Interclubs 2014-2015 – Round 1

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NLS Lommel 1 – Europchess 1 : 2.5 – 5.5  +++  CRELEL 2 – Europchess 2 : 3.5 – 2.5  +++  DK Leuven 1 – Europchess 3 : 3.5 – 0.5  +++  Leuze 2 – Europchess 4 : 0.5 – 3.5 +++

Europchess scores convincing win over weakened Lommel

In the first round of the chess season 2014-2015, the first team pocketed both match points in Lommel 1. While the match was roughly equals on the 1st four boards, we clearly prevailed in the lower boards. On board 6, Martin Müller outplayed Vincent Schepens (1774) with White. He first won a pawn with a knight fork and later on the exchange. Martin’s passed a-pawn easily decided the game for us: 1-0.

Jozsef Barta on board 4 gained space in the opening with White against Albert Schenning (2000). With a little combination à la Capablanca he then snatched Black’s most important central pawn, after which Black’s position collapsed: 2-0.

Playing Black against Kim Stessens (1573) on board 7, Pere Moles Palleja created some threats in the centre, but with accurate play White kept the balance. Getting short on time, Pere accepted the draw offer of his opponent also in view of the fact that the other boards looked promising: 2.5-0.5.

On board 8, Ismo Ulvila obtained the bishop pair against Yasin Polat (1568) in an irregular opening, but the position remained locked till move 20. Inspired by recent studies of Petrosian’s games, Ismo decided to sacrifice an exchange that also included the exchange of queens. Instead of giving back the material with weaknesses in the endgame, Black decided to hang on where the white minor pieces ruled the board and black’s king position was compromised. White’s better piece co-ordination soon netted him 4 pawns and after the white rook penetrated the 7th rank, with most of the pieces still on board black no longer could avoid being mated by R+N+B at either g7, g8 or h7: 3.5-0.5.

Against that comfortable lead, it was less of significance that Georgi Tomov suffered the only loss on board 1 against Alan van der Heijden (2274). Georgi got under pressure in the opening with Black and lost a pawn. He tried to recover it with tactical means, but White secured the more dynamic piece play which decided in his favour when Georgi got short on time: 3.5-1.5.

Tom Wiley on board 2 then added another half point with White against Roy Schoemans (2247). After a calm opening Tom’s middle game plan with White consisted of playing with the “good” knight over the “bad” bishop which had to keep an eye on his isolated e4-pawn all the time. Tom then duly conquered it, but in the ensuing pawn ending Black could build a fortress where Tom’s extra doubled pawn did not make the difference: 4-2.

Facing Jimmy Geboers (1906) on board 5, Matija Suskovic then completed team victory with a tight game. He got a strategical advantage in the middlegame but forgot to play against White’s bad bishop. White then won a pawn on the queenside which gave him a dangerous passed pawn on the c-file. In return, though, Matija pushed his h-pawn to h1, winning the exchange. Taking advantage of some more inaccuracies afterwards, Matija then converted his material advantage into a full point: 5-2.

Frank Hoffmeister finished shortly afterwards with another draw, bringing the final standing to a clear 5.5-2.5 victory. Wessel van Kessel (2001) had shown no ambition with White and tried to simplify the game. Frank got a better ending with a bishop dominating a knight and a weak White pawn on h3, but this was not enough to win the position as White found an accurate defence. Frank transposed the game into a drawn pawn ending, thereby agreeing to an obvious draw rather than trying his chances in an only slightly better rook ending.

Europchess 2 loses narrowly after missing chances

The second team suffered an unfortunate defeat in Liège against CRELEL 2. Against the nominally stronger opponents the match started out badly.

On board 5, Kristian Pade Frederiksen played with the black pieces against Olivier Wlogalski (1950). White had a dangerous initiative on the queenside, which Kristian sought to counterbalance with an attack on the kingside. Things tipped decisively in White’s favour, when around move 20 Black allowed the exchange of his dark squared Bishop, a lousy piece which in the given circumstances, however, defended pawns of vital importance. This allowed the white queen to penetrate with material gains, at the same time crucially defending the dark squares in White’s position. An all-out sacrificial attempt by Kristian to gain at least a perpetual was coolly refuted by White: 0-1.

Also on Board 1, John Riksten suffered a loss with Black against Gregory Pirard (2100). Still on the paths of theory, John had allowed the White queen to capture a rook, hoping to immobilise or even trap it in the corner. However, in a complicated position, this did not work out and eventually the material advantage gave White the win: 0-2.

The team got some hope at the time control, when Johannes Bertram won his game on Board 3, with Black against Daniel Timmermans (2008). Johannes had come out of the opening with a harmonious development and a solid positional plus. As his opponent’s pieces were somewhat vulnerable, Johannes decided to open the position. Thanks to a ‘zwischenzug’ he won an exchange, and soon afterwards some more material which decided the game: 1-2.

José María Ramos Florido played with White on board 6 against Leopold Remont (1949).  As usual, José María started attacking, and could have got an advantage from the opening.  His opponent was forced to exchange a piece for 3 pawns.  After clearing the position of all danger, only José María has winning chances, but the position’s potential was finally not enough.  Thus, the draw was unavoidable : 1.5-2.5. All eyes then turned towards the last two pending games of Mattias Johansson and Luis Parreira, where Europchess still needed 1.5 points.

On board 2, Mattias Johansson with the white pieces had lost a pawn just before the time control against Anton Bakels (2021). Thanks to an advanced passed pawn, Mattias had enough counterplay to keep the game level, and analysis showed that with very precise play, even an advantage would have been possible. In a position where Mattias’ strong knight compensated for being a pawn down, a draw was agreed.

Also on Board 4, the game lasted until way into the sixth hour between Luis Parreira with White against Fabien Krzewinski (1977). In an equal position, Black allowed White to sacrifice his bishop on h7 and gain a decisive advantage. Unfortunately, Luis did not find the mate and allowed the simplification into an endgame without real winning chances on either side. Luis still tried to play for 30 more moves but Black defended against all possible threats. The match ended thus with a narrow 2.5-3.5, somewhat disappointing as especially the three White games could have resulted in more than draws.

Europchess 3 outclassed by Dark Knights Leuven

The third team played against Dark Knights Leuven, a smaller club in Leuven, mainly composed of students from the Leuven University. Europchess visited them already two years ago and keeps a bad memory of its loss in a dark chess room located in a cellar behind a bar (wine not included). This time the location was slightly better in the front bar area but still with no window. The club apologised for the bad reception as it still could not offer a better place.

While last time there was only one team of Leuven, driven by its core player Dimitri Allaert (2183), this year, DK Leuven aligns three teams, amongst which one in the 4th division with an average rating about 300 points higher than Europchess.

On the first board, Luis Busquets playing with Black, initiated an interesting combination of moves in a balanced position against Allaert. But in the darkness of the room and of the board, he overlooked a direct attack on his rook which led to material losses. Against a player of that calibre it was impossible to recover the material and the game was won for White.

Vladymyr Dedobbeleer on board 2 played with white against Pieter Reyniers (2094). His opening lead to a stable game, although after some moves Vladymyr lost a pawn, but in compensation he forced two weak doubled pawns to his opponent. He soon managed to get one pawn back, and the game went balanced again. He thus offered the draw which was accepted by Black, and this saved the honour for the team. Further analysis between both players confirmed the drawn position.

In the meantime on fourth board, Alex Amelotti had to resign with White against Ignace Casier (1596). In a complicated game with no exchange of pieces before the 20th move, Alex managed to have a good attacking initiative, but his position unfortunately collapsed after a crucial mistake losing a piece.

Finally, Ventsislav Petrov with Black on board 3 against Jonathan Eben (1755) also got a balanced game. However once he lost a pawn, followed by a second and then a third. He fought on for a while but eventually the material disadvantage proved decisive.

Final score: 0.3-3.5.

Europchess 4 starts with a win against Leuze 2

Jesper Abrahamsen, playing with Black on Board 1 played Laurent Cotton (1240). In a closed opening, White obtained attacking chances, but black managed to push white back and avoid any pitfalls. The middle game was closed and a draw was agreed.

Paris Sansoglou on Board 2 played with White against Lise Decellier (1150). After a stable middle game he managed to create opportunities with his advanced pawns and forced his opponent to a mistake. After losing a rook, Black conceded the game after a few more moves.

People say that in chess, the winner is whoever makes the last but one mistake. This law was not respected in Bruno Gatta’s game with Black against Florian Mastroserio (1150) on Board 3. White made a big mistake and lost a rook for free. Bruno then was a bit too much of a kind gentleman, making a mistake too, allowing his opponent a good attacking position. Nevertheless, after precise defending of his king, Bruno’s very young opponent eventually resigned. This win contributed to the team’s victory although Bruno was not particularly proud of this display.

On Board 4, Nikolaj Abrahamsen scored an early point with White against Jonas Mastroserio (1150). After a calm opening, Black blundered his queen, and was checkmated about only one hour into the game.

Final score: 3.5-0.5.

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