Interclubs 2014-2015 – Round 5

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TS Mechelen 1 – Europchess 1  :  4 – 4  +++  Temse 3 – Europchess 2  :  2.5 – 3.5  +++  Opwijk 3 – Europchess 3  :  3 – 1  +++  Caissa Europe 2 – Europchess 4  :  2.5 – 1.5  +++

Fine results for the first and second teams  +++

Europchess 1 draws with Technical School Mechelen in tough fight

This round promised a tense match given that TSM 1 had also won every round so far. Nevertheless, Europchess 1 was confident to play for a win as we had put together a very strong composition. On the other hand, TSM had constantly imposed themselves also over nominally stronger teams, so we were warned about their real potential. And indeed, TSM 1 started showing teeth on board 8, when Joep Van Der Fraenen (2089) got the better play against Matija Suskovic with Black. When the position opened up on the kingside, Black’s bishops and Queen invaded White’s king position, leading to quick loss for us: 0-1.

On board 6, though, Frank Hoffmeister cashed in the full point from Philip Vanparys (2156) with White. He got a favourable position out of the opening, when Black’s central knight was pushed back. Black tried to solve this by tactical means which cost him an exchange for a pawn though. When Frank demobilised Black’s centre and won a central pawn, the game was over: 1-1.

On board 7, Jozsef Barta followed with a draw from Peter Mangelschots (2095). In the middlegame Jozsef got under pressure when White pressured against g7 over the open g-file with a rook and the long-diagonal with a bishop. In this difficult position, Jozsef found the best way to surrender a pawn, namely to go into a rook ending. The activity of his rook neutralised White’s material advantage with a draw as the natural outcome: 1.5.-1.5.

Another rook endgame had occurred in the game between Rafael De Coninck (2160) and Tom Wiley on board 5. Both players had chosen very solid lines which ended up with a 2-1 pawn structure on the queenside vs. a 3-2 pawn structure on the kingside. Some further simplifications produced for White a passed b3-pawn, but Tom’s rook was so well placed that White’s king could not actually support it to play for a win: 2-2.

On board 3, Laszlo Hetey outplayed Filip Vanlerberghe (2195) with Black in the early middlegame, winning two pawns. However, with accurate play, White seemed to equalise into a drawish ending with the heavy pieces. Laszlo continued to push though, and arrived at a won pawn ending: 3-2.

Shortly thereafter, Georgi increased the lead with a nice win over Marc Boeykens (2205). Playing White, Georgi forced a pawn-weakness on e6 and controlled the board with better placed pieces. Black then sacrificed a knight for two pawns in the hope of getting some attacking chances against the king. This proved illusionary, and Georgi transposed the game into a won ending with two knights and two connected passed pawns vs. a rook, crowned by a beautiful mate: 4-2.

Unfortunately, the remaining games turned against us, though. On the 1st board, Carl Buhr faced Mathias De Wachter (2300) who had a 100% score so far in the season. Carl got a reasonable position with Black, but in mutual time trouble the balance tilted into White’s favour. White survived the tactical tricks and emerged with two pawns up in a double-rook ending which could not be saved: 4-3.

This left the outcome of the match in the hands of Timothy Binham, playing White against Jan Gooris (2169). After the opening, White played on the kingside while Black was organising counter-play on the queenside. In a double-edged and rather complicated position, both players entered into a time-trouble where Tim gave a piece for attacking chances. Unfortunately, he missed a perpetual check possibility and ended up with an inferior position after the time control. After further tactical skirmishes, Black prevailed, gaining another piece with his last pawn. A few moves later Tim resigned, not asking the opponent to show him the mate with knight and bishop v. King in four minutes left on the clock.  With this gesture of fair play the match ended in a 4:4, keeping the tension in Division 2 fully alive.

Europchess 2 outplays Temse 3

Having lined up the strongest team so far this season, Team 2 was hopeful to score another win. However, the task turned out much harder than the average rating difference of almost 200 points would have let believe.

On Board 5, Mattias Johansson had the black pieces against Günter Calle (1757). Mattias had a slightly worse position after the opening and had to neutralise his opponent’s play by exchanging pieces. The players agreed to a draw in a very blocked position with a knight and six pawns each.

Svetlozar Andreev on Board 4 opted for a solid opening with White against Astrid Barbier (1800). In a closed position he gradually increased his attacking potential on the queenside and in the centre. His opponent opted for some exchanges and tactics, but lost as a result a pawn and also weakened the black squares on the kingside. With a pawn down and lost ending, Svet’s opponent made a mistake and the game ended quickly, giving Europchess the lead.

On Board 2, Pere Moles played against Wiebke Barbier (1986), a young but very experienced player who has represented Belgium in the last two Chess Olympiads. Barbier manoeuvred to put pressure in the queenside but Pere reacted energetically sacrificing a pawn to open the centre and exploit a dangerous knight pin. The position proved very difficult with several pieces hanging and the game was finally decided by a tactical blow, exploiting the pin and the weakness of the back row to pocket a bishop.

Then, in the time-trouble period some worries arose: Jozsef Molnar, on Board 3, playing with Black against Bert Boons (1946), overlooked a knight fork and had to give up and Johannes Bertram on Board 6 had squandered his clear advantage with White against Marc Vandermeiren (1703) on Board 6.

Fortunately, Martin Müller then clinched the team victory with his win against Patrick Boons on Board 1. Martin played a with black in a calm opening variation where he had to play against white’s Bishop pair. Martin sought to keep the position closed and attacked with his knights using different good outposts. His opponent offered 2 draws which indicated clearly that he was not in the mood for a long endgame battle. This was the reason why Martin continued. His attempts to simplify the position by exchanging pieces only played into Martin’s cards. The final pawn endgame was won because he could force his opponent with Zugzwang to abandon his pawns.

Johannes in the meantime had even managed to end up in a difficult endgame with three connected pawns against a lonely rook. This should have been a draw, but precise play is needed. Shortly before the maximum game duration of six hours was reached, Johannes did not find the right continuations anymore and lost.

Final score: 3.5-2.5.

Europchess 3 loses to Opwijk 3

The third team suffered a 1-3 defeat in Opwijk. Edit Köllö scored the only point on Board 2 against Sam Van Zeebroeck (1787), while José María Ramos Florido lost against Yordi De Block (1851), Luis Carlos Busquets Perez to Fabio De Block (1782) and Alex Amelotti to Robbert-Jan Koornstra (1014).

Europchess 4 narrowly defeated by Caissa Europe 3

The fourth team had good winning chances in Mons against Caissa Europe , a young all under-20 team.

On the first board, Jesper Abrahamsen played Black against Pierre-Christophe Abrassart (1526). White started out well, castling quickly. In his attempt to take initiative however, he also weakened some squares in the centre, queen and king side which Jesper could use for a well-planned attack. When White was a pawn down and positionally outplayed he abandoned.

On the second board, Jeremy Rand played white against Lucas De le Court (1495). After an equal opening Jeremy built up strong pressure on the kingside. However, with both sides in time trouble, pieces were swapped leaving a drawn end-game with no way through for Jeremy.

On the third board, Paris Sansoglou played black against Dorian Godart (1361). After a promising start where Paris had managed to put the opponent’s queen in difficulties, it all went progressively wrong when his queen had to be exchanged. Paris still had some counter-play chances but unfortunately did not grasp them and finally had to resign.

On the fourth board Adrian played white against Kaleb Akuatse Angel (1360). Adrian started the game with some inaccuracies in the opening, but eventually got into an equal position. In the middlegame, a mistake cost him a Bishop and the rest was a hopeless attempt to defend.

Final Score: 1.5.-2.5.

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