Week 5: more stuff that happened
This week we battled the Connecticut Dreadnoughts for first place in... whatever division it is that we're in. Nothing changed. Here's why.
This really didn't go as expected. Mikhail Kekelidze played a very nice middle game to get a huge (huge!) advantage against our top player, Sam Shankland. Sam showed some class just to stay alive -- sometimes there's practical value in forcing your opponent to find the most difficult win. Short of time, Kekelidze settled for a pawn-up queen endgame that looked hard to win. Then this happened:
Oops. Score one for Connecticut. This got nominated for GOTW.
Steve Winer took a long break from chess prior to this season, but I guess he's keeping up with current trends, because his opening choice of 5..Nc6 is pretty topical. This line gives black pressure on the q-side in return for a shattered pawn structure.
Look at those bishops. Of course, GM Rohde has his title for a reason, and he was able to gradually defuse most of the pressure and enter a double rook endgame up a pawn. Fortunately for us, rook endgames are always drawn (not really, but this one was).
This game was the first to finish -- IM Bonin played a tricky version of the King's Indian and looked to have some pressure, but Mika Brattain played a nice temporary pawn sac to clarify the situation, ending up with a fairly lifeless endgame which was agreed drawn.
This was the game that gave us an early lead, and later allowed us to draw the match. Time pressure was the story in this one. New England's Lawyer Times always had a slightly easier position to play, and his opponent finally cracked after allowing his clock to run down under a minute. THAT'S TIMES PRESSURE FOR YOU HAHAHA
So that was Week 4. Next week we face New Jersey, and of course we hope to inch closer to a playoff berth. The lineups are:
1) Ivanov (NE) vs. Stripunsky (NJ)
2) Fishbein (NJ) vs. Vigorito (NE)
3) Liu (NE) vs. Wu (NJ)
4) Burke (NJ) vs. Times (NE)
Should be a good match!