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USCL Week 8 Update Print E-mail
By Robby Adamson   
October 18, 2007
USCLmainlogo.jpgWith the U.S. Chess League approaching season’s end, and the playoffs looming, several teams helped their chances with some important victories. With the New York Mets utter collapse to my beloved Philadelphia Phillies (who promptly laid their own egg), and the usual New York Yankee meltdown, New York fans have a chess team to root for.  The New York Knights won their second consecutive match, easily defeating the Queens Pioneers, 2.5-1.5, and are tied for third place in the East and primed for a playoff run.

Week eight results

1. New York Knights vs. Queens Pioneers                           New York  2.5-1.5
2. New Jersey Knockouts vs. Boston Blitz                             TIE 2-2
3. Baltimore Kingfishers vs. Philadelphia Inventors           Philadelphia 3-1
4. Miami Sharks vs. Tennessee Tempo                                  TIE 2-2
5. Carolina Cobras vs. San Francisco Mechanics                San Francisco 3-1
6. Dallas Destiny vs. Seattle Sluggers                                   Dallas 3-1

New York Knights continue comeback

    GM Hikaru Nakamura of the New York Knights finally won his first game in the USCL, defeating Eli Vovsha. In a theoretically sharp Sozin Sicilian, Vovsha tried the unusual 10…b4, and 13…Nxe4 (which I do not believe has been played before). Vovsha was unable to defend an ending, which eventually turned into Queen vs. Rook, that Hikaru converted. 


After Dmitry Schneider dispatched of GM Pascal Charbonneau in an offbeat Accelerated Dragon.


 FM Marc Arnold of the Knights turned the tables on FM Jake Kleiman, when Jake tried to convert a better ending, and messed up in time pressure.


After it was clear that New York was assured of the win, Iryna Zenyuk took a draw in a winning position against Parker Zhao, to clinch the match.

Boston Blitz battles to 2-2 tie against New Jersey Knockouts

In a battle between American GM’s, Joel Benjamin faced off against Larry Christiansen, Joel played a rare 1.d4, and the game turned into an unusual variation of the Slav Defense. Joel had a small edge, but was unable to make progress and a draw resulted.


On Board 2, in yet another offbeat opening and in an attempt to avoid Dean Ippolito’s very solid Petroff’s Defense, Jorge Sammour-Hasbun played 1.e4 e5 2.d4 ed 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.c3, and seemingly did not get sufficient compensation for his pawn. Dean had a big time edge for most of the game, but erred in the middle game and Jorge was able to win an exchange-up ending.


On Board 3, Shmelov failed to capitalize on a nice position and drew with New Jersey’s Evan Ju, while Chris Williams went berserk on board 4 and lost a position where it appeared he had all the chances.   At the end of all the craziness, Boston and New Jersey tied 2-2.

Philadelphia Inventors strengthens hold onto 2nd

On first board of the Philly- Baltimore match-up, GM Sergey Erenburg drew with Sergey Kudrin in a theoretically rich Accelerated Dragon. Kudrin, down a pawn, forced a draw by repetition.


On board 2 was an interesting Fantasy Variation of the Caro-Kann where Bryan Smith topped Baltimore’s Tegshsuren Enkhbat with some nice defense on the queenside (21.a4!), and eventual use of his 2 bishops to fend off black’s attack.


In the third match to finish, board 4 saw Philadelphia’s Elvin Wilson make full use of the white squares to dominate WIM Battsetseg, while IM Larry Kaufman played a very long queen ending against Rick Costigan that petered out to a draw.


Tennessee falls short in upset bid, ties match with Miami.

    In the third match of the night, Tennessee and Miami battled to a 2-2 tie, with all 4 games being decisive. Todd Andrews continued his winning ways on board 2, winning his 3rd straight match, topping IM Marcel Martinez.


When FM John Bick won on board 3, topping NM Miguel Espino, and when Luis Barredo of Miami topped James Wu, the match came down to Julio Becerra being able to win a queen endgame against IM Ron Burnett. Just as he always does, Julio showed excellent technique in winning a difficult queen and pawn ending to tie the match and keep Miami’s playoff hopes alive.


San Francisco tops Carolina to jump into third place in the West.

    Carolina looked poised to defeat San Francisco, when IM Lev Milman, a known theory monster, busted out some serious preparation in a Ruy Lopez against Vinay Bhat (Vinay does not play 1…e5 very often), sacrificing on h7. Bhat defended well after Milman misplayed the attack. This keeps Vinay’s undefeated streak going in the USCL.  Meanwhile, Craig Jones from Carolina was defeated by rising talent, Sam Shankland, in a Classical French where Black miscalculated his attack on the queenside. In a strong board three match-up, Oleg Zaikov and John Donaldson played to a draw. Finally, in a game that did not affect the match score, IM’s David Pruess and Jonathan Schroer had a very exciting draw.


 This was a huge victory for San Francisco in the Western Division standings. 

Dallas extends lead in Western Division, easily defeating Seattle 3-1. 

    In the final match of the evening, Dallas jumped out to a quick lead in the match when Keaton Kiewra achieved a winning position in a Richter Rauzer Sicilian against FM Slava Mikhailuk and eventually cashed in. Something tells me much of this was theory.


 The second game to finish saw IM Davorin Kuljasevic sacrifice a piece to defeat IM Eric Tangborn.


 On board 1, while it appeared that Drasko Boskovic had a small edge, GM Gregory Serper defended well and for some reason Drasko tried to win and paid the price. In the final game of the match and of the night, it appeared that Dallas’s Francisco Guadalupe was in trouble in the middle game, but Francisco complicated things enough and won a difficult endgame against Seattle’s Josh Sinanan. Dallas won the match 3-1. 

    With only 2 weeks remaining in the USCL, almost all teams are still alive for the playoffs. Week 9 promises to be the most exciting of the season. The hot Philadelphia Inventors square off against the New York Knights, the Queen Pioneers face the Boston Blitz (who now only lead the East by one-half game), and the Carolina Cobras battle the desperate Miami Sharks. 

Check out all the standings, numerous articles, blogs, and predictions about the individual teams at www.uschessleague.com.