Week 7 Review: Baltimore Kingfishers vs. Seattle Sluggers
Baltimore Kingfishers vs. Seattle Sluggers 2-2
GM Niclas Huschenbeth (2610) - GM Emil Anka (2497) 1-0 View Game
GM Larry Kaufman (2401) - FM Costin Cozianu (2478) 0-1 View Game
NM Jared Defibaugh (2297) - FM Tian Sang (2324) 0-1 View Game
FM Ralph Zimmer (2244) - FM Curt Collyer (2266) 1-0 View Game
Note: Players in italic have the white pieces.
The Baltimore Kingfishers drew the match against the Seattle Sluggers. Baltimore in still in 4th place in the Northeast Division with a (2.5-4.5) record. The Kingfishers gained ground on the Boston Blitz, who lost to the San Francisco Mechanics, but more pertinently, they lost ground to the Connecticut Dreadnoughts, who increased their hold on 2nd place in the division after defeating the Arizona Scorpions. Meanwhile, the New England Nor'easters trounced the Los Angeles Vibe, so New England only needs half a match point to guarantee themselves a playoff spot. Only the top 2 teams in each division make the playoffs. Baltimore can still make the playoffs by doing well in the final 3 weeks as they are all divisional games. Next up is New England on Tuesday.
Board 1: GM Niclas Huschenbeth vs. GM Emil Anka. The top board showcased a Maroczy Bind against the Sicilian Defense: Accelerated Dragon. GM Niclas Huschenbeth played the novelty 18. a3 to lockdown black's pawn on a4. White aimed to round up that a4 pawn, which happened a few moves later. Black got the f-pawn in exchange, but white got that back a few moves later again. In the double-rook endgame, white increased his one pawn advantage to a three pawn advantage before GM Emil Anka resigned.
Board 2: FM Costin Cozianu vs. GM Larry Kaufman. The second board began with white playing the Sicilian Defense: Rossolimo Varation but soon transposed into another Maroczy Bind structure. GM Larry Kaufman played the novelty 12... Rb8. Then, FM Costin Cozianu complicated and opened up the position with 14. e5. After a series of exchanges, white had 2 bishops, a rook, and 6 pawns against 2 rooks, a knight, and 5 pawns. GM Kaufman then marched his a-pawn and sacrificed it to break up white's queenside structure. Black looked to be making progress until 38... Nxf3 when 39. Bc1 surprised GM Kaufman, who was playing with only the increment left on his clock. In that time pressure, he missed the only move 39... Rd1+ intending to sacrifice back the exchange on c1. He resigned on move 50.
Board 3: NM Jared Defibaugh vs. FM Tian Sang. The third board featured a Nimzo-Indian Defense: Reshevsky Variation. NM Jared Defibaugh played the novelty 11. Qf3. Three other moves had been tried in that position: 11. b4 (1 White win, 2 Draws, 2 Black wins), 11. f3 (1 White win, 1 Black win), and 11. Re1 (1 Black win). The game seemed about even until NM Defibaugh played the break 17. e4 dxe4 18. Nxe4? (18. Bxe4 would have lost a pawn, but white would still have a good chance to draw) which simply lost to the line FM Tian Sang played as black in the game. NM Defibaugh resigned on move 23 as the Qg1 mate threat would cost too much material to stop.
Board 4: FM Curt Collyer vs. FM Ralph Zimmer. The fourth board displayed a Richter-Veresov Attack: Veresov Variation. FM Ralph Zimmer played the novelty 10... g6. Then, he expanded on the queenside with his pawns before turning to take control of the open e-file. After a pair of rooks and the queens were exchanged, FM Zimmer broke open the queenside with 30... a3 and soon created an unstoppable passed pawn with 34... b4 taking advantage of the awkward placement of white's rook on f3. FM Curt Collyer resigned after move 38 when it was clear to all that black's b-pawn would promote.