Interclubs 2017-2018 – Round 10

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Europchess 1 – Fontaine 2 : 6.5 – 1.5 +++ Europchess 2 – Mechelen 1 : 3.5 – 2.5 +++ Europchess 3 – Mechelen 3 : 3 – 1 +++ Europchess 4 – BYE +++

Round 10: Sunshine for all teams in April

+++ In the 10th round, all three teams won at home, while E 4 was bye. Apparently many Belgian opponents preferred going out on a sunny afternoon rather than playing chess, as the line-up of all our opponenta was weaker than usual.

Europchess 1 beats Fontaine 2

The first team faced with Fontaine 2 a team, which could still fight against its relegation if reinforced from their first team. However, when the opponents arrived, the opposite situation occurred. With an average of below 2000 ELO, it seems that they had given up in advance. Moreover, the 5th board forfeited, so that Matija Šušković did not have to prove his playing strength at the board.
Eduardo Semanat Planas on board 7 then played almost a blitz game against Jean-François Rousseau (1879). Having arrived late due to traffic interruptions, Eduardo put on the board a position where he strived for dominance on the white squares. When his opponent tried to cover a hole on d5 with an inaccurate knight move to e7, Eduardo was able to destroy Black’s kingside position. Shortly thereafter, Black also blundered a pawn and resigned.
On the 6th board, Tom Wiley got a flexible structure with Black against Joffrey Wattin (1930). After an unusual retreat of the white bishop to b1, Tom could push b5 and gain space on the queenside, followed by an advance in the centre. White first lost an important central pawn and later on lost more material in the tactical complications: 3-0.
The winning streak continued on board 3, where Timothy Binham took the initiative early on against Thierry Audin (1993). Black was out of book as of move 3 and ended up with his king in the centre, while his kingside was not developed. Tim then increased the pressure move-by-move and when Black let slip away his only chance for counter-play he ended up in a hopeless position soon thereafter.
On the 1st board, Rosen Rusev got a slightly restrained position with White in the beginning against Florian Pierard (2126). However, he was able to untangle the queenside, pushing back Black’s pieces and getting a pawn attack rolling. Under pressure Black crumbled: 5-0.
For the remaining three boards, things had gone less positively. But the tenacity of our players to fight for every board point paid off. Georgi Tomov on board 3 had unbalanced the position with Black against Jonathan Di Cosmo (2043), taking two pieces for a rook and a pawn. The trouble was that White’s extra pawn was a fast running free pawn on the a-file. Georgi directed his pieces towards Black’s king and ensured a draw with a perpetual check.
On board 4, Frank Hoffmeister had gotten a satisfactory position with Black out of the opening against Eric Lui (1946). In a complicated middlegame, the players kept the dynamic equality, but in a crucial moment White found a strong cross-pin. Rather than playing the obvious defensive move, Frank saw a tactical shot, which turned out to lose a full piece, though. Despite this drawback, he continued fighting and on move 40 White returned the piece by overlooking a pseudo-exchange sacrifice. A couple of moves later, the game ended with a perpetual check.
The final draw was settled on board 8 between Benjamin Alberola Mulet and Justin Guerit (1809). Playing Black, Benjamin first conceded space to White, but was later on able to organise some play on the kingside. When the heavy pieces got exchanged, a Black pawn on g3 turned out to be a liability and the players decided to share the point. With the 6.5-1.5 win Europchess defended its leading position in Division 2 B.

Europchess 2 beats Mechelen 1

The match of the second team against Mechelen 1 was on the edge. On the 5th board, Luis Parreira with White played an aggressive opening line against Marie-Jeanne Jonckers (1546). When his queen took the b7-pawn, Black had trouble to protect the rook on a8 and lost material on the way. Soon thereafter, the game was over. Despite this good start, things did not continue so well. On board 1, Pere Moles Palleja faced the strong youngster Deon Lee (2151). Pere chose a calm opening and got a promising position. However, in a tactical fight, he lost a full rook by a bad oversight and had to resign. On board 4 Martin Müller repaired the damaged done by beating Jan De Geest (1692) with Black. White had eyed Martin’s isolated d5-pawn for a long time. But when he indeed caught it, he lost a full unprotected piece in return: 2-1. On the third board, Mattias Johansson was pressing with White against Sterre Dauw (1983) and got two pieces for a rook and a pawn. His attack on Black’s king, though, petered out in a draw through perpetual check. On the second board, Olafur Hannesson played a great game with Black against Sam Decoster (2064), getting a winning position on move 35 through superior middlegame technique. However, he then weakened his back rank by an inaccurate rook capture, allowing White not only to escape but to go for a mating combination: 2.5-2.5. Luckily, about the same time, also Kristian Frederiksen’s opponent on board 6, Wouter De Geest (1509) overlooked a mate in 2, when he was considering his offensive options. This win secured two match points for E 2 in a highly contested Division 3 B.

Europchess 3 prevails over Mechelen 3

The third team met a roughly equal Mechelen and scored a convincing 3-1 victory. On board 3, Luis Busquets won with White against our Commission friend Barend Verachtert (1750), making use of his space advantage and pressuring on both wings. On the first board, José Maria Ramos Florido defended well with White against the early attacks from Gert Van Der Plas (1790) against his king. In the subsequent middlegame he won material and later on the game: 2-0. The two last players were then Thanos Gkionis and Marcello Ranucci. Thanos on board 2 with Black against Constant Van Vaek (1768) had arrived with a pawn down in a rook ending, where his active king and rook compensated for the material. And indeed, he not only managed to claw the pawn back, but even got winning chances with an h-pawn and a White king that wass cut off on the e-file. However, while trying to find the winning path, Thanos’ flag fell, throwing away at least half a point. On board 4, Marcello handled an equally tense knight ending against Walter Huyck (1646) with passed pawns on both sides. After 5 hours of play, White’s concentration somehow seemed to fade away. Marcello could thus arrive with three pawns vs. a knight, but his more active king decided the game quickly: 3-1 for E 3.

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