2014 Week 1 Review: St. Louis Arch Bishops vs. Baltimore Kingfishers
St. Louis Arch Bishops vs. Baltimore Kingfishers 2.5-1.5
GM Le Quang Liem (2785) - GM Niclas Huschenbeth (2603) 1-0 View Game
GM Varuzhan Akobian (2758) - IM Levan Bregadze (2530) 1-0 View Game
WGM Anna Sharevich (2367) - NM Jared Defibaugh (2325) 0.5-0.5 View Game
Jacob Wilkins (1909) - NM Andrew Zheng (2208) 0-1 View Game
Note: Players in italic had the white pieces.
The St. Louis Arch Bishops defeated the Baltimore Kingfishers with a 2.5-1.5 score. St. Louis scored wins on Boards 1 and 2 while Baltimore could only counter with a win on Board 4. St. Louis begins the season tied for first (2nd on tiebreak) in the Southern Division, and Baltimore is in the 4th spot (of 6) in the Southern Division. These two teams will have a rematch in Week 6 on September 30th.
Board 1: GM Le Quang Liem vs. GM Niclas Huschenbeth. The top board began with a Nimzo-Indian Defense: Nimzo-Queen's Indian Hybrid. The novelty was 14... Ne5, played by GM Niclas Huschenbeth. Black tried to slowly open up the queenside, seemingly underestimating how fast white's kingside attack would come. GM Le Quang Liem busted open black's king position, which allowed him to transition to cleaning up the queenside pawns. GM Huschenbeth held on to try some back-rank mate swindles, but resigned after those attempts were parried.
Board 2: IM Levan Bregadze vs. GM Varuzhan Akobian. The second board started with a Reti Opening: Advance Variation that transformed into what looked like a reverse-Blumenfeld's Gambit. GM Varuzhan Akobian played the novelty 8... b6. The critical moment of the game came after 20... Bxf3 when IM Levan Bregadze played the inferior move 21. b6 (as opposed to 21. c6; See analysis board below) and GM Akobian countered with 21... Nxb6. The game was slightly better for black after that sequence, but white may have had chances to hold a draw. However, black managed to keep an extra pawn and eventually cleared the way for his passed e-pawn to advance when white resigned.
Board 3: WGM Anna Sharevich vs. NM Jared Defibaugh. Board 3 exhibited with a Grunfeld Defense: Exchange Variation with 7. Ba3. NM Jared Defibaugh mentioned after the match that he saw WGM Anna Sharevich had several games with this move. They were following one of WGM Sharevich's games up until she varied from it with 12. Be2. After that, they were still following a couple games by GM Svidler (as black in both games) with one game against St. Louis' first board in this match, GM Le Quang Liem (Check out the analysis board below). The novelty was played by NM Defibaugh with 15... Re8. While the game lasted 73 moves and looked dangerous for black toward the end, the game never strayed far from equality. It ended as a draw by repetition.
Board 4: NM Andrew Zheng vs. Jacob Wilkins. The final board of the match saw another Nimzo-Indian Defense though this time, it was a Rubinstein variation (4.e3) with 4... b6. NM Andrew Zheng played the novely 10. Rb1. White slowly gained space with his pawns until he was able to break open the queenside and even win a pawn. Then, the game revolved around whether the passed d-pawn could march to promotion. The game nearly slipped away from white as black had some surprising drawing chances near the end. The game actually ended as Jacob Wilkins forfeited on time in a position where it was clear NM Zheng had sewn up the game. The final position is technically a mate in 6 (various lines) for white.
To conclude this week's review, note that two players (GM Le Quang Liem and WGM Anna Sharevich) secured their first points in the USCL, and two players (GM Le Quang Liem and NM Andrew Zheng) scored their first victory in the USCL.
Next week, Baltimore plays the Carolina Cobras on Wednesday, September 3rd starting at 7:20 EDT.
Check out all the US Chess League action at: http://www.uschessleague.com/
For archived blog posts, see: http://baltimorekingfishers.blogspot.com/