|Topsy Turvy Week in the USCL|
|By Jennifer Shahade|
|October 11, 2007|
In the seventh week of the U.S. Chess League, all four winning teams defeated teams with superior records, raising the suspense in the race for playoff spots.
Week 7 Results
Philadelphia Inventors- New Jersey Knockouts- 2.5-1.5
Boston Blitz- New York Knights- 1.5-2.5
Baltimore Kingfishers- Queens Pioneers- 1.5-2.5
Carolina Cobras- Tennessee Tempo- 2.0-2.0
San Francisco Mechanics- Miami Sharks- 1.5-2.5
Monday night Chess
In the Monday night featured match, the Philadelphia Inventors squeaked by the New Jersey Knockouts with a critical fourth board win, with the young Daniel Yaeger defeating the also young Jayson Lian.
Daniel rebuffed Jayson's 25.Bxf5 sacrifice with accurate defensive moves such as 29...Ra1! and 30...Qxe5! to reel in the point for Philly.
New York Knights Bring Egos
Perhaps a dose of egotism doesn't hurt the New York Knights who up until now, have underperformed in the U.S. Chess League. Hikaru Nakamura guaranteed victory in their match against division leaders the Boston Blitz. Although Hikaru only drew against the legendarily untitled Jorge Zamora, the Knights did win on boards two and four. Iryna Zenyuk dealt Chris Williams his first USCL loss in a wild tactical game:
Meanwhile, on board two, Pascal Charbonneau capitalized on Kelleher's misjudgment at a crucial juncture on the Black side of an Accelerated Dragon. "I think he underestimated Rxe4 after Bxe4, because Nd4 or Nxe4 instead are not at all clear."
Although Jay Bonin lost his game, the team won 2.5-1.5 and spirits were high. "I wish we could play Boston every week," said Charbonneau.
Tennessee Tempo shines on top boards
The title of this heading is not out of editorial bias for the Tempo, as Carolina drew the match by shining on boards three and four. But Ron Burnett often has a tough time on board one in the USCL, holding it down against some of the top players in the country. It's exciting to see him prevail, especially in such a nice attacking game crowned with a queen sacrifice.
Meanwhile, Todd Andrews has turned things around for his personal USCL record, going 3/4 on board two in the last four weeks. Todd said, "We're not taking it as seriously anymore. We're just having fun, and because of that we're playing a lot better." This week, Todd defeated IM Jonathan Schroer.
Sharks Devour Mechanics
On board one, two agressive players, IM Josh Friedel and GM Julio Becerra faced off. It appeared that Josh had enough compensation for the exchange, until he blundered with 34.Kg2 allowing Qg5 and Qc5, after which White's game fell apart. Instead 34.Rg2 and White's position is easier to play.
Pioneers Defeat Kingfishers
Dmitry Schneider won a nice game on board one to lead the Queens' Pioneers to victory. His plan of e-file domination made his win seem effortless. It all started with the effective manouever Ne4 followed by c4.
Sluggers Squeak by Destiny
FM Slava Mikhailuk played the clutch game in this match, beating FM Andrei Zaremba in an interesting game. From the position above, the game continued 30...Rh8 31.Rb3 Qc8, he broke through with 32.Nf4! He could have tried the crushing blow Nf4 one move earlier, because if gf4 Qg7 Kd8 Ba5 wins. (b5 prepared Nf4 in this way.) Zaremba had time to defend on either move 30 or 31 with Kf7!
Be sure to check www.uschessleague.com for lineups and links to other blogs and articles about the USCL.