TS Mechelen 1 – Europchess 1 : 5 – 3 +++ Wetteren 2 – Europchess 2 : 2.5 – 3.5 +++ DT Leuven 1 – Europchess 3 : 2.5 – 1.5 +++ TS Mechelen 4 – Europchess 4 : 3 – 1 +++
Round 9: The second team keeps the flame alive
In Round 9, the second team outplayed Wetteren 2. However, all the other three teams lost against Mechelen and Leuven, respectively.
TSM 1 with a slight edge over Europchess 1
The leader in Division 2 A, Mechelen 1, needed a win to keep its 1-point advantage over the rest of the field before facing two weaker teams in the two last rounds. Accordingly, they had mobilised their normal composition with an average ELO of roughly 2200. On the third board, Tom Wiley offered a gambit with Black against Philippe Verduyn (2230) which the latter refused. Instead, the two players changed queens and two minor pieces in a symmetrical pawn structure. Inevitably, a quick peace treaty was signed. Frank Hoffmeister on the fourth board tried to put some pressure on Rafael de Coninck (2220), accepting white square weaknesses on the kingside for better development and control of the centre. However, in a complicated middlegame struggle he let pass away a promising chance, which allowed Black to force an equal queen/rook ending: draw. The same result was also achieved by Olafur Hannesson on board 8 with White against Peter Mangelschots (2100). Olafur could have achieved a slightly better ending with a good knight against a bad bishop, but when his opponent prevented this sequence there was nothing left to play for. In return, Benjamin Alberola cashed in a good half point from Filip Vanlerberghe (2215), who had gained some space advantage. However, in view of the clock White offered a draw which Benjamin accepted. The remaining four games were decided, though. On the top board, Tim Binham got into trouble with Black against Mathias De Wachter (2256), who kept a healthy pawn from the opening and then also won an exchange with a small combination ‘à la Capablanca’. Tim tried some counterplay, but White gave back the exchange for another pawn, winning the game. Georgi Tomov took revenge on the second board from Nathan De Strycker (2234) with White. When Black missed a chance to equalise the position by getting rid of his isolated pawn, Georgi increased the positional pressure. Black tried to start an attack on Georgi’s kingside, but landed instead in a lost knight ending after some tactical skirmishes: 3-3. On board 6, though, misery struck. Pere Moles Palleja had given a pawn with White in the opening for good compensation against Philip Vanparys (2210). However, in zeitnot, he missed a tactical trick that allowed Black to re-organise its pieces and shortly afterwards dropped a full rook in a difficult position. Instead he could have kept the bind with very promising chances with a Nimzowitsch-like preparatory move (Ng1) to exchange of light squared bishops without allowing that tactical trick. This loss decided the match as Martin Müller had already been in great difficulty with Black against Jan Gooris (2190). After a standard opening his queen got astray on the queenside. Martin got a rook and a knight in exchange but this did not prove enough. Gooris kept nerves and won shortly after time control. With this 3-5 loss, E 1 is still in danger of relegation with only 6 match points on a shaky 8th rank.
Europchess 2 prevails over Wetteren 2
In Division 3 B, Europchess 2 continued its winning series, beating Wetteren in a tight match. On board 2, John Riksten got chances at the queenside, while his opponent Luc Michiels (2023) was attacking on the kingside. Unfortunately, the king’s attack was successful: 0-1. Also Svetlozar Andreev on board 3 had to give up with Black against Dirk Castelein (1970). Svet had gained a better position but then allowed White to give the exchange for two strong passed pawns. These decided the game for the Wetteren player. However, our other four players fared better. On board 5, Oeyvind Boe withstood some pressure from Freddy Dumont (1663) and took a draw by simplifying the position. Kristian Frederiksen on board 6 got an advantage from the opening over Johan Matthys (1657). The opponent resigned when Kristian was about to promote a pawn. On the 1st board, Mattias Johansson established a
battery on the long-diagonal against the centre of White player Robijn Verlinden (2052). A pawn push by Mattias at the right moment gave him a passed pawn that marched to the seventh rank and decided the game. With 2.5-2.5 the game thus hung on Johannes Bertram, playing White against Klaas van Heddeghem (1707). Johannes had an advantage after the opening, but it took up to a knight ending when he could overcome Black’s resistance. However, when he pocketed the full point, this also tilted the match in our favour. With this victoy, E 2 is now on rank 6 with proud 11 matchpoints.
Dolle Toren Leuven narrowly beats E 3
The leader of Division 4 G was the clear favourite in the match against E 3. And indeed, on board 3, Leuven scored an early win from Arno Van Den Bosch (1928) over Serge Le Gal with a strong king’s attack. However, on the first board, Carlo Russian struck back with Black against Arnaud Aglave (2060). Carlo equalised easily in the opening and then started to attack White’s backward pawn on d4 with good play. Once the foot soldier fell, he dominated the game as of move 25 and duly won the full point by pushing his passed pawn. On the second board, Luis Carlos Busquets also posed problems to Natan Pirard (1937). However, he could not convert his advantage and in the end, the game ended in a draw. Finally, on the fourth board, Julien Peyrebrune had good drawing chances against Samuel De Roo (1803). In mutual time trouble, though, his phone rang and he received a time sanction. After time control, Julien fought an ending with a pawn plus bishop vs. two pawns and knight. However, as De Roo could chase the bishop away from the promotion square, the game and the match was lost. Nevertheless, with 8 points, E 3 is still in a good middle rank in the division.
Europchess 4 lost to TSM 4
Jesper Abrahamsen gained the full point on the 1st board through precise play on the queenside with Black, where his passed pawns decided the game against Kristof Verbeke (1459). Bruno Gatta had a promising attack with White against Jeroen Arens (1437) with double rooks on the g-file against an open king position. However, Black defended skilfully and in the end even won White’s queen against a rook and a piece. This was too much, costing the game for Bruno. On board 3 and 4 the young sisters Luna and Mare Morota showed good opening preparations against Alex Amelotti and Sergio Serrano Samper, respectively. While Sergio could not recover from the material losses incurred, Alex somehow survived into an ending with rook and three passed pawns on the queenside vs. Queen, plus two pawns each on the kingside. Unfortunately, when he pushed them further down, White could pick them up and win the game at the end. This 1-3 loss brings E 4 back to the 6th rank in Division 5 F.