Europchess 1 – Boitsfort 1 : 2 – 6 +++ Europchess 2 – Temse 2 : 0.5 – 5.5 +++ Europchess 3 – Boitsfort 2 : 1.5 – 2.5 +++ Europchess 4 – Excelsior 2 : 2.5 – 1.5 +++
Round 3: Cold shower in November
+++ On 6 November, we played at home at the end of a holiday week. This meant that a number of stem players were missing, and that was dearly felt on that Sunday. E 1 and E 3 got drowned by Boitsfort and E 2 lost heavily to Temse 2. Only E 4 was showing some light with a win over Excelsior 2.
Strong Boitsfort 1 prevails over unlucky Europchess 1
In the 2nd division, Boitsfort 1 arrived with the strongest team so far in the season, making an average of 2300 ELO! However, it took a long time on the boards to feel the difference. On board 8, Jozsef Barta defended solidly with Black against Eric van Uytven (2105), sharing the point early on.
But on board 6, Benjamin Alberola got under pressure from Mourad de Villers (2195) who exploited his space advantage after the opening. Benjamin defended resourcefully, but when his rook was stranded on h4, he lost material and later on the game.
On the fourth board, Tom Wiley also had a hard time with Black after the opening against FM Marc Geenen (2258). White won a pawn, and Tom needed a lot of time to untangle his position. However, Tom held the ending with precise play.
On the second board, Tim Binham played an unusual opening with Black. IM Anvar Turdyev (2417) responded with exchanges which led to a level middlegame, but with an unbalanced pawn structure that gave Black some attacking chances. When White missed a golden opportunity to win a crucial centre pawn he soon drifted into a passive position. In time trouble, Tim played a very promising knight sacrifice followed by two powerful bishop moves. However, at move 35, Tim took the exchange rather than exchanging bishops which would have led to a won position in a few moves. After this, his opponent drove the game home with two pieces for the rook.
Also on board 5, Frank Hoffmeister delivered a strong initiative against Albin dal Borgo (2200) with White. A good sacrifice led to two pawns and a rook vs. two pieces in the ending, plus a dominant position. However, rather than converting his advantage slowly into a full point, Frank gave his opponent counter-chances – and after the time control even blundered his rook in a one-move knight fork, losing instantly.
Equally unlucky was Georgi Tomov on board 3 against IM Bruno Carlier (2403). After a positional middlegame, the two players arrived at rook ending that looked slightly better for White. But Black could activate his kingside pawns forcing Georgi to give his rook later on. While there might have been a draw with precise king play to shoulder the opponent king away from Georgi’s remaining passed pawn, in practical terms the game got lost.
In return, Eduardo Semanat Planas held a draw with an exchange down in the ending against Bruno Lacroix (2185), building a fortress.
That left Carl Buhr on the 1st board against GM Luc Winants (2559). Carl accepted a double-pawn in the opening for active piece play, but when most pieces were exchanged Black could pressure him. However, Carl defended stubbornly and finally arrived at a rook vs rook plus knight ending. This, he held in 124 moves! While the result doesn’t really reflect the performance on the board (with Tim and Frank winning we could have made a 4:4), E 1 is in the unusual situation of being in the 2nd half of the table after three rounds.
Europchess 2 sees no land against Temse 2
The second team suffered five losses from Temse 2. On the 1st board, John Riksten won Wiebke Barbier’s (2037) queen with a nice combination in the middlegame with a nice variation, but then lost thread. After having missed an opportunity to break the coordination of Black’s pieces, he lost the unusual queen vs. rook, knight and bishop ending. On the second board, Svetlozar Andreev held an inferior position for a long time, equalised, but then lost the ending against Patrick Boons (2027). Bert Boons (1971) overplayed Johannes Bertram with Black in the middlegame on the third board, and also Oeyvind Boe had to give in against Astrid Barbier (1843) despite a good position after the opening with Black. In the middle game his queen got pinned and he lost material with a discovered check. Luis Parreira on board 5 got some initiative against the king of Louis Smet (1834) which stayed in the middle of the board, but the price to pay was a strange knight on a8. At the end, Black won. Only Kristian Frederiksen on board 6 got a draw from Marcel Wynants (1621). He had a superior game with Black, but did not calculate properly the follow-up. This heavy loss brought E 2 back into rank 4 in Division 3 B.
E 3 delivers strong fight against superior Boitsfort 2
Pumped up by the extraordinary composition of its 1st team, also Boitsfort came with a stronger squad than usual, averaging 2000 ELO points. Our 3rd team, though, was relatively unimpressed. On the 1st board, Luis Carlos Busquets put Denis-Emmanuel Philippe (2085) under pressure with White and got a better ending, but had to be satisfied with a draw. In return, on board 2, Hermann Ebner with Black lost a pawn in the opening against Christophe Callier (2054), who then converted his material advantage safely. A sensation, though, occurred on board 3. Here Thanos Gkionis played an unusual set-up against the defence of Pierre Hody (2019) and sacrificed a bishop early on to get Black’s monarch into the open. Afterwards he marched with the h-, g- and f- pawn to the 5th rank. Just when Black started to threaten a mate, Thanos’s queen started checking herself and with a fine combination Thanos first collected a full piece and then forced the exchange of queens for a winning endgame! On board four, Vladymyr Dedobbeleer had to give in against Bernard Paul (1881). Europchess 3 is thus on a good middle rank 6 in Division 4 G.
E 4 defends first place against Excelsior 2
While Jesper Abrahamsen accepted a quick draw on board 1 against Jacques Fonteyne (1516) and Bruno Gatta lost with Black against Radu-Catalin Nica (1497), Jeremy Rand and Nicos Zaimis on boards 3 and 4 clinched full points. Jeremy gained an advantage with White in a standard opening, forcing Rudy Petre (1488) to castle queenside and to expose his king. Opening up the c-file allowed Jeremy to build up pressure and win a pawn. After queens and rooks were swapped off, he won another pawn with a powerful knight in the centre. White Black’s king on the queenside, Jeremy marched his passed kingside pawns which could not be prevented from queening anymore. Also Nicos built up small advantages to beat Samir Azzoug (1447). This 2.5-1.5 meant another 2 match points, keeping Europchess 4 on a shared 1st rank in Division 5 F together with Pantin 3.