The Manhattan Applesauce: A Week 6 Recap

Oct 12, 2010, 12:58 AM |

West vs. East was the theme of the party that took place during Week 6 of the United States Chess League. The L.A. Vibe were paired with the Manhattan Applesauce, a team which, in my opinion, is much stronger than the 1.5-3.5 record they held coming into the fight. The match never went in one team's direction without soon swinging over to the other side. Our heavy favorite on board 4, NM Ankit Gupta had blundered out of the opening and found himself with a very unpleasant position. Our biggest underdog, FM Alexandre Kretchetov played brilliantly out of the opening and found himself with a great position. The early trouble on Ankit's board forced FM Joel Banawa to play too aggressively, pushing his pawns forward in a position where he should have just manuevered his pieces around until a draw was agreed.

As a result of this, Joel overextended himself, blundered, and lost. Ironically, Ankit set up a positional trap that his opponent fell into and actually ended up winning the game! Alex also won his game, which was anything but clear. So with the Vibe leading the match 2-1, it all came down to the very interesting first board match-up of IM Andranik Matikozyan vs. GM Alexander Stripunsky. Andranik played very well out of the opening, and was able to trade down into an endgame where he had a small advantage. GM Stripunsky then decided to sacrifice a pawn in order to create some play for his pieces, a very practical decision which ended up paying off. They eventually traded down into a completely drawn 2-rook and pawn endgame, where Andranik just needed to make a draw in order to win the match. Unfortunately, GM Stripunsky was able to trick Andranik in the constant time-pressure to trade down into a theoretically lost rook and pawn endgame. A very unfortunate loss, which meant the match was drawn.

Los Angeles Vibe

Manhattan Applesauce
IM Andranik Matikozyan: 2545 0.0 1.0 GM Alex Stripunsky: 2659
FM Alexandre Kretchetov: 2376 1.0 0.0 IM Eli Vovsha: 2539
FM Joel Banawa: 2416 0.0 1.0 FM Andrei Zaremba: 2361
NM Ankit Gupta: 2290 1.0 0.0 Shaun Smith: 2008
Avg Rating: 2407

Avg Rating: 2392
Los Angeles Total ------- 2.0 2.0 ------- Manhattan Total