Scorpions improve to 4-0, maintain 1st in the West!

Scorpions improve to 4-0, maintain 1st in the West!

Sep 26, 2010, 5:36 PM |


By John Gurczak

Dallas Destiny (1.0 – 2.0) vs Arizona Scorpions (3.0 – 0.0)

Hey everyone, this is John Gurczak, player on the Arizona Scorpions. After Week 3’s 3.5-.5 routing of the L.A. Vibe, the Scorpions had high hopes coming into the match against Dallas. This was by far the closest match we have had this year and brutal to watch from a fan perspective with so many ups and downs. The Scorpions were using their fourth different lineup in four weeks, along with the season debut of two players, Warren Harper and David Adelberg. Going into the match Dallas had led the all time series record by a score of 1.5-.5, so the Scorpions were looking to even things up and improve upon their perfect season. The board by board match ups were fairly even with Dallas having an advantage on Board 2, while Arizona had a slight rating advantage on Board 1. Boards 3 and 4 were the toss up boards which were critical for the Scorpions this match and in the end propelled them to a 2.5-1.5 victory and kept the perfect season alive. Now lets take a look at each game in greater detail…

Board 1

(450) Bercys,Salvijus (2467) – Altounian,Levon (2496) [A90]

USCL ARZ-DAL Week 4, 13.09.2010

This was a match up where I thought if the Scorpions were going to win the match, a draw was necessary. Bercys is a strong IM, who has been very active as of late playing most of the big tournaments in the U.S. Lev is also a strong IM but is not as active as he used to be, playing a tournament once every few months. In his first two season Lev scored 5.5/10 with a 2523 performance rating playing mainly on board 2 with a few board 1 appearances mixed in. Lev has proven to be a solid player who can hold a draw when needed.

1.d4 e6 A bit of a surprise considering Lev almost uniformly plays 1…d5 or d6 nowadays. With this in mind, Lev definitely had something prepped. 

 2.c4 f5?! The Dutch!!! This opening is completely an anti-Lev opening and he took everyone by surprise with this choice. The last time Lev employed this opening was back in 2003 against Armen Ambartsoumian and there are only a total of 4 times he has played this in tournament play. 

 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Bb4+ Lev chooses a much less popular continuation. More popular moves are Be7, d5 and d6.

 5.Bd2 Bxd2+ 6.Qxd2 0–0 7.Nc3 d6 8.Nf3 Qe7 9.0–0 c6 Up to this point it seems as though Lev was still in his prep as he had well over 70 minutes while Bercys was taking his time.

10.Rfe1 d5 11.Rab1N The first new move from either side. Previously b3 was played once and Qc2 has been played twice.

 11…Nbd7 12.Qc2 Anticipating Ne4 coming anytime…

 12…Ne4 13.b4 Nd6 14.c5 Nc4 15.Ra1 [An interesting try was the exchange sacrifice 15.b5!? Na3 16.Qa4 Nxb1 17.Rxb1 cxb5 18.Qxb5 where blacks pieces aren't very well coordinated and developed yet.]

 15…e5 16.Nd2 Nxd2 17.Qxd2 f4?! [Better was 17...Nf6 which doesn't lose a pawn and places the knight on a better square as well as opening up the diagonal to give the bishop some breathing room.]  

18.e4! fxe3 19.Qxe3± Re8 20.Re2 [20.b5 was interesting undermining the weak queenside pawns for example 20...Qf7 21.Rab1 Re7 22.Rb3 where black has a hard time finding a useful plan.]

 20…Qf7 21.Rae1 e4 22.f3 Nf6 23.fxe4 dxe4 24.Nxe4 Nxe4 25.Bxe4 Bg4 [25...Bf5 seems like the most obvious move in the position but white can simply play  26.Qf2 with a liquidation of the position into a pawn up rook endgame.]

 26.Rf2 Qd7 27.Qd3 Kh8 28.Ref1 Bh3 29.Rd1 Qe6

30.Bg2?! [White missed a simple win with 30.d5 cxd5 (30...Qxe4?? 31.Rf8++-) 31.Qxd5 Qxd5 32.Bxd5 and black will have difficulty saving the b7 pawn. White will soon create a passed pawn that will decide the game.]

 30…Bxg2 31.Kxg2 Rad8 32.a3 Kg8 33.Qf5 Qe4+ 34.Qxe4 Rxe4 35.Rfd2 Rd5 36.Kf3 After the liquidation of pieces it seems as though White should be easily winning, being up a pawn. It not as simple as it seems since rook endgames are always tricky.  

36…Re6 37.Re2 Kf7 38.Rxe6 Kxe6 39.Re1+ Kf6 40.Ke4 Rg5 41.Kd3 Rh5 42.h4 Rf5 43.Re3 Rf1 44.Ke4 Rd1 45.Rf3+ Ke6 46.Rf8? After this move the games becomes much more unclear as Black is able to get ¦e1+ and threaten either the a or g pawn.

 46…Re1+ 47.Kd3 Rg1 48.Rb8 Kd5 49.Rd8+ Ke6 50.Kc4 b5+! This move pretty much equalizes on the spot for black and stops White from being able to make progress.  

51.cxb6 axb6 52.Re8+ Kd6 53.Re3 b5+= 54.Kd3 Kd5 55.Re5+ Kd6 56.Rg5 g6 57.Kc3 Ra1 58.Kb2 Rg1 59.Kb3 Rb1+ 60.Ka2 Rd1 61.h5 gxh5 62.Rxh5 Rxd4 63.Rh6+ Kd5 64.Rxh7 Rd2+ 65.Kb1 Rg2 66.Rf7 ½–½

I felt pretty good about this board in the beginning since Lev seemed to know what he was doing but the tables turned after Lev played §f4 which loses a pawn. Everyone thought going after the rook endgame was achieved that it was just a matter of technique before White wins but Lev kept fighting was able to secure the draw, which was the reason this match ended up 2.5–1.5 instead of a 2-2 tie.

Board 2

(452) Harper,Warren (2408) – Sadorra,Julio (2471) [A21]

USCL ARZ-DAL Week 4, 14.09.2010

 This was the only board in which Dallas was favored. Both players have been playing well as of late; Warren in the U.S. Junior and Sadorra in the U.S. Open and recently concluded Southwest Open. In my preview I thought Warren had good chances to pull off an upset but it just wasn’t meant to be. Warren played a tough game where instead of trying to hold a worse position for a long time he opted for an exchange sacrifice but his position was pretty bad already and was not able to make anything of it.

 1.c4 e5 2.g3 d6 3.Bg2 f5 It seems like the top 2 boards were really intrigued to play an early f5 in the opening. 

 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.e3 [5.d3 is a much more common way to play this position where White is playing the black side of a closed sicilian with a tempo.]

 5…Be7 6.Nge2 0–0 7.0–0 c6 8.d4 e4 An interesting idea to close up the center and force the weakening move f3 in order to break up the center. In games where Black did not play e4 White was able to play e4 and achieve a comfortable game. [8...Na6 was played by Kogan and Sedenik where they both went on to win nice games.]

9.f3 exf3 10.Bxf3 Na6 11.d5 [Another idea could be 11.Rb1 where White tries to push b4 and get things rolling on the queenside.]

 11…Bd7 12.Nd4 Qc8 13.b3 Nc5 14.Qc2 Re8 15.dxc6?! I’m not sure if it is in White’s best interest to take and release the tension since taking is only improve Black’s position. [A better option may have been 15.Bb2 Bd8 16.Rae1]

 15…bxc6 16.Bg2 g6

17.h3 [17.b4 was necessary forcing 17...Ne6 18.b5! Nxd4 19.exd4 Rb8 20.a4 where White has a nice space advantage.]

 17…Bd8 18.Bd2 Nce4 19.Nxe4 Nxe4

20.Bxe4 [20.g4 was an interesting option where White will open up the kingside but there isn't a clear way for black to take advantage of it right away for example 20...Nxd2 21.Qxd2 fxg4 22.hxg4 Bg5 23.Rae1]

20…Rxe4 21.Rf4 Re8 22.Re1 Bg5

23.Nf3? [23.Rf2 was necessary, since giving up the exchange loses almost immediately. Although Black is still better White has better chances to defend than what was achieved in the game.]

 23…Bxf4 24.gxf4 Now it is only a matter of technique for Black.

24…c5 25.Qc3 Bc6 26.Ng5 Qd7 27.Bc1 d5 28.Qf6 d4 29.Bb2 Re7 30.Ba3 Rf8 31.Nxh7 Rxh7 32.Qg5 Rxh3 33.Qxg6+ Qg7 34.Qxg7+ Kxg7 35.Bxc5 Rg8 36.exd4 Kf6+ 37.Kf1 Rh1+ 38.Ke2 Rg2+ 39.Kd1 Bf3+ 0–1

I don’t like the way the opening turned out for White and it just seemed like White was fighting the whole time. Warren had some interesting ideas in the middlegame where he could have played b4 creating weakness for Black on the queenside. I think that was one of the only ways for White to continue and have a good game.  

Board 3

(454) Kiewra,Keaton (2361) – Adamson,Robby (2363) [B20]

USCL ARZ-DAL Week 4, 14.09.2010

Board 3 featured the dragon master versus the wave master. Both players have been playing well as of late, each earning norms at the prestigious Copper State International. This was a key board for the Scorpions that they could not afford to lose. After last years loss to Keaton, Robby was out for blood this game. I knew he would not allow for a repeat of last year. In the post game interview Robby said after this win he has “almost forgotten about his loss the previous weekend to fellow Arizonan Dipro Chakraborty” and hopes the Scorpions can extend their perfect season record.

 1.e4 c5 2.a3? *Robby screams at the top of his lungs(and even lets out a few tears) as he sees his prep go to waste* 



2…g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.c3 Bg7?! [Better was 4...dxc3 just gaining a free pawn but 4...Bg7 has been played by Carlsen, so you can't really complain.]

 5..cxd4 d5 6.exd5 [6.e5 may have been a better way for White to play since in the game White just achieved a weak IQP.]

 6…Nf6 7.Bc4 0–0 [7...Nxd5 was possible for example 8.Qb3 e6 9.Nc3 Nc6 10.Nf3 0–0³]

 8.Nc3 Nbd7 9.Ba2 Nb6 10.Qf3?! [10.Nf3 was necessary. Qf3 just allows for Black to develop the Bishop with tempo and misplaces the White's Queen.]


10…Bg4 11.Qg3 Bf5 12.Nf3 Ne4 13.Qh4 Nxc3 14.bxc3 Nxd5 15.Bxd5 Qxd5 After all the trades Black stands better. White has a weak pawn chain that can easily come under attack and White will have to passively defend. Black has a strong bishop pair and active pieces that are dominant in this position.

 16.0–0 Rfe8 17.Bh6 Rac8 18.Bxg7 Kxg7 19.Rfe1 Qd6 [Better was 19...Rxc3 20.Rxe7 Rxe7 21.Qxe7 Be4 22.Qe5+ Qxe5 23.Nxe5 f6 where Black is likely to win the d-pawn achieving a winning endgame.]

 20.Re3 Rc7 21.g4 Bc8 22.g5?! I really don’t like this move for White as all it does is weaken his position. Black has no worries about getting mated since he always has the resource of f6, followed by e5 protecting the seventh rank.

 22…b6 23.Qh6+ Kg8 24.Re4 f6 25.Rh4 e5 Black now stands better once again. White has gone all out for an attack that never existed and Black is easily defending and undermining Whites weak pawn chain at the same time.


26.gxf6 Qxf6 27.Nxe5 Rf8 28.f4? White simply opens up the position even more where Black’s light square bishop will dominate. White has too many light square weakness to defend against and not enough threats.

 28…Bb7 29.Re1 Rg7 30.c4 Qd6 31.Rd1 Qxa3 32.Rh3 Qb2 33.d5 Qe2 34.Rdd3 Qe1+ 35.Kg2 Qe2+ Repeating moves to gain time.

 36.Kg1 Qe1+ 37.Kg2 Qe4+ 38.Rdf3? Losing on the spot. [A better try was 38.Kg1 Rxf4 39.Rhe3 only move 39...Qf5 40.Qh3 Bc8 but in the end black is still much better.]


38…b5! 39.Qg5 bxc4 40.Ng4 Bxd5 41.Nf6+ Rxf6 42.Qxf6 Rf7 43.Qb2 Qxf40–1

  A much needed win on board 3. Robby played well throughout the game never letting White really grab control of the initiative and was able to defend the small threats Kiewra put out. Towards the end Kiewra opened up his kingside too much and severely weakened his light squares. Black’s light square bishop found a nice diagonal and Robby was able to reel in the full point.  

Board 4

(456) Adelberg,David (2275) – Zorigt,Bayaraa (2240) [E08]

USCL ARZ-DAL Week 4, 15.09.2010

In my opinion, this was the most important board for the Scorpions. They needed a win here to have strong chances to win the match. This was a rematch from a year ago, with opposite colors. Whenever David is playing, especially as a board 4, I think he is the favorite. Being one of the lower rated board 4’s last year he far exceeded expectations and his success from last year, continued into this match. This was a good match up of strong masters and it proved to be an exciting game. The game started off as a typical Catalan but turned into a tactical slugfest towards the end, where David was able to come through for the Scorpions an secure the full point.


1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 c6 6.0–0 0–0 7.Qc2 Nbd7 8.b3 c5?! Up until this point main line was followed. This is only the second time this move has been played and it seems premature. Black usually continues b6, Ba6 and will sometimes play for c5 then.

 9.Bb2 b6 10.cxd5 exd5 11.Nc3 Bb7 12.Rac1 Rc8 13.Rfd1 Qc7 14.Qb1 Qb8 15.Nh4 cxd4?![15...g6 may have been better preventing Nf5. Black's plan here would be Rd8 and relocate the bishop to the a1–h8 diagonal, where it is stronger.]



16.Nf5! Bc5 17.Nxd4 Rfe8 18.Qa1 a6 19.Nf5 Qe5 [19...a5? was played here initially but then ruled a moueslip. A smartmove claim was made and granted.]

 20.Qb1 [20.Nxg7 was really interesting where both sides have plenty of threats. David chose not to go for the immediate complications but it may have been worth a shot considering Zorigt was low on time but I think David made the correct choice of not playing it. 20...Bxf2+(20...Kxg7 21.Nxd5 Bxf2+ 22.Kxf2 Qxe2+ 23.Kg1 Bxd5 24.Bxd5 Ne5!÷) 21.Kh1 d4! (21...Kxg7 22.Nxd5 Rxc1 23.Qxc1 Qf5 24.Nxf6 Bxg2+ 25.Kxg2 Nxf6 26.e4 Rxe4 27.Qc2 Black is only slightly better after 27...Bxg3 28.hxg3 Qe6 29.Rd2) 22.Bxb7 Kxg7 23.Bf3 where black stands better.]

20…Qe6 21.e3 Ne5 22.Ne2 Ne4 23.Nfd4 Qh6 24.h3 Qf6 25.f3 Nd6 [Black missed her chance with 25...Bxd4 26.Nxd4 Nxg3 which just won a pawn.]



26.f4 Nd7 27.Rd3 Qe7 28.Nc3 Nf6 29.Re1 Nde4 30.Nxe4 [30.Nf5 was another option but after 30...Qe6 31.Nxe4 dxe4 32.Nd4 Black is still better.]

30…Nxe4? [30...dxe4 was the only way for Black to keep the advantage since Nxe4 just loses.]

31.Nf5! Qd7 32.Nxg7 Nxg3 hoping for complications [If Black tries to save the exchange by means of 32...Re7 White simply plays 33.Nh5 and stands much better.]

 33.Nxe8 Rxe8 34.Ba1 Re6 35.b4! taking the pin off the e pawn

 35…Be7 36.e4! breaking open the center while attacking the knight. Black’s position is hopeless.



36…Rg6 37.f5 Rg5 38.Kh2?? Throws the advantage had Black found the correct way to proceed. [38.h4! was winning on the spot after 38...Rg4 39.Bh3 and Black is losing a significant amount of material.]

38…Nh5? [38...Qc7! 39.e5 Nxf5 where all of the sudden White can potentially be almost worse.]


39.Qb2 f6 40.Qd2 Qc7+ 41.e5 Qc4 42.exf6 Bd6+ 43.Be5 Bxe5+ 44.Rxe5 Nf4 45.Rd4!netting White a piece if Black avoids the liquidation.

 45…Rxg2+ 46.Qxg2+ Nxg2 47.Rxc4 dxc4 48.Re8+ Kf7 49.Re7+ Kxf6 50.Rxb7 Ne3 51.Rxb6+ Kxf5 52.Rxa6 c3 53.Rc6 c2 54.b5 Ke5 55.b6 Kd5 56.Rxc2 1–0

David played well the whole game and kept his composure even when things got crazy. What started off as an innocent Catalan, turned into a position that had many tactical options, especially 20.Nxg7 where Black needs to find exact moves to hold. This was the second to last game to finish and was exciting to watch from start to finish.

Dallas Destiny     Arizona Scorpions
IM Salvijus Bercys: 2467  0.5 0.5 IM Levon Altounian: 2496 
IM Julio Sadorra: 2471 1.0 0.0 FM Warren Harper: 2408
FM Keaton Kiewra: 2361 0.0 1.0 FM Robby Adamson: 2363
WFM Bayaraa Zorigt: 2240 0.0 1.0 NM David Adelberg: 2275
Avg Rating: 2385     Avg Rating: 2386
Dallas Total ——- 1.5 2.5 ——- Arizona Total



So the Scorpions were able to pull out another win with another different lineup. Into the short season we are undefeated on the bottom boards, with each board scoring 3.5/4 and split on the top boards with 2/4. The Scorpions will need to continue to score on the bottom boards to continue their success. Next week the Scorpions will aim for 5-0, as they take on the dangerous Chicago Blaze.