US Chess League: Week Five Highlights
By Kostya Kavutskiy   
October 3, 2011
USCLmainlogo.jpgAfter obliterating the Saint Louis Arch Bishops 3.5-0.5 the Chicago Blaze are proving themselves to be one of the strongest USCL teams in history. The Blaze are now 5-0 with no sign of slowing down. The San Francisco Mechanics moved to second place in the Western division after tying with the Seattle Sluggers, 2-2. The Los Angeles Vibe are now tied for third place with the Dallas Destiny after defeating the Destiny 3.5-0.5. GM Melikset Khachiyan scored the first crucial win of the match against GM Cristian Chirila. The Arizona Scorpions got past the Miami Sharks 2.5-1.5 thanks to a powerful attacking game by IM Mackenzie Molner over 3-time league MVP GM Julio Becerra.

In the Eastern division, the Philadelphia Inventors steamrolled the Baltimore Kingfishers 3.5-0.5 to take the division lead away from the New York Knights, thanks to a better tiebreak score. Meanwhile the New York Knights were held to a tie by the Manhattan Applesauce, who are now in clear third place. Despite a terrible start, the New England Nor'easters were able to up their spirits a bit with a big 3.5-0.5 win over their rivals, the Boston Blitz. The key game in that matchup was GM Sam Shankland's win over the league MVP leader SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun. Lastly, the New Jersey Knockouts and Carolina Cobras tied their match. Currently Baltimore, Boston, and Carolina are fighting for the last playoff spot.

Game of the Week
GM Cristian Chirilia (DAL) - GM Melikset Khachiyan 0-1

A great game by GM Khachiyan where he executes a strong exchange sacrifice.


The full article can be read here:

Most Exciting Match
New York Knights vs. Manhattan Applesauce

I found all the games in this match really interesting, especially Vovsha-Krush.




Also the following position deserves a second and third and even fourth glance:

Shaun Smith (MAN) - NM Ben Gershenov (NY) after 14...Qf3! Taking the queen leads to mate in two. Without this move the queen would have been trapped on a3, so Gershenov must have found this continuation a few moves earlier.


Best Move

IM Mackenzie Molner (ARZ) - GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0

Show Solution

20...exf5 21.Nxd5 Qc6 22.Rhe1+-; 20...b4 21.Nxd5! exd5 22.Nxe7 Kxe7 23.Qxd5+-)
21.Nxe7 Kxe7 22.Qxd5!

Again without this move White would be clearly better but by no means winning.
22...Qc6 23.Qxg5+
White has a crushing attack and is completely winning. Although IM Molner missed some decisive blows to end the game quickly he displayed some great attacking play and was able to convert with relative ease. 1-0

For more blogs and this week's line-ups and matches, go to the US Chess League homepage. Watch live games on Monday and Wednesday night on the Internet Chess Club. Kostya Kavutskiy will also be posting weekly recaps from his team's perspective at