Interclubs 2018-2019 – Round 4

Europchess 1 – Wirtzfeld 2  :  5.5 – 2.5  +++  Europchess 2 – Zottegem 3  :  2.5 – 3.5  +++  Europchess 3 – Zottegem 4  :  3 – 1  +++  Europchess 4 – Braine l’Alleud 3  :  3 – 1  +++  Europchess 5 – Zottegem 7  :  3 – 1  +++

Round 4: First Team Takes the Lead

+++ In the fourth round at home, our teams scored four wins and suffered one defeat. By winning against the current leader Wirtzfeld 2, the first team took the lead in Division 2 A.

Europchess 1 beats Wirtzfeld 2 convincingly

With the possibility to draw from a long list of strong titled players, Wirtzfeld 2 is always a tough opponent. However, this Sunday our first team benefitted from a very strong composition as well, which fully paid off. On the first board, Rossen Roussev outclassed IM Youri Boidman (2358). After a standard opening, Black put his king on h8, and loosened his pawn formation. This allowed Rossen to snatch two pawns with a beautiful pseudo-sacrifice of his queen on g6, as taking it by f7xg6 would have allowed Nxg6+ regaining the unprotected black queen on e7. Black resigned after a couple of further insignificant moves.

Paula Gitu on board 8 added the second full point with Black against Paul Zilles (1732). After a middlegame, where the queens got exchanged early on, Paula increased the pressure on White’s queenside, exploiting some positional weaknesses. It was a matter of time, when she won some material and the game.

On board 6, Matija Šušković slipped into a passive, but solid position with Black against Thomas Roos (2142). Unfortunately, when the players exchanged their respective weak pawns on e6 and d4, White gained the upper hand on the open e-file. This cost Matija the exchange against a pawn, which proved to be insufficient in the long run: 2-1.

On board 3, Carl Buhr sacrificed a pawn with White against Dieter Puth (2228) for dynamic compensation. However, Black defended very well in the ensuing complications and could keep its advantage to gain the full point: 2-2.

On board 7, Pere Moles Palleja took some risk in the opening with White and survived a difficult moment where Paul Oberweiss (2032) could have brought Pere’s king into the open. However, Pere managed to give him shelter with an artificial castle from e1 to h2, and then his bishop on g2 turned into a monster. Supported by an active rook, Pere won material on the queenside and the game: 3-2.

Georgi Tomov also showed good nerves on board 2 with Black against Claude Wagener (2277). Georgi inflicted on his opponent a backward e3 pawn and a double g2-g3 pawn. In a position with all the heavy pieces left, he then skilfully exploited these weaknesses by an energetic h5-h4 attack: 4-2.

In this situation, Frank Hoffmeister offered a draw on board 5 to Andreas Gikas (2170). After an unorthodox opening which cost both players a lot of time, Frank could attack on the kingside over the half-open g-file, but Black defended diligently. Shortly before the time control, Frank could have won by a beautiful queen sacrifice, but with only a few minutes left on the clock, this idea escaped him. Instead, the queens were exchanged and an unbalanced position arose, where Black was two pawns up, but White’s pieces much more active on the weakened kingside. In mutual time trouble, the players agreed to share the point, bringing Europchess over the finishing line: 4.5-2.5.

This meant that the remaining game between Tim Binham and Pierre Gengler (2205) on board 3 became less decisive. After a colourful middlegame, a rather balanced endgame occurred with slightly better chances for Black. However, White overplayed his hand, offered his h-pawn for no good reason and then Tim took the full point. With this nice 5.5-2.5 victory, Europchess took the lead in Division 2 A.

Europchess 2 loses narrowly to Zottegem 3

The second team met Zottegem 3 in a composition with an ELO average of 1900, i.e. stronger than in any match before. And our guests proved to be unbeatable: on board 1, Erwin Mannaert (1963) held a good draw with Black against Olafur Hannesson, who was pressing in an optically better position after the opening. On the sixth board, Kristian Frederiksen shared his point with Stijn Van Puyvelde (1898) in a slow manoeuvering game. His neighbour on board 5, Johannes Bertram lost a pawn against Simon Van Poucke (1893), but got some compensation. However, Black defended well and could have converted into a favourable endgame. Instead, an inaccurate move led to a much more passive endgame position, so that Black offered a draw. Still a pawn down and short on time, Johannes had to accept. On the second board, Martin Müller outplayed with Black Matthias De Weird (1958), but got very short on time. He thus saw his advantage disappearing to a draw as well. Milan Beles on board 3 got a good position with White against Jan Verstraeten (1947) after the opening, but then left the good track, leading to his defeat. At this moment, the match depended on the outcome of Szymon Pozimski’s game on board 4 with Black against Peter Colin. Szymon was under pressure over the open e-file in the opening, but managed to get into a playable middlegame position. After a couple of simplifications, he arrived at a rook ending, where he managed to gain a White pawn on the kingside, while White had put his king in front of his a4- pawn on a5, in order to attack Szymon’s a6-pawn . Szymon transformed this kingside 3-2 pawn advantage into a passed h-pawn, which gave him winning chances. However, in the end, White gave perpetual checks, and in order to avoid it, Szymon had to sacrifice his a-pawn in order to queen the h-pawn. Unfortunately, White’s remaining a-pawn then secured the draw for the first player. With this bitter 2.5-3.5 defeat, Europchess 2 is back in the middle of Division 3 C.

Europchess 3 wins against Zottegem 4

Europchess 3 faced Zottegem 4, which had had a stable team composition during the first 3 rounds. However, this round, the guests switched to a weaker line-up (likely to reinforce their 3rd team). The first player to finish was José María Ramos Florido with White, facing Dirk Ponnet (1710) on board 3. After the opening José María was occupying the centre, but the position was somewhat unstable. His opponent offered a draw. As the situation on the other boards, in particular 1 and 4, looked promising, José María accepted it after having consulted the team to earn the decisive point for a likely team win. Luis Carlos Perez Busquets faced Carl Van Lierde (1151) on board 4 with Black. The opening resulted in a closed position, in which White tried to chase Luis Carlos’s jumping knights. Being unnerved by the opponent’s cavalry, he lost his e-pawn. This allowed Luis Carlos to take control of the white squares, and White started an attack on the king-side. Luis Carlos simplified by exchanging the minor pieces, and snatching more pawns, when White refused to exchange the queens as well. In the end, his two rooks even penetrated White’s territory forcing his opponent to resign two moves before being checkmated. With this 1.5 to 0.5 lead, the afternoon seemed to go in the right direction. Benjamín Alberola Mulet played his regular opening pattern against Nikita Van Parys (1840) on board 1 and launched a strong attack on the kingside. Once the white queen penetrated into the weakened king position, Benjamin won material and Black resigned. Finally, on the second board, Luis Parreira on the second board fought a hard battle with Frank Roos (1837). Luis took two pawns in the opening, but White destroyed his right to castle. In mutual time trouble Luis conceded the exchange which resulted in an unbalanced position. Given the results of the other boards, both fighters agreed a draw resulting in a final result of 3-1. This nice victory puts Europchess 3 on third rank in Division 4 E.

Europchess 4 prevails over Braine l’Alleud 3

The fourth team had a relatively easy task against Braine l’Alleud 3. On the fourth board, Thanos Gkionis beat in no time Jean Simeons (1250) by suffocating his opponent. Also Marcello Ranucci (against Jordi Solis Calancha, 1620) and Jesper Abrahamsen (against Georges Assaf, 1615) won their games. Only Helge Schröder on board 3 had to give in after a long endgame fight against Arthur Wery (1390). E4 is now on a middle rank in Division 5 L.

Europchess 5 beats Zottegem 7

Equally, Europchess 5 scored three wins against Zottegem 7. On the first board, Mark Ouaki played a strong game against Filiep van Driessche (1701), followed by Bruno Gatta against Georges De Rycke (1210) and Sergio Serrano Samper against Isabelle Van Heghe (1190). Only Nikos Zaimis saw the shorter end of his game against Evy De Weird (1647). This 3-1 win brought the team further up in Division 5 M.

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