Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Week 5 Review

Board 1: GM Leonid Kritz vs. GM Larry Christiansen
The game began with a Modern Defense and white appeared to carry a slight edge into the middle game.

Kritz-Christiansen 1

In the above position, GM Kritz could have played 34. Nxg6! Nxg6 35. Bxf6 Qc6 (35... Rxf6 Rd7+) 36. Bb2 with a good edge. Instead, the game continued with 34. Bb4 Bh4 35. Qxh4 Ne6 36. Qg4 Nf4 37. Rd8 Qc7 38. Qc8 Qe5 39. Rd7 Ne2+ 40. Kf1 Ng3+ 41. Ke1 Qa1+ 42. Rd1 Qf6 when they reached this position:

Kritz-Christiansen 2

and disaster struck with 43. Bc5? (43. Qc5 would have kept the game about even) to which GM Christiansen quickly responded with 43... Qc3+ 44. Rd2 e3! and white resigned in view of 45. fxe3 Rf1# or 45. Bxe3 Qxc8.

Board 2: SM Denys Shmelov vs. GM Sergey Erenburg
This game was a Queen's Gambit Declined: Semi-slav where white played an early 7. e4. White has just played 13. 0-0-0 in the following position:


Here Black could have played 13... Nd7! 14. Be5 (14. Qxe8+ Qxe8 15. Bxd6 Qxe2 16. Rhe1 Qxc4+ 17. Kb1 Nf6 -+; 14. Qd4 Bxf4+ 15. Qxf4 Rxe2 -+) 14... Nxe5 Nxe5 Qf6 16. f4 Bf5 17. Qd4 Bc7 with a moderate edge as white's f-pawn will fall. GM Erenburg played 13... Nd3+ still with an advantage and managed to convert it into a win when SM Shmelov resigned after 55 moves.

Board 3: FM Shinsaku Uesugi vs. SM Marc Esserman
This game began with a Reti Opening with play directed toward the open c-file early on. Esserman would then take white's center pawns with a knight while Uesugi created the passed a-pawn with a bishop.


In order to play for a win, Black probably should have kept the bishop with 49... d5+ 50. Kd3 Bc5 (and not 49... Bf2 50. Kb5 Bxg3 51. Nc6 Bxf4 52. Ba5+ Kc8 53. Nd8 Kb8 54. Bc7+ Ka8 Nxf7 and probably a draw due to black's cornered king). Instead, the bishop trade 49... Bxc3 50. Kxc3 allowed white to use the a-pawn as a distraction to collect a couple of black's pawns, assuring the draw.

Board 4: NM Ilya Krasik vs. Ian Harris
This was probably the most anticipated match-up (At least there are more votes in our Board 4 poll than the rest) due to Ian's intentionally ironic prediction. Clearly, Caissa loves to facilitate irony in the US Chess League.

Now, the game was a Dutch Defense that soon came to the following position:


Ian played 9... h5? missing that Krasik could and did respond with 10. g4! Ian tried to hold starting with 10... Qh7, but Krasik kept black's pieces tied down and eventually took the full point.

This was a disappointing loss for the Kingfishers as they had a chance to take 2nd place in the East, but now they may fall to 4th place by the end of Wednesday night's matches. However, with only divisional match-ups left in the schedule, the Kingfishers will still have control over whether they make the playoffs.

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