Clear First Place for San Diego Surfers after Week 3!

Clear First Place for San Diego Surfers after Week 3!

IM michaelq2d5
Jan 28, 2017, 6:24 PM |

 What's up everyone? This is Michael Brown, International Master from California, giving a recap of the San Diego Surfers' Week 3 match in the PRO Chess League. As of now we are in clear first place in the Pacific Division in the PRO Chess League! 

 This last week we played against the Portland Rain. We had a huge rating advantage for the match but, considering the close match with Vegas, we still looked to play our best. We sprung off to a quick start and never looked back. Two of our players, Alexey Dreev and yours truly, both got 4-0 against the Portland opposition, and the final score was 13.5-2.5, a huge win on paper for the Surfers.

We had a live stream headed by IM John Watson and FM Kyron Griffith, which you can watch here:

Not all was simple, though. There were very some competitive matches and a couple of heartbreakers from Portland's side. Let's go through the match:

Round 1

The Surfers started with a 3.5-0.5 lead. Tatev Abrahamyan won a nice attacking game, and I was able to convert a piece advantage over FM Nick Raptis, leading to a 2-0 start. The top 2 boards, however, were quite a different story: Dreev was slightly worse against GM James Tarjan, and IM Keaton Kiewra got a seemingly winning endgame against FM Steven Breckenridge, but was unable to convert. Dreev eventually managed to get into a R + N vs R endgame (he had the extra knight), and when it seemed the game was just about to head to a draw, Tarjan blundered his Rook on move 76:

 Round 2

We were able to cement our lead after this round. Keaton Kiewra was in a bit of trouble versus Tarjan but was able to bail out to a draw. Tatev also seemed to be slightly worse against Nick Raptis but was able to hold the half point. Dreev was able to win a nice endgame against Breckenridge, while I fought against Jason Cigan and was able to score a nice win after finding a key tactic:

 Hence we finished 3-1 in Round 2, and already had a commanding 6.5-1.5 lead.

Round 3

In Round 3, we substituted NM Stevan Djordjevic and NM Albert Lu on Boards 2 and 4, respectively. I faced Portland's top seed, James Tarjan, and after missing some chances in the middlegame, found myself worse in an endgame. In the time scramble, I was able to win a pawn but the win was still very tough, when Tarjan blundered a (full!) Rook. Lu lost a tough game against Breckenridge, while Dreev and Djordjevic were able to convert nice games. Here's Djordjevic's game against Jason Cigan:

 Round 4

We had already won the match; it was 9.5-2.5 after the first 3 rounds. So this last round was just about increasing our tiebreaks, and the team was up to the task.

Albert won a fantastic game against James Tarjan; he was the only person on our team to defeat Tarjan without a blunder. 

On the other three boards, Dreev grinded down Jason Cigan, Djordjevic won another nice game against Raptis, and I won a long endgame versus Breckenridge in mutual time pressure. Though we had already won the match, our team went 4-0 in the final round to finish with a 13.5-2.5 win!
Week 4 we face the San Jose Hackers, a team some people already believe to be the best in the league. It's an all-California brawl: Northern California versus Southern California. Bring it on SJ!