Sunday, October 28, 2012

Week 8 Review

Baltimore Kingfishers vs. New Jersey Knockouts 2-2
GM Niclas Huschenbeth (2582) - GM Alex Stripunsky (2673) 0-1 View Game
NM Kevin Wang (2366) - GM Boris Gulko (2590) 1-0 View Game
NM Jared Defibaugh (2357) - IM Albert Kapengut (2367) 0-1 View Game
FM Ralph Zimmer (2304) - Praveen Balakrishnan (2097) 1-0 View Game

Note: Players in italic have the white pieces.

The Baltimore Kingfishers and the New Jersey Knockouts drew the match with wins by black on all boards! Both teams dropped 1 rank in the standings to 4th and 5th place, respectively, as both Philadelphia and New York won to stay in 1st and 2nd place, respectively, in the East, and Manhattan also won to move into 3rd place on tiebreaker over Baltimore and New Jersey.

Board 1: GM Huschenbeth played an unusual Caro-Kann with 1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Qe2 d4 4. Nd1. The game continued with black having a slight edge but nothing concrete until after 27... Rf8:

White erred with 28. Rc2? instead of Rc5. The game continued 28. .. f5 29. exf5 Nxf5 30. Rac1 e4 31. dxe4 Ne3 (Now we see that 28. Rc2 loses a tempo) 32. Rc5 Ne5! 33. Ke2 (33. Rxe5 Ng4+ 34. Ke1 Nxe5) Nxf3. Play went on with white down a knight for two pawns, but GM Stripunsky clearly had a won position.

Board 2: The game began as a Semi-slav Defense and then more resembled a French Winawer, Advanced variation. GM Gulko, as white, chose to go for an interesting sacrifice in the following position:

GM Gulko struck with 20. Nxg7!? Kxg7 21. Bh6+ (The immediate 21. Rd3 might be an improvement) Kg8 22. Rd3 Qc4 23. Rh3. However, NM Kevin Wang managed to defend his king and emerged with 2 knights for a rook and pawn. As the queens had been exchanged, NM Wang took advantage of the knights to create a dangerous passed c-pawn. GM Gulko sacrificed a rook for a knight and the c-pawn, but this just let to an ending where he was down a full knight, so he resigned.

Board 3: An English Opening: Bremen, Smyslov system saw white slowly push his queenside pawns looking for an advantageous break in the position.

It seems NM Defibaugh tried to be too aggressive with the move 20. c4? and found himself worse when IM Kapengut opened the position to his advantage instead with 20... axb4 21. Rad1 dxc4 22. Qxc4 e3!. The game actually continued with equal material for awhile but it was clear black was better as he had a pair of connected passed pawns. Eventually IM Kapengut won while up a knight for a double-pawn.

Board 4: This game started as a Modern Defense where Balakrishnan chose to fianchetto his own King's bishop as well. As a result, black enjoyed a space advantage in the early middlegame but white then built-up a kingside attack. After 28... fxg4, white missed a chance to grab the advantage:

Sacrificing the queen with 29. Bxg7! Qxh5 30. Bxf8 leaves white with a rook and 2 knights vs. a queen and pawn. White also has control of the open d-file and a solid position that black will find difficult to exploit. The game actually continued with 29. Nd5 Rf5 30. Qe8 Rxe5 31. Ne7 Bc4 32. Ne3 Qc5 33. Rd7 Rf6 34. Ra4 Bf7 35. Qd8 Qb5 36. Rb4 Qe2 37. N7f5 and FM Zimmer has managed to diffuse white's attack and begins his own attack eventually taking the full point with an extra promoted queen. White actually has a forced mate in 13 from this position:

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