2014 Week 6 Review: Baltimore Kingfishers vs. St. Louis Arch Bishops
Baltimore Kingfishers vs. St. Louis Arch Bishops 2.5-1.5
GM Niclas Huschenbeth (2603) - GM Wesley So (2751) 0.5-0.5 View Game
IM Levan Bregadze (2530) - GM Le Quang Liem (2785) 0-1 View Game
NM Jared Defibaugh (2325) - NM Mathew Larson (2251) 1-0 View Game
NM Andrew Zheng (2208) - Jacob Wilkins (1909) 1-0 View Game
Note: Players in italic have the white pieces.
The Baltimore Kingfishers defeated the division-leading St. Louis Arch Bishops with a 2.5-1.5 score. Baltimore took victories on the bottom two boards and drew on the top board while St. Louis struck back with a win on board 2. Combined with the Miami Sharks' 2.5-1.5 victory over the Connecticut Dreadnoughts, Baltimore (3.0-3.0 match record) managed to leap into 2nd place in the Southern Division. Now, they are only a half-match-point behind the St. Louis Arch Bishops (3.5-2.5 match record) in the standings. There is also a crowd of 3 teams (Atlanta Kings, Connecticut Dreadnoughts, Miami Sharks) tied for 3rd place at (2.5-3.5 match record), which is just a half-match-point behind Baltimore. Finally, the Carolina Cobras (1.0-5.0 match record) sit at the bottom of the Southern Division, but they are not out of the playoff picture yet.
Board 1: GM Niclas Huschenbeth vs. GM Wesley So. The top board showcased a very interesting Najdorf Sicilian. GM Wesley So played the novelty 11... b5. In the middlegame, GM Huschenbeth maneuvered to attack the black kingside, but GM Wesley So managed to parry the threats. As pieces were traded in the center, it soon looked like white's king might be the more vulnerable one. Then, GM Huschenbeth regained an edge in the game with the strong 32. Rxc3! though it was not enough to convert to a victory. They played until bare kings on move 60.
Note: I did not do analysis of this game beyond the novelty search and finding interesting stem games as GM Niclas Huschenbeth has already posted his own spectacular in-depth analysis of the game on YouTube (Runtime: 34:56). Be sure to check it out below!
10:00 PM EDT Update: Board 1 won Game of the Week (GOTW). Read the USCL judges' commentary.
Board 2: GM Le Quang Liem vs. IM Levan Bregadze. The second board featured a King's Indian with opposite-side castling. GM Le Quang Liem played the novelty 11. h4 to begin his assault of the black kingside. IM Levan Bregadze soon countered with his a-pawn push against white's long-castled king. Complications arose as the center opened up. Black appeared worse by being down two pawns, but the power of the fianchettoed-bishop and a rook on the 2nd rank provided drawing chances and maybe more. Perhaps that chance for more was on IM Bregadze's mind when he played 26... Bd4, which was a mistake that GM Le Quang Liem pounced upon to seize a victory in 33 moves.
Board 3: NM Jared Defibaugh vs. NM Matthew Larson. Board three saw a Semi-Slav Defense: Anti-Meran variation (6. Qc2) with 6... Bd6 7. b3. This opening has seen plenty of play at the top level of chess. The novelty 13. Bxc4 was played by NM Jared Defibaugh. Both the c-file and d-file were opened up and queens were traded in the early middlegame. After that, both players maneuvered pieces with the aim of controlling the open files. Both files were blockaded by knights, so NM Matthew Larson decided to expanded on the kingside with his black pawns. Meanwhile NM Defibaugh continued to attempt to breakthrough the blockade on the c&d-files. After an inaccuracy by black on move 47, white got the chance to break for which he was striving, and NM Defibaugh triumphed after 70 moves.
Board 4: Jacob Wilkins vs. NM Andrew Zheng. The fourth board bounced around opening theory names pretty quickly as the game started with a Reti Opening (1.Nf3), transposed into an English Opening after 1... e6 2. c4 d5, and then started to resemble a Queen's Gambit Declined: Exchange variation (c4xd5) after 4. d4. The novelty was actually 9... Nbd7, played by NM Andrew Zheng. The two players exchanged evenly for quite some time. Eventually, black took control of the open c-file and then was allowed to invade the 2nd rank. White missed a surprising final chance at an equal game with 36. Nf2, and Jacob Wilkins resigned after 51 moves.
Next week, the Baltimore Kingfishers play the Arizona Scorpions on Wednesday, October 8th starting at 9:00 PM EDT.
Check out all the US Chess League action at: http://www.uschessleague.com/
For archived blog posts, see: http://baltimorekingfishers.blogspot.com/