Interclubs 2016-2017 – Round 11

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Namur 1 – Europchess 1 :  2 – 6  +++  Gent 4 – Europchess 2  :  2.5 – 3.5  +++  Machelen 1 – Europchess 3  :  1.5 – 2.5  +++  Mechelen 9 – Europchess 4  :  1.5 – 2.5  +++

Round 11: Vive l’Europe, vive l’Europchess!

In the final round, all four teams of Europchess won! Tout court. And the pro-European candidate in the French Presidential elections is ahead. Europe is back in business.

Europchess 1 outplays Namur 1

Before the match, E 1 was worried that Leuven 1 could beat Boitsfort 1 and would overtake us in Division 2 A. In order not to depend on the outcome of this match, we were thus motivated to play for a win or at least secure a 4:4. Upon arrival in Namur, there was some relief. The team which had played in the 1st division still last year, nominated only players below ELO 2000 as of board 5. And indeed, this rating difference played out nicely during the match. First, Matija Suskovic took over the initiative with Black against Fabrice Pacolet (1881) and kept White’s king in the centre. With a couple of strong moves he then invaded the weak square c3, after which White lost material and subsequently the game: 1-0. Also Benjamin Alberola Mulet fully controlled the 6th board against Serge Degembe (1863). His classical White line-up secured a stable space advantage in the centre, and when the position opened up on the kingside, his pieces were much better placed to overcome Black’s resistance: 2-0. On the 7th board, Eduardo Semanat Planas went for a long game with Black against Dimiter Dinev (1827). White had chosen a solid, but not very aggressive approach, keeping the balance throughout the middlegame. White exchanged more and more pieces to secure a draw, but to no avail: with his more active king Eduardo convincingly won the rook ending: 3-0. On board 8, Martin Müller delivered a sharp fight against Namur’s youthful hope Maximilien Dallemagne (1804). After a standard opening, Martin’s opponent castled on the queenside, asking for trouble. Martin opened the a-file for his rooks, giving a central e5-pawn to gain time. Black took the material, but got severely punished by first losing a piece and later on the entire game when the king was forced into the open. With this comfortable 4-0 on the lower boards, life was easy higher up. On board 3, Tom Wiley defended a difficult position with Black against Philippe Uhoda (2149). White strangled him on the b- and the d-files but Tim managed to sit on the position calmly. When the queens were exchanged this liberated some space to activate his king and his majesty helped freeing his army. Some further exchanged led to a dead-drawn pawn ending, clinging the match victory. On the 2nd board, Georgi Tomov tried an unusual opening set-up with White against FM Victor Bolzoni (2209). When the opponents castled on opposite wings, Black got the upper hand with pressure on the c-file and a beautiful attack from his queen and knight. Georgi could have saved his skin for some time by sacrificing the exchange for a pawn, but chose to fight in the middlegame. This, however, did not work and Black took the full point with attacking means. Luckily, this would remain the only loss for E 1. On board 4, Frank had won a pawn with a combination in the early middlegame from Ivan Werner (2119). After some simplifications, the players went for a rook ending with 3 vs. 2 pawns. Frank overlooked a good resource from Black, leading to an immediate draw after a couple of moves on: 5-3. This left us with Tim playing on the 1st board with Black against FM Ludovic Carmeille (2330). Tim’s side variation in the opening paid off, as his opponent played very calmly. This allowed him to seize the initiative and to exercise constant pressure. The two players then arrived at a queen ending where Tim’s passed g-pawn was much quicker than White’s c-pawn. With excellent ending technique our top board pocketed the full point after 6 hours of play. This deserved 6-2 secured our stay in Division 2 A at rank 8 with 8 match points. Anyway, rival Leuven lost to Boitsfort with 3.5-4.5 even despite mobilising GM Ralf Akesson on the 1st board …

Five E 2 players beat Ghent 4

For the first and only time in the season, E 2 had to forfeit a game (on board 6) due to holiday vacation absences. The other five players, though, overcompensated, for this loss. First, Kristian Frederiksen on board 5 kept the balance with Black against Elena Van Hoecke (1854) in a standard opening and equalised in the middlegame: draw. Mattias Johansson on the 2nd board gained space with White against Ben Boog (2129), but took some risk by advancing his pawns on the kingside before his castled king. But as the monarch was well protected by his minor pieces, this did not give Black anything tangible – the players agreed a draw in a blocked position. On board 4, Luis Parreira played a good White game against Johan De Saegher (1928). Also here, the drawing margin was never left during the middlegame, leading to another peace treaty. But then John Riksten struck on board 3. Playing White against Valere De Buck (2022), he controlled the position with a marvellous bishop pair. This positional advantage was first converted into an extra-pawn and during the ending into a full point. Hence, the fate of the match depended on the outcome on board 1, where Olafur Hannesson had well prepared against FM Johan Goormachtigh (2239) with Black. White sacrificed a piece against two pawns with dangerous threats, but Oli defended well. In zeitnot, he disentangled his position, encircling White’s remaining rook, which only cost him a piece. In the ending, Black thus emerged with a full rook up against a couple of pawns, which did not prove strong enough: 3.5-2.5. Wow! E 2 thus finalised an excellent season with rank 4 in Division 3 B – the best result so far.

E 3 wins against Machelen 1 in close match

In Machelen, E 3 had to fight for its survival in Division 4 G, as all its three competitors had still the chance to surpass us in their final match as well. So, the tension was high for the players. On board 3, José Maria Ramos Florido had an unclear position against Jelle Pepermans (1737) and agreed a draw relatively early on. Thanos Gkionis then provided the lead beating Johan Hernalsteen (1666) with White on board 4. With a nice attack, he managed to create a powerful passed pawn, which eventually mated the opponent’s king. His neighbour on board 3, Carlo Russian delivered a complicated fight with Patrick De Mol (1721), but prevailed in zeitnot. Johannes Bertram had a complicated middlegame on board 1 against Axel Harutyunyan (1977). After the time control, he invested too much time for finding a plan. Short on the clock, he overlooked winning continuations on three occasions and eventually found himself in a lost endgame. Nevertheless, this important 2.5-1.5 win secured E 3 in Division 3 in the surprisingly high final 5th rank.

E 4 beats Mechelen 9

To complete the rosy picture also E 4 beat Mechelen 9. Jesper Abrahamsen drew against our colleague Barend Verachtert (1625), and Vladymyr Dedobbeleer (against Wim Goderis, 1594) and Bruno Gatta (against Frederik Ducuroir, 1342) won. Only Nikos Zaimis saw the shorter end against Hugo Froeyman (1154). Also E 4 thus landed on the excellent final 4th rank in Division 5 F.

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