The fourth team saves the honour of Europchess
In a hard away round, the first three teams lost against Eisden, Gent 5 and Brussels 2, respectively. The fourth team however scored a convincing win against Brussels 5 to save our honor.
Europchess 1 suffers a bitter loss in Eisden
Having travelled to Maasmechelen with a good line-up, Europchess 1 was the nominal favorite in the match against Eisden 1. And it also looked quite promising in the beginning. On board 8, Pere Moles Palleja made a quick draw against Ronny Willen (1881), to fetch an important date back in Brussels rather than allowing a forfeit.
On board 6, Eduardo Semanat Planas then followed with a first full point with White against Ed Vos (2005). He had the initiative throughout the whole game and invaded the 7th rank with his rook. Black had put his hope on opposite-coloured bishops, but Eduardo nicely gave the exchange for two pawns. When Black had to give back the exchange, he entered into a lost rook ending which Eduardo duly won.
Frank Hoffmeister settled for a draw with White against Fabian Miesen (2190). After the opening, Frank won the bishop pair and opened the position. However, Black organized counterplay over the d-file and found a safe haven for one of his knights on f4 in front of White’s king. With 15 minutes for 10 moves left, a draw was agreed.
Also on board 3 things went well. Jozef Simenon (2250) had dared to play 1. g4 against Timothy Binham, but the choice did not serve him well. Tim opted for a solid set-up and pocketed a pawn after a further speculative pawn advance from White on the queenside. White had absolutely no compensation and gave up once his final attempt for some play was refuted. Our lead did not last long, though.
On board 1, Georgi Tomov had a reached a largely satisfactory position with Black against Patrick Driessens (2318), but then White found a clever plan to annoy Georgi’s king who had remained in the centre. Black sacrificed an exchange for counterplay but had to resign after an accurate defence.
Similarly, Tom Wiley had to concede the point to Joep Nabuurs (2251) with White. Tom commanded more space and had the initiative for a long time in the game to press for more. However, around move 30 a wrong calculation cost him an entire piece and since the opponent had enough time on the clock no miracle save occurred this time.
On board 5, Matija Suskovic equalized easily in the opening with Black against Bob Merx (2129). However, he then put his queen somehow out of game, and in a quest for more space Matija weakened his queenside pawn structure. In the ending, this cost him first a pawn and later on the entire game.
So all hope was put on Martin Müller on board 7. Martin got squeezed in the opening with Black as Wolfgang De Cauter (2001) could establish a comfortable pawn majority on the queenside, leading to a protected passed pawn on c6. However, Martin organized some counterplay on the kingside, and with a tactical trick even won a full rook! In time trouble, Martin gave back the exchange, but the dangerous passed d- and c-pawns remained a constant threat. A razor-sharp ending arose after the exchange of queens. Just when Black seemed to have everything under control the tables turned again. White ran out of a perceived mating net and won with his pawns. This unfortunate defeat cost us the match draw and Europchess 1 fell back on rank 5.
Europchess 2 bows to strong Gent 5
Europchess 2 faced again a strong opponent in Gent 5. The task became even more difficult with a late cancellation, due to which the first board had to be forfeited. Nonetheless, the team put up a good fight and even had chances to bring home a point or two.
Johannes Bertram (Board 3), playing with Black against Alain Mauquoy (2039), got a nice initiative out of the opening. After misplacing his queen though, launching an attack became more complicated. When his opponent offered a draw in a quite unclear position, Johannes, with less than 2 minutes for 13 moves, had no other choice than to accept.
Not much later, Kristian Frederiksen’s game on Board 5 with Black against Luc Van Hoecke (2027) had simplified into an equal endgame with a rook each and opposite-coloured bishops. Being also short on time, Kristian was content to accept White’s draw offer.
Luis Parreira (4) had got a good position with White against Wim Versporten (2028), being two pawns up at certain moments. However, Black put enough pressure on White’s weak point to achieve a transition to a bishop vs. knight endgame, where White’s advantage was reduced to only one pawn – in an isolated, blocked doubled pawn. When the time control was reached, Luis accepted a draw offer as there were no real winning prospects.
José María Ramos Florido, White on Board 6, was the only one to be somewhat favourite in his game against Lieven Peelman (1602). Although he started with a disadvantage on the clock, he built up an active position and won an exchange for a pawn. His opponent managed to get some compensation in form of a second pawn, but struggled against José María’s kingside pressure. Eventually, Black lost on time shortly before reaching 40 moves. This levelled the score to 2.5-2.5, although Gent had the advantage due to the forfeit.
John Riksten had a difficult game with White on Board 2 against Johan Krijgelmans (2140). A pawn down, he tried for a long time to contain Black’s bishop pair, but in the run-up to the time control, Krijgelmans won two other pawns and duly converted this advantage in a rook endgame.
Given the rating differences, the final score of 2.5-3.5 was still honourable. With 9 points, Europchess 2 is now on Rank 7 in Division 3C.
Europchess 3 on the verge of another surprise result against Brussels 2
Europchess 3 played against the second team of Brussels Chess Club, quite highly rated for a fourth division team. Nevertheless, Europchess, again weakened by the absence of a member playing in a higher team, was not far from repeating the great result of the previous round.
Paolo Garzotti (3) proved once more his current good shape against Eddy Mattheys (1906), who had accepted a gambit, but then tried a knight sacrifice in compensation for three pawns. He could not get a clear advantage though, and finally proposed a draw that Paolo accepted.
Vladymyr Dedobbeleer at second board was also progressively getting a better game against Petr Sochman (1930). He managed to get two connected passed pawns on the queenside, but had to give one back going into a double rook endgame one pawn up. He first refused two draws offers, but in unclear position, a draw was eventually agreed.
Piotr Rapacz (4) had in the meantime lost against the former Belgian women’s champion Simonne Peeters (1680). After keeping the position balanced for a long time, he fell into a trap and had to give up a rook for a bishop. After that, it became more and more difficult to resist to the pressure of the pair of rooks, and Piotr finally had to resign.
On first board, Luis Busquets lost against Gerald Grodent (2012), after his opponent organised an attack with his pawn majority. The analysis revealed that Luis missed a possibility to get some counterattack on the kingside by attacking White’s queen, which could have given him winning chances.
Even though this was an unfortunate day, the team was not too disappointed, as they had not counted on a win in this particular match anyway. Ranked 7th, Europchess 3 will finish the season with three more Brussels derbies (Woluwe, CREB and Anderlecht), and has all chances to secure a spot in the league for next season.
Europchess 4 overcomes Brussels 5
The fourth team was the only one to bring home some points with a 3-1 win against Brussels 5.
On the first board, Jesper Abrahamsen won quickly against Pierre Citti (1741) who blundered a piece in the middle-game and resigned, as there was no compensation whatsoever. On Board 2, Sergio Serrano Samper lost a positional game against Said Boujmil (1650). After the exchange of bishops and knights, the pawn structure was blocked. However, around move 35 a wrong calculation cost Sergio first two pawns and later on the entire game.
On board 3, Paris Sansoglou, paying with black, faced the much higher rated Karl De Smet (1639), who quickly forced him to move his king and give up castling. With advanced pawns on both sides and little mobility, Paris resisted a Queen attack and managed to break the back line of his opponent’s defence by winning two pawns. Continuous pressure paid off and earned Paris a full rook which he managed to keep until his opponent resigned.
On board 4, Benjamin Musall played against Jean-Pierre Gobron (1168) and established a good position after the opening, winning soon two pawns. This allowed him to start an attack on his opponent’s king which finally resulted in a mate, despite his opponent’s attempts to counter-attack on the queenside.
Europchess 4 occupies a good 4th place in Division 5K.