NOVA Chess League- Round 1 vs. Ashburn Fossils

Feb 21, 2016, 7:03 PM |

Hi all,

      I just played in the first round of the brand-new Northern Virginia Chess League. It is a five-round team event, which works out nicely as six teams signed up and we're able to have a round-robin style league. The matches will take place roughly once a month, each one being played on a Sunday at 3pm sharp. One nice feature of the league is that sets, clocks, and scoresheets are all provided. And there were snacks too! It's also FIDE-rated, which was fun since I've only ever played in two previous FIDE events. The whole event had a very professional feel.

      I recently started working part-time for a local scholastic chess organization known as Silver Knights Chess (SKC), and as most of our employees play OTB as well we decided to make a team. You can see all of the team rosters here. On board 1 we had Daniel Lowinger, a local master and while I'm not 100% sure how he is affiliated with Silver Knights I'd have to guess based on his master title that he is a coach. On board 2 we had David Bennett, a part time SKC coach who recently broke 2200 for the first time. I'm pretty sure he has a account, but I can't remember his username. On board 3, right next to mine, we had Daniel Weissbarth, a 2000ish rated player who is also one of the company's Program Directors (and brother of the company's founder, Adam Weissbarth). And on board 4, like I said earlier, there was me.

      We got our pairings one day before the match, so we had a bit of time to prepare for our opponents. We would be playing the Ashburn Fossils, and we'd be outmatched on all four boards. In fact, I would be the only one of us not paired against a master. My matchup wouldn't be a cake walk either however. When I went to the website and saw my pairing, nerves immediately started rushing in. I'd be playing Raymond Duchesne, an Expert who'd beaten me last November. I remembered that game as one where I felt completely outmatched, he had gotten a solid position with Black in a Sicilian Dragon and continued making strong, active moves that left me weak and unable to put up any sort of counterplay. While I was nervous, I was also determined to avenge my previous loss. Here's the game (annotations likely sometime this week):

Game summary: I'm happy to have gotten such a nice upset win and extra happy that our team won the match, 2.5 to 1.5. As for my play itself, I'm not thrilled with how passive I was after I went up a piece, and I also think I didn't handle the endgame as well as I could have. But those weaknesses are to be fixed later. For now, I'll just enjoy the win :-)
As always, please feel free to comment on this game. One of the many reasons I blog these games is to hear the feedback on my play (or the blog itself). Thanks!