Sunday, October 14, 2012

Week 6 Review

Arizona Scorpions vs. Baltimore Kingfishers 1-3
IM Mackenzie Molner (2511) - GM Giorgi Margvelashvili (2593) 0.5-0.5 View Game
IM Levon Altounian (2493) - IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (2509) 0.5-0.5 View Game
IM Mark Ginsburg (2400) - NM Jared Defibaugh (2357) 0-1 View Game
WFM Amanda Mateer (2144) - NM Richard Selzler (2242) 0-1 View Game

Note: Players in italic have the white pieces.

The Baltimore Kingfishers extended their winning streak in matches against the Arizona Scorpions with a 3-1 victory. Baltimore moved up a spot to sixth-place in the Eastern Division standings, only 1 match point behind first-place New York.

Board 1: These two played a Philidor Defense: Improved Hanham in which IM Molner struck with the speculative sacrifice, 13. Nf5?!

GM Margvelashvili accepted the sacrificed knight and gave up a rook for white's other knight. Then, it was GM Margvelashvili's turn to sacrifice one of his knights for a couple of pawns and a strong pin on the g-file. The game ended when black chose to take a draw by repetition to assure a team victory as he saw Board 3 had already been won and Board 4 looked close to winning. However, he could have played for a win in the position after 23. Qh5:

The winning line goes 23... Rg6 24. Be3 Ne6 25. f4 exf4 26. Bxb6 (26. Bf2 Be4 27. Bxb6 f3 28. Rf1 Nf4 or 26. Rf2 Rg5 27. Qf3 fxe3) Ng7 27. Qf3 Qxb6+.

Board 2: In a Queen's Gambit Accepted, IM Enkhbat sacrificed his e-pawn for rapid development and preventing black from easily castling his king. This game turned out to be the last one to finish, so Baltimore had already clinched the match victory. White had kept up compensation for the pawn for much of the game, but IM Altounian could have kept his extra pawn after 34. Rc6:

34... Nc7 35. Rd6+ Kc8 when 36. Nxe6 is impossible due to Re8 where white's back rank is vulnerable. Re8 or e5 on the next move will hold the extra pawn. Even with the extra pawn, it would still be a long path to press for a win. In the actual game, white won back the extra black pawn and the two sides liquidated to a even ending with opposite-colored bishops.

Board 3: This was the first game of the match to finish. It began as an English: Anglo-Grunfeld that appeared to be close to equal or perhaps slightly better for black with the centrally-placed rooks. Take a look at the position after 17... Nb4:

After trading off both of white's bishops with 18. Bxb4 axb4 19. Bxb7 Qxb7, IM Ginsburg's position suffered a surprisingly sudden collapse. Perhaps 18. Bxg7 Qxg7 19. Ne4 f5 20. Nc3 could have kept the balance. NM Defibaugh broke open the center and invaded with his rooks when white resigned after the move 25... Rd3, facing unstoppable threats against his king. In fact, the final position shown below is a forced mate in 7.

Board 4: This game started as a Sicilian: Kan, Polugaevsky variation. White won the e-pawn in the early middle game and started to consolidate the advantage. WFM Mateer attempted to complicate the position, but NM Selzler played accurately and kept her on the defensive. NM Selzler won the game with mate in 2 on the board position seen below.

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