Europchess 1 – Eisden/MSK-Dilsen 1 : 5.5 – 2.5 +++ Europchess 2 – CREC 2 : 3.5 – 2.5 +++ Europchess 3 – 2 Fous du Diogène 1 : 3 – 1 +++ Europchess 4 – Geerardsbergen 3 : 3.5 – 0.5
Four match wins to conclude a successful season
Europchess 1 runner-up of the second Division!
All four teams took the full match points in the final round of the Interclubs, thereby concluding a successful season: E 1 finished second in Division 2 A! E 2 went up a couple of places in Division 3 C, ending at a very comfortable rank 4! E 3 also found itself in a secure middle place in Division 4 F with rank 6! In Division 5 D, E 4 finally ended with a deserved rank 6 as well. All in all, this concludes probably the best ever chess season for Europchess so far. But, as the German rock band Scorpions already knew: ‘The best is yet to come, oooh’!
Europchess 1 scores solid win over Maasmechelen
With Eisden 1 from Maasmechelen, Europchess 1 faced an opponent against whom we always had tight matches in the past. This time, we were favorites given that our guests were unable to gather their usual composition as of board five. But surprisingly, the points were made at the top! On board 1, Georgi Tomov took the initiative with White early on against Patrick Driessens (2315). Black tried to generate counterplay by opening the h-file against Georgi’s king, but White’s forces were much better organized for a devastating attack: 1-0.
On board 7, Matija Šušković got an opening advantage against Eric-Jan Morren (1831), but overlooked a combination that cost him a pawn. When he untangled his pieces, it appeared that Black’s doubled extra-pawn was not worth much so that a draw was agreed: 1.5-0.5.
Equally Jozsef Barta on board 5 accepted the sharing of points with Raf Mesotten (1871). Jozsef had the advantage on the black squares and a better knight against Black’s white-squared bishop. However, with a clever pawn sacrifice Black brought his bishop back into play and organized mating threats which caused a perpetual check: 2.0-1.0.
Around that time Laszlo Hetey, playing with Black on the second board, had pocketed the full point from Benjamin Nachbar (2196). A rather harmless opening from White led to an equal position where White adventured taking a poisoned pawn on the queenside. In order not to lose the Queen, White had to give a knight without compensation: 3-1.
On the third board, Timothy Binham had tried a rare line with White against Fabian Miesen (2165). Both sides accepted a pawn weakness but always kept the dynamic equality. When most of the pieces were exchanged the peace treaty was signed: 3.5-1.5.
With Martin Müller winning on board 8 with Black against Robbie Mocsnik this decided the match. Martin opted for a solid position with less space which paid off. His opponent first lost a pawn in the queenside and in the middlegame complications also the exchange, which proved decisive: 4.5-1.5.
Eduardo Semanat Planas played for a win with Black against Gino de Mon (1833), being a pawn up in a knight ending. However, his opponent could keep Eduardo’s f- and h-pawn under control resulting in a deserved draw: 5-2.
Finally, Frank Hoffmeister and Marcel Frenken (2161) played a draw on board 4. Frank had gotten a promising middlegame position with Black where his pieces were well positioned, while White was just defending. In the decisive moment, Frank tried to convert his advantage with a doubtful knight sacrifice to get a king attack instead of playing the straightforward winning move. However, his opponent found a clever defense, stopping Frank’s attack. In the couple of moves before time control Frank managed, though, to get a second pawn for the piece and the draw was agreed in an unclear ending with Queen plus 5 pawns v. Queen and knight plus 3 pawns. With this 5.5-2.5 win Europchess secured 2nd place in Division 2 A as Anderlecht 1 took the title with a very narrow 4.5-3.5 win over Amay 2, who was sent to the 3rd division as punishment for not taking at least half a point from Anderlecht.
Europchess 2 beats Charleroi 2
In the fight between two teams with roughly equal ELO average, Europchess 2 kept the two matchpoints with fine play. On board 1, the direction was set as Jozsef Molnárs opponent (Alexandre Lalau, 2084) forfeited the point. On board 6, Kristian Frederiksen pressed hard with Black against Philippe Majewski (1812) to win a backward pawn, but as this remained White’s only weakness a draw was inevitable. Luis Parreira opened the lines with White against Marc Hanset’s (1865) king, but Black kept control over the position, steering it to an equal ending: draw.
Unfortunately, Johannes Bertram became a victim of his nerves against Vadim Jamar (1872) on the fourth board. Johannes got a comfortable middlegame position with Black and pressed on the kingside. When time got short, he found a strong exchange sacrifice. Instead of deciding the game with another strong move though, he transposed into losing pawn endgame.
En revanche, Mattias Johansson got the upper hand with White against Axel Denivet (1888). In the beginning Black seized the initiative, but over-optimistically pushed a pawn to f4, giving White a marvelous knight-square on e4. Mattias then opened the game with unequal material and outplayed his opponent. This victory secured the match points, so that Svet Andreev could be content with a draw on the 2nd board with Black against Jean-Claude Gilles (1965). Both players played calmly, exchanged pieces over on open file and could not achieve a decisive advantage in the ending either. With this 3.5-2.5, Europchess 2 moved a few ranks up in the table and finished the season with a very good 4th rank.
Europchess 3 surprises against 2 Fous du Diogène 1
Nominally, E 3 with an average of under 1700 was the clear outsider against the first team of 2 Fous du Diogène (average 1953). However, Caissa was with the home team on that Sunday. First, Luis Busquets’ opponent Steve Yody (1973) got sick and forfeited. Second, Vladymyr Dedobelleer played enthusiastic chess with White against Nicolae Atanasiu (1935), winning material and then scoring the full point in a beautiful attack over the long diagonal.
Equally Øyvind Bø outplayed Cristian Vasile-Bonciog with Black. The latter resigned after a bad oversight had cost too much material. In this situation, it mattered less that Jesper Abrahamsen was defeated with White by Valeriu Nedelcu (1998) in a sharp game. With the 3-1 win Europchess established itself with rank 6 in the Division 4 F, avoiding any relegation match by far.
Europchess 4 outplays Geraardsbergen 3
Being confronted with the 3rd team of Geraardsbergen, the fourth team showed a good performance. Paris Sansoglou with White on the top board held a draw against Willy Lefebvre (1531), while Bruno Gatta, Nikolaj Abrahamsen and Adrian Filoteanu won their games against Louise Vanderstappen (1176), Michel Vandervennet (1030) and Celien Vanderstappen (1009), respectively. This brought the 4th team to a deserved 6th rank in the final standing, concluding a nice season.