Week 1 Review: Connecticut Dreadnoughts vs. Baltimore Kingfishers
GM Mikheil Kekelidze (2576) - IM Levan Bregadze (2469) 1-0 View Game
GM Michael Rohde (2548) - IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (2492) 1-0 View Game
IM Jay Bonin (2436) - NM Jared Defibaugh (2297) 1-0 View Game
Jason Shi (2173) - NM Ian Schoch (2294) 1-0 View Game
Note: Players in italic have the white pieces.
Board 1: GM Mikheil Kekelidze vs. IM Levan Bregadze. The game began as a King's Indian where black gave up a pawn for opening up the center. In the following position, it is white to play. Black is threatening to take the f3 pawn with check, but GM Kekelidze saw deeper to found a killer sequence of moves that left him up a minor piece and eventually with a victory in hand. Can you find it as well?
Board 2: IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat vs. GM Michael Rohde. These two players trotted out the Vitolins variation of the Bogo-Indian Defense where white played an interesting knight maneuver that traversed b1-d2-f1-e3 before castling kingside. IM Enkhbat seemed to be pressing with the white pieces but slipped up in mutual time pressure, dropping a knight and the game to GM Rohde's well-spotted queen-checks-and-capture sequence. Soon after the game had finished, IM Enkhbat pointed out to me that he had missed a forced draw just before allowing those queen checks. Find it in the following position!
Board 3: IM Jay Bonin vs. NM Jared Defibaugh. This game featured an exchange Grunfeld Defense where NM Defibaugh played the novelty 11... Qa5. The game seemed rather even until IM Bonin started pushing his kingside pawns and black found his king under severe pressure. NM Defibaugh pinned his hopes on being able to promote his c-pawn, but that allowed white to surround black's king completely and that pressure eventually proved too much to handle. See how IM Bonin finished off the game after the blunder 30... c4?
Board 4: NM Ian Schoch vs. Jason Shi. NM Schoch played and Jason Shi accepted the Smith-Morra Gambit of the Sicilian Defense. White never really got the kind of pressure you would hope for when playing the Smith-Morra Gambit, but black eventually allowed a liquidation to a drawn ending in the position below. However, in the game, NM Schoch tried a different path to keep winning chances alive, but apparently miscalculated a line that is also pointed out in the game viewer below. Jason Shi was able to take advantage of the miscalculation to score another victory for Connecticut and complete the 4-0 sweep of Baltimore.
Week 1 showcased an unfortunate series of mistakes from the Baltimore Kingfishers and some great play from the Connecticut Dreadnoughts. This match was the 3rd time in USCL history that Baltimore was swept 4-0. The other occurrences were in Week 8, 2006 against the Dallas Destiny and in Week 2, 2012 against the St. Louis Arch Bishops. Baltimore finished out of the playoffs in 2006, but managed to make the playoffs in 2012 despite the early sweep. A rematch with Connecticut is scheduled for Week 9. Also, stay tuned to see Baltimore play the New England Nor'easters next Tuesday night!
See archived blog posts at: http://baltimorekingfishers.blogspot.com/