2014 Week 8 Review: Baltimore Kingfishers vs. Miami Sharks
Baltimore Kingfishers vs. Miami Sharks 1-3
GM Niclas Huschenbeth (2603) - GM Julio Becerra (2626) 0.5-0.5 View Game
GM Larry Kaufman (2391) - GM Renier Gonzalez (2510) 0.5-0.5 View Game
NM Jared Defibaugh (2325) - NM Federico Gonzalez (2315) 0-1 View Game
FM Ralph Zimmer (2268) - Vlad Yanovsky (2165) 0-1 View Game
Note: Players in italic have the white pieces.
The Miami Sharks defeated the Baltimore Kingfishers with a 3-1 score. Miami managed victories on the bottom two boards and drew both top boards. In the Southern Division, Miami (4.5-3.5) in match points) moved up to 2nd place while Baltimore (3.0-5.0) dropped to 5th place. With two weeks left to go in the regular season, Baltimore is a half-match-point (and 1.5 game points) behind the Atlanta Kings for the 3rd and likely final playoff spot in the Southern Division. It is still possible though very unlikely that the Southern Division earns a 4th playoff spot. Which of the three USCL Divisions earns that extra playoff spot will be determined next week with the final interdivisional match-ups of the regular season.
TRIVIA: Name the team against which Baltimore has not played for the longest amount of time.
ANSWER: Baltimore has not played the San Francisco Mechanics since Week 6, 2005.
Board 1: GM Niclas Huschenbeth vs. GM Julio Becerra. The top board showcased a sharp Two Knights Defense: Modern variation (5. e5). GM Niclas Huschenbeth played the novelty 17. Qxa7 and GM Julio Becerra began a scenic journey with his own queen. White seemingly won an exchange but black had a sudden attack against the surprisingly vulnerable white king. White returned a knight and pawn to relieve the pressure, resulting in a material imbalance of two white rooks for black's rook, knight, and bishop. White had a passed a-pawn, but its march was easily stopped by the black rook and bishop combination. The game ended in a threefold repetition on move 44. The game took 2nd place in the Game of the Week competition. See the judges' comments here.
Board 2: GM Renier Gonzalez vs. GM Larry Kaufman. The second board featured a Ruy Lopez: Berlin Defense (3... Nf6) with what resembled the Kaufmann variation (where white plays 5. Be3) but this game had 5. Bxc6 dxc6 inserted first. The opening variation seems to have been named after Arthur Kaufmann, an early 20th-century player, rather than our player with the black pieces. The novelty occurred relatively early with 8... Nd7 played by GM Larry Kaufman. GM Renier Gonzalez expanded slowly with the white pieces while black took a defensive position. However, the tempo of the game shifted as black played the daring break 29... g5. Then, another critical moment appeared with 35. Qf6 as it led to a bishop and rook for queen exchange in favor of black. However, black did not find the most accurate moves to press for the win, so the players drew by threefold repetition after 62 moves.
Board 3: NM Jared Defibaugh vs. NM Federico Gonzalez. Board 3 displayed a Modern Benoni Defense with 7. Nge2. NM Jared Defibaugh played the novelty 12. Qd2 and soon embarked on a kingside attack. He also castled queenside and a flank attack race ensued. However, white's attack stalled and after opening up the center, he gave up a couple pawns unnecessarily. NM Federico Gonzalez took this advantage and methodically converted the rook and pawns endgame to a victory in 69 moves.
Board 4: Vlad Yanovsky vs. FM Ralph Zimmer. The fourth board exhibited a Sicilian Defense: Four Knights Variation (4... Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6) but avoided transposing into the Sveshnikov as the game continued with 6. Ndb5 Bb4. The game followed already tested lines until Vlad Yanovsky played the novelty 18. Qd2. The game looked to be headed towards a long drawish battle until FM Ralph Zimmer missed that his rook would be trapped (for a bishop) after 33... Rb5 34. Bc5 b6 35. a4. With the extra exchange, Vlad Yanovsky was able to claim a victory in 55 moves.
Note that NM Federico Gonzalez won his first career USCL game.
Next week, the Baltimore Kingfishers play the Boston Blitz on Wednesday, October 22nd at 7:30 PM EDT.
Check out all the US Chess League action at: http://www.uschessleague.com/
For archived blog posts, see: http://baltimorekingfishers.blogspot.com/