USCL Weeks 4-5 Recap
by Levy Rozman
After a scorching start to the 2014 US Chess League campaign, the Manhattan Applesauce were slowed down in weeks 3 and 4 by the St. Louis Arch Bishops and the New York Knights respectively. We do not have time to cry over spilled milk, however, as the sweet taste of victory in week 5 over Baltimore surely provides more of a player's and a blogger's thrill. Let's begin our recap by touching on the slightly disappointing match against New York, however, because your humble author was a representative of the team on Board 3.
(Yes, you read that right - board 3. A last-minute emergency line-up change saw me move up a board, and boards 3 and 4 affected by time odds penalties for Manhattan, AND both boards ended up losing. Conspiracy? Now you are asking the right questions...)
In truth, New York did not field its best line-up on paper. They were capable of bringing out the big guns in Pascal, Herman, Bodek, and Brodsky, but instead showcased King and Huang on boards 3 and 4. It didn't seem to matter, though, as Manhattan was lucky to even scrape out a full point in this match!
We begin our game analysis with yours truly being mercilessly grinded down in what should've most likely ended as an uneventful draw. NM Alex King played very well, however, making just about zero inaccuracies in a strong showing with the white pieces.
Meanwhile, on board 4, Applesauce Manager Shaun Smith was steamrolled by a vintage kingside attack in the Queen's Gambit Declined. I have chosen to preserve our team's dignity and not show the game, instead focusing on positive takeaways from the match, such as Board 1 Victor Shen's complex fight with GM Pascal Charbonneau, which you can find with annotations below.
Farai Mandizha, our Captain Clutch McBoard 2, was unable to push a slight opening advantage against Matt Herman of New York, and the two drew quite quickly. After finishing his game, Herman proceeded to provide insights on the rest of the match games by kibitzing rather haughty comments regarding Manhattan's positions on the remaining three boards.
Rest assured, lad - soon we will return the pleasant gesture.
Nowthen, onto week 5!
This was by no means supposed to be an easy matchup. Baltimore fielded dangerous weapons on boards 1-3 and seemed to be the slight favorite going into the match-up. However, Manhattan stood up tall (and handsome, and charming, I might add) to take the match 2.5-1.5.
We will start with GM Robert Hungaski's strong showing on board 1 with the black pieces, dispatching fellow GM Kore in a complex Scandinavian.
Rico Salimbagat then followed with a very clutch draw on board 3 against IM Tegshuren Enkhbat, but the result does not by any means take away from the tense fight that the two clashed in. Below you will find said game.
Our renowned Applesaucer FM Andrew Shvartsman was unable to hold a draw against IM Levan Bregadze (mainly due to a low-time situation), so it was up to me to convert the full point.
And you'd best believe that I converted the full point.
With this win, Manhattan rebounds from tough losses in weeks 3 and 4 to get back over the .500 mark. This week we will be facing the Boston Blitz, where your humble (albeit very spadey) author will be most likely anchoring board 4 duties once again.
Leave your comments below and stay tuned for more recaps!