On board one of Europchess 1, we had the pleasure to welcome back Timothy Binham from Finland. In a closed Sicilian, he gained an important space advantage with White against Eric van Hauthem who did not dare castling. Tim increased the pressure with active piece play and finally clinched the full point in the 3rd hour (1-0). Jenö Czucai on board 4 had a Stonewall position against Simone Peeters. When Jenö was able to advance his pawn to e4, he got the better play and White gave up an important central pawn. Jenö then exploited skilfully the second White weakness, i.e. a backward pawn on e3 and the game was decided for us (2-0). On board three, Frank faced the rare opening move 1. d4 b5?! from Jean-Marie Piron. He continued calmly and led in development, when his opponent sacrificed a piece for an attack over the h-file against Frank’s castled king. The White King was forced to march to d4, but Frank was vigilant to avoid any mate. When Black blundered a second piece, White had an easy win just before the time control (3-0). This left Tom on board two with Black against Gérard Burnay. While Tom got the better game from the opening, he unfortunately committed a finger slip in the late middle game. This allowed White to simplify the position to a Queen and rook vs. Queen and rook ending with an equal number of pawns. Tom declined a draw offer and played on for several moves, but once it became clear that there were no chances to make progress, he offered a draw himself (3,5-0,5).
In contrast to the first team, Europchess 2 faced a nominally stronger Epicure 2. Nevertheless, Nicola Rauta and Jens Frederiksen secured well deserved draws on board one and two. On board 3, Kristian Pade Frederiksen played White against Eddy Mattheys. Kristian achieved full equality in a symmetrical fianchetto position. When his opponent tried to complicate the position tactically, Kristian converted the game into an ending with opponent bishops which was a clear draw. As Philippe Mariamé lost on board 4 against Philippe Guisset, Europchess 2 unfortunately lost the two match points with end result of 1,5-2,5.
Europchess 3 had expected a strong Epicure 3. However, the latter was severely weakened. Board 1 did not show up, preventing József from scoring his long-awaited win with White. On board 2, Eduardo Semanat Planas disposed of Francois Mertens with sharp attacking play. With black Eduardo gave a pawn for the destruction of White’s king position. His fine piece play then subdued White without further ado (2-0). On board 3 Pere Moles Palleja played a calm English type of position. When he opened the f-file and invaded on the queen side, his opponent Steve Laios lost control over the board. Pere finished off the game in convincing style (3-0). Jacques Delvaux on board 4 met Thomas Brinkmann, playing his last game for Europchess for some time. Despite a small inaccuracy in the beginning, Thomas got the better game with Black in a Queen’s pawn opening. He then exploited his better knight against White’s weak bishop and the open e-file. Nicely, this fitted into the overall performance of Europechess 3 at that day (4-0!).
Thanks to these results, both Europechess 1 and 3 are on good track in their respective divisions. As both CREB 2 and Zottegem 1 lost their matches, Europchess 1 now enjoys a five-point margin at the top. Under normal circumstances, this should secure us the title in Division 4 C. In return, the strongest competitor of Europchess 3, Anderlecht 4, also won, maintaining the fight for the first place in division 5 J. All seems to boil down for a decisive match against them on 28 February. Europchess 2 needs at least two more match points to avoid the relegation from Division 4 F.
Pairings for round 8 on 7 February are as follows:
Zottegem 2 – Europchess 1
Soignies 1 – Europchess 2
Namur 7 – Europchess 3
This is how Thomas won his game with the Black pieces:
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