Interclubs 2017-2018 – Round 9

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Wavre 1 – Europchess 1 : 1.5 – 6.5 +++ Brasschaat 2 – Europchess 2 : 3 – 3 +++ Midden-Limburg 3 – Europchess 3 : 3 – 1 +++ DZD Halle 1 – Europchess 4 : 2 – 2 +++

Round 9: Spring feelings for the upper teams

+++ With a clear win in Wavre, Europchess 1 defended the lead in Division 2 B. The second team scored an important match point against relegation in Brasschaat. E 3 suffered a setback in Limburg, while E 4 drew in Halle.

Europchess 1 outclasses Wavre 1

Travelling to Wavre, the first team was inspired by the first spring moments of the year. After a forfeit on board 7 to the benefit of Ismo Ulvila, Carlo Russian demolished his opponent Frank Tavernier (1655) in just 13 moves with White on board 8.
On board 5, Matija Šušković outsmarted the experienced Thierry Verspecht (2056) with a nice combination in the middlegame with Black. This netted him a crucial centre pawn. White then abandoned his queenside in order to play for compensatory attack on the kingside. However, Matija avoided all traps and took the full point being a full piece up.
Eduardo Semanat Planas was in good attacking mood on board 6 against Thierry Hawia (2029). Being confronted with a risky opening from Black, Eduardo sacrificed a pawn on the queenside to gain tempi to direct his pieces to the weakened kingside. Black gave an exchange to ease the pain. But Eduardo’s pressure continued by switching both rooks to the open f- and g-files, deciding the game in his favour.
On board 4, Frank played a slow game against Albert Verhaegen (2077), relying on a slight space advantage and a bad Black bishop. Black equalised though with accurate counter-play on the half-open b-file and exchanging the bishop. However, in the ensuing rook ending, an isolated a4-pawn came under attack and White won with a tactical trick: 5-0 before the time control!
The remaining three top boards could thus play without any pressure. On the third board, Timothy Binham played the experienced Marc Anciaux (2115) with Black. Tim’s unorthodox opening did not pay off, and he found himself under pressure in the centre. He conceded a pawn and arrived at a very difficult knight ending. Somehow White thought that giving his knight on the queenside would allow and easy win on the kingside, but Tim’s king was near enough to corner White’s king before the h-pawn could promote: Draw!
On the first board, Carl Buhr went through a very complicated middlegame with Black against Etienne Bauduin (2222). Before time control, White then went into a Queen’s ending with a pawn down. This was, however, not sufficient to hold the draw against Carl’s superb ending technique.
So the final fight occurred on board 2 between Georgi Tomov and Christian Depauw (2130). Georgi pressed with White in the middlegame. In a double-edged position, though, Black created counter-threats against Georgi’s king. Black won the exchange for a pawn, but White had compensation with a dangerous passed d-pawn. In a complicated ending Georgi overlooked a drawing continuation and had to finally resign.
Nevertheless, with a clear 6.5-1.5 victory, Europchess defended the lead in Division 2 B with half a board point over Boitsfort, which scored an equally convincing win against Geel 1.

Europchess 2 takes an important draw in Brasschaat 2

The second team faced the strong Brasschaat 2 team with an average of over 2000 ELO. Being aware of the critical situation, the team delivered its full potential and took a deserved match point. On the first board, Olafur Hannesson held a good draw against Jan De Weerd (2176) with Black, after clearing the centre and exchanging all heavy pieces. Mattias Johansson played a calm line with White against a solid set-up from Lendert Van Den Ouden (2125). After some manoeuvring Black got pressure against White’s backward pawn, but Mattias had compensation with more active rooks and more space: draw! On the fourth board, Luis Parreira arrived with White at a blocked position against Toon Wijgers (2100). As no one could improve decisively, a peace treaty was signed. Equally on the sixth board, Kristian Frederiksen drew on board 6 against the young Joppe Raats (1730) as some optical advantage was not material enough to gain the full point. This meant that the fate of the match hung on Thanos Gkionis and Martin Müller on boards 5 and 3 respectively. Thanos took a gambit pawn from Guy Baete (1833) in the opening and consolidated his position despite several attacking attempts. However, in the late middlegame he took some risks to get more than a draw and ended up in the bishop ending. With a pawn less, he could not hold it: 2-3. On the other side, Martin Müller kept iron nerves against Marcel Schroer (2116) with Black. White was fully up to date with theory and launched a dangerous attack in a situation of opposite castled-kings. After a very complicated middlegame the players simplified into an ending, in which White’s king turned out to be vulnerable to Martin’s queen, rook and bishop. After more than 5 hours of play Martin won his game and a very important match point for the team. E 3 is still in the relegation zone with 5 match points, but has improved his chances for the last two rounds.

Europchess 3 loses to Midden-Limburg 3

The third team met the strong Midden-Limburg 3. On the fourth board, Mark Ouaki got soon into trouble against Robbe Lenaerts (1355) and had to resign early on with White. Vladymyr Dedobbeleer played a safe game on the 3rd board with Black against Jona Kumpen (1702). Despite a slight initiative all the time, there was nothing tangible, leading to a draw. On the 1st board, Luis Busquets provided a fine defence against Joerg Cornelius (2042), leading to the successive swap of all pieces. The ensuing endgame was a clear draw. So everything hung on the shoulders of Serge Le Gal, playing on the 2nd board with White against Jeroen Cillen (1874). Serge got a clearly won position, but very unfortunately lost his queen for a rook in the time trouble of his opponent. So instead of a just 2-2 result, Europchess had to give in 1-3. On the good side, Zottegem 6 lost again, making sure that Europchess 3 is saved from relegation already two rounds before the end of the season.

Europchess 4 drops a point in Halle

The 4th team was the favourite in Halle. However, at the end of the day, one match point got lost which may be missing in the fight for the crown in the last round against Dworp 2. While Jesper Abrahamsen and Bruno Gatta drew their games on the two top boards against Sonja Van der Voorde (1558) and Robert Huysman (1440), respectively, Sergio Serrano Semper lost his game on board 3 against Robbe Van Haesendonck (1200). On board 4, Dag Holter claimed back the lost territory with a win over Mark-Johann Geerts (1190).

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