Europchess 1 – Eisden/MSK-Dilsen 1 : 2 – 6 +++ Europchess 2 – Dworp 1 : 2.5 – 3.5 +++ Europchess 3 – Woluwe 1 : 2.5 – 1.5 +++ Europchess 4 – Halle 1 : 2.5 – 1.5 +++
Round 4: Playing chess in extra-ordinary circumstances +++
Following the setting of alert 4 level in Brussels on Saturday 21 November, it became impossible to play chess in the usual Commission premises. With the agreement of the national arbiter, Luc Cornet, and the help of Mieke Maeckelbergh from Halle and Raymond van Melsen from Woluwé (thanks again to both!) we were thus holding the matches in the premises of our opponents. In a sign of great sportsmanship, all 22 Europchess players confirmed that they were also playing under these extra-ordinary circumstances. While the two first teams did not succeed, E 3 took two important match points from Woluwé.
Europchess 1 suffers heavy defeat in Eisden
For the first team, this involved travelling to Eisden in Maasmechelen, a very solid team with many Dutch players. Moreover, on that Sunday, our opponents were able to line up their strongest composition to date. And indeed, the developments on the boards proved the worse. On board 2, Patrick Driessens (2269) pressured Timothy Binham with Black until the moment that Tim gave his Queen for a rook and a piece. However, the counter-play was not dangerous enough: 0-1.
Also the Black-game on board 6 between Eduardo Semanat Planas and Ruud van Meegen (2120) became difficult at an early phase. Eduardo’s opening activity on the queenside looked promising, but after the exchange of queens his pawns became vulnerable. Careful White play cost him the exchange and the game: 0-2.
On board 4, Georgi Tomov faced an unusual opening from Fabian Miesen (2238) which led to a difficult position with Black. In the middlegame the position opened up with chances for both sides, but the ending after time control got lost: 0-3.
The only Black player who could reverse this trend was Martin Müller on board 8. His opponent Gino de Mon (1978) tried to keep an extra-pawn on the queenside at the expense of a weakened kingside. Martin diligently overwhelmed White there and won back material with interest, gaining the first board point.
So what about the White games? Well, Tom Wiley on board 3 got a fairly comfortable game against Joost Hetzel (2246) early on. He dominated his opponent on the white squares while Black did not have any counterplay. Tom’s impeccable technique then brought him the full point. Unfortunately, that was the last good news of that afternoon.
Carl Buhr on the first board struggled against Joep Nabuurs (2293) after a premature action in the opening. Black could post a strong knight on b3, disorganising White’s pieces. When Black then opened up the position, his superior piece activity proved decisive: 2-4.
On board 5 Frank Hoffmeister put pressure on Ynze Mengerink (2125) and could have won two pieces for a rook in the opening. However, both players overlooked the tactical trick and White only had some positional pressure, which he converted into a slightly better ending. However, in time pressure, he took risks and allowed Black to get an advance h-pawn who promoted with a nice tactical resource: 2-5.
Finally, Radu Stoenescu on board seven also threw away his middlegame advantage over Wolfgang de Cauter (2049). Rather than winning a pawn Radu tried to organise an attack on the kingside, but weakened his own king position at the same time. This brought the match to an end with a clear 2-6 defeat, burying all aspirations to move up to Division 1 at the same time early on in the season. Thanks to its good board points, E 3 is placed on rank 4 in the table.
Europchess 2 gives in to Dworp 1
Europchess 2 suffered from bad luck in Halle against Dworp 1. While Jozsef Molnár had to give in against their top-scorer Serge Vanderwaeren (2216), Benjamin Alberola and Olafur Hannesson both scored convincing wins on boards 2 and 3 against Diederik Lot (1948) and Frank Denys (1939), respectively. Olafur won a pawn in the middlegame and converted it duly in the endgame. Also Kristian Frederiksen delivered a half-point with a draw against Geert Maeckelbergh (1824). However, the two remaining games from Luis Parreira on board six against Filip Van de Velde (1535) and Jose Maria Ramos Florido against Walter De Reymaeker (1923) on board 4, got lost. Luis had good winning chances, but overlooked a trick of his opponent, whereas José María had to play the entire game with very little time on the clock due to a GPS problem of finding the location in good time. Despite this unfortunate 2.5-3.5 loss E2 is still on rank 3 in the Division.
Europchess 3 scores an important win over Woluwé 1
Europchess 3 played against Woluwé 1 with the view to make its bad start with three consecutive losses in the first three rounds forgotten. This time Mattias Johansson reinforced the team since the opposite team was composed once again by its first crew: Europchess 3 is the only club in Division 4 B with a third team, while all others play with their first or second team. And this decision eventually paid off well. On boards 2 and 4 Luis and Carlo quickly got nice advantages with Black. Carlo overplayed Wilfrid Rampelbergh (1636), and Luis scored an overwhelming victory against the much higher ranked Manolis Grigoriou (1907). Unfortunately, Vladymyr on third board took a pawn, but forgot to castle and develop his position. He thus lost the point to the experienced Gérard Burnay (1756). However with the two points already in the pocket, Mattias on first board offered the draw to Verbist in a better position. The latter could only accept it, even though this meant the loss of the match for his him. For E 3, the match brought the first victory to the team, moving up three ranks in Division 4 B.
Europchess 4 ahead of Halle 1
Equally, E 4 took the match points from Halle 1. Although Louis van Duuren (1881) overcame Jesper Abrahamsen on the first board, this was not enough for our opponents. Øyvind Bø got a strong and winning attack with Black on the kingside with Black against Sonja Van der Voorde (1547) and Nikolaj Abrahamsen outplayed Rashed Rab (1020). In this circumstances it was important that Jeremy Rand held a draw in a long ending against Robert Huysman (1523). Inaccurate play under time pressure had left Jeremy three pawns down but calm nerves and poor play by his opponent in the endgame allowed Jeremy to escape with a draw, securing a 2.5-1.5 win for the team. E 4 has thus moved to rank 4 in Division 5 J.