Hi chess.com fans,
This is my first time blogging for LA Vibe and currently I’m playing at the US master’s, so unfortunately I have to make this blog short and just summarize the match (the rest will be long rants. Topics of discussion – unclear). In our first match we were paired against San Francisco. Historically, our score against them is 1.5-2.5, so this was our chance to even out our score (although, in 2011 we did knock them out from quarter finals). Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out to well for us, as we were never really better on any of the boards and it was a clean victory for San Fran. However, it’s only the first match of the season with 9 more to go, so I have plenty of faith in my time and our inevitable comeback.
Bhat – Matikozyan
Classical King’s Indian where black opted out for the quieter 7…Na6, avoiding the theoretical mess of the main line (7…Nc6). I used to play Na6 myself until I decided that real King’s Indian players need to play Nc6 and lost all my games in the main line. In the game White’s position always looked more pleasant (as it always does in this line) but White wasn’t able to execute the Nc4-d6 idea to take advantage of the weakness of the d6 square. Black, however, managed to maneuver his pieces around and exchange a pair of rooks on the d file.
Amanov - Naroditsky
In a must win situation, Amanov had to give his all to even out the score of the match. After white played the weakening 19.f3 giving away the dark squares on the kingside, black had enough counterplay for the d6 weakness and the d5 square and was always comfortable. However, white had to make extra effort to mix things up when he could have just simply taken on e6 instead of 31.Kg1. The trades that followed were favorable for black as the opposite colored bishops are known for being an asset for the attacking side. Once Black transposed the Bishop to d4 white’s position looked hopeless due to the weakness of White’s king. Kudos to Zhanibek for making an extra effort for his team in a position that wasn’t easy to play.
Liou – Harmon-Vellotti
Making his USCL debut, Luke was able to make a comfortable draw against one his rivals (let’s assume they’re rivals to make things more interesting). Liou decided to avoid main line theory with Qe2 (he has played 3. Nd2 against me before) and the position looked more or less even from then on, but black was pressing and had better chances for most of the game . I must point out to all the French players that white was the one with the bad light square bishop and was happy to exchange it for black’s “bad” French bishop - a small victory for French players around the world!
Korba – Banik
The first decisive game of the match and not surprisingly a Najdorf. Just like in the Amanov – Naroditsky game, white went for the topical 6.h3 line, which has become more popular recently as a way to avoid main line theory. I also play this line from time to time, as it results in interesting positions that haven’t been explored as often. Black played 6…e6, resulting in more Scheveningen like positions, where queen side castle makes more sense for white, usually resulting in some fireworks. After the 13.e5 d5 sequence the position become more French like (so naturally I had to favor black’s position). White wasn’t able to build a quick enough attack and things went downhill pretty quickly.
The prettiest move of the match came in the following position when Black played Qa3!! like a total pro forcing white to resign