The IMs Go Out Fighting!!!
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Welcome to the final day of the 2-day coverage of the Chess.com GM Challenge, taking place at the Shelby School in Arizona. In yesterday’s report, I promised that today’s games would be more exciting and electric, and for once, I was right.
Yesterday, our resident IMs, David Pruess and Danny Rensch, went a combined 1.0/4 against GMs Alex Yermolinsky and Suat Atalik. The one point came from a 2nd round win as Danny defeated his chess mentor Alex Yermolinsky after a Caro-Kann Advance Variation game.
In today’s Round 3, the IMs hit back with some powerful shots of their own, striking a blow against the GM machines. They definitely did not disappoint those watching and following this event closely. And once again, the discussion in the chat as these two games were being played was wonderful to witness. So let’s get started with the games from the final two rounds.
David and Danny both had White to start the day off. Danny played Atalik and David went head to head against Alex Yermolinsky. David’s game finished first so that’s where we will start off.
The game began in a Caro-Kann Advance Variation, the same opening Danny used yesterday against Yermo and was successful with, so now it was David’s turn with it. Yermolinsky had a lot of long, heavy thinks and David was up large amounts of time all through the game. There was a time or two as the game went on that David had a few little issues of his own, but they seemed to be solved pretty quickly. So without talking too much more about this, here is the game:
Thanks to BuddyT, who was once again relaying the games for us, he had a great view of the body language of all four players and he said David’s knee was starting to bounce and he looked nervous after he played 16. Dxc5, but after 17.Nd4 that was no longer a problem. David then used 25 minutes before playing 21. Rfe1.
After the game, David had some comments for the chat room audience about the game he had just played:
“Yermo said he was worse throughout the game but i wasn’t very confident during the game. I half expected him to mate me while I played Qa7 and Qb7. According to my calculations he couldn’t but I might have been missing something. Then he resigned without even playing it out, so I guess he calculated about the same as I.”
And about his Game 4 outlook later tonight he added:
“Well, I have black it's very likely I'll get a bad position without too much effort :P. Trying to save a draw will be the hard part.”
Now that David struck first blood, attention shifted to Danny’s game against “Uncle Suat” Atalik that began in a Scotch opening. The battle would then get bloody starting at Black’s 13…Bxe5. There was a flurry of trades on e5 with a couple on d5 as well, and in the end, Danny had the only knight and bishop on the board, but was down a rook as Atalik had two to Danny’s one. He also seemed to have only one long think time while deciding what move to play on move 26 before playing 26.Rc2. BuddyT said that about 20 minutes went by before the move was done. But Danny had ample time on the clock the whole game, so there was no need to rush.
After the game, Danny had this to say:
“Apparently, Uncle Suat prepared this line all night. He told me that a position where if either side pushes too hard to win, they might lose. I was tempted to be more aggressive but Uncle Suat kept pushing, so I just waited. I thought about Re3 instead of Rd4 with the idea of capturing back on e3 with the pawn.”
So congrats are in order to Danny and David for a well-played Round 3, as they did an excellent job in their games. But the party wouldn’t start just yet as they had one more game each to play as Black. Danny takes on Yermolinsky and David battles Atalik in the final two games of the night. Danny's personal goal in this tournament was to go at least 2/4.0. Right now he stands at 1.5/4 and only needs a draw to meet his mark.
David's game started off in the Queen's Indian and there was already some tension on the board after 12.e4. White had pawns straight across from c4 to e4 opposite David's pawns at c5, d5, and e6. David sank into a deep think after 13. Ng5 and after what seemed to be close to 25 minutes thinking and calculating, he played 13…cxd4.
Without getting too wordy for these last two games, I’m just going to post the PGNs and let them speak for themselves. And believe me they will speak volumes. These two games were just magnificent and I, with my limited chess knowledge, don’t want to add anything to it to perhaps make it not what they were, which was amazing. I want to give the players involved full respect by not saying anything that waters these games down.
Here's David's comments after the game was finished:
“I guess not too much to say I was always in trouble and I had to calculate really long variations in the endgame to save it. I think I had no idea what I was doing in the opening and life was pretty tough for me.”
Danny's game was set in a Nimzo-Indian, which I am sure he is happy about since it's one of his favorite openings to play. Yermo was thinking for a while after 12...Rc8 and it was commented in the room that he might be trying to double rooks up on the d-file. Finally, 13.d2 was played, possibly ready to do the "battering ram" of doubled rooks on the d-file.
Once again, without getting too involved in trying to talk about and discuss it, just watch this amazing game:
After the game, Danny really didn't say too much. During the game, BuddyT said that Danny was upset after he played 40...Kf5 I believe it was. He did have this to say though:
"I missed a draw everyone... Kg5 instead of Kg4. Stupid play by me to go so fast. I missed Qg3 was checkmate and I thought I had Kh3 when I calculated the line like 15 moves before."
Overall, Danny and David should feel very proud about their performances this weekend and it was a good warm up for Danny as he prepares for the Las Vegas International Chess Festival this coming weekend.
Here are the final scoring tables for all four matches:
So if you add those up, Danny and David both finished with a combined score of 1.5/4.0, with both players getting wins over Alex Yermolinsky.
Alex Yermolinsky broke even with a 2/4.0 overall score.
And the big winner was Suat Atalik with a very respectable 3/4.0 combined score.
Both Danny and David had goals to meet coming into this event. Danny wanted to at least break even with a 2/4.0 and if you look at his final game closely, you see he was very close to doing so.
David met both of his goals that he set for himself before the event by winning one game and drawing one bad position.
But I must say that this event was an amazing success all around, not just for Danny and David but for Chess.com in general because of the fact that the games were relayed live by BuddyT, who I want to thank personally for helping me out with the access to the PGNs and the board during the relays. So thanks Buddy!
I also want to thank Danny and David for allowing me to report on this event for Chess.com. It's been an honor and a privilege.
I will be uploading the full 8-game PGN to the Chess.com Database of Games section for anyone that wants it.