KGSRL 1 – Europchess 1 : postponed to 15 December +++ Zottegem 2 – Europchess 2 : 4 – 2 +++ Namur 4 – Europchess 3 : 0.5 – 3.5 +++ Wavre 4 – Europchess 4 : 2 – 2 +++ Kapelle o/d Bos 2 – Europchess 5 : 0.5 – 3.5 +++
Round 4: Europchess marches on
+++ In Round 4 on 17 November 2019, E 3-E 5 were successful, but E 2 suffered a setback in Zottegem 2. E 1 will only play on 15 December.
Europchess 2 suffers setback in Zottegem 2
E 2 went through a hard time against Zottegem 2. The misery started with team captain Mattias Johansson, who had confidently sacrificed a pawn in the opening with White against Erwin Mannaert (1897) on board 4. He obtained very good attacking chances, but was too eager to win his pawn back, after which his queen was trapped in two moves.
After his early loss, Mark Ouaki followed with another defeat on board 5. Nikita Van Parys (1802) developed good counter-play for his queen and a passed h-pawn. After some complications White turned out to be a piece ahead, which decided the game in his favour.
On the third board, Martin Müller sacrificed a piece with Black for an attack against Frank Vermeulen (1898). However, White defended cleverly and won easily in the ending with both rooks invading the 7th rank.
On the first board, Pere Moles Palleja had achieved a promising position against Dorian Van Den Heede (2016). However, due to an oversight he lost his queen against a rook and bishop, which did not provide Pere with sufficient compensation.
With a standing of 0-4 in the back, at least Leonardo Pérez Aranda and Milan Beles scored two consolation points. On board 2, Leonardo overplayed with White Jolan Bourdeaud’Hui (1899) in a rook ending, while Milan Beles won his pawn ending with a distant passed pawn against Stijn Van Puyvelde (1798). This 2-4 loss threw E 2 back to 5th place in Division 3A.
Europchess 3 beats Namur 4
The third team had a long fight in Namur, but it ended very successfully against a strong fourth team of the hosts. On the third board, Luis Busquets Pérez faced with Black Serge Degembe (1833) and struggled with an inferior position in the middlegame and a pawn down. However, he defended fiercely and eventually benefitted from a blunder of his opponent, who allowed the exchange of rooks and subsequent promotion of a Black pawn. Side by side was playing José María Ramos Florido, with White, against Thierry Lenoir (1748). As usual, José María played aggressively, sacrificing a pawn in the opening and even offering a second pawn that was not taken by Black. This gave White a clear initiative and he won a piece for another pawn in the middle-game. Afterwards, José María escaped Black’s tactical counterplay to reach an endgame where his a-pawn decided the game. On the first board, Szymon Pozimski played with Black against the dangerous Luc Vingerhoets (1972). After a sharp opening, things went positional. Szymon inflicted a weakness on White’s queenside, but his experienced opponent neutralised his initiative. Since the rook endgame was roughly equal, Szymon accepted a draw to secure the team win. This left Benjamín Alberola Mulet on the second board with White against Fabrice Pacolet (1842). After a long struggle with many pieces on the board and two draw offers, Black chose to go for an endgame, where his two bishops were much worse than White’s. Benjamín invaded Black’s backcourt and forced Black to resign. With this 3,5:0,5 victory, Europchess 3 is on top of the division together with Philippeville and keeps its chances to fight for promotion in a very balanced group.
Europchess 4 draws in Wavre
E 4 was held to a 2-2 draw by Wavre 4, although the opponents did not line up a particularly strong team. Curiously all games of this match were won by Black!
Marcello Ranucci scored the lead for Europchess, by beating Alexandre Aussems (1292) on Board 3. Marcello won an exchange early on, and when his opponent lost further material, it was time to resign for White. The lead was only of short duration, as on Board 4, Helge Schröder lost to Timothé Biafora (unrated). Helge came under an attack at the end of the opening. At first, he seemed to neutralise it but then he blundered material and found himself in a hopeless position that could not be saved. Meanwhile, Johannes Bertram and Kristian Frederiksen on the first two boards were both running short on time and did not seem to have palpable winning chances in their middlegames. Johannes then benefitted from a blunder of Samuel Salvaggio, who left a central pawn undefended. With this material advantage, Johannes managed to reach the time control, after which he decided the game with a tactical combination. Kristian however had difficulties in defending a somewhat too much advanced passed pawn, whereas his opponent Aurian De Briey had a protected one. Towards the time control, Kristian lost a pawn and did not transition to the rook ending in an optimal way. Struggling against two passed pawns was then too much for one rook, and Kristian could only resign and thus allow Wavre to equalise the score.
Nonetheless, as E 4’s main competitors dropped points as well, the draw even brought the team to clear 1st place in division 5D.
Europchess 5 overruns Kapelle-op-den-Bos 2
In Division 5 G, Europchess 5 scored an impressive 3.5-0.5 against Kapelle-op-den-Bos 2. On the top board, Jesper Abrahamsen got under pressure from a strong centre from Pieter Geentjens (1565), but managed to break through and to secure a draw. Galin Gentchev decided to sacrifice two pawns for initiative in the opening with Black. Gradually Galin won back material while keeping the pressure, leading to checkmate of William Portier (1533). Nikos Zaimis played with Black against Arno Van Roy (1494) and gained the initiative early on. The players arrived in an ending with a rook and two minor pieces each. Nikos advanced the kingside pawns, which helped suffocate the white king, while the two Black bishops pinned White’s pieces effectively. On board 4, Sergio won with White against Dirk Verschueren (1295). He opened the e-file, winning first a pawn and then a full piece. Black could not find any decent way to defend his weaknesses and had to give up. The team maintained its good third place division 5 G.