Eisden/MSK-Dilsen 1 – Europchess 1 : 3.5 – 4.5 +++ Dworp 1 – Europchess 2 : 2.5 – 3.5 +++ Europchess 3 BYE +++ Dworp 2 – Europchess 4 : 1.5 – 2.5 +++
Round 11: There is no hell and no heaven
+++ In the 11th round, the 2nd team secured staying in Division 3 with a good 3.5-2.5 win over Dworp 1. E 4 beat the leader of division 5 B, Dworp 2 and ended up in a good 3rd place. The first team managed to win against a strongly lined-up Eisden with 4.5-3.5, but as Boitsfort trounced a weak CREB 1 with 7.5-0.5 this was just half a board point short for climbing up to the first division. So, after all the excitement about going to hell or heaven, nothing has really changed for us mortals from Europchess.
Europchess 1 misses promotion to Division 1 by beating Eisden with a (too) small margin
When E 1 arrived in Maasmechelen, our host Eisden had already written down their line-up on a drawing board. They put up their strongest team of the season with an average of 2166 ELO. While we had also come with our best selection, it became clear that the match would be anything but a ride. It started rather well, though. On the second board Carl Buhr got more space in the opening with White against Bram Van Den Berg (2257). When the centre was opened up, a nice Bxf7+ pseudo-sacrifice tilted the game in his favor, as Black could take the bishop with the neither f8-rook nor the g8-king. Carl’s impeccable technique then closed the game rather quickly: 1-0.
On the 3rd board, Georgi Tomov played Black against Ruud Van Meegen (2241). After an unusual Bh4-move in the opening, he tried to get an advantage by chasing the latter. However, an inaccurate follow-up allowed White to get counter-play over the third rank. When the two players ended up in a rook and bishop ending, the game petered out in a draw: 1.5-0.5.
On board 5, Frank Hoffmeister played Black against FM Jozef Simenon (2145). White tried to unsettle the game with 1.b4 and playing over the open c-file, but Frank kept a super-solid structure. Around move 30 he was even getting the better game with precise counter-play, starting to attack White’s weaknesses. In time-trouble, though, he took a pawn with the wrong knight, which cost him a full piece through a tactical trick. 1.5-1.5.
On board 6, Matija Šušković outplayed Ynze Mengerink (2091) right from the opening. He gained a pawn early on and was pressing all the time. However, Black defended tenaciously and in the end the rook ending could not be won: 2-2.
On the first board, Rossen Rusev was under pressure with Black from FM Patrick Driessens (2288). After a very classical opening Rossen had difficulties to develop his c8-bishop, while White tried to open the centre. In zeitnot, White missed a good continuation, blundered material instead and resigned: 3-2.
On board 4, Timothy Binham put up a fight with Fabian Miesen (2224) with White. He slowly increased the pressure on Black’s position. In mutual zeitnot Black broke down on the kingside 4-2.
On board 8, Benjamín Alberola got a slightly uncomfortable position with White after the opening against Sander Bachaus (2025). In order to avoid problems on the kingside, he castled queenside into the half-open b-file. Black attacked diligently, and when he was able to open lines in the centre, White’s position could not be held: 4-3.
Eyes then turned to Tom Wiley on board 7. He had gotten an advantage against Hans Hoornstra (2025) with Black due to a tactical strike earning him a pawn. However, White got dynamic compensation and Tom needed to be very careful in stopping a passed pawn on e6. In the end, he was two pawns up, but White managed to secure a draw through perpetual check. This gained the match points with 4.5-3.5. However, as Boitsfort won 7.5-0.5 against CREB 1, Europchess did not promote to Division 1. In fact, we missed only half a board point (!) after 11 rounds, having won 10 of them.
Europchess 2 secures Division 3 with a win over Dworp 1
In a nerve-racking finish, the second team had to win in order to avoid relegation for sure. Our team withstood this challenge with a good 3.5-2.5 win in Dworp 1. Olafur Hannesson made an easy draw on the top board against FM Serge Vanderwaeren (2172) with Black against White’s Réti opening. On board 2, John Riksten played a textbook game with White against Diederik Lot (1983). Keeping control over the centre he was able to go into an ending where his rook dominated the open file and infiltrated on the 7th rank. This earned him first a pawn and later on the full point. On board 3, though, Mattias Johansson ran into trouble with Black against Frank Denys (1940). White was able to build a battery with bishop and queen over the b1-h7 diagonal, forcing Black to defend against mating threats by loosening his pawn structure. Later on, White was able to convert into a queen’s ending where one of his two extra-pawns was promoted and Black could not escape with a perpetual check. On board 6 Kristian Frederiksen got a slightly better position with White against Filip Van De Velde (1727). After having a missed a tactical opportunity to play for a win, the game ended up in a draw by mutual agreement. The most amazing game was probably played by Luis Parreira with Black on board 5. Luis’s opponent Geert Verrijken (1931) sacrificed a pawn for attacking chances and later on won an exchange. However, Luis complicated the position very much and uncorked a mating attack which cost White the queen and the game. This win was decisive, as Martin Müller on board 4 met the experienced Walter De Reymaeker (1932). Black gave an exchange for a protected passed pawn and the bishop pair. The position got completely blocked and opening it up would have even created possibilities for the opponent. So Martin took the draw to seal the team’s deserved win with 3.5-2.5. This catapulted it even on rank 9 in the final ranking of Division 3 B.
Europchess 4 wins against division leader Dworp 2
The fourth team equally beat the second team of Dworp with two neat wins from Sergio Serrano Semper on board 3 against Yves Baert (1468) and Mark Ouaki on board 4 against Mohamad Taleb (1345). Jesper Abrahamsen added draw on the second board against Eric Cornelis (1675), while Thanos Gkionis had to give in to Peter De Bosscher (1830). This win led to a nice 3rd overall rank in Division 5 B after a good season for the fourth team.