A Family Of Sorrows
Well, this is it, the final week for the Scorpions as they were bumped out of the play-off picture last week when the LA Vibe bead the San Francisco Mechanics. At least Arizona is in for a bit of fun and revenge as it is that very team that they are up against in this match.
For the more visually dependent here's a video recap:
Or, you can visit http://www.chessvideos.tv/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11504
This is titled the "Family Of Sorrows" because three of the four games were all Benoni Defenses, an opening I have extensive experience with since starting out in chess back in 1974! The name Benoni means, if I am not mistaken, Son of Sorrow. So the title seems fitting for both the opening and the fact that this is the last match for the Scorpions this year. I don’t know how they will handle themselves since they usually are in the hunt for the play-offs, however, on the good side, the U of A Basketball team is about to get rolling and there is always the FIDE World Championship to watch – Go OLD GUY!
On Board 1 we have Mackenzie Molner playing White against Tatev Abrahamyan. Tatev threw out the Benoni against Mac and we see one of the most solid treatments of this crazy defense from the White side. Mac managed to create a passed d-pawn and late in the game Delroy paid off in dividends with a rather flashy ending.
On Board 2 we had Mark Duckworth of LA with White taking on Robby Adamson. Oddly, after 1.d4 Robby never got the chance to play a Benoni type set-up (or, for him, we call it the so-called “Benko System”, it makes him feel special). Duckworth poked his knight on f6 with the move 2.Bg5, the Tromp. As these openings usually are (unless Black plays the …c5 lines) it was a typical boring affair. Seriously though, White had no advantage out of the opening, but neither did Black. The players kept their calm until a drawn ending appeared on the board. Sure, in the end, one side or the other could have pressed matters to try and create a passed pawn where they held a majority, but that would have entailed a lot of risk.
On Board 3 Bryan Hu was promoted up from Board 4 for this match-up against Craig Hilby who, with the Black pieces also threw out a Benoni. Bryan played a line I am not terribly familiar with, but it is interesting to note the difference between White’s play in this game with that on Board 1. It seemed like Bryan was getting a decent game and had a chance to reposition his knight from c3 to the center in the middle game that might have held some promise. A few moves later, in time pressure, Bryan slipped up and allowed Black to win material and it was over a few moves later. Still, a nice tactical game by these two.
On Board 4 Nicky Korba had White against the sweet, demure and innocent Amanda. Okay, maybe not *that* demure! Amanda, facing 1.d4, didn’t want to be outdone and decided that she would show this LA Team how to play the Benoni. Nick essayed the so-called Flick-Knife attack (8.Bb5+) and Amanda handled it well, playing the somewhat new line of 9…Qh4+. I give my own views of this game in the video and in the notes and I am still not swayed to be a follower of the line Amanda played. Instead, I show the line I prefer with a quick 9...0-0 and 10…Na6. I know that Andrew Martin in his DVD and Richard Pelliser over at ChessPublishing.com suggest the move played in the game. Believe them if you will, after all, I’m not an IM and I don’t get paid to feed you.
This game has a fitting ending if you know Amanda’s nom de ICC.
Well, that’s all for now. I will leave it in the capable hands of the chess.com staff to close out the coverage of the play-offs as I head off to my first tournament in a couple of years.
Stay tuned to chess.com for their coverage of the Carlsen vs Anand World Championship Match, and of course, their continued coverage of the US Chess League and so much more!
I have really enjoyed blogging here on chess.com and appreciate all the viewers, those who left comments and to the entire chess.com community, Mike and Danny have made me feel at home and I look forward to returning next year to cover the Arizona Scorpions.
To the Scorpions, thank you all for your time and effort this season. I know it didn’t go as we all would have hoped, but I really feel like we had a good team assembled. I want to thank Lev Altounian for his heroic effort in so many games! Mac, always a beast did pretty well though there were some bumps in the road. Robby, it was a rough year but you were in the games to almost the very end – add to that that you were helping the Catalina Foothills win the 2013 AIA State Team title with a perfect 25-0! That is awesome! Amanda – great job! You are the only one who makes me actually fear getting a winning position – that’s the truth! Ben and Bryan, I hope you guys get to come back next year and that may help you as you will not be rookies. Pedram, Anjelina, Mark and Shahin, I’ve never got a chance to talk to you guys this year but thank you for all your hard work as well.
Lastly I would like to thank Enrique Huerta for his tireless efforts to make chess in Arizona a thriving community. Without you things might have folded long ago. And for your efforts with the Scorpions, I know that things were bumpy this year and I can’t wait to meet with you to hopefully find a beautiful home for the Scorpions, complete with a large and comfortable viewing area for the fans. And thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be the voice of the Arizona Scorpions this year – it’s been a lot of fun!
Oh! I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Greg Shahade and Arun Sharma for their efforts with the USCL in the first place! Thank you!
GO U of A WILDCATS!