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US Chess League Highlights: Quarterfinals Print E-mail
By Kostya Kavutskiy   
November 14, 2011
USCLmainlogo.jpgThe 2011 US Chess League Playoffs began last week with the quarterfinal matches in each division. Check out Kostya Kavutskiy's recap and see all games, line-ups and details on uschessleague.com. Tune in to the Internet Chess Club tonight to watch games live! Update 11.15.11- Chicago Blaze and the New York Knights advance to the finals! Full report coming soon- the exciting Championship match is set for Nov.20 Sunday at 3 PM EST. 

Chicago Blaze vs. Dallas Destiny 2-2 Chicago advanced due to draw odds.

The Dallas Destiny were using one of their strongest lineups to date and had excellent chances to win the match, especially considering they were doing very well against the Blaze in their Week 8 matchup before collapsing and losing 3.5-0.5. Chicago had an even stronger lineup with GMs Yury Shulman, Josh Friedel, and Mesgen Amanov, as well as NM Sam Schmakel who has had a perfect season so far playing on board four. The match was very close and looked like it could go either way. GM Friedel and GM Amanov ended up losing to GM Julio Sadorra and IM Conrad Holt despite having an equal position for most of the game. NM Schmakel defended against a very powerful attack against FM Jeffrey Xiong and was able to win leaving it all up to GM Shulman who broke through against GM Christian Chirila and won the match for Chicago.

San Francisco Mechanics vs. Los Angeles Vibe 1.5-2.5

This match early on was very much in San Francisco's favor. GM Jesse Kraai won quickly against WGM Tatev Abrahamyan, while yours truly only managed to draw against San Francisco's board four, Uyangaa Byambaa, despite being a huge ratings favorite. After this the match completely turned around for Los Angeles, as IM Andranik Matikozyan outplayed GM Patrick Wolff in a long endgame and IM Zhanibek Amanov converted a better position in mutual time trouble against GM Vinay Bhat, giving Los Angeles the victory.

Philadelphia Inventors vs. Manhattan Applesauce 1-3

This was the only upset in the quarterfinals, but definitely a large one. The inventors started out strong with a win by their superstar board four NM William Fisher against NM James Black. After this Manhattan's IM John Bartholomew and FM Farai Mandizha both won their games against FM Tom Bartell and IM Jay Bonin, who had been doing very well for Philadelphia thus far. After this GM Magesh Panchanathan needed to win in an equal position against GM Alex Stripunsky but instead blundered and lost, clinching the match for Manhattan.

New York Knights vs. Boston Blitz 2-2 New York advanced due to draw odds.

This was probably the most nerve-wracking match of the week. The Blitz went up 2-0 after wins by IM Marc Esserman over GM John Fedorowicz and SM Jorge-Sammour Hasbun over GM Giorgi Kacheishvili. Because of New York's draw odds, Boston would need just half a point out of the remaining two games to win the match, which seemed very likely considering the board positions. However, tragedy struck, as NM Vadim Matirosov lost to SM Matt Herman, despite having a winning position for a large chunk of the game and at one point a mate-in-three before making several mistakes in a row and losing. NM Ilya Krasik had a drawn position against NM Michael Bodek but also made many mistakes in time trouble and ended up having to resign the game and the match. 

Game of the Week

GM Yury Shulman (CHC) – GM Christian Chirila (DAL) 1-0


GM Shulman won the game of the week contest for the second straight week after securing an enormous positional advantage and eventually breaking through on the kingside. You can read the full article on the USCL blog.  

Best Move

IM Marc Esserman (BOS) – GM John Fedorowicz (NY) 1-0


Show Solution

Opening preparation or not, this was a very strong move, taking away the e5 square from the knight—the position is now completely winning for White and impossible to defend in a game
25...Rb7 (25...Rf7 26.b5±) 26.b5 Ne5 (26...Ne7 27.Qd4+ Kg8 28.Nxe7#) 27.fxe5 dxe5 28.Qb1 


The rest of the game was relatively easy for White, with an extra piece and powerful attack against the Black king 28...Qd6 29.Qxe4 Rbf7 30.Rxh4 gxh4 31.Rxh4 Rg7 32.Bd3 1–0

This week the semifinal matches feature the Chicago Blaze taking on the Los Angeles Vibe and the New York Knights against the Manhattan Applesuace.

See all games, line-ups and details on uschessleague.com and don't forget to log in to the Internet Chess Club tonight to watch games live!  Kostya Kavutskiy will also be posting weekly recaps from his team's perspective at thelavibe.blogspot.com.


November - Chess Life Online 2011

Sucesso in Brazil Four-Way Tie at Turkey Bowl in Florida The US Chess Scoop on the National Chess Congress Shabalov Wins STL Thanksgiving Open, GM Norm Tourney BeginsThanksgiving Results are in Stars of Chess in Education Gather in Dallas Liang Golden at World Youth; Silver for Li Carlsen Wins Tal Memorial, Plans Trip to NYC Hou Yifan Defends World Women's Title Happy Thanksgiving From BrazilNew York Knights: 2011 US Chess League Champs Nakamura Hunts for a Win in Moscow Hou Extends Lead in Women's World Championship US Junior Congress Smashes RecordsOver 1000 Compete in K-12 Nationals in Dallas US Chess League Final: Chicago Blaze vs. New York Knights A Weekend in Dallas: National K-12 Champs Kick Off Preparing for Brazil: Awonder Has Adream Heading to Brazil: World Youth Awaits Amanov & Akopyan Top 12th FIDE Metropolitan Invitational John Ballow Earns Correspondence IM TitleRuth Haring: President's Report Tal Memorial Begins in Moscow US Chess League Highlights: Quarterfinals Kaidanov Takes Throne in King's IslandWomen's World Championship Begins Grandmasters Attack in Michigan Brooklyn Castle: The IS 318 Story Urgent Update for Organizers of FIDE Rated Tournaments2012 Samford Fellowship: Call for Applications US Chess League: Week Ten Highlights The Scoop on the US Chess League: Eastern DivisionMore Action Than Ever in Irvine & Miami The November Check is in the Mail Kekelidze New Marshall Club Champ; Wu Second Greg on Norms Part I: Please Stop Caring! Pumpkin Patch Chess Tournament A Better Place to Wait in Dallas New in Chess and the FEB show on Nakamura and Kasparov