European Team Championships: England Round 3 report
In round 3 the English Men faced Finland, a solid team who should not be taken too lightly. England put in a thoroughly professional performance to win through by the comfortable margin of 3.5-0.5.
On top board Michael Adams had Black against Tomi Nyback, a 2565 rated GM. Nyback kept a nagging edge in the Queen's Gambit Declined and even won a pawn in the middlegame. Adams showed why he is still one of the top players in the world, and one of the hardest to defeat, holding the resulting rook+pawn ending skillfully.
Gawain Jones had White for the first time this tournament and chose to employ his trademark Grand Prix Attack against the Sicilian. After gaining a clear edge from the opening he reached this position after 30 moves:
On board 3 Mark Hebden played his 3rd Black in as many days (and I see he is Black again today!) and managed to win again, taking his score to an impressive 2.5/3. He sacrificed an exchange against the Trompovsky in a game I shall analyse in full in my next blog which should be up today!
Finally on board 4 Stuart Conquest comfortably outplayed Heikki Westerinen in a French Tarrasch. After gaining a nice position from the opening Stuart kept up the pressure and won on move 37.
A successful day for the Men indeed.
The Women's Team had been having a tough time of it so far with only one drawn game to show from their opening two matches. Round 3 saw them facing a lower rated team for the first time and so it was essential for confidence that they get at least a draw from the match. They went one better and won the match 2.5-1.5.
On Board 1 Jovanka Houska held a quick draw as Black against Eva Moser, 2412, who failed to get any advantage with a sideline in the Scotch.
It was another difficult day for Dagne Ciuksyte who looked to have some edge as White in a sicilian against Anna-Christina Kopinits. However she got in to trouble with a vulnerable back-rank and ended up losing material and the game.
This left the winning of the match to boards 3&4, and they both rose to the occasion. On board 3 Ingrid Lauterbach ground out a long game against Katharina Newrkla in a strange modern/caro hybrid.
Meri Grigoryan-Lyell went all out for an attack as White against Barbara Schink, and was rewarded when her piece sacrifice led to a winning attack. Meri won on move 28 with an overwhelming position.
After 3 rounds the Men's team have won 2/3 matches and have scored 8.5 out of a possible 12 game points, an excellent score. The women's team have now won 1/3 matches and have 3 game points.