Home Page arrow Chess Life Online arrow 2011 arrow May arrow US Chess League: Week Three Highlights
US Chess League: Week Three Highlights Print E-mail
By Kostya Kavutskiy   
September 19, 2011
USCLmainlogo.jpgThe Chicago Blaze, after a 2.5-1.5 victory over the Arizona Scorpions, are sending a loud message that they are the strongest team in the US Chess League this season. NM Sam Schmakel was the hero of the match after defeating NM Nick Thompson late into the night to clinch the win. The San Francisco Mechanics moved into second place in the Western division after a 3.5-0.5 domination of the Los Angeles Vibe. GM Jesse Kraai produced an excellent win over IM Zhanibek Amanov which all but ended the match. The Miami Sharks earned their first win of the season by beating the Seattle Sluggers, 3-1, while the woes of the Saint Louis Arch Bishops continued, as they were routed 3.5-0.5 by the Dallas Destiny.  

In the Eastern division, the Boston Blitz took down the New York Knights to move into first place with a record of 2.5-0.5 thanks to SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun, who survived GM Giorgi Kacheishvili's wild attack and earned his 3rd win of the season. Tied with New York in second place are the Carolina Cobras, who were also dealt their first loss of the season by the Manhattan Applesauce. NM James Black won in the extreme complications of his game against NM Chris Mabe and earned himself a third place finish in the game of the week contest. The New England Nor'easters and Baltimore Kingfishers drew their match where every game finished with a victory for the white side, while the Philadelphia Inventors got back to an even score after just squeezing by the New Jersey Knockouts, who are suprisingly off to an 0-3 start.  

Game of the Week 

GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) - SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) 0-1 


Sammour-Hasbun wins the game of the week for the second straight week. There is something special about his style of play as not only does he always produce interesting games, but he almost always comes out on top!

Read the full article here: http://usclnews.blogspot.com/2011/09/week-3-game-of-week.html  

Most Exciting Match 

Arizona Scorpions vs. Chicago Blaze 1.5-2.5 

It's hard to match the excitement of a match where the top 3 boards are split and the final result comes down to the fourth board, which inevitably is in a time-scramble.





Watching the match live would give any fan a rush. 

Best Move 

NM Sam Schmakel (CHC) -  NM Nick Thompson (ARZ) 1-0 
In the following position, with little time NM Schmakel played  

It even takes Rybka a little while before it realizes that this move is crushing and ends the game immediately. 40...Kh6 40...Kh8 41.Qe8+ Kh7 42.Qxg6+ transposes to the game; 40...Kxf7 41.Nxe5+ Ke6 42.Nxg4+- 41.Qxg6+! Kxg6 42.Nxe5+ Kh5 43.Nxg4 Kxg4 44.a5! The point of the whole sacrifice--Black cannot stop the a-pawn 44...d3 45.Kf1 Kf3 46.Ke1 Kxe4 47.a6 Kd4 48.a7 Kc3 49.Kd1 1-0 

Opening Novelties! 

This week I noticed there was some very interesting opening play that is probably important from a theoretical standpoint. 

NM David Adelberg (ARZ) -  GM Mesgen Amanov (CHC) 0-1 

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 a6 6.0-0 Nc6

One of the sharpest lines in the open Catalan--White has to know what they are doing as they are not going to win the c4-pawn back anytime soon. Meanwhile Black also has to play very accurately as otherwise they might get blown away in the center. 7.Nc3 7.e3 is another very popular option. 7...Rb8 8.e4 Be7 9.Qe2 b5 9...Nxd4 is another line which leads to very complicated play--my opinion is White definitely has at least compensation for the two sacrificed pawns. 10.Rd1 0-0 11.d5


The most theoretical move--White forces Black to sacrifice a piece for three pawns. 11.Bf4!? 1-0 Mikhalevski,V (2610)-Shulman,Y (2636)/Khanty Mansiysk 2010/CBM 139 (70). 11...exd5 12.e5 d4 13.exf6 Bxf6 14.Qe4 Bb7 15.Nd5 Nb4 16.Nxf6+ Qxf6 17.Qf4 c5 18.Qxf6 gxf6 19.Bf4

19...Rbc8! This is the best move, 19...Rbd8 has been focused on previously, but after this game is definitely not the main-line anymore. 20.Bd6 Rfd8 21.Be7 Re8 22.Bxf6 h6!N improving upon 22...Nd3= ½-½ Caruana,F (2675)-Cheparinov,I (2640)/Villafranca 2010/CBM 137 (35) 23.g4? 23.a4; 23.b3 23...Nd3 24.Rd2 Nf4 25.Nh4 Nxg2 26.Nxg2 Re6-/+

Black is already much better. With 22...h6 GM Amanov has practically changed the evaluation of the whole line! I wouldn't be surprised if Catalan players start to look at 11.Bf4 or switch over to 7.e3 in order to find an advantage in this line. GM Amanov went on to a win a very fine game. 0-1

You can read GM Mesgen Amanov's analysis and comments on his preparation here:


FM Costin Cozianu (SEA) vs. IM Alejandro Moreno Roman (MIA) 0-1

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nc3 g6 7.g3
The theoretical fianchetto variation of the Modern Benoni 7...Bg7 8.Bg2 0-0 9.0-0 a6 10.a4 Re8 11.Bf4 11.Nd2 is more common. 11...Nbd7!?
This has only been played a few times before, and the time spent on this move leads me to believe that it was an improvised opening experiment. More popular are the moves 11...Ne4; 11...Nh5; 11...Qc7; 11...h6; 11...Qe7; 11...b6; and 11...Bg4. 12.Bxd6 Taking the pawn must be the critical try for this variation 12...Qb6 13.Bf4 Qxb2 14.Rc1?! Very natural, but I think (14.Qc1! seems best and should be preferred next time 14...Qxc1 (14...Qb4 15.Rb1 Qa5 16.d6+=) 15.Rfxc1 Ne4 16.Nxe4 Rxe4 (16...Bxa1? 17.Nd6) 17.Ra2+= Of course it is very hard to find and evaluate all of these moves properly when you are playing in the relatively fast time control of the USCL. 14...b5!N=
IM Alejandro Moreno Roman found the strong move here to equalize the position. Black now gets great counterplay and went on to win a nice game.

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


May - Chess Life Online 2011

The Scoop on the World Chess Hall of Fame & Bobby Fischer Against the WorldAlex Battey Earns IM Norm in First Saturday Gareyev Hot in Chicago; Holt Earns GM Norm Get Ready for National Chess Day 2011 World Chess Hall of Fame and HBO Co-Host St. Louis Bobby Fischer Against the World Premiere Chicago Open Photo Gallery Harikrishna & Gelashvili Lead in Chicago Harikrishna on Opening Strong in Chicago Whirlwind Rapid Play Ends International Matches in Saint Louis Chicago Open Spans Memorial Day Weekend Speed Chess Like You've Never Seen Before (Video) Gelfand to Challenge Anand for World Championship! Eagles Partner with ASAP in Thrilling Event for Philly Youth Nakamura Wins Convincingly to Clinch Classical MatchTension Builds in Saint Louis Matches Unusual Chess Problems: Part I Nakamura Evens Score in Saint Louis Ponomariov, Robson Still LeadThe US Chess Scoop with Dr. Frank Brady National Open: A Chess Festival You Don't Want to Miss! Ponomariov, Robson Score Round-One VictoriesEarth vs. Space Match 2011 Launches! Yankovsky and Troff Earn Norms in Reader Memorial World Elite Battle in Saint Louis Kamsky Eliminated in Heart Breaking Playoff Candidates Semifinals Go to Playoff Kamsky-Gelfand Begins With Two Draws Robson Replaces Korchnoi for Match Play in St. LouisWu and Wheeler Among Winners at Elementary NationalsKamsky Defeats Topalov in Match; To Face Gelfand Next 2011 Elementary Nationals Begin in Dallas 2011 Elementary Nationals: A K-1 Preview Kamsky Draws First Blood in Candidates! Summer in Orlando: Details on the US Open, Junior Girls Open, Denker & BarberCandidates Kick Off; All Draws in Round 1 Nicky and Melinda’s Tournament AdventuresThe May Check is in the Mail Greg on Chess: Handicapping the Candidates Rosen Tops High School Nationals Nakamura, Korchnoi Headline Match Play in St. Louis