Interclubs 2016-2017 – Round 8

Europchess 1 – Geel 1  :  5.5 – 2.5  +++  Europchess 2 – Brussels 1  :  4 – 2  +++  Europchess 3 – Brussels 3  :  2 – 2  +++  Europchess 4 – Brussels 4  :  1 – 3  +++

Europchess played its first home match last Sunday in the “reorganised” premises at Van Maerlant. The space is not quite as welcoming as before, as a large chunk of the clubroom is now taken up by two grand pianos and the first team therefore played in a side room, but this did not deter us from getting our best result of the season, with a resounding 5½-2½ victory over Geel 1.

The early going was not easy, however. Playing Black against Ruben Hoffmann (1800) on Board 8, Ólafur Hannesson lost a pawn in the opening, and decided to go all out for a kingside attack. However, as it turned out, this attack was only dangerous for the Black pieces and his opponent duly converted his superior position into a win.

This initial setback, however, was soon offset by Benjamín Alberola Mulet, who faced a very sharp opening with Black against Manu Janssens (1928). After his opponent missed a strong attacking chance that would have given him the advantage, Benjamín emerged with two pawns up. When he managed to simplify the position, his opponent decided to resign immediately, and the match was tied!

On Board 2, Tim Binham played a rare line against Sander Vandevenne’s (2148), leading to a complicated position with chances for both sides. Cautious play, however, soon resulted in wholesale exchanges and a drawn Rook ending.

Playing on Board 3 against Mathias Philipsen (2139), Georgi Tomov did not manage to pose serious problems and after forcing the play, found himself in an inferior endgame, but went on to hold a draw without much trouble.

Martin Müller on Board 7 enjoyed a somewhat more comfortable position with White, but landed in time trouble against Chris Maes (1913). After a final tactical combination he won a bishop, but on a nearly empty board his opponent found a perpetual with the help of a queen and a pawn.

In the most exciting game of the day, playing Black on Board 4 against Wim Luyckx (2134), Tom Wiley provoked his opponent into making a sharp knight sacrifice on the 9th move. In return for the piece, White had a development advantage and pressure against Black’s uncastled king.

A critical position arose after 11….Nf6:

As Georgi noticed during the game, White here had the interesting try 12. Bh6!?

After the more obvious 12. Qxb4 Bc8, Tom was worried during the game about 13. Ba4+ Bd7 14. Qb7 Bxa4 15. Qxa8, when White retains some initiative in exchange for a small material deficit. According to the engines, 13. Be3! is even stronger and gives White the advantage.

Instead White played 13. Bf4? Be7 14. Ba4+ Kf8, and the attack fizzled out. After Tom had “castled by hand”, the game was soon won for Black.

On Board 1, Carl Buhr got a fine position with white against Hanne Goossens (2170), but overlooked a few tactics to find himself in real difficulties and short on time. With the outcome of the match still hanging in the balance, however, his opponent committed the last mistake, allowing Carl to sacrifice his Queen for a mating attack that decided the game immediately.

The last game to finish was Matija Suskovic – Nicolas Marx (1987) on Board 5. Matija won a pawn early in the middlegame and then simplified to a rook ending with 4 vs 3 pawns. Thanks to a favourable kingside pawn configuration, his passed pawn on a6 proved sufficient to win the game.

This much-needed victory hoisted Europchess 1 into seventh place in Division 2A. In our evenly-matched group, however, we will need at least one more match win to secure our place in the second division for next year.

Europchess 2 beats Brussels 1

In Division 3 B, Europchess 2 faced trail-ender Brussels 1 who desperately needed a win to get out of the cellar. However, E 2 was not prepared to for that. Rather, on the first board John Riksten landed another win with White through steady improvement of his position against Philippe Guisset (1965). Playing for the first time on the second board, our youngster Carlo Russian made a good draw with Black against the experienced Luc Herman (1920). Equally, Oeyvind Bo and Petr Sochman – an EU official, playing for Brussels 1 (1919) – shared the points on board 3 after a game with chances for both sides. First, Oeyvind came better out of the opening with White, cashing in a pawn. But then, he started to play too passively allowing his opponent to organise an attack. However, as no mate followed, the two players arrived in an ending with opposite-coloured bishop which was drawn in the end despite the fact that Black was two pawns up by then. On board 4, Luis Parreira got into difficulties with Black against Christophe Cottenier (1912) after the opening, but won the game due to some tactics in the middlegame. Kristian Frederiksen on board 5 gained an advantage with White against Valentin Alota (1838) and also scored the full point, although somewhat luckily in the end. Only on board 6, Hermann Ebner had to resign an ending against Theo Kolp, a youngster whose playing strength probably exceeds his rating of 1739. All in all, the 4-2 win gave E 2 another boost, landing on a solid 6th rank in the Division.

Europchess 3 shares match points with Brussels 3

Europchess 3 faced for once a slightly weaker team, namely Brussels 3. At first and fourth board, respectively, José Maria Ramos (with White against Yann-Sven Rittelmeyer, 1753) and Vladymyr Dedobbeleer (with Black against Piet Van de Craen, 1552) exchanged a couple of pieces quickly. This led to balanced positions and subsequent draws in both games: 1-1. However, on board 3, Thanos Gkionis launched once again his usual wild attack against long-experienced Karl De Smet (1594), who did not see the mate coming: 2-1.

Finally Luis Busquets Perez lost a piece in a combination from François Haulotte (1690) on the second board. He thus had to concede his defeat despite a harsh struggle till the last minute of the game. With this 2-2, E 3 is currently on a good fifth rank of the division.

Europchess 4 lost to Brussels 4

Less successful was the fourth team. Bruno Gatta (playing Benjamin Faybish 1381), Jeremy Rand (playing Davy Grobli-Casimir, 1200) and Julien Peyrebrune (throwing away a winning position to Issa Hossain, 1195, due to a gross blunder) all lost. Jesper Abrahamsen, though, saved the point of honour on the first board against Samuel Yoro (1458). This loss took the team back to 4th rank in Division 5 F.

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