US Chess League: Week Six Highlights
By Kostya Kavutskiy   
October 11, 2011
USCLmainlogo.jpgWeek 6 was inter-divisional week, where teams from the two divisions faced each other to create some highly interesting match-ups. While I think most teams were more concerned with their individual record and playoff chances rather than representing the strength of their division, I believe in the back of everyone's' minds was the stimulating question: Which division is stronger?  Out of eight match-ups the West went 4.5-3.5, winning the inter-divisional "match", but this result is skewed as one of the matches was decided by a very unfortunate circumstance.

In the match between the Dallas Destiny and the Carolina Cobras, FM Mike Klein of Carolina accidentally resigned in an equal position in his game against IM Conrad Holt. The game was not restarted from the live position and the resignation was ruled irreversible. Had the game continued, FM Klein would likely have at least held the draw and the match itself would have been drawn, leading to a divisional tie of 4-4. This extremely controversial event will undoubtedly cause league officials to reconsider the rules regarding such extreme situations, and for FM Mike Klein's honest take on the event you can read his blog here.

Leading the way for the West were the Chicago Blaze, who moved to a league record 6-0 after defeating the Baltimore Kingfishers, 2.5-1.5. Next were the Los Angeles Vibe who bested the New Jersey Knockouts by a margin of 3-1, thanks to a swift and crushing victory by WGM Tatev Abrahamyan over IM Dean Ippolito. For the East the New York Knights beat the Seattle Sluggers 2.5-1.5 after GM Pascal Charbonneau took advantage of GM Varuzhan Akobian's risky play to score the decisive win. Also winning for the East were the Philadelphia Inventors, squeezing by the Saint Louis Arch Bishops with the only win coming on board four by NM William Fisher over Margaret Hua.

NM Fisher has been Philadelphia's not-so-secret weapon and is now 5/5 for the season, with a performance rating over 2600! In a rematch of last year's league finals the Miami Sharks and New England Nor'easters ended up tying their match. The skirmish between the San Francisco Mechanics and Manhattan Applesauce also ended in a tie, as did the battle between the Boston Blitz and Arizona Scorpions.

Game of the Week
GM Julio Sadorra (DAL) - IM Gabriel Battaglini (CAR) 1-0

GM Sadorra won a very interesting game with plenty of complications, finishing it with a smooth technical win having a rook and 2 pieces against a queen.

The full article and other winners can be seen here on the USCL blog. 

Most Exciting Match

New York Knights vs. Seattle Sluggers

Obviously the most talked about match this week would be between Dallas and Carolina, but I think the controversial resignation takes away from the overall enjoyment of the match rather than add on to it, so I ended up choosing this clash between New York and Seattle with four messy but very intriguing games:

Best Move
FM Eric Rodriguez (MIA) - FM Charles Riordan (NE) 1-0

Show Solution

14...fxe6 15.Qxe6+ Be7 (15...Ne7 16.Nd6+ Kd8 17.Rd1+-) 16.Re1 Kf8 (16...Nc8 17.Bg5 h6 18.Bxe7 N8xe7 19.Rac1 cxb2 20.Rxc6+-) 17.Re3!


You'd be hard-pressed to find a more appropriate time for a rook-lift 17...Qc8 (17...Qd8 18.Rf3+ Bf6 19.Bf4+-) 18.Rf3+ Bf6 19.Rxf6+ gxf6 20.Bh6# 1-0

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