Interclubs 2015-2016 – Round 5

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CREB 1 – Europchess 1 : 3 – 5  +++  Drie Torens 1 – Europchess 2 : 4 – 2  +++  CREB 2 – Europchess 3 : 3 – 1  +++  CREB 4 – Europchess 4 : 2.5 – 1.5 +++

Round 5: Fire alarm in the Palais du Midi

In the fifth round, the Cercle Royal des Echecs de Bruxelles (CREB) hosted three Europchess teams in the Palais du Midi. Around 4.30 the alarm bell rang. As this occurred just one week after the terrorist alert had been set at level 4 in Brussels all players were evacuated from the building. However, the security forces then informed that it was a false alert from the 1st floor. A couple of minutes later – when players had just been back at the boards – a second alarm followed, again wrongly triggered. While this may have affected individual players and their concentration on the game, the entire match went nevertheless ahead. E 1 took a convincing win from CREB 1, while E 3 and E 4 had to give in against CREB 2 and 3. Also the second team got defeated by Division leader Drie Torens near Ghent.

Europchess 1 superior to CREB 1

The first team showed a good performance against a solidly composed CREB 1. On the fourth board, Frank Hoffmeister got an early opening advantage over Philipp Kerkhof (2198) as the latter lost his castling right with Black. Frank then centralised his pieces and started an irresistible attack on the king, which proved successful even without a possible Queen sacrifice in less than 20 moves: 1-0.

Also Jozsef Molnár on board 8 took a deserved win early on. In an unusual opening he won space with White and then intruded on c7 with his knight against Black’s long-castled king. His opponent Geraint Edwards (2008) resigned when he also lost a piece on the kingside: 2-0.

Playing with Black on the 7th board, Radu Stoenescu had worked hard to get a slightly better position against Yousif Eid (2039), but the rook ending then petered out into a draw by move repetition: 2.5-0.5.

Jozsef Barta struggled more on board 5 with Black as Georgy Aragones-Melhem (2193) had a material advantage and the attack over almost the entire game. But when the ending approached, Jozsef mobilised his usual escape technique and managed to equalise the position: 3-1.

On the 2nd board, Tom Wiley added to the score-sheet with a convincing win over CREB’s doyen Yves Duhayon (2216). In a queenless middlegame, Tom accepted an isolated d-pawn with White in exchange for superior piece activity and more space. He kept the grip on the position also in the transition to the endgame where his rook and knight even span a mating net: 4-1.

On the first board Tim Binham delivered a fighting draw against Ruben Akhayen (2287). A dubious piece sacrifice did not pay off until White’s time trouble where Tim got a full rook back. However, he then tried to chase White’s king and had to give the Queen for two rooks due to a miscalculation. White steered the game into a perpetual check, which was good enough for us to win the match: 4.5-1.5.

At this moment it thus mattered less that Pere Moles Palleja had resigned with White an ending with two pieces each against Beksoltan Masgutov (2098) after having correctly sacrificed a piece. The alarm evacuation however led to a mistake – after Pere moved the king to a natural but wrong case, Black had a saving check that led to advantage for black with a white knight stuck at a8: 4.5-2.5.

In return Georgi Tomov held a draw in a rook ending with a pawn down against Denis Luminet (2205) bringing the match to a good 5-3 win over CREB 1. The first team is thus keeping a good place in the upper half of Division 2 B.

Drie Torens knocks out Europchess 2

Travelling to Ghent with a strong composition, Europchess 2 was hopeful to deliver an equal fight against Division leader Drie Torens. However, it turned out that they were simply stronger on the board that day. Playing on the first board against FM Kaleh Khonghaloos (2285), Martin Müller had no problems with Black for a long time. However, he then got under pressure on the kingside, and a march of the h-pawn led to a decisive attack.

Also John Riksten on board 5 was unable to hold against Nick Dubbeldam (1990) and had to resign. In return, Svetlozar Andreev with White was clearly superior to Lydia Dubbeldam (1717), shortening the distance to 2:1. Two draws from Mattias Johansson against Tibo Maes (1995) and from Olafur Hannesson against Bas de Feijter (2015) followed (the latter two played apparently no less than 22 moves theory in a sharp opening line!). This led Benjamin Alberola Mulet fighting against Ian Vandelacluze (2106) a long ending. Unfortunately, the pawn ending proved to be lost, which sealed the win of Drie Torens with 4:2. Europchess 2 is now put back to a middle rank in Division 3 B.

Europchess 3 loses to strong CREB 2

Facing CREB 2, Europchess 3 was roughly equal in playing strength, but got unfortunately still edged out in four difficult endings. On the first board, Johannes Bertram played an interesting line with Black against Mohand Brouri (1985) which gave him an active middle-game position for a pawn. However, when the ending was reached the lacking foot-soldier was missing and cost him the full point.

In return, Luis Parreira on the third board had good winning chances in the endgame against Olivier Caufriez (1886) with two passed pawns in the queenside, while Caufriez’s passed pawn on the kingside was safely blocked. White sacrificed a bishop though for the two black hopefuls, securing a draw.

A lot of drama occurred on the 4th board, where Luis Carlos Busquets fought with White against François Fontigny (1828). While Luis was a pawn up on the queenside, Black commanded a quicker army of passed pawns on the kingside. Endowed with an extra-Queen Black then forced a draw against Luis’ knight and two connected passed pawns, also in view of his very short time left on the clock. With 2-1 the match was thus decided as Kristian Frederiksen on board 2 with White had to fight a difficult piece ending with a pawn down. Accurate play ensured that he went into a drawn position where Kristian’s knight and King could have blocked the only passed pawn from Black. But a last-minute blunder cost Kristian the otherwise deserved draw. With the 1-3 loss E 3 is again back on the pen-ultimate rank in the Division.

Europchess 4 unfortunate against CREB 3

While team captain Jesper Abrahamsen won with Black a nice game against CREB’s senior Paul Demoulin (1831), the other three players were a bit unfortunate. Nikolaj Abrahamsen on board 4 with White overlooked a strong move by Ruben Micciche (1223) and had to resign early on. Bruno Gatta faced the young Panagiotis Kokolakis (1443) who knew the opening theory very well and gained a pawn with White on board 3. Bruno tried to get counter-play in the middlegame and equalised material, but was unable to overcome his opponent. The rook ending was a dead draw. So the result depended on the outcome of the game David Moreno (1716) – Jeremy Rand. Jeremy got into difficulties after the opening, as Black inflicted on his kingside position a doubled f-pawn. With good defensive play Jeremy got back into the game, but then Black gained a bishop and a remaining passed pawn made his day. E 4 is in the middle of the table now after this 1.5-2.5 loss.

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