|Dallas Scorches Miami|
|By Jennifer Shahade|
|November 20, 2007|
In the U.S. Chess League Semi-Finals, the Dallas Destiny scorched the Miami Sharks 3.5-.5. The match featured four long and tough fights, including an incredible slugfest on board one between League MVP GM Julio Becerra (for the second year in a row!) and IM Drasko Boskovic.
"The match was much closer than the score," says USCL commissioner Greg Shahade, "with a few breaks here and there, Miami could have won the match."
The board one game started innocently enough, as a Scheveningen Sicilian in which two sets of minor pieces were traded quickly.
Things began to blow up when Julio chose a direct continuation in the following position:
Julio played 31.c5, leading to a forced variation after Rxd5 32.Bc4 bxc4 33. Rxd5 cxb3. Here is the full game:
The game was a minefield for both sides, and both played excellently for many moves. Julio was the first one to finally make a big mistake, with 57. Qd7?, allowing Qh4+ and f2, winning. Fans were slightly disappointed that on move 60, Boskovic made a queen, instead of a knight.
Board two was the most consistent game of the match- Davorin Kuljasevic won a nice positional endgame against Blas Lugo, showing the strength of bishops.
Marcel Martinez had a winning position on board three against Jacek Stopa. Marcel didn't really make any huge blunder to lose his advantage; he just didn't seem to find the crushing blow. Toward the end, he picked the wrong trade in the following position:
Instead of 41. Qxg7+, Marcel should have played 41.Qd3! Now Black is forced to trade on e4 because there is no other way to escape the discovered checks. After that, the c6 bishop is gone and d7 and b5 become huge weaknesses in the queen ending. After 41. Qxg7, Marcel soon found himself in a drawn rook endgame.
On board four, Francisco Guadalupe and Luis Barredo faced off. It looked OK for Black until White's nice combination 31. fg6 followed by 32. Rg4! winning the g6-pawn.
The Dallas Destiny will face the Boston Blitz for the USCL Championship on Wednesday November 28th at 8 PM ET. You can watch the games live on the ICC . Meanwhile check the U.S. Chess League for updates, and Chess Life Online for a final report.