Europchess 3 holds division in epic game against Boitsfort 3.
In view of preparing the play-off match to avoid relegation from division 4D, Europchess looked for the strongest possible team to compose from the team roster. However, according to the rules, only those players who had participated in at least three matches with Europchess 3 in this championship were eligible. This meant that only 5 players came into consideration. Fortunately, four were available:
1. José María Ramos Florido
2. Ventsislav Petrov
3. Luis Carlos Busquets Pérez
4. Vladymyr Dedobbeleer
On the other hand, Boitsfort 3 presented the following team, which was not the theoretically strongest one eligible:
1. Yves Herpigny (1724)
2. Pierre Fox (1713)
3. David Kusman (1618)
4. Valentin Duringer (1879).
The match took place on neutral ground, at Anderlecht. The team was highly motivated and took up the battle immediately: José María chose his traditional defence and met a very closed approach from his opponent. Ventsislav swore that he was going to win. Luis Carlos faced an unorthodox opening which resulted in a closed position. Vladymyr started in great fashion with his usual opening and won the exchange in short time. During the whole encounter, all players carefully followed each of the four games.
Luis Carlos, playing with Black, gained control of the d4 square, which had been weakened by the pawn moves c4 and e4. Unfortunately he then made a bad move and his opponent used it to exchange a knight for Luis’ light-squared bishop, which was key to neutralise its counterpart in white’s fianchetto. A rook entered in Luis’ 8th rank and the position, although difficult to improve for the white thanks to perfect positioning of a black knight on d4, was not good. Then Luis’ opponent repeated a moved and Luis had a look to the status of the other three games without having moved. Since his game was risky to continue and on two of the other three boards there seemed to be winning chances he offered a draw to his opponent, which was accepted : 0,5 – 0,5.
The focus of the fight went then to José María who had had to face a strong attack from his opponent. Considering how things were going (Ventsislav, Luis and Vladymyr doing well), he had proposed a draw. After thinking for 20 minutes his opponent refused and continued playing. José María then penetrated the seventh rank with his two rooks and had many possibilities including pawn promotion and mating threats. Just a couple of minutes after Luis’ draw, José María saw the right combination leading to a mate in four: 1,5 – 0,5.
Meanwhile Ventsislav was facing quick development from his opponent. Nevertheless he had doubled a pawn to his opponent. Benefitting from a mistake he won material and approached the ending with a pawn up and well-coordinated pieces. Ventsislav obliged his opponent to swap the remaining rooks and transpose to a pawn ending which was won with correct play as there was no way to stop the promotion of White’s pawns. This sealed the team’s victory: 2,5 – 0,5.
Vladymyr had lost his opening advantage and was down a piece. He had still gone on fighting in a pretty hopeless position, but when the victory was reached, he could calmly surrender to his opponent without consequences for the team. Final score: 2,5 – 1,5.
The tension of a play-off match between two teams exactly tied for relegation was a new and epic experience for the team and, with the good outcome, it will remain in the memory of Europchess for quite some time!