Intercercles FEFB 2019 – Round 1

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Fighting chess all around

The new year 2019 started with the first round of the Francophone championship. Europchess plays with two teams in Division 1 and 3. With 2.5/4 and 2/4 points we started well, albeit not perfectly well.

Europchess 1 beats Namur and draws with TAL

The one half of Europchess 1 met with Namur 1 one of the strong teams in the division. On board 1, Georgi Tomov faced the enterprising Sébastien Marte (2154), who steered the game into unchartered opening territory early on. Georgi gained attacking chances against Black’s castled king, but Black came back after a tactical oversight. However, after an inaccurate move with the queen, Georgi was then able to exploit his domination on the dark-squares and Black’s position collapsed (1-0).

On board four, Pere Moles Palleja defended with Black against the experienced Philippe Uhoda  (2062). White gained space and was ahead in development, but Pere’s position did not have any weakness. After the exchange of almost all pieces over the open files and diagonals a peace treaty was signed. Good side effect: we pocketed two match points in this mini-encounter.

On the other two boards Timothy Binham and Frank Hoffmeister fought against two players from T.A.L. Playing Black against Sylvain Watelet (1927), Frank sacrificed an exchange for some attacking chances against White’s king. White took a long time to find the best replies and threatened to win Frank’s knight on h3. However, in severe time trouble he then left the path of virtue and Black actually won a full rook with a false queen sacrifice: 1-0.

Tim Binham had gained a great advantage with equally aggressive White play, culminating in another exchange sacrifice against Giacinto Cuttaia (1942). However, despite his two extra pawns, Tim could not pocket the deserved win, getting somehow mated in time trouble in the endgame. With 3 match points, and 2.5 board points, the first team positioned itself on the 2nd rank in the first Division.

Europchess 2

The first half of our second team had to play against Echiquier Mosan 2 (formerly known as Amay). On the fourth board, Thanos Gkionis equalized easily with Black against Henri Dambiermont (1598). However, in the middlegame, he could then open up the position, which first yielded him a nice protected passed d5-pawn and afterwards the full point with a nice combination, when he set it in motion to d3.

On the first board, Benjamin Alberola Mulet seemed to have put pressure with White on Claude Bikady’s (1909) king position in the middlegame. However, Black defended well and was able to transform into a rook ending with two doubled f-pawns and an h-pawn against Benjamin’s lonely d-pawn. With accurate defensive play, Benjamin collected Black’s extra material and reached a theoretical draw after long fight.

In the second half, Luis Busquets saw the shorter end with White against the promising youngster Nils Heldenbergh (1826). In a sharp opening Luis could not find the right squares for his knights, and in the middlegame Black’s pressure over the half-open f-file became too strong.

Johannes Bertram on the second board played an interesting game with Black against Romain Bernard (1921). A lot of tactical tricks had to be seen on the kingside, before the players reached an ending with an extra-pawn for White. However, as there were also opposite coloured bishops on the board, Johannes was able to draw with accurate technique. Europchess 2 has thus landed in the middle of the table with 2 match points and 2 board points.

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