Manhattan Applesauce vs. Baltimore Kingfishers 2-2
GM Zviad Izoria (2624) - IM Levan Bregadze (2469) 0.5-0.5
IM Dmitry Schneider (2516) - IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (2492) 0-1
FM Rico Salimbagat (2259) - NM Jared Defibaugh (2297) 0.5-0.5
NM Ryan Goldenberg (2348) - NM Ian Schoch (2294) 1-0
Manhattan had white on boards 1,3 and Baltimore on 2,4
Wednesday’s Round 3 match between Manhattan Applesauce and Baltimore Kingfishers ended in a 2-2 tie. A disappointing match for Manhattan, not just because of our rating edge, but mainly because of the inability to take advantage of great positions that came our way throughout. Aside from Ryan’s game where he firmly held control throughout (despite making life difficult for himself and missing a mate in 2), Manhattan had a decisive advantage in Rico’s game, a very promising attack in Zviad’s game and solid chances to draw in my game. Tough match but with 1.5/3 and 7 games remaining anything can still happen.
Starting with the key match on Board 4: NM Ian Schoch vs. NM Ryan Goldenberg. Ryan played well for the majority of the game and put pressure on his opponent who played the innocent French exchange. Ryan was able to garner an attack on the kingside moving over his rook from e8 to g6 and forcing white to weaken his king-side by pushing g-pawn to g4 to stave off mate threats. After a few exchanges, Ryan was able to obtain a better (but still potentially drawn) bishop of opposite color endgame as he had a protected passed pawn on the kingside and white's pawn were blockaded. HOWEVER -- as confident as Ryan was in his endgame skills, he at one point could have forced a mate in two with just his bishop!...After seeing Zviad's bewildered look and quickly realizing the missed opportunity, many would not be able to keep focus, but Ryan finished off his opponent in a study-like manner by creating a passer on the kingside and then sacrificing a pawn on the queenside in order to trap his opponent bishop on a5 and thus forcing white to push his pawn and allow black to create a 2nd passer.
Moving on to board 3: FM Rico Salimbagat - NM Jared Defibaugh. Rico was able to start the game strong and continually to put pressure on his opponent. In typical Ruy Lopez fashion, the white pieces started firing from behind the 3rd rank yet quickly were able to populate the critical center/kingside squares. Rico was able to build up a nice initiative on the d-file with his rooks and in conjunction with the pawn e5, Qf4, Nf3 setup. After some exchanges, he was able to convert that into an extra. While black was trying to build a counterattack, Rico found the very strong 37.e6!, sacrificing his knight in order to push the pawn to e7 where it would be impossible to stop it without giving up more material. Unfortunately, Rico was unable to find Nd7! and a rook ensued where he was still up a pawn with good chances to push but the frustration was evident as he blundered the pawn and a drawn position ensued.
Board 1: GM Zviad Izoria - IM Levan Bregadze. A game we all thought Zviad had under control as his opponents king seemed very weak stuck on d7, stared down by the white rooks on d1 and e1 and while the white queen terrorized the queenside. Somehow, the position turned out not to be so clear as black just kept taking white pawns and was able to use his c7,c6,d6 pawns and bishop on e6 to hunker down in a hedgehog like-fashion and essentially dare Zviad to throw more pieces at him. As strong as his initiative seemed, he was only able to force a perpetual after sacrificing an exchange. In retrospect, perhaps, Zviad should not have given up the f3 pawn as there was no immediate need to and maybe try to reposition his knight from c3 to d4 via e2, but in any case credit should be given to his opponent for his ability to defend such a tricky position.
Lastly, IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat-IM Dmitry Schneider was an interesting affair with white clearly getting an opening advantage in the Catalan. Black likely erred with 9...Nxe5 (9...Qb6!?) but definitely with the passive Nd7 -- allowing white to grab space after de and then after maneuvring his knight from b1-c3-e4-g5-d6 force a bunch of weaknesses and create a passed pawn on d6 after black was forced to trade again. While black was able to avoid immedite mate, a winning Queen and Bishop position ensued where white needed to find 29.Ba5! winning a pawn (29...Ke6 30. Qb5 Qd6 31.Bxb6). However, after Bb4 black was able to set up a blockade with Qd7,Ke6 attacking the d6 pawn. To give my opponent credit, he was able to confuse matters with 32.a4!? At first I thought the move was some sort of a touch-move like mistake. However, the confusion worked as my next move 33...Kf7? was a terrible mistake after which white was again on the offensive. Either 33...Qb7 (now possible because the b5 pawn is on b4) or even 33...f5!? would have been perfectly fine and kept the balance...after 33...Kf7 34.Ba5! black was unable to get the king back to e6 due to BxN and Qd5#. This led to black's retreat and a mini-zuzwang as it was very diffuclt to find reasonable moves. After 36...Nb6?? led to an immediate loss, though there the position was already quite difficult to hold, especially in time pressure.