Pittsburgh Storms Past Montclair 10.5-5.5

Pittsburgh Storms Past Montclair 10.5-5.5

Feb 15, 2018, 11:14 PM |

The Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers left no room for the Montclair Sopranos on Wednesday night, winning 10.5-5.5 for their largest single-match margin. Unlike previous matches, Pittsburgh edged out Montclair in every round. At 8-4 in the last round, GM Alexander Shabalov scored the clinching victory against GM Bassem Amin. Shabalov lost to Montclair's #4, IM Tom Bartell but was quick to rebound with three straight wins.

Montclair substituted regular top board GM Alex Lenderman with GM Amin, but the 2699-rated free agent simply did not perform up to standards that night. He lost to the Pawngrabbers' bottom boards, IM Atulya Shetty and NM Mika Brattain, who notched impressive 3/4 and 2/4 scores on the night. GM Awonder Liang had an uncharacteristically difficult night by his standards, but still scored 2.5/4 on the night and remains entrenched among the league's top performers.

This week, we welcomed FM Gabriel Petesch to join us on the Twitch stream. He and Isaac presided over moments like:

1. Atulya Shetty defeating Bassem Amin

IM Shetty's surprising "strangulation" of Amin:

2. Awonder Liang swindles Raven Sturt

Even when Awonder Liang is not at his best, he still manages to find almost all the tricks. Round 1 was close, but a swindle in a dead drawn king and pawn ending turned the tables.

3. Mika Brattain defeats Bassem Amin
Mika shocked us all with a 300-point, 24-move upset against the Montclair #1.
4. Shabalov queen sac
We always look for one in every match! GM Shabalov surprises with 34...Qxe4!! against GM Anatoly Bychovsky, going on to win in 47 moves.
5. Shabalov clinches the match for the Pawngrabbers
The match felt squarely in Pittsburgh's hands for much of the night, and Shabalov topped it off with a nice win against GM Amin to put Pittsburgh over 8 points.
The Pawngrabbers are no doubt feeling good about this match! They will have a 10-day break to bask in their improved playoff prospects as they take over the #2 spot in the Pacific Division from the Minnesota Blizzard. Our next match will be Super Saturday (February 24), when you are welcome to tune in with us on Twitch!
-Beilin Li, Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers co-manager