Euro Team Champs, England Team round2 report
After winning their first match 3.5-0.5 against the Scots (see previous blog) the English Men's team faced a much tougher prospect against the higher seeded Czechs. They fought hard but eventually succumbed to a 2.5-1.5 defeat.
Top board was a heavyweight clash between the experienced Michael Adams and rising star David Navara. Adams kept a slight edge in a mainline Ruy Lopez but ultimately was unable to to break through Navara's solid position. It was agreed drawn on move 38.
Board two was the only decisive game of the match and it went the way of the Czech, Victor Laznicka, against young England star Gawain Jones. Gawain was playing his second Black in as many days and indeed his second King's Indian. He looked to have equalised out of the opening but Laznicka managed to gain an edge through an inventive temporary sacrifice. Under pressure Gawain lost a pawn and, despite tough resistance, Lanzicka won through in an endgame.
Nick Pert faced Zybnek Hracek on board 3 and this will be analysed in my next blog (should be online within the hour!).
On board 4 Mark Hebden looked at home in his trademark King's Indian against Tomas Polak. He seemed to be pressing for much of the game, although it was never clear. After a time scramble at the first time control Mark declined a repetition of moves and instead tried to win an unbalanced ending with a Knight and pawn against a Rook, where he had the more active King and the more realistic winning chances. However, Polak defended actively and held the draw, agreed on move 84 when it became clear that neither side could make any progress.
It was another tough day for the women who lost to the highly rated Ukrainian team by 3.5-0.5.
Jovanka Houska failed to get any advantage in a quiet Ruy Lopez against young Ukrainian talent Kateryna Lahno. Jovanka ended up having to defend a worse position but her undgame technique did not let her down and she managed to hold the draw, thereby getting the team off the mark - at least in the game department.
On board two Dagne Ciuksyte was put under pressure by Natalia Zhukova on the Black side of an IQP. After defending well for 20 moves Dagne cracked and blundered a piece and the game came to an abrubt end on move 24.
Ingrid Lauterbach was outplayed by Anna Ushenina, a player rated more than 350 points higher than herself. Ingrid's King became exposed and Ushenina managed to take advantage of this with a clever piece sacrifice leading to a mating attack.
Board 4 was another mis-match on paper with Sabrina Chevannes playing Black against Inna Gaponenko. Inna gained a good position from the opening (Caro-Kan) and eventually won the exchange. Sabrina fought hard but Gaponenko made no mistakes and converted the game smoothly.
A tough day for both teams. See my next blog for analysis of Pert vs Hracek.