Interclubs 2017-2018 – Round 6

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Europchess 1 – Geel 1  :  5.5 – 2.5  +++  Europchess 2 – KGSRL 4  :  3 – 3  +++  Europchess 3 – Woluwe 1  :  0.5 – 3.5  +++  Europchess 4 – Woluwe 2 :  3 – 1  +++

Round 6: Back in business

+++ In the sixth round, the 1st and 4th team took continued to score, while E 2 gained an important match point from Ghent 4. E 3 were defeated by a strong Woluwe 1.

Europchess 1 beats Geel 1 with ease

As Geel 1 arrived with a weakened team with an ELO average of 1900 the first team was never in danger and took the full match points. On board 3, Frank Hoffmeister put pressure after the opening on Wim Luyckx (2152) with precise play. Playing White, he first won a pawn with a little combination and a couple of moves later a full piece with a pseudo-Queen sacrifice.

On board 2, Georgi Tomov delivered a draw with Black against Mathias Philipsen (2164). In the early middlegame, a lot of pieces were swapped in the centre, leading to an equal ending. Once the material was reduced to the mere kings with an equal pawn structure, the players signed the peace treaty: 1.5-0.5.

John Riksten added another win on the eighth board against Seppe Peeters (1518). John destroyed White’s pawn centre early on and then took a full piece. His opponent thought, he had trapped the queen but a nice zwischenzug proved that this was not the case. When John managed to trade queens the game was decided in his favour: 2.5-0.5.

On board 5, Tom Wiley outplayed Manu Janssens (1883) with White. He first gained a space advantage and then opened the e-file to his advantage. Black lost three pawns in a row (!) and prolonged his suffering to the end, when one of Tom’s extra darlings promoted: 3.5-0.5.

His neighbour on board 6, Radoslav Krastev got into a passive position with Black after the opening against Ruben Hoffmann (1847). When White opened the lines against Rado’s king the defence became too difficult, first costing material and then the king: 3.5-1.5.

Matija Šušković on board 4 lived through a hard time in the opening with Black. His opponent Chris Maes (1945) attacked, won the bishop pair and forced Matija’s king to d8. However, he did not find the right recipe to crush through, and when Black consolidated, White made a speculative exchange sacrifice on c6 and brought his pieces to the queenside. In the meantime, though, Matija advanced his pawn to h3, bringing White’s king into lethal danger: 4.5-1.5!

On the first board, Rossen Rusev played a sharp game against WFM Hanne Goossens (2172). He got a better looking position from the opening, establishing a battery on the long diagonal with a bishop on b2 and the Queen on d4. However, Black defended cleverly and forced White’s queen to retreat with c5 at the right moment. She then launched herself an attack on Rossen’s king. In mutual time trouble, Black won three pawns and when Rossen’s idea to trap a knight on h2 did not materialise, White resigned: 4.5-2.5.

On the 7th board, Benjamín Alberola outplayed Manu Vlaeyens (1542) in Réti style with White. He first reduced material, then won a backward pawn on d6 and finally the rook ending with a passed b-pawn. With this convincing 5.5-2.5, Europchess keeps the 2nd rank behind Boitsfort 1, which managed to beat Fontaine 2 narrowly with 4.5-3.5.

Europchess 2 holds a good draw against Ghent 4

Coming with a team averaging over 2000 ELO (!), Ghent 4 were the clear favourites, but were held to a deserved draw by Europchess 3. First, on board 6, Kristian Frederiksen won the Queen for a rook and a piece from Harry Cattoir (1673) with Black. However, in the ensuing complications he did not find the right continuation, having to concede the draw by perpetual check.

On board 3, though, Johannes Bertram did not let his opponent, Rudy Van De Wynkele (2010) off the hook. After some calm development on both sides in the opening, Johannes took the first occasion of a more passive move of his opponent to open the position and attack Black’s king over the half-open f-file. As Black could not defend the weak spot on f7, Johannes earned the full point.

Also Thanos Gkionis was in good attacking mood on board 3. On move 15, he calculated a long combination, in which Black had to choose between a lost position or an exchange and a pawn down. (see the diagramme; Thanos here played 1.Nxg6! which picks up an exchange on f8. If 1…hxg6 2.Bxd6 and the Bishop cannot be taken due to Qh7#. Instead 2…Qxg5 allows 3.Bxf8 Kxf8 4. Qh8+ Kf7 5.Qh7+ picking up the Bishop on b7 and the rook on a8.) He chose the latter option, defended for 20 more moves, but then Thanos converted his advantage convincingly. 2.5-0.5!Gkionis-Van Haelst, White to play

On board 2, Mattias Johansson faced the experienced Marc Lacrosse (2145) with Black. In a sharp opening White took a lot of time, but then won two pawns with a combination. Mattias was able to transpose the position into a rook ending, but White survived his zeitnot and brought home the full point: 2.5-1.5.

On board 4, Luis Parreira withstood the pressure from Etienne Van Leeuwen (2007) with Black. Although White won a pawn on e6, the ending was drawn as the rest of the board was safely blocked so that the extra-material did not play a role. 3-2 after this important draw!

On the 1st board Olafur Hannesson and Johan Goormachtigh delivered an incredibly game full of tension and tactics. They went for an opening line where White got the Queen and a pawn for three minor pieces. In the middlegame, Olafur seemed to have small edge, but when Black opened up the kingside, Olafur’s king got into trouble. He had to give back the Queen, but in the ensuing endgame with two rooks and 3 pawns vs. rook and two bishops and 2 pawns Black was able to create a mating net: 3-3 in a very hard fought match. E 2 is now on rank 9 in Division 3 B.

Woluwe 1 trounces Europchess 3

Playing with an average of 1976, Woluwe 1 did not cast a doubt about its ambitions to win when playing our third team. On board 4, Nicolas Rauta (1952) outplayed Nicos Zaimis, by first winning a pawn on h6 and then rolling over Nicos’s queenside. Also Marcello Ranucci got in trouble against Julien Verbist (1962) on board 3. After an equal opening, Black managed to disorientate White’s pieces, establishing a dangerous pawn on c3 against Marcello’s king on the queenside. White took too much time and lost before the 1st time control. On the 2nd board, Luis Busquets played a double-edged position with Black against Jean-Pierre Haber (1970) with kings castled on opposite wings. Luis held well his queenside with a good manoeuvre to put his knight to c4, from where it defended his king, while he could put some pressure on White’s king on h1 over the open g-file. At the end, a draw was accepted in a highly complicated situation. On the first board, José María Ramos Florido entered into a sharp fight with White against Stephane Nolf (2020). He tried to get play on the kingside, giving Black first a pawn and then even two connected passed pawns on the queenside. However, Black defended skilfully and once the time control was passed, the game was over. With a 0.5-3.5 loss, E 3 is still looking for more points in Division 4 F occupying the 10th rank.

Europchess 4 takes revenge on Woluwe 2

In view of the heavy defeat of the third team, the fourth team corrected the overall balance with a nice 3-1 win over Woluwe 2, who were higher rated on all boards. On the 3rd board, Bruno Gatta drew with White against Simonne Peeters (1743) after an unusual opening. Edith Köllö defended with Black on the 2nd board against the attacks from Jens Frederiksen (1762) in a long game. As she had arrived half an hour late, she had to move quickly and lost a pawn at one stage. However, this was not enough to win the endgame with rooks and knights, so another draw was agreed. This fitted well for the team, as on the on the first board, Jesper Abrahamsen had gained an advantage over Raymond Van Melsen (1852) with White. Black tried to attack on the kingside, but when the smoke disappeared, Jesper was a pawn up with a better knight and queen vs. bishop and queen. He duly converted the material advantage into a full point. Finally, Mark Ouaki played the longest game of the day against Wilfried Rampelbergh (1664). With Black he equalised and for a long time, it seemed that the game remained in the drawing zone. However, in the ending, Black’s knight proved to be more mobile than White’s bishop with a blocked pawn structure on the queenside. Mark duly collected the helpless pawns and then won the game (on move 100 or so…). This nice victory secured the 2nd rank in Division 5 B behind Dworp 2, which is leading just by one board point.

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