US Chess League: Week Ten Highlights
By Kostya Kavutskiy   
November 7, 2011
USCLmainlogo.jpgWeek Ten was the final week of the 2011 US Chess League regular season which meant that most teams were fighting for their playoff lives. In the East everything was at stake, including the division title. The leaders, the Philadelphia Inventors overcame the New York Knights 2.5-1.5 to clinch the 1st seed in the playoff bracket. The Boston Blitz defeated the New Jersey Knockouts by the same score to secure third place. The Manhattan Applesauce earned the final spot after beating the Carolina Cobras, leaving last year's champions, the New England Nor'easters, out of the playoffs, despite winning their week ten match against the Baltimore Kingfishers.

Update 11/10/11- New York and Manhattan Advance to the Eastern Semi-finals while Chicago and L.A. face off in the Western Semi-finals. 

In the Western Division the Chicago Blaze had already clinched first place for quite some time. They hoped to cap their fantastic season with win but only drew with the Arizona Scorpions. Unfortunately for the Scorpions, they could only get into the playoffs with a win. A very tense battle occurred between the Dallas Destiny and Miami Sharks, both of which would clinch a playoff spot with a win. Dallas ended up winning 3.5-0.5 to have momentum going into the playoffs as the fourth seed.

The San Francisco Mechanics clinched the third seed in the division by defeating the Saint Louis Arch Bishops. The Los Angeles Vibe, who already locked up second seed a week earlier, drew with the Seattle Sluggers who had no playoff chances

This left us with the following exciting quarterfinals matches:

Monday, 11-7-11
Chicago Blaze vs. Dallas Destiny (Chicago receives draw odds)
San Francisco Mechanics vs. Los Angeles Vibe (Los Angeles receives draw odds)

Wednesday 11-9-11

Philadelphia Inventors vs. Manhattan Applesauce (Philadelphia receives draw odds)

New York Knights vs. Boston Blitz (New York receives draw odds)

GM Giorgi Kacheishvili of the New York Knights won the 2011 League MVP award. In second and third place were IM Conrad Holt of the Dallas Destiny and GM Ben Finegold of the Saint Louis Archbishops. Fourth place was NM William Fischer of the Philadelphia Inventors, which is very impressive, since it is harder to earn MVP points when you're playing on the fourth board.

Game of the Week

GM Yury Shulman (STL) - IM Mackenzie Molner (ARZ) 1-0

A very interesting game by GM Shulman, where both positional maneuvers and tactics played a role.

Most Exciting Match
Dallas Destiny vs. Miami Sharks 3.5-0.5

Although the final result was lopsided, this was essentially the first playoff match for both teams-win and you advance, lose and you're out. This tension was reflected in the games which all turned out to be quite complicated.





Best Move
GM Jesse Kraai (SF) - IM Goran Vojinovic (STL) 1-0

kraai-vojinovic1 (1).jpg
White to Move

Show Solution

Watch the recent US Chess Scoop video on the US Chess League featuring interviews with members of the Philadelphia Inventors and the New York Knights.

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