Interclubs 2016-2017 – Round 2

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Leuven 1  -  Europchess 1  :  3.5 – 4.5  +++  Soignies 1  -  Europchess 2  :  1 – 5  +++  2 Fous Diogène 1  -  Europchess 3  :  2 – 2  +++  Leuven 4  -  Europchess 4  :  0 – 4  +++

Round 2: Europchess unbeaten

+++ In Round 2, all the four teams scored important points. While the first, second and fourth teams grounded their opponents from Leuven and Soignies, the third team held a good draw against a much higher rated Excelsior 1. That means that Europchess is still quasi-unbeaten, if one neglects for the moment the unfortunate loss of the 1st team in round 1.

Europchess 1 wins against Leuven 1

Hosted by Leuven 1 in a windowless side room of a café, Europchess 1 kept the direction with a narrow 4.5-3.5 win. On board 3, Tom Wiley got the bishop pair already on move 5 with Black against Jonas Verheyden (2067), but White gained the initiative with an interesting pawn sacrifice keeping Tom’s king the centre. Tom then gave back the pawn and exchanged queens, arriving at a level position in which a draw was agreed.

Less successful was Frank Hoffmeister on board 4 against Romain Sloetmaekers (2038). Frank missed a good opportunity in the opening with White to put tactical pressure on his opponent, being content with a slight positional advantage only. The latter then disappeared after the exchange of many pieces, leading to a Queen + knight ending. Black then advanced his 3 vs. 2 pawn majority on the queenside, leading to a full point after an inaccurate move from White.

On the first board, Tim Binham defended well with Black against Roel Goossens (2190). White had put some pressure on Black’s structure with more space and more active pieces. However, after a tactical oversight, Tim won a pawn for which White only had nebulous compensation. In Goossens’ time trouble, Tim then went for a perpetual check, splitting the point.

His neighbour, Georgi Tomov, outplayed Eddy van Espen (2090) on the second board. After a nice exchange sacrifice on e6 and netting a pawn on g6, Black’s king became vulnerable. In order to prevent a mate by a Bishop/Queen battery, Black gave back the exchange but was unable to hold: 2-2.

Luckily, Matija Suskovic followed with another win on board 5 with Black against Thomas Massoels (1950). Having achieved a slight positional advantage after an equal opening, he took a tactical risk by pocketing an exchange. His opponent could attack his king with queen and knight: however, he did not find the right continuation and when Matija’s king had arrived on f3 (!) it was suddenly White’s king that could not escape the mate anymore: 3-2.

Unfortunately for us, Pere Moles Palleja on board 7 could not bring his Black game to the same finishing line. He had played very well in the middlegame, winning back a gambit pawn and invading the position of Koen Delaere (1861). However, before time control a piece got lost, which proved decisive for the ending after move 40: 3-3.

In this situation, eyes turned to Martin Müller, playing on board 8 with White against Maarten Wouters (1827). After a somewhat unorthodox opening where White seemed to control the board, Martin found himself under pressure when Black opened the b-file and put down a battery of heavy pieces. He reacted by starting a king’s attack on the opposite wing and sacrificing an exchange. Black’s King, though marched until a8 (!), where Martin, with fine play secured a draw by perpetual check from Queen and Knight.

This half-point was decisive for the match, as Benjamin Alberola brought home his White game against Hasan Kutlu (1896). In typical Steinitz style, Benjamin first weakened Black’s pawn structure, then conquered two of the helpless Black farmers and won the rook ending convincingly. Benjamin’s win thus brought us the deserved two match points with 4.5-3.5. Europchess 1 is now on rank 7 in Division 2 A.

Europchess 2 dominates Soignies 1

The second team went back from Soignies with full pockets. On the 1st board Mattias Johansson got a considerable advantage in the middlegame with Black against Sylvain Watelet (1948). However, when he sacrificed a rook in a mating combination, it turned out that there was a hole, leading to his resignation. But this proved to be the only setback on that Sunday for the team. On board 6, Kristian Frederiksen pushed a strong White queenside attack against Frank Deneyer (1741) to its successful conclusion.  Carlo Russian on board 4 overcame Jean-Marie Ooghe (1820) with White, ending up in a rook endgame with a couple of extra pawns guaranteeing an easy win. Also Oeyvind Boe on board 5 with Black proved stronger than Ismail El Kadi (1817) despite a slight health handicap. On the 3rd board, Helge Ruotanen took some risks in gaining a piece from Alexis Boon (1823) against compensation. He calculated very diligently in an open position to avoid perpetual check and took home the full point. Finally, John Riksten on the 2nd board showed a nice ending technique against Cedric Dupuis (1947). With some tempo manoeuvers his bishop got behind his opponent’s pawns, picking them up and winning the game. With this convincing win, Europchess thus moved further up to the 3rd rank in Division 3B.

Europchess 3 holds a good draw against 2 Fous Diogènes 1

Also the third team put up an excellent performance against 2 Fous Diogènes 1. On board 4, Hermann Ebner had to give in rather quickly with White against Alonso Sanchez, a player rated 1045, but probably a sub-marine as he was much stronger in reality. In order to compensate for this, Luis Parreira refused a draw, playing for a win with White against Cristian Vasile-Bonciog (1955). However, the opponent repulsed the attack and even won the game. But even with a 0-2, the team did not give up. José Maria Ramos Florido delivered another win with Black on the first board against Valeriu Nedelcu (1997) after four hours of tough play. And on the 3rd board, Luis Busquets Perez arrived at a promising ending with a closed pawn structure against Henri Dongo (1913). With clever exchanges he was left with a stronger knight against a bad bishop, who was overloaded to protect all his pawns. This textbook win equalised the score and with a 2:2. Europchess 3 thus cashed in an important match point, keeping it in the upper half of Division 4 G on rank 4.

Europchess 4 overplays Leuven 4

Playing in the same sticky room as the 1st team, the 4th team spent less time to make score a round 4:0 victory against Leuven 4. On the 2nd board, Vladymyr Dedobbeleer overcame Ruben Tyberghein (1400) with White in a nice miniature. Bruno Gatta on the 3rd board defended well with Black in the opening and then took command in the middlegame. He thus gained the full point with Black from Eric de Keyser (1211). Jesper Abrahamsen added another point on the 1st board against Koen Mangelschots (1420). On the 4th board, Jeremy Rand gained a slight initiative and two pawns after a standard opening against Nils Dunford (1200). His opponent then missed two opportunities to win a piece, and when all pieces were swapped off, Jeremy converted the ending with his two connected passed pawns. Europchess 4 is thus leading Division 5 F for the moment!

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