Week 2 Recap: vs Seattle
Well this was one hilariously embarrassing blunderfest. After about 15 minutes, we were losing on boards 3 and 4 and I thought a tie is the best we could hope for. It kind of reminded me of our matches at the Olympiad, when at some point I’d just assume that we’re going to lose 0-4 against a much lower rated team, then would miraculously pull off a win. Maybe the term “USCL chess” can replace the term “women’s chess”? Clearly, this was my team’s [successful?] selfless attempt to break down stereotypes. Anyways, a win is a win, and after losing to San Francisco in Week 1, this was a really great turn around for our team. Of course, Seattle is a formidable team and are going to be very dangerous in the future when they start using Gareev in the line up.
Melik played a great game first putting all his pieces back, then taking all of his opponent's pieces with the cute 21. Ra4, Be3 and b4 sequence. At some point I thought this was going to be the only point we were going to score in the match, but Melik decided to be a good team player and not make the rest of us feel bad by actually playing good moves, so he kept the game going up until the point when it no longer mattered. On a serious note, it was very disappointing for him to play so great and then just blunder his advantage - and eventually the full point - away.
Cozianu - Amanov 0:1
This was actually the first game to finish. It was also the game I was most confused about (maybe because no one blundered anything major before move 30!). During the match when I first checked out the game, it was already at the position shown in the diagram below and it looked so messy that I didn't even know how to evaluate the position. It seems though Black was better able to create a king side attack and the ambitious 12...g5 push paid off.
My game was pretty awful after I carelessly blundered my a3 pawn on move 11 and was about to play the brilliant 12. Rd2 blundering Qc3, but instead decided to pretend that nothing has happened and just continue playing as if it were a normal Sicilian. It all worked out fine (not really), until I ended up down an exchange but found a resourceful trick after my opponent made a careless move and then blundered leading into a worse endgame for him, which I somehow managed to win.
This has to be the most epic game of the match. Black blundered a piece in the opening with seemingly no compensation whatsoever (or so we all thought) but then somehow 15 moves later black had his passed pawns on a3 and c3 and White was the one finding only moves not to lose. Eventually it came down to a drawn rook endgame, but things got complicated one more time when Black got careless with 62...Kh2 instead of just taking the e7 pawn. This game serves as a reminder to always watch out for your opponent's resources and never assume you have the game in the bag!
I just want to point out one part of the game where I found what I thought was a cute idea for black to draw.