Week 6 Recap
By Amanda Mateer
I’m not really a superstitious person (but another member of our team is the most insanely superstitious person I know – can you guess who? I’ll tell you at the end of this recap), but I’m going to take a moment to get just a littttle bit scared here. See, I love pro-football, and the New York Giants. Last year, to my dismay, they started 5-0 and then ended up 5-5 before I knew it. A total disaster…didn’t even make the playoffs. Now, I look at the Scorpions, who started brilliantly at 4-0, and now have lost 2 in a row…Well, okay, good thing I’m not superstitious.
So, let’s look at loss #2…hopefully our last in this nasty little streak, in the order in which the games approximately finished:
Board 3: GM Larry Kaufman (BAL) vs. IM Danny Rensch (ARZ)
Overall, an extremely pretty effort from Kaufman. It’s no surprise it finished second in the GOTW rankings…it was clean, brutal, and aesthetically pleasing. Danny attempted to create action on the Queenside, but never seemed to gain enough momentum to get something going, and eventually fell victim to Kaufman’s precision with moves like 28. R1h5! This forced Danny to sacrifice a queen and the game ended soon after.
Board 4: FM Ralph Zimmer (BAL) vs. NM David Adelberg (ARZ)
Another clean-cut effort by Baltimore with the white pieces that also earned some GOTW votes. In the following position, Zimmer found a nice shot that won a pawn off David:
The game continued 28. Bxa5 Qxc6 29. exd5 Qd6 and David is down a pawn without compensation. The game ended later after clean technique by Zimmer.
So the Scorpions were down 2-0, but Warren was busy finishing up on Board 3 against Ray Kaufman right around the same time David resigned.
Board 3: FM Warren Harper (ARZ) vs. IM Ray Kaufman (BAL)
Warren redeemed himself after his loss last week against Chicago, playing a nice game against IM Ray Kaufman. After an odd 5 Knights Opening with 5.a3 followed by a piece sac that Ray Kaufman correctly gave back, Warren won the exchange and executed nice technique:
After Warren queened, Kaufman resigned, giving the Scorpions their only win of the night.
Board 1: IM Rogelio Barcenilla – GM Sergey Erenburg
The last game of the match to finish, Rogelio needed a win to salvage the draw in the match. He played risky after getting a normal position and fought for the win, creating complications in the following position:
Rogelio played 48. Kxf4, sacrificing the exchange after 48…Ng2+ and 49…Nxe1. He got counterplay with his extra pawn and black’s weakened king, and it looked like Erenburg was under a lot of pressure. But he held strong, and they reached the following position:
After 3-move repetition, the game ended here in a 76 move draw. I wasn’t at the match myself, but I’m guessing Rogelio just sort of ran out of steam and stopped pushing, though perhaps throwing in 76. e5 instead of Kf6 could have been worth the shot.
Week 6 Review – Around the League:
Other than our match, a lot of other excitement was going on around the league on interdivision week! Both Miami and Seattle made strides in keeping their playoff hopes alive. Although Miami still sits in last place in the West division, their 2.5-1.5 defeat of New York (which was riding on GM Julio Becerra’s defeat of GM Alex Lenderman) means they are only .5 points out of the massive tie for 4th place in the West between Seattle, Dallas, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. Dallas jumped into this tie with a win over Carolina, led by IM Julio Sadorra, who now sits tied at the top of the MVP points leaderboard, along with IM David Vigorito (New England Nor’easters) and GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY). Chicago jumped into first place in the West with a win over Philadelphia, with the sole win of the match going to IM Arjun Visnuvandhan. Other news of the excitement around the league can be found in Kostya Kavutskiy’s recap on the www.uschess.org website.
Coming Up in Week 7:
With Chicago now the clear leader in the West, they have a chance to seriously hurt St. Louis’s playoff contention in Week 7 after St. Louis barely avoided the sweep this week. The other west battles, between Miami vs. Dallas and Los Angeles vs. Seattle, will likely spiral the winning team forward into serious playoff contention and the loser into much bleaker circumstances.
Boston vs. New Jersey and New York Knights vs. Carolina leave both NJ and Carolina susceptible to missing the playoffs if they can’t find a way to win against these two strong teams, in second and third place, respectively. Philly gets a shot at the undefeated New England Nor’easters, while Manhattan takes on Baltimore.
Overall, should be another exciting week! Let’s hope I have cause to not think about superstition anymore with a Scorpion win…
Which, by the way, did you guess the super superstitious Scorpions player?
Seriously. Check out his USCF article after his norm in Chicago earlier in 2010. It’s worth it! Lets hope we rebound vs. the always dangerous SF Mechanics.