US Chess League Weeks 8,9
November 02, 2009 • General
Hello everybody! Unfortunately, I have been extremely busy with life (not chess related). This past weekend was also extremely busy as I was up in beautiful Vancouver at a book launch party for Bullet Chess: One Minute To Mate. This will be the subject of a blog shortly, but for now I will give everyone a simple recap of the US Chess League weeks 8 and 9.
In week 8 we were paired against the Tennessee Tempo. Unfortunately for the Tempo, they chose to run their two GM lineup when I was not around, so they were huge favourites. However, in typical Tennessee style, (look at them Titans) they also managed to lose when they ran that lineup as FM Mikhailuk came up huge as he crushed GM Shabalov in a classical Sicilian. This time around, the Tempo went with a much softer lineup as they featured Ron Burnett on board 1 and Todd Andrews on board 2 followed by Peter Bereolos and John Bick closing it out. In my game, there is not much to say other than the fact that Burnett clearly was not prepared for the game and went astray nearly immediately as I was already equal or better by move 15. The rest was simply technique and I had no serious issues in converting. On board 2, Serper played a Botvinnik English and cruised to victory as well. On board 3, Readey played a solid and extremely slow old Indian type of setup and slowly built up an advantage. With looming time pressure, Readey had several chances to win, but he missed tactical shots at crucial times. In fact, even at the end of the game he was still winning when he chose to repeat the position, alas, we still clinched the match even with this debacle. On board 4, NM Howard Chen came out swinging in a Caro Kann and had a clean K.O. of John Bick. Bick has been playing a bunch of offbeat or flat out losing openings, (Young-Bick) so I think it was caissa’s way of punishing him for such stupidity. Overall, we won the match 3.5-.5 without the outcome ever being in doubt.
Week 9 featured us going up against the red hot Arizona Sluggers. I faced off with Alejandro Ramirez on board 1 and was slowly grinding him until I completely overlooked Nd2 which equalized and maybe more. Sometimes you make mistakes, and I just did that’s all there is to it. On board 2, Slava played Levon “I want to draw every game” Altounian. The game featured standard anti-Grunfeld theory until Slava came up with a new (and very bad) idea involving g5. Levon correctly met it with h4 and the g pawn eventually became horribly weak and Slava lost a simple endgame without much of a fight. On board 3, Marcel came out swinging in the benko against Robby “I used to be good at bullet” Adamson. After getting a significant advantage, Marcel made a serious inaccuracy with f4 and the game petered out into a draw. On board 4, Josh faced off against Amanda Mateer in the new age Nimzo with 5.e4. The opening looked pretty balanced and seemed to be heading for a draw. Unfortunately, Josh misevaluated the situation and tried to press on for a win despite being down a piece. Nevertheless, he showed great team spirit and I have nothing but praise for his attempts at trying to win. Overall, it was not our best match as I blew good winning chances, Marcel blew a win and Josh never should have lost. Thus, we just have to avoid such situations in week 10 and the playoffs.