Europchess 1 – Geel 1 : 6 – 2 +++ Europchess 2 – Fontaine 3 : 1.5 – 4.5 +++ Europchess 3 – EDC 2 : 3 – 1 +++ Europchess 4 – Dworp 3 : 3.5 – 0.5 +++ Europchess 5 – Excelsior 2 : 3 – 1 +++
Round 9: Spring is in the air
+++ In round 9, four out of five teams won – only the second team had to give in against Division leader Fontaine 3. This means that E 1 and E 3 are still in the race for promotion!
Europchess 1 beats Geel 1
Being the clear favourite in the match against Geel 1, the first team set the tone early on. On board 4, Frank Hoffmeister exchanged queens early on with Chris Maes (1938) to minimize White’s attacking chances on the kingside. In return, he could make use of the weak white squares on the queenside, first winning an important pawn on b2 and then the game.
Pere Moles Palleja followed with a straight win with White against Fred Hoskens (1612) on board 7. He was pressing with White all the time, won a piece in a complicated middlegame and converted the material advantage in the endgame.
On board 5, Matija Šušković played against Black’s isolated e-pawn, but his opponent Nicolas Marx (1937) organised some good counterplay against Matija’s king so that a draw was agreed.
Shortly thereafter, on board 6, Eduardo Semanat Planas pocketed the full point with Black against Ruben Hoffmann (1888) in an endgame due to his superior tactical skills.
Focus then shifted to the top three boards. Timothy Binham had won two pawns in the early middlegame with White against Wim Luyckx (2139), but his queen was far away on a7 so that Black could organise counter-play in the centre. When time ran short, Black managed to simplify the position to a queen ending, where a perpetual check secured him the half point.
Around that time, a tragedy happened on the second board. Georgi Tomov and Matthias Philipsen (2202) had arrived at a knight ending. White had a slight positional plus, and when Georgi was contemplating his strategy how to hold the draw, he lost on time on move 40.
In return, Rossen Roussev took revenge for his last year loss in Zeitnot against Belgium’s woman champion Hanne Goossens (2210). After an equal opening he pressed on the queenside, and once his queen infiltrated Black’s ranks, the position fell apart. A nice false Queen sacrifice terminated the game in Rossen’s favour.
Finally, Paula Gitu on board 8 overcame with Black Manu Vlaeyens (1568) in a long struggle. The position remained balanced for quite some time, but in the last moves before the time control, Paula took over the initiative, won a pawn and White lost on time in a worse position on move 40.
This comfortable 6-2 win gives Europchess 1 a small edge of two board points over TSM 1, who beat CREB 1.
Europchess 2 taken aback by Fontaine 3
The second team had a hard time against division leader Fontaine 3. On the second board, Mattias Johansson came into a passive position with Black against Florian Pierard (2098). White controlled the centre with well-coordinated pieces and opened up lines against Mattias’s non-castled king. Nonetheless, Mattias got good counterplay and even winning chances, when his opponent got short on time. However, Matthias then blundered a piece and had to resign.
On board 5, Johannes Bertram had worked out a good attacking position with White against Jonathan di Cosmo. However, in the decisive moment with not much time left on the clock, he missed a winning continuation. Instead, very unfortunately, Johannes allowed a knight fork, which immediately cost him the game.
On board 6, Kristian Frederiksen defended with Black against Thierry Audin (2000). Spending a lot of time in the opening to untangle a passive set-up, Kristian lost material in the ensuing middlegame, where White’s superior activity on both wings could not be stopped.
With this 0-3 against us, the three remaining boards put up heroic fights to save a match point, but it did not work out. On board 4 Svetlozar Andreev had cashed in a pawn in the middlegame from Alain Houriez (2091) and pushed hard in the endgame. However, due to the opposite coloured bishops the game ended in a deserved draw.
Szymon Pozimski won convincingly against Maximilian Dallemagne (2093) with White on board 3. Black was pressing over the half-open f-file, but Szymon organized a counter-push with his h-pawn. Black overlooked a tactical device which cost him first a full exchange, and after diligent ending play from Szymon, also the full game.
Finally, Martin Müller on the first board played a highly tactical game with White against Fabrice Wantiez (2223). After the opening he was pawn up, but after the simplifications Black was able to push his a-pawn to promotion. Martin transferred the position into a rook ending with a pawn down, but when Martin’s last hope in the advanced e-pawn was dashed, the game was over.
With this 1.5-4.5 loss of the team, which has now fallen back on rank 5 in the Division.
Europchess 3 prevails over EDC 2
The third team kept good nerves against EDC 2. On board 4, Luis Busquets Perez gained a pawn in the opening with Black from Mario di Pronio (1468) and kept it until the end, where he won the ending with his extra d-pawn. On the first board, Benjamin Alberola Mulet and Damien De Pauw (1982) played a high-level positional game, which ended in a justified draw around move 40 when the heavy pieces were exchanged in a symmetrical position. On the third board, José Maria Ramos Florido gave a pawn in the opening with White against Tom Vertenoeil (1577). This yielded him good initiative in the middlegame where he regained his investment with interest. In the ending two connected passed pawns on the queenside made his day. In view of that probable result Luis Parreira accepted a draw offer from Franco Pegoretti (1889) on the second game, after a highly complex middlegame in which both sides tried to press against each other’s weaknesses, but none of them was able to get a decisive advantage. This good 3-1 win keeps E 2 as the runner-up to the Anderlecht chess club: Showdown next round!
Europchess 4 outclasses Dworp 3
In the fourth team, Thanos Gkionis won easily on board 4 with Black against the youngster Jannes Vandevelde (1043) after a short game. Helge Schröder followed on board 3 with a win against the teenager Felix Huyghe (1046). This left Jesper Abrahamsen on board 2 with Black against Niels Palmans (1501). Jesper came under pressure on the kingside, but was able to transform into a drawn ending. On the first board, Marcello Ranucci put pressure on the queenside of Yves Baert (1502) whose position crumbled after time control. The clear 3.5-0.5 victory brings Europchess 4 back to the third rank in Division 5 L.
Europchess 5 better than Excelsior 2
The fifth team was in good form against Excelsior 2. On the top board, Mark Ouaki won an exchange and a pawn from veteran Gerard Burnay (1710) in the middlegame and took the full point. In a similar vein, Bruno Gatta won easily against Jacques Fonteyne (1495) with Black. On board 4, Roberto Teichner achieved a good draw with Black from Samir Azzoug (1413). This left Sergio Serrano Samper to play the longest game against Radu-Catalin Nica (1494). Transforming a worse position into a rook ending, where Black could not win with his extra g-pawn, the game ended with a draw. This nice 3-1 propels the team to rank 5 in Division 5 M.