Dragon GM Razvan Preotu makes Sopranos sing
"A good player is always lucky." - attributed to Jose Raul Capablanca
Sometimes you play a move perhaps a little too hastily, and only after you have let go of the piece does it strike you that you had an even stronger continuation, perhaps a quite pretty one that would have given you a game-winning advantage. Some of these you have to file away as missed opportunities, but other times, something happens later in the game that gives you the win anyway. The Dragons were lucky enough to experience this in one of our very first games.
Young Dragon Razvan Preotu was facing off against the veteran Montclair Soprano GM Marc Tyler Arnold in the first round of our week one games. Razvan probes around trying to establish an advantage, but at first misses his chance.
We were all a bit surprised by the sudden change of fortune, but we had managed to win our very first game. We'll take it.
On Twitter, before the match, I had quoted with approval IM Robert Ris' prediction that Toronto would win its match against Montclair. Sean Finn, the Montclair manager, had responded that GM Pascal Charbonneau, the Canadian on their team, would win his games against us 4-0. To me, this seemed unlikely. He'd never even played Razvan and Nikolay Noritsyn before, and had only faced Bator Sambuev once. Greg Shahade wrote that we were talking smack, and all I could reply was 'bring it on.'
Then the match started. In the first round, against Charbonneau, Nikolay grabbed a second pawn with his king still caught in the centre, and paid the price. An occasional loss is perhaps a byproduct of a sharp style.
Thomas Roussel-Roozmon took on Charbonneau next. Thomas was forced to give up a rook to stop one of Pascal's passers, and even had a draw quite late in the game, but couldn't quite calculate it all out, and lost. We still thought Finn's boast was bravado.
Charbonneau faced our top board, Bator Sambuev, next. Bator came out guns blazing playing a deferred Wing Gambit against Pascal's Sicilian. Bator missed a crucial tactic involved a pawn pinned against his king, and after all the exchanges, Pascal had a queenside passer again. Bator simply would not give up, but in the end, it proved hopeless. The impossible had happened. We'd scored 0-3 against the on-form Charbonneau.
Razvan was up next. Could he break Charbonneau's run, and prove Sean Finn wrong? With Black no less?
Bator had already finished off Smith Holla, so he shared in the rejoicing. Nikolay Noritsyn annotated his win over Arnold in our previous blog entry. After that, our eyes turned to the Roussel-Roozmon Lenderman encounter. Thomas was a pawn down, but Lenderman's pawns were doubled, so we thought we were going to get a draw in the match. Unfortunately, Thomas ran short on time, traded his only passer for the blocked second doubled pawn, and went on to lose. We were so close!
To take a crack at Razvan's tactical puzzles,
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