Monday, October 22, 2012

Week 7 Review

Baltimore Kingfishers vs. New York Knights 3-1
GM Giorgi Margvelashvili (2593) - GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (2697) 1-0 View Game
GM Larry Kaufman (2445) - FM Michael Bodek (2409) 1-0 View Game
NM Jared Defibaugh (2357) - NM Justus Williams (2331) 1-0 View Game
FM Ralph Zimmer (2304) - NM Alexander Katz (2250) 0-1 View Game

Note: Players in italic have the white pieces.

The Baltimore Kingfishers have won their 3rd match in a row. They defeated the New York Knights to tie New York and New Jersey with a second-best 4.0-3.0 record in the Eastern Division. Baltimore is currently in 3rd place on tiebreaks and only half a match point behind the Eastern Division leading Philadelphia Inventors.

Board 1:The top board began with a Reti: King's Indian Attack, built-up slowly with both sides maneuvering to control the open c-file, and finished with a wild tactical flourish. Just as it seemed that black had won the battle for the c-file, it actually had allowed white's e-pawn to open up lines against the black king, and GM Margvelashvili took full advantage of it.

In the final position, the dual threats of 36. f8=Q# and 36. Qxc3 led GM Kacheishvili to resign.

Board 2:This game, the final to finish, started as an Exchange French Defense where the players also exchanged the queens early. FM Bodek played 16. Ne2 allowing the reply 16... f6.

Despite the appearance that white will lose the exchange, he actually has 4 options (17. Ng6, Ng4, Nf3, and Ng3) that maintain the balance. Surprisingly, taking the rook with 17... Bxf4 in several lines turns out to make black's position worse due to his semi-open king and undeveloped queenside pieces. This is why GM Kaufman declined to play the variation 17. Nf3 Bxf4 18. Nxf4 Bf7 19. Rxe8 Bxe8 20. Ne6+ Kf7 21. Nc7 which loses the trapped rook next. The game instead developed more slowly with black having the initiative. It stayed near even until white erred in the following position:

36. Ne3 was missed in time trouble, so black was able to mop-up white's pawns for the game and match victory.

Board 3:The most exciting game of the match had to be NM Defibaugh - NM Williams. It won the Game of the Week honors and is analyzed by GM Alex Yermolinsky on the ICC. Now, the game began in the Queen's Indian Defense: Fianchetto, Nimzowitsch variation. NM Defibaugh has already sacrificed a pawn in the center and prepared to make another shocking sacrifice in the following position after 19... Nxd5:

The game continued: 20. Bxg7 Kxg7 21. Nd5 Qd8? 22. Qc4 b5 23. Qg4+ Kh8 24. Qf5 Qc8 25. Qh5 Nf6 26. Qxh6+ Kg8 27. Ng6.

NM Williams resigned in view of 27... Nh7 28. Nxe7+ Kh8 Nxc8 or 27... fxg6 28. Rxe7 Rf7 29. Qxg6 Kh8 30. Rxf7 and the black king will be mated soon.

Board 4:This was a Scandinavian Defense which saw white castle queenside and black deciding to leave his king in the center. The middle game saw white pushing forth his kingside pawns while black attempted to open up the queenside. While NM Katz seemed to have the upperhand with more active pieces and a less vulnerable king after 25. Qxf5, black could still fight for a draw with 25... Qf7.

Instead, the game continued 25... g6? 26. Qe6+ Be7 27. Kb1 Qd7 28. Qxd7+ Kxd7 29. e6+ and FM Zimmer resigned seeing as his rook is lost on the next move.

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