NE vs. Boston: Week 1 Recap
(Recapper: Charles Riordan)
Welcome to the blog of the NE Nor'easters. Over the coming weeks, I'll be doing quick recaps of our matches, and examining those few games that I can actually understand. QUALITY FM ANALYSIS!
Opening night in the USCL was bittersweet. We entered our match against Boston as heavy favorites according to the always-entertaining Blitz reporter Mark LaRocca, who picked Boston to win 2.5-1.5 (the slim margin of victory betrayed his true feelings). But, as usual, the match was close. Both teams had a chance to win in the critical moments; the end result was a draw.
Alexander Ivanov led the way on Board 1. Steven Zierk played very aggressively from a Rossolimo Sicilian, launching his g-pawn forward at an early stage. Ivanov was able to defuse the attack, but at the cost of allowing Black some play along the d-file. Things only became clear in the endgame, when Ivanov used his better king placement to grind out a win.
On Board 2, Steve Winer made has Nor'easters debut against Denys Shmelov, and played quite well. The position looked excellent after Winer traded queens, but Denys found some resources, as he always does, and in the end forced a three-fold repetition.
CRITICAL MOMENT: At move 61, Steve had the option of trading rooks and forcing a knight endgame, where he'd be forced to quickly give up a piece, but would be left with some very dangerous pawns. Instead, Steve tried to use his rook to attack White's king, but couldn't achieve more than a draw.
On Board 3, Mika Brattain dropped a tough game against Vadim Martirosov. Mika looked like he had a slight advantage for most of the game (maybe never enough to win), but transitioned to a rook ending that was actually worse for him, and couldn't hold the position.
CRITICAL MOMENT: Once a rook ending was reached, Vadim morphed into SHIN-VADIM and demonstrated exemplary technique.
Andrew Liu's game against Ilya Krasik was the most fun for the spectators, who went back and forth debating the merits of the position. Okay, they were actually debating who was the bigger genius, Einstein or Hitler. Pro-tip: never look at the chat window. Anyway, the players seemed to trade oversights before reaching a position where Andrew was an exchange up but Ilya had a strong passed pawn and a lot of activity. Ilya then played a pretty inspired piece sacrifice (36.Ne6+), and we thought we might actually lose the game and the match. Fortunately, the position petered out to a draw.
CRITICAL MOMENT: There were lots, but after 39..Rd1, the NE spectators were trying to evaluate 40.e7 Rbxd7 41.e8(Q+), leaving White with Q+P vs. two rooks. Very unclear.
That's it for this week. Next Tuesday we'll be playing Baltimore, and I will try to post in a more timely fashion.