New York gets hit by a Sharknado
On 11/20/13 the Miami Sharks shocked the chess world and won their first USCL championship! Many polls and predictions had the Sharks as much as a 2-1 dog to win this year and rightfully so. The New York Knights are two time champions with the best chess club in the country (The Marshall Chess Club) as their host site and a endless supply of players in the greaterNew Yorkarea to choose from.
On paper, the Knights were almost an average of a 100 points more then the Sharks. Luckily, for the Sharks we do not play the game on paper. Instead, we played the game on chess.com. We are really grateful to them, the USCL, the Miami City Chess Club and theUniversityofMiamifor making this happen.
I might be biased but I believe this final night of the USCL championship had more excitement then the two weeks of the world championship match combined. Julio Becerra drew first blood and set the tone of the match proving once again why he is the best player in USCL history.
We all know what happens when sharks smell blood in water, it turns into a shark frenzy! With the momentum of victory on board one, GM Renier Gonzalez was filled with energy and passion. He gave me a fist pump and said " I am going to win this game!"
" Stone Wall Gaston" came into the match knowing his responsibility and anchored our 4th board in the most critical time. The Knights had to win on board 4 to win the match so Nicholas Checa must have done a little preparation by straying away from his usual Catalan. He saw a previous game in which Gaston played a bad opening but one has to ask, "Does he think we do not review our own games?" Instead, he traded queens and simplified the position very early. Everyone knows our great players on boards 1,2 and 3 but without our 4th boards stepping up this year a championship would not be possible. Fitting that Gaston draws the game that seals the match for the sharks.
On board 3, Eric Rodriguez comfortably held on for victory with his opponent desperately needing victory in order to start a come back for the Knights. During the game, many people thought Eric was in big trouble but his confidence and understanding of the position eased our minds through out the match.
During the season I never once doubted this team. Even when Julio Becerra needed a win in a bishop of opposite colors ending just for the Sharks to draw the match againstDallas, I never gave up hope. It is true that theMiamiplayers are often out rated and less know but we have a rich history of Latin American chess players whose strength is not measured by the USCF rating system. We opened the competition for 4th board were each player had to qualify for the team and then fight during the season for the right to play.
Till next year, I will let opera Vlad Yanovsky serenade the ears of our foes.