Friday, August 30, 2013

Week 1 Review

Connecticut Dreadnoughts vs. Baltimore Kingfishers 4-0
GM Mikheil Kekelidze (2576) - IM Levan Bregadze (2469) 1-0 View Game
GM Michael Rohde (2548) - IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (2492) 1-0 View Game
IM Jay Bonin (2436) - NM Jared Defibaugh (2297) 1-0 View Game
Jason Shi (2173) - NM Ian Schoch (2294) 1-0 View Game

Note: Players in italic have the white pieces.

Board 1: GM Mikheil Kekelidze vs. IM Levan Bregadze. The game began as a King's Indian where black gave up a pawn for opening up the center. In the following position, it is white to play. Black is threatening to take the f3 pawn with check, but GM Kekelidze saw deeper to found a killer sequence of moves that left him up a minor piece and eventually with a victory in hand. Can you find it as well?

Board 2: IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat vs. GM Michael Rohde. These two players trotted out the Vitolins variation of the Bogo-Indian Defense where white played an interesting knight maneuver that traversed b1-d2-f1-e3 before castling kingside. IM Enkhbat seemed to be pressing with the white pieces but slipped up in mutual time pressure, dropping a knight and the game to GM Rohde's well-spotted queen-checks-and-capture sequence. Soon after the game had finished, IM Enkhbat pointed out to me that he had missed a forced draw just before allowing those queen checks. Find it in the following position!

Board 3: IM Jay Bonin vs. NM Jared Defibaugh. This game featured an exchange Grunfeld Defense where NM Defibaugh played the novelty 11... Qa5. The game seemed rather even until IM Bonin started pushing his kingside pawns and black found his king under severe pressure. NM Defibaugh pinned his hopes on being able to promote his c-pawn, but that allowed white to surround black's king completely and that pressure eventually proved too much to handle. See how IM Bonin finished off the game after the blunder 30... c4?

Board 4: NM Ian Schoch vs. Jason Shi. NM Schoch played and Jason Shi accepted the Smith-Morra Gambit of the Sicilian Defense. White never really got the kind of pressure you would hope for when playing the Smith-Morra Gambit, but black eventually allowed a liquidation to a drawn ending in the position below. However, in the game, NM Schoch tried a different path to keep winning chances alive, but apparently miscalculated a line that is also pointed out in the game viewer below. Jason Shi was able to take advantage of the miscalculation to score another victory for Connecticut and complete the 4-0 sweep of Baltimore.

Week 1 showcased an unfortunate series of mistakes from the Baltimore Kingfishers and some great play from the Connecticut Dreadnoughts. This match was the 3rd time in USCL history that Baltimore was swept 4-0. The other occurrences were in Week 8, 2006 against the Dallas Destiny and in Week 2, 2012 against the St. Louis Arch Bishops. Baltimore finished out of the playoffs in 2006, but managed to make the playoffs in 2012 despite the early sweep. A rematch with Connecticut is scheduled for Week 9. Also, stay tuned to see Baltimore play the New England Nor'easters next Tuesday night!

Reposted at: blogs

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Week 1 Lineup

Wednesday, 7:20 PM EDT
Time Control 75 min. with 30 sec. increment

Connecticut Dreadnoughts vs. Baltimore Kingfishers
GM Mikheil Kekelidze (2576) - IM Levan Bregadze (2469)
GM Michael Rohde (2548) - IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (2492)
IM Jay Bonin (2436) - NM Jared Defibaugh (2297)
Jason Shi (2173) - NM Ian Schoch (2294)

Note: Players in italic have the white pieces.

And so begins the 9th season of the U.S. Chess League (USCL). In the first week's match-up, we find our Baltimore Kingfishers paired against the Connecticut Dreadnoughts. This will be Baltimore's 9th season and Connecticut's 2nd season in the league. In light of the newly-enacted four teams per division arrangement in the USCL, this match has some extra importance as these two teams compete in the same division and there will be only 6 divisional games this year. The last (and only) time these two teams squared-off, they settled for a drawn match in Week 3, 2012. Two players (GM Kekelidze and NM Defibaugh) from that match return to play in this match.

Board 1: GM Mikheil Kekelidze vs. IM Levan Bregadze. GM Mikheil Kekelidze was (+1 =6 -3) last year for the Dreadnoughts and is (=1) against Baltimore. His opponent, IM Levan Bregadze, scored (+7 =1 -2) for his former team, the St. Louis Archbishops, and is (-1) against Connecticut. Both players will look to avoid starting their sophomore season in a slump!

Board 2: IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat vs. GM Michael Rohde. IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat, who will be appearing in his 9th USCL season, was (=3 -2) for the Kingfishers last season. He has yet to play against Connecticut. IM Enkhbat is a stalwart of the Baltimore team, having a career score of 28.0/60 from the team's 85 matches (including playoffs). Sitting opposite him (on the virtual chess board) will be GM Michael Rohde, who will be playing his 1st game in the USCL. This pairing is a rare clash between a USCL Veteran, who has been in the league from the start, vs. a complete USCL Rookie.

Board 3: IM Jay Bonin vs. NM Jared Defibaugh. After not playing at all in the USCL last season (despite being on the Philadelphia Inventors' roster), IM Jay Bonin is now playing again with the 3rd team of his 9-year USCL career. He has accumulated 28.0 points in 47 USCL games. He will be facing NM Jared Defibaugh, playing in his 4th USCL season. NM Defibaugh scored (+4 -3) last season, but lost his game in Baltimore's previous match with Connecticut. He has scored 10.0/19 in the USCL thus far. Both players have plenty of experience in the USCL, so they know that every (half-)point counts.

Board 4: NM Ian Schoch vs. Jason Shi. NM Ian Schoch returns to the Baltimore Kingfishers' lineup after a year off. He previously played in 2 USCL seasons, and he won 5 out of 8 games (all were decisive). He is set to play another USCL newcomer for Connecticut, Jason Shi. Will NM Schoch be able to continue his decisive game streak?

Catch the games live on!

Reposted at: blogs