Interclubs 2013-2014 – Round 10

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Geel 1 – Europchess 1 :  3-5 +++ Oude God Mortsel 1 – Europchess 2 :  4.5-1.5 +++ Anderlecht 3 – Europchess 3 :  4-0 +++ Willebroek 1 – Europchess 4 : 2.5-1.5.

Europchess 1 keeps chances for last round

Playing in Geel, the first team had to win to keep its chances for the last round. And indeed, we lived up to the challenge. It all started with a wild game from Jozsef Barta with Black on board 5 against Ben Tuerlinckx (2045). In the opening, it looked as if White could exert deadly pressure over the open e-file against Jozsef’s uncastled king, but when Black’s queen invaded b2, threatening mate or winning the a1-rook, White had to exchange queens. Jozsef then even won a pawn and could have probably held his own free a-pawn. However, White managed to save the ending – draw.

Similarly, Svetlozar Andreev on board 7 with Black added a draw against Chris Maes (1934). He stood a bit passive in the opening, but managed to push White’s pieces back with creative middlegame play. With both players being low on time a draw was agreed before the time control.

On board 8, John Riksten pressurised John Nuyens (1861) with White in a complicated queenless middlegame where Black had lost his right to castle. Just when John seemed to have gained the upper hand he had to give the exchange. However, his remaining pieces were so active that Black preferred to give it back a few moves later, resulting in another draw.

On the first board, Georgi Tomov faced a tough battle with Black from Wim Luyckx (2156). In a complicated middlegame, Georgi seemed to have gained material with a pseudo-exchange sacrifice, but White got dangerous compensation. Georgi thus decided to give back the pawn, leading to a queen/bishop ending where White had a passed pawn on the b-file. With counter-threats on the kingside, though, Georgi secured the draw: 2-2.

The remaining four games brought clear decisions in our favour. On board 3, Tim Binham with Black took a number of sacrifices from Kadir Nohut (2139) – first a pawn, then a piece. White tried to open lines against Tim’s king, but the latter chose to go to d7, safely defended by his remaining pieces. Once Tim had consolidated the position, his material advantage paid off: 3-2!

Shortly after, Martin Müller took the full point as well. With White he engineered an attacking position against Nicolas Marx (2034) for a pawn. Martin’s pieces were constantly looking at the castled king, and he pushed the d-pawn deep into Black’s camp as well. In the end, Black could not stand the numerous threats: 4-2!

Similarly, on board 2, Tom Wiley steadily mounted the pressure with White against Mathias Philipsen (2145). With a stable space advantage in the centre, Tom could mobilise his pieces on the kingside and “crushed” his opponent’s king position with a timely h4-h5 march. Once he had invaded the crucial g6-point the game was basically won: 5-2.

This left Frank Hoffmeister on board 4 playing the last game against Hanne Goossens (2063). Being White, Frank controlled the game for a long time, and got a better ending with powerful central pawns. However, he overlooked one defensive resource, which cost him a pawn. In a complicated ending, Black converted with a nice trick into a won rook endgame, where the extra b-pawn decided the game. With this only loss of the day the match ended 5-3 in our favour.

Europchess 1 is now on 4th rank, still tied at 13 points with CREB and Namur, the other two promotable teams, but with less board points. In the last round, everything is possible.

Europchess 2 can’t stop division leader Mortsel

Weakened by the absence of three key players, the second team had to face the first-ranked side of Oude God Mortsel, who was able to align all of their regular players. Nonetheless, all six games were hard fought, and in three Europchess were at least partially rewarded.

Luis Carlos Busquets was the first to finish, playing with Black on Board 5 against Bart Van Tichelen (2008). After a typical opening, Luis felt a small advantage but failed to maintain, so the position soon became balanced again. His opponent managed to double Luis pawns in the e-file, which was not necessarily a big advantage. No clear line seemed to be exploitable and on move 26, his opponent offered peace, which Luis accepted.

Also on Board 1, Johannes Bertram, playing with Black against Rene Beniest (2110) had reached an equal position early in the opening. His opponent then decided to open the centre allowing for Black counterplay over the open d-file. After a long and complicated tactical sequence, an opposite-coloured bishop endgame was reached. Beniest declined Johannes’ immediate draw offer, but after 15 more moves, all possible motives to play for a win had disappeared: Draw.

The match then went to Mortsel’s favour, when Luis Parreira had to resign his game with White against Johan T’Sas (2049). After a balanced opening, Luis lost two pawns in the middlegame, which proved decisive in an endgame with reduced material: 1-2.

On Board 6, Dario Maiorani had the tough job of playing Constantin Digulescu (2053), with 6/7 Mortsel’s top scorer so far this season. Playing with White, he earned a small advantage in the opening (a pawn against a slightly better development), but under time pressure (24’ left for 24 moves), he first lost the advantage, then another pawn and finally the resulting rook endgame, in which a draw still seemed possible: 1-3.

Kristian Frederiksen with Black played a sharp, fighting game against Nikolaas Verhulst (2017), in which White had attacking possibilities on the kingside. With time trouble looming, Kristian panicked and misplayed the position, landing him in dire straits. However, with some help from his opponent, he succeeded in drumming up much needed counter play with an exchange sacrifice. As shown by later analysis, it should have been sufficient for a draw, but care was still needed, and the game ended abruptly, when Black, sadly enough after having made the time control, blundered into a four move mate. 1-4.

José María Ramos Florido played on the 4th board, with White, against Pascal De Kaey (2007). His opponent played aggressive from the beginning of the game and José María replied in a solid but belligerent way. José María was slightly better after the opening and in the middle-game he sacrificed a pawn for initiative. When his opponent proposed a draw, José María refused, in order to fight for the win as the team was already behind in the score. However, the promising attack was disappearing and the position became uncertain and even worse. When all other games and thus the match were already decided, and with less of 10 minutes for both players for 12 moves, José María offered a draw which was accepted by his opponent – considering the course of the game, a fair result.

With the convincing 4.5-1.5 win, Oude God Mortsel has excellent chances to secure promotion to Division 2 in the last match. Europchess 2 remains in 7th, without any danger of relegation.

Europchess 3 without chance against Anderlecht 3

Somewhat weakened by the absence of its core players called to play in other Team 2, Europchess 3 faced Anderlecht 3, second to last of the division, who were however able to line up a strong team with players rated rated between 1852 and 1985, in order to fight against relegation.

Ventsislav Petrov, Vladymyr Dedobbeleer, Jeremy Rand and Paris Sansoglou respectively played against Benoît Rousseau (1985), Sophie Brion (1922), Dinko Giadrosic (1870) and Julien Campeert (1852).

On the fourth board, after a relatively balanced opening and middle game, Paris overlooked a trap which cost him exchange. His much higher-rated opponent steadily increased his advantage and did not allow any come-back: 0-1.  On Board 1, Ventsislav rapidly lost a pawn followed by a bishop – enough material for his opponent to calmly assure the win: 0-2.

Jeremy on his side resisted well and maintained an equal position against the experienced Dinko Giadrosic. However, his king unfortunately got trapped in an unexpected mating net, which brought the score to a decisive 0-3.

Last to play, Vladymyr on second board had progressively guilt up a strategically good position against Sophie Brion, but suddenly destroyed it with a big mistake. His opponent still had to play accurately to assure the win, but made no more mistakes. Even though repeated discussions between her and another Anderlecht player about this still on-going game, which stopped only on Vladymyr’s request, gave the encounter a regrettable and unsportsmanlike note, the match ended in a clear Anderlecht victory of 0-4.

With this defeat, Europchess 3 drops to 8th rank in Division 4D and is not totally sure yet of staying in the league, as three teams can still theoretically overtake Europchess: Geraardsbergen 2 (7 pts.), Anderlecht 3 and Boitsfort 3 (both at 6 pts.).

Europchess 4 loses narrowly to Willebroek 1

The fourth team completed the rather tough Sunday with a narrow 1.5-2.5 defeat against Willebroek 1.

On board 1, Jesper Abrahamsen played a quiet game with black against Jan Verbruggen (1528). White’s strategy was to exchange pieces and draw the game. After 26 moves, White had a small advantage with three pawns against two on the queen side. Jesper proposed draw which was accepted.

Bruno Gatta had a good fight on second board Jozef Braet (1378), looking towards a winning endgame, when he lost a rook through a knight fork – frustrating.

On Board 3, Benjamin Musall managed to keep his game against Chris Noppe (1375) very balanced until the late middlegame and even had a passed pawn on the f-file. Unfortunately, he then lost a piece which cost him the entire game.

Nikolaj Abrahamsen played a good attacking game against Andre Buggenhoudt (1296) and won several pawns. The opponent abandoned when the advantage had come to four or five pawns.

Before the last match, Europchess 4 occupies rank 4 in Division 5K.

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