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European Club Championships Report 2009

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European Club Championships 2009

 

Cardiff Chess Club  played in the European Club Championships in Ohrid, Macedonia.  They were seeded 49 out of 54 teams with an average FIDE rating of 2087. Their captain was Stuart Hutchings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday 4th October

 

Round 1

 

A brief report, I'm still shattered after yesterday's gruelling journey which saw me getting up at 05:00 and returning from the captain's meeting at past midnight. More about that perhaps another time.

 

The squad this time is lacking James Cobb, Tim Kett and Alan Spice for various reasons, but this gives an opportunity for others to make their names, with Tom, Charles S and Guy making their debuts. In board order it is:

 

1. Charles Cobb

2. John Trevelyan

3. Tom Brown

4. John Fletcher

5. Charles Summers

6. Guy Wagner

7. Bill Harle

 

Today's match saw us play the 22nd seeds Rochade Eupen-Kelmis with the result:

 

White 1. IM Charles Cobb (2398) ½ - ½  Michael Feygin (2546)

Black 2. John Trevelyan (2166)  0 - 1  Sebastian Siebrecht (2456)

  W  3. Thomas Brown (2051)    0 - 1  Thomas Fiebig (2416)

  B  4. John Fletcher (2045)   0 - 1  FM Rudolf Meessen (2334)

  W  5. Charles Summers (1955) 0 - 1  FM Felix Klein (2299)

  B  6. Guy Wagner (1904)      ½ - ½  Klaus Petzold (2238)

 

   Link to Round 1 Games in viewer  PGN

 

On paper this sounds like a par score, but the team put up a very spirited performance and possibly were edging it at one stage, but the stronger players came good between moves 25 - 40, as is often the case.

 

In brief:

1. Charles C was at one point 2 pawns up and might has expected to make more of it, but his opponent defended well. Charles entertained as usual when he got down to just the 30 second increments, sometimes making his move with just 2 or 3 seconds to spare.

 

2. John T had an interesting opening 1.e4 d6 2.d4 e5 3. Nc3 Nc6 4.Nge2 Nf6 5.h3 exd4 6.Nxd4 Nxe4 as in a similar position in the Scotch but with the extra moves (favourable to B) h3 and d6. John's opponent thought for ages, but John still got a slight edge, but became over-ambitious trying to retain an extra pawn and W turned the tables.

 

3. Tom lost/sacrificed his h pawn, but thinks he was still better, this needs further analysis in the bar later (!). When you see the game, it is a very nice finish by B, whose next moves would have been Rh8+, Rh1+, Qh8+, Qh2+. Qh1 mate.

 

4. John F was always a bit worse in a 4 piece ending, and despite good resistance, duly succumbed.

 

5. Charles S certainly went for it with his Blackmar-Diemer and had his much higher rated opponent hanging on after the opening. In the end Charles' attack proved unsuccessful, but this was a good effort by him. Again, another one requiring closer scrutiny in the bar.

 

6. Guy outplayed his opponent to reach a better position where he was also well ahead on the clock. Unfortunately his opponent's need to play rapidly seemed to unsettle Guy somewhat, the latter at one stage pressing the clock  not realising his opponent had moved, necessitating the arbiter to spend a while re-setting it. Credit to Guy for playing on when we were 0 - 2 down and 0 - 3 down, and for a very creditable result.

 

Stuart Hutchings

Captain, Cardiff Chess Club

 

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5th October

 

Round 2

 

After yesterday's tough opener against the 22nd seeds, we can feel very unlucky to have been playing the 29th seeds, ASVO Pamhagen in round 2, who themselves had lost 1 - 5 to the 2nd seeds in round 1. We again had White on odds.

 

 W 1. IM Charles Cobb (2398) ½ - ½  GM Robert Ruck (2548)

 B 2. Thomas Brown (2051)    0 - 1  GM Mikulas Manik (2426)

 W 3. John Fletcher (2045)   0 - 1  IM Rafal Antoniewski (2558)

 B 4. Charles Summers (1955) 0 - 1  IM Juraj Lipka (2418)

 W 5. Guy Wagner (1904)      0 - 1  Antol Vitouch (2294)

 B 6. Bill Harle (0)         ½ - ½  Boban Bozinovic (2104)

 

   Link to Round 2 Games in viewer   PGN

 

I was rather concerned early on when after only a few moves on each board, our players were all deep in thought, some of them seemingly caught off guard, but thankfully they rallied well.

 

1. Charles C spent an age on some rather straightforward moves, before being involved in a terrific heavyweight struggle. As with the 1st round Charles thought he might have been able to make more of his advantage, before reaching a position with B + 7 versus R + 3. As hard as he tried (and often with just the 30 second increment) this ending proved unwinnable, but 2  excellent games so far by Charles, who by his own admission is ring rusty.

 

2. Tom was caught on the hop after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 g6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4, with an early Q exchange, which is probably theoretically better for W, but Tom was happy with his position before a slip cost him a pawn. Although still only a pawn down in the final 2R and opposite B position, literally all he could was just sit and wait for the inevitable.

 

3. John F's opponent, knowingly or otherwise, side-stepped John's 'Blackmar-Diemer-Cardiff' gambit with 1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 4.Bc4 d5 5.exd5 b5 6.Bb3 b4 and cxd5, but W handled the surprise opening well. Things progressed fairly steadily before John fell for a big tactic which cost his Q for a N.

 

4. Charles S' game transposed into a g3 Benoni/KID without e6, but Charles never quite equalised despite playing some thematic chess, as he had a poorly placed N on c7 with a W pawn still on c4. I've pointed out how he needs to play this next time and Charles has enthusiastically taken this on board, he's much enjoying the occasion.

 

5. Guy mixed his move order up 1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 c6 3.g3 Bg4 4.Ne5 Bh5 5.cxd5 and after Qxd5 is forced to play 6.Nf3 leaving him with doubled f pawns and an isolated d pawn after 6... Bxf3. Thereafter Guy put up a terrfic rearguard action and came close to equalising, but it was not quite to be. Guy is another who is revelling in the experience.

 

6. Bill never looked in any real trouble, despite a couple of indifferent moves, against an opponent who seemed quite content with the draw. A good result for Bill in the 1st game to finish, at which point I reminded him of our earlier conversation in which he said "this might be 6 - 0 today", to which I replied "No, I reckon our opponents will score at least half a point !".

 

So in the end, another par, or even above par, result, and the team could well start to flourish as we play teams seeded similarly to ourselves.

 

I'll finish today with a couple of quick stories:

 

We are unfortunately in a hotel 20 - 30 minutes by official bus to the playing hall (another hotel). It's unusual for the playing hall not to be in walking distance, the only other one which springs to mind for me was the 1972 Olympiad, which took place in Skopje ..... which is now the capital of Macedonia (!).

 

On the return bus trip yesterday I was sitting just behind GM Robert Huebner and we struck up a conversation, and he was impressed me remembering that at Skopje he had inflicted on the mighty Petrosian the latter's only ever Olympiad defeat (!).

 

Message to Hugh, thanks for the badge, hope to see you next year, Best Regards, Dirk.

 

That's all for today, folks, hope to be reporting on a win tomorrow.

 

Stuart Hutchings

Captain, Cardiff Chess Club

     

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Tuesday 6th October

 

Round 3

 

Today we played Bolungarvik, and although they are only seeded 8 places above us at 41st, their players outgraded us by at least 200 points on every board except board 1. The details of the match:

 

1. IM Jon Viktor Gunnarsson (2462) 1 - 0 IM Charles Cobb (2398) B

2. IM Dagur Arngrimsson (2396)     1 - 0 John Trevelyan (2166)  W

3. IM Bragi Thorfinnsson  (2360)   1 - 0 homas Brown (2051)     B

4. Gudmundur Gislason  (2348)      1 - 0 Charles Summers (1955) W

5. Gudmundur Halldorsson  (2229)   ½ - ½ Guy Wagner (1904)      B

6. Stefan Arnalds  (2002)          0 - 1 Bill Harle (0)         W

 

Link to Round 3 Games in viewer   PGN

 

1. Charles C had another complex game, winning a pawn but having the worst nightmare of a player of the French Defence in that his Bishop was stuck on c8 against a N on e5 (plus the heavy pieces). Charles managed to extricate his Bishop but had to concede his extra pawn to reach an almost certainly lost R + B versus R + N ending, promptly terminated by blundering his Bishop.

 

2. John played the Exchange Ruy with Queens coming off early, but his opponent played a textbook example of how to win a queenless middlegame against a lower rated player, ending with a piece sac to queen a pawn.

 

3. Tom's game was a complex Tarrasch where W tried to hang on to an extra pawn, but Tom's energetic play more or less forced W to give the pawn back, but at the same making Tom's position a bit awkward. The end on this board was also accelerated by the blunder of a piece.

 

4. Charles again played the 'Blackmar-Diemer-Cardiff' Gambit and can count himself very unlucky when his opponent rattled off many moves of theory. It transpires that his opponent had been a victim not long ago in this opening and had thoroughly 'booked' himself in the meantime. Try as he may Charles just couldn't generate anywhere near enough play for his 2 pawn deficit and lost on time/resigned simultaneously in a hopeless position.

 

5. Guy, what a find he's turning out to be, comfortably holding his own as Black against a much higher rated player. I love the way Guy is churning out very logical moves however good or bad his position, interspersed with brief moments of anxiety. After pressing the clock twice 'before he made his move' in round 1, today he asked me in the presence of the arbiter if he could offer a draw, to which I replied 'Yes', he then continued "Do I make my move, press my clock, and then offer a draw". " No Guy" I replied "you need to reverse the last 2, it is illegal to talk to an opponent whilst their clock is ticking !". A nice Guy (in more ways than one !).

 

6. Bill, what can I say, what a star, his 1st draw in Europe yesterday, and his 1st win today (!). Bill kept things very steady, and pounced when his opponent blundered to allow the win of an exchange, but his opponent decided it be a piece for a pawn instead, and Bill cruised home. Bill's prep is like mine used to be, forget the chess, get out and get some fresh air and exercise. Yesterday morning as we strolled I predicted he would draw, today I said you've got white against a player lower rated than yesterday's, you're going to win today (!). As for tomorrow's game, it will be ..... that will be between Bill and myself in the morning (!), I must remember to do the lottery (!).

 

Must fly, Bill and I found an Irish Bar this morning, and the others have gone ahead whilst I do this report (hope it's appreciated !), and I'm getting thirsty (!).

 

p.s. John will send this report after we return later.

 

Stuart Hutchings

Captain, Cardiff Chess Club  

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Wednesday 7th October

 

Round 4

 

I'm afraid that Stuart is suffering a bit with the dreaded lurgi. Probably something to do with handing over 4000 Euros in cash to the organisers for our hotel bills, and nothing to do with today's result.

 

We were paired against Moss Schakklubb of Norway. Only one GM and two FMs in their team.

 

1. GM Normunds Miezis (2558)   1 - 0  IM Charles Cobb (2398)  B

2. FM Joachim Thomassen (2332) 1 - 0  John Trevelyan (2166)   W

3. FM Espen Forsaa (2331)      1 - 0  Thomas Brown (2051)     B

4. Paul Johansen (2102)        1 - 0  John Fletcher (2045)    W

5. Hans Kongevold (2061)       1 - 0  Guy Wagner (1904)       B

6. Vebjorn Selbekk(1968)       1 - 0  Bill Harle (0)          W

 

Link to Round 4 Games in viewer  PGN

 

Charles seemed to be doing OK, on the Black end of an exchange French, when I left the playing area but GMs don't give up too easily.

 

My own game was a bit of a disaster: I probably got a poor position early on in a reversed King's Indian and things just went slowly downhill.

 

Tom's game started off quickly, with both players quickly bashing out theory in a Sicilian Dragon, with Tom sacrificing an exchange for an attack but probably not quite enough of an attack.

 

John Fletcher played very aggressively on the White end of a sort of Benoni without c4, but used up a lot of time in the early middlegame. When his opponent started using up his own time, in order to survive, John didn't have quite enough left to finish him off.

 

I didn't see any of what happened on the lower two boards, I had enough problems of my own, but the results weren't any better.

 

Is this Cardiff's first 0-6 Whitewash in this event?

 

John Trev

Temporary Deputy Assistant Captain

 

Normal service should be resumed tomorrow.

 

Round 4 (continued)

Thanks to John for stepping in and compiling yesterday's report. I started the day with a sore throat and I gradually got worse as the day progressed, as, alas, also did the team at the board. All I can add to John's report is that Charles C was probably OK but slipped up just before the time control, whilst my heroes on boards 5 & 6, Guy and Bill, both also had off days.

 

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Thursday 8th October

 

ECC Round 5

 

After yesterday's result unfortunately we are last. There are 3 teams on 0 match points, but our games points are 3.5 compared to 6.0 and 8.5. After plenty of orange juice and an early night I was feeling somewhat better today (thanks for all the sympathetic emails) but it has now developed into a heavy cold. The fact I have not had a cold for about 20 years must be telling me something, perhaps it's time to give up working for a living (!).

 

Today's pairing was rather cruel, we played the stronger of the other 2 teams on 0 match points, but worse was that we had our 3rd Black on board 1 in a row (after Whites in the 1st 2 rounds), which made selection awkward and some colour imbalances. The team we played was the 45th seeded Schackklub Nierderrohrdorf with the following result:

 

1. FM Ralph Buss (2371)          1 - 0  IM Charles Cobb (2398)

2. FM Heinz Schaufelberger(2270) 1 - 0  John Trevelyan (2166)

3. Markus Regez (2208)           0 - 1  Thomas Brown (2051)

4. FM Leonard Mueller (2208)     1 - 0  John Fletcher (2045)

5. Werner Brunner (2178)         1 - 0  Chalres Summers (1955)

6. Kurt Meier (1955)             0 - 1  Guy Wagner (1904)

 

Link to Round 5 Games in viewer  PGN

 

 

For the  observant amongst you, you will have noticed a first for us. Yes, for the only time so far in 30 games has 1 of our players outgraded theirs (here on board 1), and often the difference has been 200 points or more.

 

1. Charles C played a young, and presumably upcoming, FM who squeezed the full point out of Charles in a B + N ending, where Black was lumbered with a bad white squared bishop, something which has been a bit of a curse for us.

 

2. John T played a 95 move game where he finally succumbed in the theoretically drawn R + B versus R, which in practice is quite difficult to hold despite there being 2 well known drawing methods (Cochrane's defence and the 2nd rank defence). B seemed to play it well, and in the end John's rook was stuck on the wrong side of his K.

 

3. Tom got a nice position after his opponent wasted moves with his queen's bishop, and finished the game with a nice attack. Good to see Tom get on the scoreboard, he's had a string of tough opponents.

4. John F went for broke with a piece sac followed by another, but his K was exposed and the game was quickly lost.

 

5. Charles S played a solid game, but unnecessarily slowly. There was nothing wrong with his position when he played the serious positional error d6 allowing a huge passed pawn on c6, and was always struggling after that. The game only lasted as long as it did because his opponent became very hesitant in an easily won position.

 

6. Guy, there's no stopping him (!). His position became a little bit loose, but as soon as he got into a R + B ending he played most of it in exemplary fashion.

 

Unfortunately, we are now the only team on 0 match points, and with possibly the lowest game points to boot. We have to win our last 2 matches, but the fact we haven't won any so far can be gleaned from the first paragraph's mention of the strength of the opposition we have met. Here's hoping.

 

Stuart Hutchings

Captain, Cardiff Chess Club   

 

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Friday 9th October

 

ECC Round 6

 

We started the round as the only team on 0 match points, and we were paired against the only team on 1 match point, that being the 48th seeded (yes still above us !) and wonderfully named "Cercle d'Echecs de Monte Carlo". Match result as follows:

 

   1. IM Charles Cobb (2398) 1 - 0  GM Igor Efimov  (2433)

   2. John Trevelyan (2166)  1 - 0  Jean-Francois Nelis  (2227)

   3. Thomas Brown (2051)    1 - 0  Karl Johan Ribbegren (2158)

   4. John Fletcher (2045)   0 - 1  Adrien Levacic  (1893)

   5. Charles Summers (1955) 1 - 0  Antonino Calabrese (1893)

   6. Bill Harle (0)         ½ - ½  Jean-Michel Rapaire (1941)

 

   Link to Round 6 Games in viewer   PGN

 

Result: 4.5 - 1.5

 

So we outgraded them on all of 2 boards this time, making a total so far of 3 out of 36 (!).

 

1. Charles C got a terrible position after the opening, but managed to create good counterplay when his (former Russian) opponent started pushing forward on the kingside. Charles negotiated the complications very well, and after B probably went wrong with Rxg3+ actually exposing his own king, W won the exchange. B still had some chances with a passed b pawn, but Charles snuffed out any chances to record his 1st win after a daunting series of opponents.

 

2. John T's opponent worked up a threatening kingside attack, then went for an unclear R plus N sacrifice bringing John's king into the centre of the board. The game got very complicated with at one stage John's king reaching f3 when W still had Q + R + B + N on the board. W could probably have taken a perpetual but kept pressing for more, as B still had an undeveloped QR and QB, but John put up a resilient defence, with his K then heading off to a7 (!). When John was at last able to develop his QB he was home and dry.

 

3. Tom also got a terrible opening, and in the middlegame got a N trapped on g4. Tom managed to loosen B's king position but this should not have been enough, but B started losing the plot and Tom managed to reach a position where he had a perpetual whenever he wanted it. Down to his last few seconds, Tom thought he saw a win, sure enough his opponent could only play a couple of moves to delay the mate, and with Tom having enough time and his opponent resigned.

 

4. John F played a good opening, got a nice position, but unfortunately mis-combined to leave himself the exchange down for nothing, and subsequently, despite the 30 second per move increment, lost on time.

 

5. Charles S also got a good opening after his opponent played too slowly, and allowed Charles to sacrifice a piece for 3 pawns to open up B's king. B had no choice but to castle to the weak queenside where he had previously been wasting his time moving his pawns. Charles thereafter won the game effortlessly.

 

6. Bill's game turned into a double rook and opposite colour bishop ending where W inexplicably exchanged all the rooks, and Bill easily held the draw.

 

We rode our luck today, but we deserved some. Well done to Bill for drawing again, and for Charles C, John T, Tom and Charles S for notching up their 1st wins, and for 3 of those, their 1st scores. I'm particularly pleased for Charles S who has been incredibly enthusiastic on this, his 1st chess abroad.

 

I'm not sure if that has put us any higher than next to last, but let's hope we can push on from this great result in tomorrow's last round.

 

Stuart Hutchings

Captain, Cardiff Chess Club

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Saturday 10th October

 

ECC Round 7

 

After yesterday's result, we found ourselves in a group of 6 teams on 2 match points, with only one of them below us on game points, so with Monte Carlo on one match point, we started round 7 in 52nd place.

 

And today, for the 1st time, we played a team seeded below, in fact the 54th and bottom seeded Roskovic. The result is as follows:

 

   1. IM Charles Cobb (2398) 1 - 0  Llambi Pasko  (0)

   2. John Trevelyan (2166)  + - -  Ibrahim Morina  (0)

   3. John Fletcher (2045)   1 - 0  Mehmet (0)

   4. Charles Summers (1955) ½ - ½  Kamber Sela (0)

   5. Guy Wagner (1904)      1 - 0  Sotir Pasko  (0)

   6. Bill Harle (0)         0 - 1  Artur Zarka  (1979)

 

Link to Round 7 games in viewer   PGN

 

Result: 4.5 - 1.5

 

I'll digress from the usual board order sequence, because the match started really peculiarly. 6 players were sitting down on each side of the board for the start of play (zero tolerance) and when it did start, John T's 'opponent' wrote '0 - 1' on the scoresheet with the gist of the conversation being "I am not Morino, he won't be coming, you win by default". At this point our arbiter arrived (!), promptly to be told by the deputy chief arbiter, he was banned from the tournament hall (presumably for being late ?). After a little while, and the intervention of the deputy and the chief (Dirk), things srarted to settle down, so back at the ranch .....

 

1. Charles C played the KID exchange but his opponent proved particularly stubborn, with Charles eventually trying to win an awkward N v B ending. The pressure eventually told in this, the last game to finish, and B made a crucial mistake to allow the win of his bishop, but it had already gone by then.

 

2. John T as above.

 

3. John F's 'Blackmar-Diemer-Cardiff' gambit started well and B got into a very awkward position. W won the exchange, may be he had better, but at the cost of a N plus 2 centre pawns, with B suddenly being very solid. Fortunately B lost patience and pushed his e pawn, but this promptly cost him his d pawn to a pin. John the converted a 2R versus R + N ending to worthily record his 1st score.

 

4. Charles S' was a solid game which became very blocked with Charles being slightly better at the end but not sure how to make progress.

 

5. Guy continued his good form by winning the exchange, and later a whole piece to win comfortably. He has played very well throughout the tournament.

 

6. Bill, despite his good play in previous rounds, definitely got the short straw with his opponent not only being their only rated player one, he had also scored 5.5/6 in the previous rounds. Bill never managed to get his pieces out satisfactorily, and had to shed a couple of pawns and this proved decisive.

 

So an excellent win, I may say more about this match and summarise in general when I get home, it's an early night for me as the journey home is going to be even more arduous (getting up at 03:30 instead of 05;00 !) than the journey here.

 

One final thought from me tonight is that every player in the squad won at least one game, a great achievement, is this a 1st for Welsh teams in this event (?).

 

So it's good night from me, and it's good night from him (John when he sends this report).

 

See you all soon hopefully, work permitting (what a horrible thought !).

 

Best Wishes,

Stuart Hutchings

Captain, Cardiff Chess Club

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All their efforts meant they finished in 48th position, just below The English White Rose team in 46th and above the Ennis Chess Club from Ireland in 50th.

 

A Club from Russia called Economist-SGSEU-1 Saratov won, winning 7 out of 7 games, and an Armenian club came second Mika Yerevan.

 

A  club from Russia also won the Women’s section called Spartak Vidnoe, Cerle d’Echecs Monte Carlo took the Silver.

 

The games in PGN of the Women’s section  Rnd 1   Rnd 2   Rnd 3   Rnd 4   Rnd 5   Rnd 6   Rnd 7

 

 

Well done to Stuart and the Cardiff Chess Club team