Week 3: Week Three
Shankland v. Charbonneau 1/2-1/2: Sam Shankland made his 2013 debut for the Nor'easters, taking Black against Pascal Charbonneau. Both of these players have annotated this game on chess.com, and both point to 20..Rc7 as a turning point -- 20..Be6! would have given White some problems to overcome, since ..f5 followed by ..Nc3 is suddenly a big threat, and White can no longer tuck the queen away with Qb3-b2. In the game, White managed to cover everything while connecting rooks, and soon a draw was agreed.
Winer v. Herman 1/2-1/2: Steve Winer continued his solid play against Matthew Herman, one of those polymath types who seems to be extremely strong when he has time to focus on chess. Steve got a good position out of the opening, but Herman complicated the position with his time ticking away, offering an exchange to weaken White's king. Steve made the practical choice to decline the sacrifice (translation: I haven't analyzed the game so I don't know if it was sound or not, though I suspect White can defend), but allowed too much counterplay in a double-rook endgame, yielding a draw. Here is the mate threat that allowed Black to equalize.
Bodek v. Brattain 1/2-1/2: Credit to Mika Brattain for saving a hideous position. Bodek played a deeply impressive game most of the way through, finding ways to improve his position without allowing any counterplay. Fortunately, Mika didn't lose focus, and when given a chance to head into a rook endgame down a pawn, he took it and held the draw.
Times-Checa 1-0: The only decisive game of the match was on Board 4, where Lawyer Times grabbed a pawn in the opening and never looked back. Black's attempts to attack on the kingside ended up backfiring, as Lawyer grabbed more material, navigated the complications, and won the game. Here was the key tactic:
Next: Week four.