NorCal House of Chess Wins Back to Back
March 31, 2014
NorCal House of Chess took first place in the US Amateur Team playoffs for the second year in a row.

In the semifinals they won vs. the The Illini Samwich from the North vs. while Princeton beat Russians Never Retreat from the South. 

Team captain Ted Castro said the first match was "not a walk in the park" despite the 4-0 final score. 

"Our Board 1, GM Enrico Sevillano was actually in a bad position in the middlegame after playing the Queen’s Gambit Slav Botvinnik variation. At that moment, our board 2, IM Ricardo De Guzman had a drawn position.  We were only better on board 3 with FM Ronald Cusi who seemed to have a better match up. And to our excitement, our board 4, Shafieen Ibrahim seemed to be holding on to a draw after playing the Ruy Lopez exchange. We figured we might end up in a tie (2-2). Lo & behold, GM Sevillano’s opponent blundered which he easily took advantage and converted into a win."

"At this point, IM De Guzman’s opponent was compelled to press for a win despite a drawn endgame (K+R+N+P vs K+R+B). Shafieen’s opponent was also desperate for a win. Eventually, both their opponents slipped up and lost their games."

In the finals, NorCal House of Chess took Princeton down 3-1. 


Castro said, "From the time we won the US Amateur Team playoffs last year, we were already strategizing on how to win it again. We actually visualized it; just like how you visualize an endgame position." 
Tournament director and International arbiter Carol Jarecki said, " It is such a pleasure to have these games played on ICC.  Bill Scott is amazing and makes everything simple and easy so the games start on time and flow smoothly."