Inventors! US Chess League- Week 2
It was a match almost no one thought we could win. Mostly because of the huge and unavoidable disparity on Board 1 where New Jersey was playing their ace, three time US champion GM Joel Benjamin. With our usual first board, FM Tom Bartell, unavailable, we had to go deeper into the lineup and call on the services of one of our heroes from last season, FM Dov Gorman.
Dov, who had the white pieces, shares some of his pregame strategy, a quick game summary and his post game analysis:
The Inventors v. Knockouts match seemed much more even on the lower three boards, so my plan was to play safer by relying on the Scotch pawn formation and avoiding unclear sidelines.
The game evaluation seemed to hover around equal for most of the game. Black had a tiny edge in the endgame, however, White scarified a pawn in order to activate his rook. Black decided to avoid the complications and opted for a bishop vs. Knight endgame which was clearly better for white. Due to time shortage, White decided to play it safe and the game ended peacefully.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bb4+ 5.Nc3 [5.c3] 5...Nge7 6.Nxc6 Nxc6 7.Bd3 d6 And we are out of "theory". Joel could have opted for Bxc3, but giving White the bishop pair may be risky. 8.0–0 0–0 9.Nd5 Bc5 10.Qh5?! [A dubious move. Better is 10.Be3²] 10...Ne5 11.Bg5 f6 12.Be3 Be6 13.Bxc5 dxc5 14.Nf4 Bg4 This move looks active, but White has a small combination which leads to forced simplification. [14...Bf7 15.Qd1]15.Bc4+ Kh8 16.Ng6+ Nxg6 17.Qxg4 Ne5 18.Qe2 Qd4 19.Be6 Rae8 20.c3 Qd3= 21.Bg4 Qc4?! 22.Rfe1 [22.f4² Qxe2 23.Bxe2 Ng6 24.Bd3] 22...Rd8 23.Qxc4 Nxc4 24.Re2 [24.b3] 24...g5 25.g3 [25.Bf5] 25...Rd6 26.Kg2 Rfd8 27.b3 [27.Rae1] 27...Ne5 28.h3 Rd2 29.Kf1 Kg7 30.Rxd2 Rxd2 31.Rd1 Rd6? Letting the white rook penetrate into the 7th rank is not likely to leave any winning chances. However, the current move, while straightening out the double pawns give White some chances due to the weakness of the light squares. [31...Rxa2 32.Bf5 Rb2 33.f4 gxf4 34.gxf4 Ng6 35.Rd7+ Kf8 36.Rxc7 = ] 32.Rxd6 cxd6 33.Bc8 b6 34.Ke2 h6 35.Bf5 Kf8 36.f4 gxf4 37.gxf4 Nc6 38.Be6 [38.Bd7!] 38...Ne7 39.Kf3 Ng6 40.Kg4 Kg7 41.Bc4 [41.Bd7 Kf7 42.Bb5 Ne7 43.f5 Kg7 44.Bd7 Kf8 45.Kf4 Kg7 46.Ke3 Kf8 47.Kd3 White has good winning chances] 41...Ne7 42.Be6 Kf8 43.Bc4 f5+ 44.exf5 Kg7 [44...d5 45.f6!] 45.Be6 d5 46.Kf3 Kf6 47.Ke2 Kg7 48.Kd3 Kf6 49.a4 a5 50.Ke2 Kg7 51.Kd3 Kf6 52.Ke2 Kg7 53.Kd3 Kf6 54.Ke2 Kg7 55.Kd3 Kf6 ½–½
And with that draw, the Inventors on the lower three boards suddenly had the opportunity to win the previously almost hopeless match. It was the veteran FM Karl Dehmelt on Board 4 who came through with a win over young NM Praveen Balakrishnan to put Philly ahead.
With a final match score of 2.5-1.5 (1 win and 3 draws) the home team evened up their season record to 1 and 1 and kept the early days playoff hopes alive!