Westerlo 1 – Europchess 1 : 2 – 6 +++ Brasschaat 4 – Europchess 2 : 3 – 3 +++ The Belgian CC 3 – Europchess 3 : 2 – 2 +++ Halle 1 – Europchess 4 : 1 – 3 +++ Europchess 5 : BYE +++
Round 10: Before the finishing line
+++ In round 10, the first team kept its slight edge for promotion with a clean 6-2 win in Westerlo! However, E 3 only drew in Anderlecht, which reduces its chances for promotion. E 2 took another match point in Brasschaat and E 4 beat Halle 1.
Europchess 1 takes six board points in Westerlo
Being aware that every board point counts in the final race for promotion, the first team delivered another sparkling performance in Westerlo. On the seventh board, Pere Moles Palleja equalized into a symmetrical position with Black against Marc Van Dyck (1853) and inflicted a doubled pawn on his opponent. However, the latter dominated the e-file with doubled rooks and a draw was agreed early on.
Eduardo Semanat Planas played a positional game with White on board 6 against Sven Gorts (1856) up to the point where the latter sacrificed a piece to start an attack against Eduardo’s king. However, with two cold-blooded defensive moves, Eduardo forced the exchange of the two most dangerous attacking pieces from Black (bishop and queen), leading to resignation.
On board 8, Paula Gitu got a stable space advantage against Evi Van Dyck (1755) and conducted a strong kingside attack by pushing her g-pawn to g6. Supported by all minor pieces and a battery on the b1-h7 diagonal, Paula sacrificed her knight on h6, forcing resignation a few moves later.
On the fifth board, Frank Hoffmeister made an early exchange sacrifice with Black to weaken the king position of Pieter Sterckx (1899). His dynamic compensation forced White to defend carefully, but just when he could have stabilized his position, he overlooked a tactical trick. This allowed Frank to win back the exchange with two extra-pawns, securing an easy win.
On board 4, Thomas Wiley followed with another White win against Tim Peeters (1991). Tom gave back a gambit-pawn for a comfortable plus with two bishops and some pressure against Black’s isolated pawn. When Black tried to create some play on the kingside, this activity fired back. Tom could infiltrate Black’s position on this wing and win some material. Once Tom safely reached the time control, his opponent resigned.
On board 3, Timothy Binham played a highly unusual opening with Black since Steven Bellens (2103) surprised him with a novelty on move 3 (!). Tim, though, found the right plan and got a winning position in the middlegame with a nice exchange sacrifice, compromising White’s king position. Once he mobilized all his pieces against the weak monarch, his attack proved decisive for another win.
With this fabulous 5.5-0.5 lead, the eyes turned to the two top boards. Rossen Roussev defended with Black against Maurice Peek (2453) and reached a solid position. However, when the position opened up in Rossen’s time trouble, White won three pawns and the ensuing rook ending was lost despite heroic resistance.
Georgi Tomov on the second board also got into trouble with White against Stief Gijsen, who organized a well-orchestrated advance against Georgi’s king on the queenside. However, Georgi kept his chances and when the players reached an endgame with queen plus knight and 3 pawns (White) v. queen plus bishop and 4 pawns (Black), Georgi’s opponent with only 1 minute left on the clock settled for a draw with perpetual check.
This sealed a clear match win with 6-2 and E 1 defended its lead in Division 2 A. The team is now 1.5 board points ahead of TSM, who defeated Geel 1 with 6.5-1.5.
Europchess 2 draws in Brasschaat
Playing the fourth team of Brasschaat, E 2 came back with a solid draw. On board 6, Jesper Abrahamsen gained the exchange with White against Geert Heyman (1742) in the early middlegame. However, when the queens were exchanged it was hard to capitalize this to a full point and the players agreed on a draw. Kristian Frederiksen on board 5 outplayed with Black Michiel Vande Ginste (1743), first winning a pawn and later on a full rook in an already superior position. Also on the first board, things turned out well. Radoslav Krastev got attacking chances with Black against Mark De Smedt (2014), and when he forced White’s king into the open, the game was decided into his favour. On the other hand, Szymon Pozimski was late in development with Black against Dave Remijsen (1818) and suffered from a passive position which was not tenable in the long run. Martin Müller on the second board overlooked a good move from Rob Hopman-Been (1985), which first cost him a pawn and later on the entire game. The last player was thus Johannes Bertram, who tried for a long time to squeeze out something from a closed middlegame position against Jan Demarré (1817). Before the time control, there was no real progress on both sides. Once the 40th move was done, the players sealed a peace treaty, although subsequent analysis showed that Johannes may have had some chances by implementing a difficult breakthrough idea. This 3-3 kept the second team on the fifth rank in Division 3 D.
Europchess 3 misses a win in Anderlecht
In the top match of the season, E 3 met the division leader Anderlecht, whose average amounted to no less than 2071 ELO. Nevertheless, our team put up a hard fight. On the second board, Mattias Johansson outplayed Sergio Zamparo (2086) with White, slowly increasing his positional bind on Black’s cramped position and a pawn weakness on a6. In the middlegame Mattias then won a piece after a mistake of his opponent and took the full point. On the first board, Benjamin Alberola Mulet accepted a gambit pawn with Black, which allowed Gregory Vanobbergh (2104) to build up an impressive center with attacking chances. Benjamin could not castle anymore, and despite being an exchange up he had to concede defeat when White’s pieces invaded his position. On the fourth board, Mark Ouaki played White against the experienced Ahmed Draidi (2010). Mark’s slight advantage after the opening faded away in the middlegame. However, when the players reached an ending with knight v. bishop and a couple of pawns the knight proved to be more mobile and Mark won the game. Luis Parreira on the third board faced with Thierry Ackaert (2085) another big calibre with experience from the first division. White extended on the queenside, but Luis got the better game over the open a-file. He reached a winning position, where he could have forced White to give up the exchange to avoid mate. Instead, White was able to escape to an equal position. Luis did not accept the draw, in view of the uncertain outcome on board 4, but later on White pressed for a win when Mark had won. Unfortunately, Luis lost another important pawn and then the entire game. With this 2-2, E 3 has resisted against a much stronger team, but could not overtake its rival in Division 4 E.
Europchess 4 wins against Halle 1
With three neat wins from José Maria Ramos Florido (against Robert Huysman, 1447), Luis Busquets (against Robbe Van Haesendonck, 1409) and Thanos Gkionis (against Frank Van Overstraeten, 1160) E 4 won the match against Halle 1. Only Helge Schröder had to give in on the third board against Aron Schepens (1170). With this victory, E 4 holds the second rank in Division 5 L, but the leader in Division 5 L, Pantin 6, has become unreachable with another 4-0 win.
Europchess 5 : Bye
The fifth team had a bye in Round 10. It is sure of being at least 5th in its Division.