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US Chess League: Week Nine Highlights Print E-mail
By Kostya Kavutskiy   
October 31, 2011
USCLmainlogo.jpgIn week nine of the US Chess League, the Miami Sharks dealt the Chicago Blaze their first loss of the season, thanks to three time MVP GM Julio Becerra outplaying GM Josh Friedel on the top board. This gives the Sharks excellent playoff chances going into the final week, as they are currently tied for third place and have good tiebreaks. The San Francisco Mechanics and Dallas Destiny, who are also currently tied for third place, drew a hard fought match with each other and are going to go all out next week to make it into the postseason. The Los Angeles Vibe were able to clinch second place in the division after drawing their match with the Arizona Scorpions. Rounding out the West, the Seattle Sluggers were eliminated from playoff contention after a draw with the Saint Louis Arch Bishops.

In the Eastern Division the fight continued for the last two playoff spots (Philadelphia and New York have already clinched). The Boston Blitz defeated the Baltimore Kingfishers 3-1 to knock Baltimore out of contention and to jump into clear third place. The New England Nor'easters were able to finally recover from their very slow start this season by beating the Carolina Cobras to snatch a share of fourth place, along with the Manhattan Applesauce, who lost to the Philadelphia Inventors. Lastly, the New Jersey Knockouts salvaged some pride for the season by upsetting the New York Knights to hurt New York's attempts to wrestle the division title away from Philadelphia. Coincidentally, Philadelphia and New York face each other in the final week of the regular season.

Game of the Week

GM Jesse Kraai (SF) - GM Julio Sadorra (DAL) 1-0


A well played game played by GM Kraai who seized the initiative and quickly won a decisive amount of material. See judges' comments and Game of the Week rankings on the USCL blog.

Most Exciting Match
San Francisco Mechanics - Dallas Destiny 2-2

Both of these teams are dying to make the playoffs and it really showed in these games. The match was a bloodbath...




Best Move

NM Justus Williams (NY) - NM Christopher Wu (NJ) 0-1

This is Christopher's second "best move award" from me this season, earned for the following combination:

Show Solution

20.g5 (20.Kxb3 Qa4#) 20...Rxc3+! No mercy! 21.bxc3 Ra2+ 22.Kb1 Qa4!

Nicely calculated by the youngster, White is helpless to stop checkmate. 23.gxf6+ gxf6 24.Nf5+ Kf8 25.Nd4 Ra1+ 26.Kb2 Qa2# 0-1

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 thelavibe.blogspot.com. Also look for an upcoming US Chess Scoop video featuring members of the Philadelphia and New York teams.