Puns Blazin': A Week 4 Recap


Smiles and happy thoughts were exchanged in Los Angeles this week as the Los Angeles Vibe prevailed over the Chicago Blaze 3-1 to move up to a record of 2-2, which is good for a tie for 4th place in the mighty Western Division of the USCL. It was quite an interesting match as all 4 games were decisive and filled with tactical shots, deep strategic ideas and even some clean endgame technique. I was expecting an extremely tense match this week as the Chicago Blaze have been outplaying their higher-rated opponents all season. 

However I was relieved early on when I saw that GM Khachiyan, IM Matikozyan, and WFM Abrahamyan all had very nice positions out of the opening and into the middlegame against GM Gurevich, IM Felecan, and IM Young, respectively. The author of this blog had made his debut for the Vibe this week, but was thoroughly outplayed by NM Magness (not carlsen) to score Chicago's only victory of the match.


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And here are the games, analyzed by myself unless otherwise noted:
Kostya's Favorite Game of the Week
Winner: GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) - IM Jonathan Schroer (CAR) 1-0
I really liked this game because you rarely see such a tactical Queen's Gambit Declined. Plenty of excitement and hard-fought with White's king appearing on d3 in the middlegame!
Cleanest Game
Winner: GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) vs IM Dmitry Schneider (MAN)  1-0 
This game went fairly unnoticed I think, but I was really surprised to see just how smoothly GM Charbonneau outplayed his opponent in the endgame, converting a small advantage very easily.
Battle Royale
Winner: GM Josh Friedel (SF) vs GM Varuzhan Akobian (SEA)  1-0  
This was a fight! A very exciting game (which deserved GOTW honors but wasn't my favorite as the victim was my trusted coach GM Var) This game was just intense from start to finish, where GM Friedel found a nice tactic in the endgame:
 In this position, GM Friedel played 52. Rxd2! and the rook is untouchable because either the g or e-pawns will then promote.

That's all for Week 4! Next week the Vibe faces the very tough San Francisco Mechanics, check back here for a recap of that match!