GM Ben Finegold (2568) - GM Niclas Huschenbeth (2582) 1-0 View Game
IM Priyadharshan Kannappan (2457) - GM Larry Kaufman (2445) 1-0 View Game
IM Levan Bregadze (2416) - NM Kevin Wang (2366) 1-0 View Game
Matthew Larson (1918) - NM Ricky Selzler (2242) 1-0 View Game
The Baltimore Kingfishers suffered a stunning sweep by the St. Louis Arch Bishops.
Board 1: GM Finegold defeated GM Huschenbeth in a Nimzo-Indian that won Game of the Week honors and has been analyzed by GM Alex Yermolinsky on ICC here. In consolation, if the prizes have remained the same as previous years, GM Huschenbeth would receive $50 for playing in the Game of the Week. GM Finegold would win $150 as the winner of the game.
The game centered on the exploitation of the pinned black knight on f6 that finished in the following position after 25. Rxf6, intending 25... Rxf6 (or Qxf6) 26. Qg5+ anymove 27. Bxf6.
Board 2: These players fought in the longest game of the match. They also played a Nimzo-Indian, but this one remained a closed position for a long time. GM Kaufman was given the opportunity to open some lines and he jumped at 60. g5 fxg5 61. f6 Nxd8 62. Bg4+ Ke8:
However, he was not able to find the best move and played 63. Be6 instead of 63. e5! dxe5 64. Ke4 Nf7 65. Bh5 and black cannot stop the white king from eventually taking black's e-pawn and supporting a d-pawn push. As the game actually continued, white still had ways to draw but IM Kannappan came out victorious in the ensuing time pressure.
Board 3: The game stayed roughly even as both players manuevered their pieces to take action in the center of the board. White seemed to have a slight advantage by having the bishop vs. a black knight in an open game. However, black made a mistake with 47... Qc7:
48. Qa8! threatens Qg8# and Qxa4. The knight could not be saved, so IM Bregadze won the game.
Board 4: This game was a Sicilian in which NM Selzler was able to push black out of the queenside in the early middle game and won an exchange, but was unable to capitalize on the advantage when Larson broke open the center, eliminated white's kingside, and secured the path for the h-pawn to promote. White's best opportunity to win the game came after 24... Qb4:
White could play 25. Kb2, threatening to trap the queen by playing c3 or the Ra1-Ra4 maneuver. For instance, 25. Kb2 a4 26. Ra1 (not 26. c3? Qxb3+) e4 27. Rxa4 Bf6+ 28. Ka2 Qc3 29. Nxd6+ Kf8 30. Qxc3 Bxc3 31. Nxe4 and white is up 3 passed pawns.