Interclubs 2013-2014 – Round 1

Round 1: Mitigated results in the start of the new season

In the first round of the new season on 22 September 2013, our first team drew with Namur 1, while the second team had to give in with 1,5-4,5 to Westerlo 1.

Europchess 1 holds a draw to strong Namur

Europchess 1 fought a tough battle against Namur 1 who came with a line-up of an average of roughly 2200 ELO. On board 3, Timothy Binham played a clam opening with White against FM Marc Geenen (2262). The latter did not allow Tim to build up pressure on the d-file and went for a general exchange of material after which a peace treaty was concluded in a level position. Tom Wiley on board 2 got into a slightly uncomfortable position with Black against Julien Laurent (2287) in an unusual opening sequence. However, rather than invading Black’s position with the queen, White allowed Tom to equalize with a nice tactical resource. The opposite coloured-bishop ending was drawn after the exchange of queens: 1-1. Namur then took the lead with a win from Pierre Degembe (2005) against Ventsislav Petrov with Black on board 8. White advanced on the queenside in the opening and won a central pawn. Ventsi then tried to put up combinational counter-play, but his opponent saw all tricks and scored the full point: 1-2. Around the time control three more draws followed from Carl Buhr against FM Bolzoni (2208), Frank Hoffmeister against FM Henris (2199) and Jozsef Barta against Philippe Uhoda (2118). Carl with Black got and advantage on the queenside, but faced a kingside attack, where White basically threw all his pieces into the battle. After some tactics White forced a perpetual check. Frank played with White against Henris’ favoured opening on which he just published a 600-pages book. He gained a fairly promising position in the middlegame but did not take a queenside pawn, which might have offered some winning chances. After some slow moves the game petered out to a draw.  Jozsef lost some tempi in the opening with Black and had to play accurately on the kingside to stay in the game. A knight sacrifice for two pawns allowed him to simplify the position, and when the remaining White pawns were eliminated a good draw was agreed. At this juncture of 2,5:3,5 Georgi Tomov on board 1 added the only win for Europchess on this day with White. Facing FM Nicolas Clery (2377), he won the queen in the early middle game for a rook and a piece. It was though difficult to convert this material advantage to a full point as Black diligently reduced further material and was about to build a fortress with his rook and two remaining pawns on the kingside. In time trouble, though, Georgi prevented this resource through accurate play and took the well-deserved point. This left the match in the hands of Eduardo Semanat Planas, playing on board 7 with White against Ivan Werner (2092). Eduardo got an advantage after the opening and cashed in a pawn. However, the position remained complicated and Black developed dynamic counter-play based on his bishop pair. Before time control, Werner won back material with interest, leading to an opposite coloured-bishop ending. Eduardo gave his bishop Black’s last pawn and then defended the rook/bishop v. rook elementary ending with iron nerves. This draw brought the match to a final 4:4 result and places E 1 in the middle of the table of Division 2 B after round 1.

Westerlo shows better play in zeitnot against Europchess 2

Also the second time faced a strong opponent, as Westerlo put on the board six players with an average of 2000 ELO. Although the 1,5-4,5 defeat looks like a clear case, the situations on the boards were far more nuanced. On board 5, Luis Parreira got some play in a queenless middlegame against Sven Gorts (1940), but lost material due to a tactical oversight. Although he tried hard to create chances in the endgame, Black brought home the full point with no mercy. On the sixth board, Kristian Frederiksen got the better game with Black against Bart Theys (1838) in a sharp opening. White got some pressure against a backward pawn, but Kristian landed an exchange sacrifice that allowed him to control the dark squares conveniently. In time trouble, though, White got the upper hand with some threats against Kristian’s king, which proved decisive: 0-2. In return, Mattias Johansson on board 4 with Black outplayed Marc van Dyck (1972) with the black pieces. He first pressured an isolated d-pawn, then won it when White opened up his king position in the hope to get some chances on the long-diagonal a1-h8, Mattias invaded with the queen taking the full point. Unfortunately, this should remain the only win for the 2nd team this day. On board 3, Johannes Bertram faced the last year’s topscorer, Steven Bellens (2004) with White. With good opening play, Johannes gained a promising space advantage on the kingside. However, he then pushed his pawns there somehow prematurely. This allowed Black to win the h-pawn and establish an effective blockade with a knight. In zeitnot, Johannes gave a second pawn to get an active rook on the 7th rank, but the ensuing rook ending was convincingly won by Black. Similarly, on board 2, John Riksten and Tim Peters (2064) went into a sharp fight with kings castled on opposite wings. John was opening up the b-file with a promising attack against White’s king. However, again in zeitnot, a good continuation was missed, and when White activated his pawns in the centre he won the game: 1-4. The last to play was Pere Moles Palleja on board 1 against Stief Gijsen (2180). In an interesting opening fight, Pere got an advantage with a flank attack against Black’s pawn centre. However, when the middlegame transformed into an ending with rook/bishop vs rook/knight and two pawns each, it seems as if a passed h-pawn from Black could develop into a problem for White. However, Pere created a passed pawn himself on the b-file which arrived on b7 very quickly. In the difficult position Black found the accurate way to draw the game after almost 6 hours of play. With the clear defeat Europchess 2 finds itself in the lower part of the table in Division 3 C.

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