Feelin' the Vibe: A Week One Recap

Oct 8, 2010, 2:04 PM |

On August 23rd the Los Angeles Vibe made their debut in the United States Chess League and beat the St. Louis Arch Bishops 2.5-1.5 to start the season 1-0. Here are the results:

St. Louis Arch Bishops                                Los Angeles Vibe
GM Yury Shulman   2715          1-0               GM Melikset Khachiyan  2590
GM Ben Finegold    2586          1/2-1/2       FM Alexandre Kretchetov 2376
IM Michael Brooks 2411          0-1              FM Joel Banawa  2416
Spencer Finegold     1976          0-1               NM Ankit Gupta  2290

The team pretty much knew what would need to happen in order for us to win. We would probably struggle on the top 2 boards, but we were almost certain to win on board 4, which meant that it would really all come down to the game between IM Michael Brooks and FM Joel Banawa. Although Joel was technically a ratings favorite, he had the black pieces and was playing a veteran IM. I don't believe that the Vibe were serious underdogs for this match, but I really doubt that many people expected us to win. The surprise of the match had to have been Alexandre Kretchetov's impressive perfomance versus GM Ben Finegold. Alex was better the entire game, and even had a winning position for the last half of the game, only offering a draw to seal the match in our favor.

Here are the games, analyzed by myself unless otherwise noted.



The next game is fully annotated by FM Joel Banawa.



A great win by Joel! Now NM Ankit Gupta presents his win over Spencer Finegold:

Kostya's Favorite Game of the Week (unaffiliated with the USCL Game of the Week, of course!)
Winner: FM Slava Mikhaliuk (SEA) - GM Dmitry Gurevich (CHI) 0-1

I really really liked this game. White had a very aggressive set-up out of the opening but Black was able to create fluid, natural counterplay on the queenside. This game was very instructive as to how to generate pressure on the queenside when your opponent has made his intentions clear against your king. The simply pleasing move 29...Rd2! also played a role in this decision. After the smoke cleared, Gurevich was able to convert his positional advantage very convincingly.

Courageous Act of the Week
Winner: Ian Schoch (BAL) for 23. Rxg6!?

 The rook sac was unsound and his higher-rated opponent had many chances to win, but in the complications Mr. Schoch had found a way to cause a great deal of damage to his opponent, leading to victory. A valiant effort!

Pawn Power Chess of the Week
Winner: SM Gregory Braylovsky - NM Craig Jones 0-1

Hans Kmoch would definitely smile if he saw this game. Not a single pawn was traded until move 25 and believe me, both sides had plenty of opportunities. Several moves later, both players had dangerous passed pawns at their disposal and they were causing all kinds of trouble for the enemy king. And finally 36...d2+ led to a very just finish.

Noooo! of the Week
Winner: NM Udayan Bapat for 32.Qc1??

White was better out of the opening, and then he had many wins, and then in a winning position he blundered a rook! Noooo!

That's it for Week 1!