PRO Chess League - Week 2 Recap: San Jose Hackers Win Battle of the Bay!

PRO Chess League - Week 2 Recap: San Jose Hackers Win Battle of the Bay!

IM hellokostya
Jan 20, 2017, 4:01 PM |

On Wednesday night the San Jose Hackers (2-0) defeated the San Francisco Mechanics (1-1) in the 'Battle of the Bay', as the PRO Chess League made Week 2 its unofficial 'Rivalry' week. The final score was 10-6 in favor of the Hackers, in a very hard fought match. This blog will be recapping our match only, here is the full recap of all the action in Week 2. 

This was the first match in which we decided to make use of substitutions, aimed to get more favorable match-ups in Rounds 3 & 4. Once again I streamed on Twitch to cover the match, and this time I had additional guests, including team members NM Christopher Yoo, NM Teemu Virtanen, Sanat Singhal, and Team Manager Abel Talamantez. Since I was to sub in for the final two rounds, I left the show and let Christopher & Teemu take over. Seems like they did a pretty good job covering the match!

Check out the full Twitch stream here: 

And now for a round-by-round recap:
Round 1

This turned out to be our biggest round of the match. On Board 1 was a huge face-off between the leaders of both teams, GM Sam Shankland (SF) vs. GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (SJ). A balanced opening and middlegame led us to believe this game would most likely be drawn, but an uncharacteristic blunder by Shankland gave us the first point in the match.

On Board 4 we put in NM Ivan Ke, who scored a huge upset against IM Teddy Coleman (SF) to win his first ever PCL game.

With draws on Boards 2 & 3, we took the first round 3-1, and managed to hold onto this lead until the end of the match.

Round 2

'Shakh' played well and converted his smooth advantage against GM Vinay Bhat (SF).

We started wondering if Shakh was going to ever draw a game! Ivan got in trouble in the opening against IM-elect Cameron Wheeler (SF) and blundered a piece, so the score was likely to be 1-1 for the round so far. GM Daniel Naroditsky (SJ) drew against Shankland and GM Cristian Chirila (SJ) slowly outplayed and eventually won against Coleman. 2.5-1.5

Round 3

With the half-time score 5.5-2.5 we felt excellent. Keeping Mamedyarov on Board 1, we substituted the bottom three boards for GM Zviad Izoria, myself, and NM Faik Aleskerov. Round 3 proved to be the decisive round of the match. I went down to Shankland without much of a fight, and Mamedyarov was actually a bit lucky to hold against Wheeler, but our other two boards really came through. Izoria was able to win against FM Rayan Taghizadeh (substituted for Board 4 by SF) and Aleskerov was able to score the upset against Bhat in a very sharp game:

The final round score was 2.5-1.5, bringing the overall match score to 8-4. This means that we only needed a draw in the final round to clinch the match.

Round 4

Apparently Taghizadeh offered a quick draw to Mamedyarov at the start of the round, which was a bit funny and of course refused by our top board, who went on to win, clinching the match. Izoria also won, against Wheeler, while Faik and I both lost to Shankland and Bhat, respectively. This brought the final match score to 10-6, seemingly a large margin but the match could have easily gone the other way, had a few breaks not turned in our favor.

Next Wednesday we will be playing the Rio Grande Ospreys, another very tough team!

The San Jose Hackers are a professional chess team in the Red Division of the PRO Chess League, sponsored by Bay Area Chess. To connect with the Hackers, please visit our FacebookTwitter, and Official Site.