

CREB 1 showed up on Sunday with GM Vladimir Baklan (2610) leading a team that was ready to fight hard for its first points this year while Europchess 1 missed some of its regular players, notably captain Frank Hoffmeister. Things started wrongly from the very beginning when Pere Moles Palleja suffered a surprising opening disaster with White against Thu Giang Nguyen (2105). Pere chose a solid line but after some inaccuracies was swept off the board on the queenside in less than an hour.

Despite the awful start, things didn’t look that bleak for some time as Jozsef Barta, Timothy Binham, Georgi Tomov and John Riksten all enjoyed promising positions. Jozsef sacrificed a pawn with the Black pieces on board 4 against Vladimir Usachyi (2143) but kept his opponent’s King exposed in the centre and manoeuvred well to bring all his pieces in the attack. The game looked destined to enter future attack manuals as a modern classic but Jozsef failed to find the decisive blow on several occasions and accepted a threefold repetition.

Challenge to the reader: find the winning move for black missed by Jozsef

Meanwhile, Tom Wiley struggled on first board to contain the queenside initiative that GM Baklan developed with the Black pieces following an early pawn sacrifice. Tom reacted imprecisely and despite exchanging queens failed to catch up in development and piece coordination. Black scooped up the White pawns on the queenside, penetrated with his rooks and scored a convincing victory.

More bad news came from board 8 where Johannes Bertram got under pressure with Black in a position with an isolated d-pawn against Lukasz Kidzinski (2044). White opened up the game with a timely d5 push and took advantage of the opposite coloured bishops on the board to attack the vulnerable light squares in Black’s camp. Johannes could not find an answer to that and had to resign just before the time control.

Tim built up a promising position on second board after the experienced Yves Duhayon (2238) misplayed the opening with White. Tim spent quite some time considering a promising rook sacrifice on move 16, finally rejecting it on the grounds that it would only lead to perpetual check. Unfortunately, he had missed that he could win the queen and the game at the end of a virtually forced seven-move sequence. Instead, he settled for a slight edge and then, with his advantage melting away, played a double-edged exchange sacrifice after which the advantage see-sawed from one side to the other in the time scramble. After the time control, Tim found himself an exchange and a pawn down but his bishop pair and advanced d-pawn were enough to maintain the balance.

Georgi enjoyed the bishop pair advantage in an otherwise symmetric position on board 3 with White against Denis Luminet (2200). His opponent defended resourcefully, however, and never conceded more than a tiny edge. In a bishop versus knight endgame, Black found a forcing sequence of moves to secure equality and even though White tried to continue seeking chances, Black held firmly and drew the game.

John also tried hard to make things happen on board 7 with White in a practical endgame with a tiny plus against Beksoltan Masgutov (2070). He exploited the weakness of Black’s h-pawn to force favourable exchanges and steer the game to a knight versus bishop ending where all Black pawns were fixed on the squares of the Bishop’s colour. Black tried to defend actively and should have lost, but John failed to find the right way in the complications that arose and the game ended in a draw.

Finally, on board 6, Pierre Fogel suffered a disappointing loss with Black against Martin Mueller (2104). White sacrificed a pawn early on to reach a complex middlegame where he had compensation due to his control over the dark squares. To counter this, Black sacrificed an exchange in return and the game went into a long manoeuvring phase with chances for both sides. In the run-up to the final time control, Black’s pieces lost coordination and White’s two rooks managed to capture Black’s dark-square bishop. However painful, it was in a way a rather fitting finale to a poor team effort.

In Europchess 2 Richard Burger with White against Johnny Schalkx (2193) was trying to build up a solid position against Black’s Dutch defence but mixed up a sequence of moves relativly early on, as a result of which Black exchanged a rook and a pawn for two pieces and a dangerous attack. White was able to force an exchange of queens, but had to spend the rest of the game on preventing his rook from being captured by Black’s bishop pair. Ultimately this was possible only by giving up a key pawn on the queenside, following which Black’s pawns started an unstoppable march forward and Richard deservedly lost the game. Luis Parreira played his pet opening with the black pieces against Johan Krijgelmans (2100) but came under huge pressure on the kingside, where his opponent was able to put the half-open g-file and dominance of the a1-h8 diagonal to good use. Luis tried desperately to fend off the pressure, but eventually succumbed to an attractive mating attack. Kristian Pade Frederiksen, playing White against Alain Mauquoy (2071), got a good positional idea in the early middlegame, but the timing was wrong, and he lost a pawn. Strangely enough though, he had some compensation in form of a lead in development, but it was not obvious how to capitalise on it in the given position. When in beginning time trouble Kristian blundered a second pawn and at the same time was forced to exchange queens, all that was left were cheapos,  and it was essentially game over. Mattias Johansson with black survived the early aggression of Wim Versporten (2062) and seemed well on his way to building up a decisive advantage with nicely placed bishops and dominance of the d-file, when he was tricked in his opponent’s time trouble and lost the exchange. The endgame after queens came off was utterly hopeless, and Mattias had to resign. José-Maria Ramos Florido played White against Luc van Hoecke (2020). It was a balanced game throughout, with José-Marias initiative on the kingside weighed up by his opponent’s pull on the other wing. For the sake of the team, José-Maria refused an early draw offer by his opponent and tried his best to get a tangible advantage but didn’t succeed: Draw. Serge Le Gal had the black pieces against Valere de Buck (2015). Serge lost a piece early in the middlegame, but tried his utmost to hold on. His opponent showed no mercy, however, and Serge had to give in.

CREB 5 Proves Stronger Than Europchess 4

Europchess 4 lost 1-3 to the considerably stronger team of CREB 5. Jeremy Rand drew with Black against Dave Michels, whose rating was over 500 points higher. Both sides had their chances in a memorable game that reached a peculiar ending of a king and a queen against a king, a bishop and six pawns.

Jesper Abrahamssen took a short draw against Christian Thierens (1933) while Benjamin Musall could not contain the aggressive play of 93-year-old veteran Paul Demolin (1795). Finally, Nikolaj Abrahamssen misplayed the opening with Black against David Moreno (1517) and won two pawns only to come under a mating attack.

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One Response to Interclubs 2012-2013 – Round 4

  1. Richard on 21/11/2012 at 12:15

    It seems to me the winning move for Black is Rc1+. If White takes the rook, KxR, then Blacks plays BxN+, followed by bQ x wQ and wins. If White does not take the black rook but moves his King to e2, then Black takes the white Q on e4 (bQ x wQ). If White takes the black Q (with his king on e2 or with his knight on d2, then Black captures the white rook on h1 and wins the game; and if following bQ x wQ White does not immediately take the bQ on e4 but takes the black rook on c1 (wR x bR), threatening mate on c8, then Black can move his queen to b7 and will go on to win the game.

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