Interclubs 2019-2020 – Round 1

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Europchess 1 – KBSK 1  :  2 – 6  +++  Europchess 2 – Dworp 1  :  4 – 2  +++  Europchess 3 – CREC 3  :  2.5 – 1.5  +++  Europchess 4 – Dworp 2 :  3.5  – 0.5  +++  Europchess 5 – Dworp 3 :  1 – 3  +++

Round 1: Reality check in the first division

+++ This Sunday, Europchess 1 played its first match in the first division. Against a strong Bruges, we lost 2-6, but the margin could have been much smaller. E 2 beat Dworp 1 with 4-2, E 3 overcame Charleroi 3. E 4 outplayed Dworp 2, while E 5 stranded against Dworp 3 with 1-3.

Europchess 1 loses to Bruges 1

Even without their Dutch GMs, Bruges was composed fairly strongly. On the first board, IM Thibaut Vandenbussche (2435) caught Rossen Roussev on the wrong foot in the opening. Rossen accepted a weak pawn on d5 with White, which was soon lost in the ensuing middlegame. Rossen tried to obtain compensation through active piece play, but Black converted his material advantage convincingly.

Georgi Tomov on board 2 held a good draw with Black against IM Koen Leenhouts (2426). After a symmetric opening, the players first exchanged three minor pieces. White tried to create play by opening the f-file, but Georgi defended well. When the players also swapped another pair of rooks and the queens, they agreed a draw in an equal ending position.

Frank’s opponent on board 3, FM Arno Sterck (2378) played very aggressively with Black, pushing his pawns to d3 and g4 in the opening. Frank kept cool, won the g-pawn and could have kept an advantage by stabilising the position on the kingside. However, after a White oversight in a sharp position, Black uncorked a nice checkmate combination, which earned him the full point.

On board 4, Tom Wiley earned a solid position with Black against FM Thibaut Maenhout (2377) with some slight weaknesses on the kingside. However, when White started to undermine Tom’s centre, his position became untenable. With this 0.5-3.5 from the first four boards, not much hope was left for the lower boards.

On board 6, Matija Šušković equalised with Black against Afrim Ismaili (2326) and started an interesting rook lift from h8-h5-a5. However, White found a disturbing way how to chase the rook. He first won the exchange and then the game. On board 8, Sławomir Kędzierski outplayed with Black Chris De Spiegelaere (1715) on the queenside. His extra a-pawn easily decided the game, winning the point of honour from this match.

This left Pere Moles Palleja and Paula Gitu for their difficult endgames. Pere had two passed pawns on the queenside versus Warre De Waele’s (2214) three passed pawns on the kingside. Pere defended stubbornly and even created winning chances by forcing the exchange of rooks. However, in the 6th hour he was so exhausted that he did not continue in the most accurate way, so that Black could promote one of his pawns or check mate the king.

In return, on board 5, Paula Gitu saved her bishop ending – again with Black pawns on the kingside and white pans on the queenside, despite a pawn less to a deserved draw against IM Tom Piceu (2365).  The 2-6 loss put E 1 on the last rank in the first division, but the harsh reality check also showed that we can do better.

Europchess 2 wins against Dworp 1

The second team delivered an excellent start with a convincing 4-2 win against one of the main contenders for the title, Dworp 1. On the first board, Leonardo Pérez Aranda played a wild game with White against FM Serge Vanderwaeren (2160). In Leonardo’s zeitnot Black went wrong, and after the smoke disappeared, Leonardo safely transposed an ending with a rook vs. Black’s passed, but not strong enough pawns to a full point. Olafur Hannesson went through a difficult moment with Black against Tom Van Hoofstat (2132) on the second board, but kept his position together with some original defensive moves. After consolidation in the centre the two players agreed on a draw. Martin Müller got a slight space advantage with White against Kjell Spaens (2069), but it was hard to transpose this into something tangible: draw on board 3. However, on board 4, Mattias Johansson outplayed with Black Diederik Lot (1957) with precise opening treatment. In hyper-modern fashion he allowed White to build a pawn centre, just to successfully undermine it afterwards. Mattias first cashed in some material and then the full point. Similarly, Mark Ouaki convinced with White against Walter De Reymaeker (1956) on board 5. He first created some pressure on the queenside and then broke through. In an ending with a queen vs. a rook and some pawns on both sides, Black did not have any chance. The only drawback occurred on board 6, where Szymon Pozimski had to give in with Black against Frank Denys (1903) after a complicated middlegame. In total, the 4-2 win allows E 2 to start with second place in Division 3 A.

Europchess 3 stronger than Charleroi 3

The third team won 2.5-1.5 against Chareloi 3. On the fourth board, Thanos Gkionis took over the initiative early in the game against Vincenzo Soretti (1470). His more active pieces attacked White’s king, and when he had collected extra-material, Thanos could convert the position into a won ending. On board 3, José Maria Ramos Florido sacrificed his b-pawn in the opening against Bernard Leloutre (1723), but got huge compensation in the form of active piece play. On the second board, Luis Busquets and Robert Romanelli (1806) played a topical opening with a lot of theory. The position resulted in a small advantage for black against the exchange and black offered a draw. Just then, Board 3 finished with E3 leading 2-0 and Luis agreed with the draw that ensured the mathematical victory of the team.  When he started attacking Black’s queen and king, José Maria was unstoppable and won the decisive match point. Against the background it was less dramatic that Luis Parreira had to resign with White against Laurent Delescaille (1848). Luis’s position looked more promising on the kingside, but after the exchange of queens Black took over the initiative on the queenside and his bishops turned out to be stronger than expected. With 2.5-1.5 E 3 also started well into the season and is on rank 3-5 in Division 4 F.

Europchess 4 outclasses Dworp 2

The fourth team underlined with a clear 3.5-0.5 against Dworp 2 its ambition to play for promotion. Viktor Klymonchuk overran with White Niels Lerinckx (1180) in no time with White with a strong attack against Black’s king on the third board, and Julien Peyrebrune overcame Jannes Vandevelde (1150) on board 4 after having won strong extra-pawns in the centre. Kristian Frederiksen followed with positional Black win against Niels Palmans (1565) on the second board. Johannes Bertram had a tiny advantage with White against Filip Van De Velde (1730), but in the end the game resulted in a draw. With this clear victory E 4 is among the leaders in Division 5 D.

Europchess 5 takes the shorter end against Dworp 3

Dworp 3 took revenge for the other teams with a 3-1 win over E 5. On the top board, Jesper Abrahamsen lost in a difficult rook ending against Gaston Boutchon (1868), while Robert Pryliński could not hold an endgame with rook vs. two pieces and a protected passed pawn from Sam Van Hoofstat (1866) on the second board. Sergio Serrano Samper and Jorge Pereiro drew their games against Mohamad Taleb (1447) and Yves Baert (1475), respectively. The 1-3 loss translates into rank 11 in Division 5 G.

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