Last Sunday, Europchess played the last round of the National Interclubs Championship: Round 5 which had been postponed back in January. In a close and decisive match, our top team narrowly lost and thereby saw the possible promotion to Division 1 slip out of their hands. As the main contenders Boitsfort lost as well, the lucky third, our opponents Charleroi fully benefitted from their win and topped the league.
Our other four teams did not have any goals to reach anymore in the last match and scored some mixed results, with two wins and two losses. In the end, all finished in midfield, between 5th and 7th place.
A dramatic final match for our first team, which needed a win to secure promotion. However, the opponents were CREC Charerloi, who also still had chances to finish in first place. That it would not be an easy ride became clear with the line-up, as CREC had mobilised for the first time in the season GM Normunds Miezis on Board 1. This game was the first to finish: Víctor was slightly better after the opening and accepted the grandmaster’s draw offer. Then the Bulgarian boards ended 1-1, as Georgi won, and Rossen lost. Charleroi then took the lead on Board 4 and after another draw by Frank, the remaining chances hung on the last three boards, where Europchess needed another 2.5 points. This looked difficult to achieve. Matija had a dead-drawn bishop ending, and Tom a decisive advantage which he converted. Unfortunately, Sławomir’s position did not seem to offer more than a draw, also in a bishop endgame. In the end he was even outplayed by FM Alain Fayard, which secured the narrow 4.5-3.5 win for Charleroi. Due to Boitsfort’s surprising loss against Leuven Centraal (3-5), Charleroi even won the league. Congratulations to CREC. Still, a respectable 2nd place for Europchess 1.
The second team played with the strongest line-up of the season and repeated the score of the previous week: 5.5-0.5. While one board was left open by T.A.L. from the outset, Martin (bringing his season score to 6/6), Mark, Benjamín and John won their games, while Pere drew. After some relegation worries in the middle of the season, the team finished on a decent 5th rank.
Also Team 3 won. After a quick draw by Luis Parreira, Luis Busquets’ loss on Board 1 was compensated by wins of José María and Robert, clinching a fine 2.5-1.5 win. Also Europchess 3, after some worries, maintained themselves in Division 4 in the end quite clearly, finishing 7th.
Our other Division 4 team faced leaders CRELEL 5, who were determined to secure promotion: they brought in two strong players. Consequently, Europchess was underdog on all boards, and did not stand a chance. In the end a clear 0-4 – Congratulations to CRELEL. Europchess 4 played a decent first season in Division 4, saving themselves with several rounds to spare, and occupying a good 6th rank in the end.
The fifth team lost its last match of the season 1.5-2.5 against local rivals The Belgian CC. Ioannis with a win and David with a draw accounted for our points. Also Europchess 5 finished on a decent midfield spot (7th).
Overall, despite the disappointing outcome in Division 2, we can look back to a successful season, which was at times made difficult by the COVID pandemic. The interclubs coordinator would like to thank all players for their commitment and availability. In total, 52 players participated at least once.
The best scorers were (“+3” or better):
Sławomir Kędzierski (6.5/10), Tom Wiley (6/9), Matija Šušković (4/5), Martin Müller (6/6 – perfect score), Mark Ouaki (8/10 – unbeaten), Benjamín Alberola Mulet (8/11), John Riksten (3.5/4), Luis Miguel Parreira (6/9), José María Ramos Florido (6/7), Marcello Ranucci (4/4) and Jorge Pereiro (7/10).