Round 5: Europchess strikes back!
All Europchess teams came back strong from the disappointing results in the previous round to score important victories this Sunday. Europchess 1 beat comfortably the second team of Eupen, while Europchess 2 opened their tally by gaining the two points against high-flying Humbeek 1. Europchess 3 stayed on track for promotion to the fourth division with a convincing 3.5-0.5 victory over Eupen 6 and Europchess 4 defeated Leuze 2 by 3-1.
Solid performance of Europchess 1 in Eupen
Playing away to Eupen this weekend, Europchess 1 managed to overcome some strong resistance of their second team. On board 7, Pere Moles Palleja defended well with Black against Dimitri Rohovoy (1970). He exchanged a few pieces to ease the pressure stemming from White’s space advantage, and earned an easy draw.
On board 6, Eduardo Semanat Planas didn’t get much from his White pieces against Peter Schillings (1972). Black managed to clear the queenside and put some pressure on White’s central pawns. Eduardo had to find the right way to simplify the position, and when he did so, another draw was agreed.
Pierre Fogel then secured the lead for the team with a nice attacking game with White on board 8 against Ralph Godesar (1907). Pierre seized space on the queenside, and in his efforts to find counterplay in the centre Black created weaknesses on the other wing, which proved decisive after some inspired play from White. 2:1 for Europchess!
On board 2, Georgi Tomov added another win with White against Mark Kuznetsov. He got an advantage on the queenside, which Black tried to counter with a kingside attack. However, after an overly-optimistic Queen sortie to h4, Georgi out-calculated his opponent in nice style and took the full point: 3-1.
The pendulum swung back, however, on boards 4 and 3. Svetlozar Andreev had reached a nice attacking position with White against Eckhard Roesler (2163). He sacrificed the exchange and got plenty of dynamic compensation in return. Then he refused to take a draw by perpetual and played on only to blunder in time trouble and lose a vital pawn that led to Black’s victory.
Mattija Suskovic got a cramped position with Black against Thomas Huesmann (2240). Black had to sacrifice an exchange to get some breathing space for his pieces and seemed to be coming back into the game. However, White played better in time trouble and Mattija had to give up after all defensive resources were exhausted.
This meant that the match had to be decided on boards 5 and 1. Frank Hoffmeister had no problems with Black in the opening against Norbert Bergmans (2105), but then things got wild with both players missing good chances in the run-up to the first time control. In the ending, Frank’s pawns marched forward and White’s efforts to stop them only allowed a nice mating attack in the centre of the board.
At the same time, Thomas Wiley was making progress with Black against Sven Forster (2244) on first board. Tom had defended well with Black in a complicated middlegame where White had tried to generate an attack on the kingside but had left his own rear guard vulnerable. Tom managed to steer the game into a favourable Queen and Knight vs. Queen and Bishop ending and then went on to take all remaining White pawns which sealed the win and the overall 5:3 victory for the team.
Following this solid result, Europchess 1 now stands second in Division 2B, trailing the first team of Liege by three match points.
First victory for Europchess 2 against Humbeek
Europchess 2 finally scored their first win with a 3.5-2.5 against the previously unbeaten Humbeek and got off the bottom of Division 3 D.
Ismo Ulvila (Board 2) should have made his first appearance for Europchess, but when his opponent had still not shown up after one hour, he had to settle for the spectator’s role and a win by forfeit – 1-0.
Then however, Humbeek took advantage of their strong lineup on the other top boards. On Board 1, John Riksten, playing with Black against Stefan Colijn (2220), came under heavy pressure on the queenside. He first lost two pawns, soon afterwards had to give his queen against a rook and a piece, and eventually couldn’t stop the advancing white pawns – 1-1.
Johannes Bertram, playing on Board 3 with Black against the experienced FM Theo van den Berkmortel (2179), got into a passive position and when White’s rooks found their way to the 7th rank, the game soon came to an end – 1-2.
Still, things looked brighter on the remaining boards. Luis Parreira (4), playing on Board 4 with White against Bert Van Ael (1949), installed a powerful knight on the dream outpost d6 and kept his opponent busy with various threats. After patient manoeuvring, he struck when Black pieces lost coordination and equalised the score – 2-2.
The most nerve-wrecking game took place on Board 5, between Kristian Frederiksen with Black and Guido De Bouver (1849). In a position with few pawns and a very open kingside, Kristian enjoyed more space, but his exposed King was a target. In time trouble Kristian overlooked the loss of an exchange to a knight fork, but his opponent made a ‘zwischenzug’ which proved wrong and led to a mere swap of material and a balanced endgame. Consternated, White offered a draw, which Kristian, with 1 minute on the clock, accepted – 2.5-2.5.
The forfeit rule meant that a draw on Board 6 would have secured a team vistory. Mattias Johansson had a slightly worse middlegame against young Arno Sterck (1770), who burnt a lot of time to find a plan. When his opponent got into severe time trouble, Mattias overtook the initiative and snatched two pawns. Then he simplified into a knight endgame, where his two passed extra pawns proved decisive – 3.5-2.5.
Europchess 3 continues its winning streak in Eupen
In Division 5 F, Europchess 3 scored a convincing 3.5-0.5 win against Eupen 6 and made a big step towards securing first place in the final standings.
Luis C. Busquets Pérez developed an initiative with White against Pascal Scheen (1265) on board 4. He kept his opponent under pressure and quickly built a winning attack against Black’s king.
Milan Pein with White on board 2 reached a favourable endgame an exchange up against Andreas Halm (1568) which he converted in good style
On board 1, José María Ramos Florido had to defend accurately against Franz Zagozen (1645) with his Black king exposed on the h-file. After the exchange of minor pieces, José María offered a draw to ensure the team victory and his opponent accepted.
This left Vladymyr Dedobbeleer fighting with Black on third board against Erich Koep (1293). He first won the exchange and then a piece, which eliminated any possibilities for success of White’s attack. Vladymyr’s win contributed to an impressive 3,5 – 0,5 victory.
Easy win for Europchess 4 in Leuzen
Europchess 4 got a comfortable 3-1 win against a junior Leuze 2 team. Jesper Abrahamens on board 1 outplayed Gaetan Hanarte (1237), as did Serge Le Gal on board against Lize Decellier (1222). Benjamin Musall on board 3, though, suffered a loss from Laurent Cotton (1220). Since Bruno Gatta on board 4 won convincingly against Louise Cotton (1152), the match points were pocketed easily. With 6 match points, Europchess 4 ranks now fourth in Division 5 L.