Interclubs 2013-2014 – Round 6

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Through a convincing victory in Hoboken, Europchess 2 defends rank 2 in Division 3 C! Also Europchess 3 scored two important points in Boitsfort, getting further away from the bottom. Europchess 1 drew in Eynatten while Europchess 4 lost with a narrow margin in Mechelen

High level chess in Eynatten: Europchess 1 keeps favourites at arms’ length

In a tense match the first team showed teeth against the Eynatten 2. The home team impressed by having 4 GMs, 2 IMs and 2 FMs sitting on the boards … of their first team. But the second team was good enough with an average of 2182 ELO points. We started out well with Eduardo Semanat Planas on Board 6 with White holding Valery Maes (2185). After a calm opening a symmetrical position was reached in the middlegame and a just draw agreed. On Board 7, Martin Müller with Black sacrificed in the opening a knight against two pawns and an attack on Black’s king. With a double attack he could have decided the game already on move 16. Martin preferred a knight manoeuvre instead after which Luk Vanstreels (2158) could still fish in muddy waters. However, with time running short on the clock he then overlooked a devastating queen check which decided the game: 1.5-0.5 for us. Unfortunately, John Riksten on board 8 returned back the point shortly thereafter. John had gained a more comfortable position out of the opening with White against Yannick Dorr (1919). His opponent, though, started a king’s attack with little material. John found the right defence and just when the position seemed to have become under control he overlooked a tactical trick. This cost him the exchange and the game: 1.5-1.5. On board 1, Georgi Tomov with Black followed by achieving a draw from FM Markus Balduan (2295). White had developed a minor initiative with White in a queenless middlegame which lead to rook ending where his rook as slightly better placed. But Georgi kept very patient, giving up a queenside pawn to get it back on White’s kingside. Even with the free pawns on opposite wings the game never left the draw margin: 2-2. More borderline was the position on Board 2, though. Timothy Binham had spent much time on the clock in the opening with White, and it seemed that CM Rainer Montignies (2261) had taken over the initiative in the middlegame by pressuring on the open d- and g-file. In time trouble, Tim’s king wandered all around the board, but somehow kept the material balance. When the smoke disappeared, Black was only able to convert the position into drawish a pawn ending, where the remaining a-pawn could not win as Tim’s king boxed the Black monarch into the corner: 2.5-2.5. At this moment, Frank Hoffmeister’s opponent on Board 4, Johannes Mundorf (2206) gave up a bishop ending. Frank had built up a small advantage with White based on the better-coloured bishop in an otherwise blocked position. Black had unwisely pushed his a-pawn to the fifth rank, where it later on fell. Avoding some stalemate traps, Frank then converted the pawn into a full point. This was somewhat lucky as at some stage Black might have reached a drawn pawn endgame by simply exchanging the bishop: 3.5-2.5. Again, this lead did not last long. Dragos Ciornei (2205) forced Matija Suskovic’s surrender after a long struggle on Board 5. Matija defended a somewhat passive position for a long time. White pushed a pawn-chai to d6-c7, but this was safely blocked by a Matija’s king on d7 and his rook on c8. Nevertheless, White managed somehow to break through on the kingside which proved decisive: 3.5-3.5. So, all eyes turned to Carl Buhr’s exciting match on Board 3 with Black against FM Alexei Litwak (2229). Carl repulsed White’s attacking plans easily in the early middlegame and established good counterplay. In White’s time trouble he pocketed a pawn and drew White’s king into the open. However, White also eliminated Carl’s pawns on d6 and b5, which produced a very tense Queen and knight vs Queen and bishop ending, with both sides having two free pawns. With both players down to less than five minutes and dangerous Queen checks all over the board it as impossible to say whether there was a win or not for Black. In any case, Carl settled for a draw, bringing the final result to 4-4. With 7 match points, Europchess 1 is now ranked a stable fifth place in Division 2 B.

Europchess 2 secures place in division 3 next season with 4,5 -1,5-win over tail ender Hoboken

The second team travelled to Hoboken with the clear goal of securing at least the remaining match point that would secure representation in third division next year and avoidance of a nerve wrecking finale similar to the one the team experienced last year. Mission accomplished!

The first game to finish was Luis Parreira (1943), Black, on board 3 against Ali Parsai (1721), and a quick finish it was! Ali Parsai did not react in the best way to Luis’ favourite weapon against 1. d4 and came under a furious attack almost immediately. White’s king was stuck in the centre, and Black’s pieces like hangmen closed in on it mercilessly from all sides of the board and down the half open e-file which seemed like a motorway into White’s position. When White was finally able to castle, he had to give a further exchange in addition to the pawn he was already down, yet his position remained in tatters, and not long after he decided he had seen enough and resigned the game.

The game on board five saw the match up of Serge Le Gal (1760) with Black against Pierre Huysmans (1550). The game developed quietly from a queen’s pawn opening. A delayed c4 was played, followed by an exchange of the pawn, which was immediately regained with the queen after a check on a4. Both sides developed without giving or taking any chance. After both sides had castled, all heavy pieces were exchanged over the c-file in the early middle game. An endgame with queen and knight vs. queen and knight was reached where White couldn’t nurture any realistic hopes of capitalising on Serge’s isolated pawn on d5: Draw. On Board five, Serge played with black against Pierre Huysmans (1562) a solid but relatively lackluster opening with d4-d5 with a delayed c4 followed by an exchange of the pawn immediately regained with the Queen after a check via a4. Both side developed then without giving or taking any chance. After both side castled they simplified and ended up with a completely equal position and the draw was immediately accepted.

The score in the match was levelled on board 1 right after the time control, when Johannes Bertram (2005) finally had to give up his hopes of holding together the position he had been defending for hours against Arthur Bruyneels (1915) from the very opening phase of the game. Johannes was slightly move ordered into a variation he doesn’t normally play and had difficulties developing the queen side initiative that was vital to counter White’s attack on the uncastled black king via the open f-file. Johannes found interesting defensive resources, but went wrong again in time trouble, when he tried to counter-attack, while White was still able to reinforce his pressure on the kingside. Any hope of finding at least a perpetual check proved wrong, and faced with mate or heavy material losses, Johannes had to resign.

The team was brought back on track to victory with Dario Maiorani’s (1650) fine win on board 6 in his first showing for Europchess 2 with the white pieces against Ben Boeckx (1504). Dario came out of the opening with a nice advantage in a Maroczy bind-like structure in which he had considerable pressure against Black’s backward pawn on d6. With patient play, Dario managed to finally pick up that pawn. With his opponent’s help he could then simplify into a pawn ending with a clear winning plan: King over to the pawn majority on the queen side, create a passed pawn there and escort it down the board to promotion… Thus executed by Dario, without falling victim to any opposition tricks by his opponent!

The match points were secured with Kristian Frederiksen’s (1841) win as White against Theo Lavet (1712) on board 4. Kristian’s opponent played the opening rather passively and drifted into a position where White could develop and centralise at his leisure. However, Black’s position remained solid, and with no obvious way to break Black down immediately and his time beginning to run low, Kristian had to settle for an endgame with an extra pawn, which however was blocked by a strong knight on d5, making the creation of a passed pawn difficult. White’s task was considerably eased, though, when Black, instead of letting White figure out how to get rid of the blockading piece, decided to exchange it off immediately for White’s dark squared bishop. The ensuing knight vs. bishop endgame was, if at all possible, at least very difficult for Black to hold, and he didn’t succeed.

This left Mattias Johansson (1946) playing for a win with the white pieces on board 2 against Luc Lauwers (1842). Mattias had gained a slight advantage in the opening, commanding more space and enjoying greater mobility for his pieces. He gradually increased his advantage, provoking his opponent into slightly weakening his king’s position after he had gained another advantage in form of a half open e-file and pressure on a backward pawn on e7. Black also had difficulties finding the optimal square for his knight, and when Mattias got fruity with his kingside pawns, Black decided to go for his only active try and sacrificed it for two pawns. Mattias kept cool, though, and when Black thought the time had come to activate his pieces further, Mattias was able to first pick up an important pawn with check and thereafter to deliver a nice mate with a forced sequence of moves.

With the fourth victory in a row, Europchess 2 goes into the Christmas break on a reassuring 2nd place.

Europchess 3 overcomes Boitsfort 3

Europchess 3 played the 6th round of the Interclubs in Excelsior 3, in a 4-point match against a direct concurrent for avoiding relegation in the 4th division, with a balanced averaged rating of both team players. First to finish the game was Vladymyr Dedobbeleer playing black against David Kusman (1636), who quickly put him into trouble by gaining a pawn at the 8th move and putting a direct pressure on blacks’ king who did not manage to castle. Actually black never had to do so since they reversed the situation to their advantage, thanks to an advanced central pawn blocking the development of white’s queenside pieces and to several threats on the opponent’s king. Two inaccurate moves by white provided black a strong advantage and the first point to the team. The following player to finish his game was Luis Busquets against Yves Herpigny (1734) on the second board. After several exchanges of pieces, Luis gained a bishop for a pawn, but had unfortunately to give the piece back further to the strong pressure against his king, and thus finally stayed with one pawn less. But he nevertheless put his king in opposition of black pawns and managed to force the draw. The team still needed 1 point to ensure the victory. Edit Kollo on first board had known several ups and downs in her game against Alain Silovy (1836) and was close to conclude it with a win despite being a pawn down. But her opponent played very accurately the endgame and managed to promote his extra pawn, and so brought back the match to equality. At this stage, all scenarios were still possible for the outcome and again all hopes relied on the last board, where Jeremy Rand with whites faced up to Frederic Servais (1553). After a very long game where both players focused on developing their pieces and exchanged their first pawns only at the 17th move, the game went balanced. But Black made a mistake which cost him a bishop. Blood pressure went up when Jeremy, who was in a better position, got into time trouble with only around 8 minutes left in the KO. He had to win as quickly as possible, and so he did thanks to his material advantage. Europchess 3 won 2,5 – 1,5 and is standing now in the middle of the ranking.

Europchess 4 gives in to Mechelen 3

On board one Jesper played black against Patrick Verlinden (1743). After a standard Caro-Kann exchange variation, Jesper prematurely launched an attack on the king. This gave black attacking possibilities on the queenside. Jesper had to abandon the attack and focus on defending. A draw was agreed when white had an isolated pawn and black was behind in development. On board number two Bruno played against Kristof Verbeke (1505). He played 1.b3 (Larsen Attack). His opponent attacked but was rebuffed and Bruno won a pawn. Later on in a balanced position he accepted a draw offer. Kalojan Hoffmeister faced on Board 3 with Black Sander Uyterhoeven (1480). After a standard opening, in which Kalojan equalised easily, White managed to pressure his queenside pawns. Missing the correct reply, Kalojan entered into complicated tactics that allowed White to create a dangerous passed pawn on the c-file. When the latter was pushed all the way to c8, this decided the game and match in favour of TSM 3. On the last board, Nikolaj played the Spanish opening against Louis Corbeel (1393), Nikolaj won a pawn in the opening, but got under a strong attack. The opponent offered a draw which was accepted.

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