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Collegiate Chess League Season 4 Round 2

Collegiate Chess League Season 4 Round 2

JoeBruin
| 8 | Chess Event Coverage

The second week of the Collegiate Chess League wrapped up last weekend, and many matches were rescheduled due to numerous colleges traveling to play over-the-board in the regional US Amateur Team events that were also taking place. Many CCL teams did very well in these events—UChicago won USAT North, Princeton tied with Cornell for third in the USAT East, and UC Berkeley won USAT West.

Below is a recap of all the week two matches that did take place and a preview of what will come in week three. 

How to watch?
Matches are broadcast live at Twitch.tv/CollegiateChessLeague with commentary by the league's commissioner, Joe Lee, with additional guests throughout the season.

Division 1 Highlights

After finishing tied for first in the US Amateur Team East event, Princeton took on the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley. Princeton was unable to replicate their success and UTRGV won the match convincingly 12-4. The board two from Texas IM Irakli Beradze won all four of their games against the Princeton team. They handed GM Andrew Tang their only loss of the match with a nice exchange sacrifice on move 18. 

Beradze got down to their last five seconds on move 34 when Andrew played the nice ...Bf6 taking advantage of two pins and winning the g-pawn. Only three moves later, Andrew made a mistake by leaving his bishop under attack and giving a rook check on g7 which would then be hanging once his bishop was captured. Beradze would be left with two pieces against Andrew's last rook and converted the endgame living off the increment for the last 20+ moves of the game.

In group B,  all the favorites won their matches convincingly. Mizzou had a crushing 12.5-2.5 performance against the University of Virginia. Mizzou's top board GM Grigory Oparin played in their first match of the season going 3/4. Their second board IM Harshit Raja went 4/4 after only going 2/4 last week against UMichigan. Here is Raja's game against Virginia's top board FM Jason Morefield

Raja found the move 26.Qxh5 leaving his bishop on c2 hanging but threatening the devastating Rxh6+. Because of this, Jason had to defend h6 and trade queens. Even after getting the queens off, Raja's rooks were too strong and Morefield couldn't save his king after the final move 33.Bb3+. 

The other powerhouse team SLU similarly won in dominant fashion 13-2 against UMichigan. The Saint Louis team brought on a new top board, GM Nikolas Theodorou. They went 4-0 in their season debut beating all four Michigan players including their top board IM Ben Li in the game below:

Theodorou's strong passed pawn won him an exchange as Li had to give up his rook to prevent the promotion. The game finished with Ben's knight completely trapped by Niko's remaining pieces. 

Yale had a strong 11.5-4.5 win over the University of Waterloo. They were led by their top board GM Nicolas Checa who went 4/4. Here is their last game against Waterloo's top board FM Richard Chen

Richard grabbed a pawn with his knight, and Nicolas punished his opponent by pinning the knight to his queen. The final blow was Nxc6, taking full advantage of the pin and winning material and the game. This fancy knight move ironically finished the game against an opponent whose username is "fancyknightmaneuvers."

The last match was an 11-4 win from Bucharest University of Economic Studies over Georgia Tech. The Romanian team was led by top board FM Posedaru Bogdan-Ștefan with a perfect 4/4 score. Here is a nice game from the match between both schools' top boards. 

Posedaru grinded his NM opponent Iskandar Aripov down on the board and on the clock. On move 25, the positional pawn sacrifice of e6 opened up the long diagonal for the bishop and the queen and set the stage for the decline of Black's position. Playing with less than 30 seconds from this point on, Aripov finally flagged after the beautiful finish 36.Qe5, lining up the queen against both of Black's pinned rooks. 

Game of the Week

This week's game of the week comes from SLU's top board GM Nikolas Theodorou against University of Michigan's second board FM Justin Paul

The GM left his knight hanging on f4 for two consecutive moves before finally saving it, but the real reason this was dubbed the game of the week is because of the final move, 42...Qg2+. Everyone loves a queen sacrifice. Combine that with a pawn checkmate, and this week's highlight game was an easy choice. 

Clip of the Week

This week's clip comes from the University of Florida's C team vs. the University of Mississippi in division 10. 

Live broadcast of the Collegiate Chess League is available at twitch.tv/collegiatechessleague; commentary provided by @JoeBruin and NM Caleb Denby.

Upcoming Matches

Round three is set to start this weekend with matches starting at 7 a.m. PT/16:00 CET on Saturday, February 26.

In division one, UC Berkeley will play the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley. Interestingly, these schools will also play in division three. Both of their A teams are undefeated so far this season. The UChicago A team will face the other Texas school, UT Austin. 

In division one group B, playoff contenders Mizzou and Bucharest will have a strong match. The University of Michigan and the University of Waterloo will play each other and look for their first point of the season since both teams have had a rough 0-2 start. Yale will play against the University of Virginia both in division 1 and division 5. 

Division three has a Massachusetts match-up between UMass Amherst and MIT's A team.

Many of these matches will be streamed live over on Twitch, so be sure to check them out!

The full list of pairings can be found here, and the full division standings are available here and choose "Collegiate" and "Chess."

For any league-related questions, please email Commissioner Joe Lee at ccl@chess.com.


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