Guy Van Middelem becomes the 2015 Champion

Fourteen participants gathered for the last leg of the 2015 Club Championship, lured by the chance of witnessing an exciting finale (with three players having a realistic chance to win the title) and enjoying a pre-tournament dinner.

One week after winning the Belgian Individual Championship (BIC), Michel Lamote honoured us with his company. He quickly made it clear that he is the number-one in Belgium for a reason: in the first two rounds he defeated Johan and Guy, the two favorites to win the championship. Thereby he did a big favour to Zsolt who, benefiting from an easier draw, registered two wins.

After two rounds, the championship was thus still completely open but both Johan and Zsolt had to win the remaining matches to secure the title. However, both of them lost to their fellow club members in the third round: Johan was beaten by Henri while Zsolt lost to Leonidas. As a result, independently from the outcome of his last two matches, Guy became champion. By winning his last match, Zsolt secured the second place while tournament director Johan finished third. Congratulations! [Full results]

In five years, Guy became the fifth club champion. Overall, 39 players participated in at least one of the 12 tournaments of the 2015 championship. The competition was very tight throughout the year: no single player had an advantage of more than 4 points at any point in time. We hope to see similar excitement next year.

The December tournament was won by Leonidas who managed to stop Michel in the final.

A checker play dilemma

Michel Lamote (White, 0/5) vs Johan Segers (Black, 3/5). Black to play 31.

Michel Lamote (White, 0/5) vs Johan Segers (Black, 3/5). Black to play 31.

This position is from the match of Johan and Michel. Michel had to fight back from 0:3. At the score of 3:3, Johan doubled at the first opportunity but soon found himself behind a 6-prime. Both players played at world class level but in the end, under time pressure, some mistakes occured. At this position, Johan could not resist making his 5-point (8/5* 6/5) although it is more important to anchor (note that Johan is leading in the race so he can have some racing chances once the prime is broken) and to let Michel enter as soon as possible and thereby preserve timing. According to computer analysis, the best play is 23/22 7/4.

— ZT

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