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|USCL Quarterfinal Highlights|
|By Kostya Kavutskiy|
|November 13, 2013|
The USCL Quarterfinals were an exciting affair, as the top two teams from each division faced off to advance to the next round of the playoffs. Here is a recap of all four matches:
New York Knights 2.5-1.5 Manhattan Applesauce
Manhattan had the better record in the Atlantic division, so New York had to overcome draw odds in order to win this match. And overcome they did, thanks to the efforts of two young stars, IM Akshat Chandra and NM Nicolas Checa:
Chandra's opponent tried to salvage a bad position with tactics, starting with 15...Rxd2. The resulting endgame was unbalanced, with material was about even, but White's dominant control over the d-file earned Chandra a quick victory. The final move, 26.Rd8+, was especially nice, since after the trade of rooks White will simply play bxa7 and promote the pawn:
Checa calmly outplayed his opponent, NM Ryan Goldenberg (who finished 3rd in the MVP race), and won a hectic game where the decisive factor was White's over extended position:
A draw on board one between GM Tamaz Gelashvili and GM Robert Hungaski clinched the match for New York.
Connecticut Dreadnoughts 2-2 New England Nor'easters (New England advances due to draw odds)
This match could have easily gone either way, with all four games being really tense. In the end the teams traded victories on boards three and four and New England advanced on draw odds. The deciding victory for New England occurred on board three, after NM Mika Brattain survived a losing position and took advantage of a late blunder:
37.Rxc5+! Would have led to forced mate, but 42.Qd7 simply gave away the game (almost any other move kept it equal).
Dallas Destiny 2-2 Miami Sharks (Miami advances due to draw odds)
This was probably the match most fans were looking forward to, as Dallas and Miami have two of the best records in the league and were clearly the teams to beat this year. Taking revenge for last week's game GM Renier Gonzalez dealt league MVP Jeffrey Xiong his first loss of the season:
In turn Dallas then won on the bottom two boards, and the match came down to GM Julio Becerra, who ground out GM Conrad Holt, and won Game of the Week:
Los Angeles Vibe 1-3 San Francisco Mechanics
San Francisco was a fairly large favorite in this match, holding draw odds and fielding a stronger lineup. GM Daniel Naroditsky won a nice technical endgame against IM Luke Harmon-Velotti and earned second place in the Game of the Week contest:
The USCL Semifinals will take place on Saturday, November 16, at 1:30 pm EST on Chess.com, with live coverage provided by IM Danny Rensch and GM Ben Finegold. The matches will determine a winner from each conference:
Miami Sharks vs. San Francisco Mechanics
New England Nor'easters vs. New York Knights
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