Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Seattle - Miami : USCL Rd10

18:20 post Well, good evening folks. The games in this important match have already started, here is a quick peek: Serper is playing his favorite line versus Becerra's Kings INdian, the 5.Nge2 line which I believe is named after the Hungarian GM Forintos. The position is still in the opening, but you gotta think Serper is happy with this. 2nd board has the Miami player listed as BlasLugo in one name, he is playing the white side of an open sicilian against Mikhailuk. Schmidt for Seattle on board 3 has accepted the notorious "Samisch" Gambit in the King's Indian, I don't know if this is prep or not. The Miami player on 4th board didn't move for 20 minutes, but is catching up now. Barredo is playing the white side of the Benko line in the Classical Kings Indian. Very typical that both teams looking to win are venturing the Kings Indian, a very agressive double edged line. Also, there are 3 different ways to play involved. Back in a bit

18:40 update Serper is taking the approach that black's king side pawn advance is simply a feeble idea, has posted a knight on h5 with some thoughts of taking the Bg7, has h4 in to support other action and hasn't developed his QB or either rook. Schmidt is the gambit pawn up, but exchanged his dark square bishop. This can be disasterous in this line, we will have to see if he has something in mind as an antidote to the black square weakness. Barredo has played h4 to go with g4, common in the Benko line of the KI. White's idea is to use those pawns as an advance barrier and once the K-side is fixed turn attention to the Q-side. This will be interesting to see what Lee has, if you aren't familiar with this line it can be very frustrating. Pupols has played it numerous times. The one Sicilian is queenless and both sides castled Q-side. Lugo is looking to either create or provoke a weakness, probably on b6. more later

19:00 update I don't know what is going on with the Serper game. Becerra pushed f5-f4 giving up the e4 square, but looking at Nf5. Serper exchanged Nh5 x Bg7, then hit the pawn chain with g3, Becerra took on g3 and Serper took the N on h6 with his bishop giving check followed by recapture the g3 pawn. Serper must know something about this that the rest of us don't, it looks like Black has an easy game and I am not sure how Serper is going forward. Schmidt has put up some barricades on the black squares and it isn't obvious how Black will get active. Of course, that is how it always seems in this line. Blas has played Nc5 attacking Be6 and b7, Mikhailuk is going to have to do a minor regroup over there. Lee has reacted in true KI manner, plopping up c6 and b5 to undermine the center from his right hand side (the Q side). This is still in opening analysis, I would think, so no clear conclusion yet. Very dynamic for both sides
In the Boston - Philly match it looks like the Beaners are a bit better.

19:20 update The board 3 game has seen Martinez (black) post his bishop on e5 so the he could then play Re8 to hit the e4 pawn, the thing is I see that Schmidt could play c5 here threatening Bb5 forking Re8 and Na4. I don't know? Serper is regrouping and maybe trying to take the b1-h7 diagnol with Bd1-c2. Board 2 has seen some exchanges: down to rook, white squared bishop and 6 pawns each. Slava has an isolated, but passed, d4 pawn. Lugo has some issues with his bishop on a4 hemmed in by a2/b3/c4 pawn chain. Barredo - Lee looks like a role reversal as white has g4 and h4 in while black has b5 and a5 up. I suspect that White will exchange on c6 and try to make something of the d5 square, as otherwise he has to wait... and youth doesn't wait for anyone.

19:40 update Serper has Bc2 in, but unless he can disturb black Nc5 it isn't going anywhere. Board 2 is radically changed: Mikhailuk is one pawn up and likely to be two, but Lugo will have connected passers on the a and b files, though Mikhailuk will have all 4 pawns passed! This could be very dramatic. Schmidt didn't play c5, I guess black would have just captured with the Na4. Still a pawn up, but a/c/e pawns are all isolated. Lee has blocked with f5-f4 and then b5-b4 with c6-c5, possibly based on match tactics... Seattle only needs to tie. All of the games are down to 20 minutes or so, Serper is less.

20:00 post Looks like Lee might be trying to sneak around on the a-file, has rooks doubled on a7/a8, but has to play a5-a4 to get it in. That could be risky as the b4 pawn will drop off. Lugo - Mikhailuk is still deciding how many extra black pawns there will be, but looks good for Slava. Schmidt has a very weak e4 pawn, problem is it is being attacked. He is going to have to find some kind of bail out. Serper might be playing to get Nd1-f2 in to boot the black Bh3 back to c8 (threat g4 to trap it) and then push forward.

20:10 update Serper has down to white squared b's, 1 knight and 5 pawns each with g/h versus h pawn for black, 5 versus 4 on queenside in black's favor. I don't know if he can win, but very hard to imagine Serper losing. Mikhailuk is still trying to snag the g4 pawn, there might be some kind of simplifying combo giving up the d4 pawn to get to easy ending. On 4th board White has now loaded up Rooks on a2 and a1, if the get someting on a4 and a6 it will be a bingo. Meanwhile, Shmidt is hanging tough, a phrase real common with these Sluggers... hanging tough.

20:20 post Serper and Becerra have ceased hostitilites, draw. Lugo - Mikhailuk is down to R and 3 passers for black versus rook and 2 for white, black has h4/g7 and d4 in, white has b4 and a2. Slava is under 9 minutes, I think he is just calculating with double checking turned on. Schmidt is almost 9 minutes, Martinez down to 7 and 1/2. Loren has given up the extra pawn, but it is doubled on the a file. Martinez has a combo, Nxe4 and if Loren takes it Bxc4 hits both rooks and undermines the Nd5. Ugly for white. Board 4 has all the rooks off, black will have a passer on the h file.

whatever time it is update. Mikhailuk is a queen up, I expect his opp to resign. Schmidt lost. Lee could play for a while, but is under a minute

21:00 update. Looks grim. Serper drew, Slava won, Schmidt lost and Lee is down 3 pawns... Knight and 3 for white versus Knight. I think Miami is in the playoffs... but I have 2 fingers crossed

Fingers crossed didn't help. Miami won 2 1/2 - 1 1/2. Congratulations to the Sharks and good luck against the Mechanics.

I will be putting something on the bboard about how I felt the Sluggers did this season. Thanks and see you later

Seattle - Miami : USCL Rd10

18:20 post

Monday, October 22, 2007

Seattle Sluggers - SF Mechanics : USCL Rd. 9

19:40 update

Ok, all these guys like to play really positional games and things have slowed down. Friedel hasn't moved since the last update, probably working out how to stand pat. He doesn't seem to have an attack, but could get one of he could airlift the Na4 and Ra1 over. In the meantime Serper will probably start targeting both f2 and c2.

Bd. 2 Tangborn is on steroids or some dang thing. He played g4 to boot a Nh5 away, and slow down f5, then hopped up with Kg2. The only thing is, I don't think Eric can afford to lose much more hai... er I mean uh, Eric can't handle the rage.

Bd. 3 Donaldson has an advantage in space and gets to line up his pieces however he wants. Against most players that wouldn't be much, but John is pretty good at this kind of thing. Loren, I hope you have a good trench over there.

Bd. 4 I don't know how much I like the White position. If he could get to play Qb3 without allowing Nd3 I think I would be more comfortable with it. As it is, it looks about equal

19:55 update

Bd. 1 the kibitzers seem to like White, but not me (maybe that tells you something). I think that Serper is going to play Rd2 and opinions will change. We will see

Bd. 2 Everybody is still lining up. Bhat has advanced his Q-side pawns while Tangborn improved is pawns a bit. Still not much

Bd. 3 They have exchanged a pair of N's and Black got in f5. I don't know how smart that will be, but maybe it foretells some action on the h1-a8 diagonal.

Bd. 4 Black has taken a bunch of clock to play Qd8-c8-e8. I expect c4-c5 by Sinanan momentarily

20:15 update

Bd. 4 White did play c5 and then b5, Black exchanged on c5. Black still has some space on the K side and some vague ideas, but I think the real direction is going to be what happens to the pawn on d5. It is all alone, but isn't blocked. THat spells something good for one side or the other.

Bd 3 both sides are still squaring off for space. I think that Schmidt has done quite well so far, but is getting a bit short of time

20;20 UPDATE

a quick return. Bd. 4 Naroditsky is under 10 minutes and the game is getting a bit complex. Bd. 3 Schmidt decided to advance b6-b5 and Donaldson exchanged. I suspect this is helpful to white. Bd 1 both sides are working for the initiative, maybe equal?

20:35 update

Bd. 1 Well, White has all the black squares and Black has a bunch of white squares. Serper is down to 9 minutes and Friedel is at 12

21:00 update Bd. 1 is down to R and Q and B's of O. Serper is more active, a little, but has less time.

Bd. 2 Tangborn is a pawn up, but Bhat has a bunch of play with a passer on the 6th.

Bd. 3 Donaldson has advantage with passed b-pawn, but material is reduced. Might be winnable

Bd. 4 Looks drawish as all the pawns are reduced. White will have an extra pawn on K-side, Black has passer on a5 with White King very active

21:15 update

the first 3 boards are in endgames that don't look good for Seattle. I think Friedel will win a pawn. Bd. 2 Bhat has an outside passer, but with Q's on could be a draw. Donaldson has steadily pushed forward and is a pwn up. Even board 4 isn't clear, but closer

21;20 Tangborn lost a piece and resigned. Good try by him.

Bd. 4 is going to be draw by repitition

Bd. 3 John is now 2 pawns up, but I don't think he can keep them both. Might not need to

Bd. 1 Serper pressed a bit and now is mated. That is about the end of it.

Well, we kind of knew that it would take a bit of extraordinary play for the Sluggers to beat SF again. Serper pushed to win and it didn't work out. Tangborn played hard, but I think he lost sight of the goal... not to lose. Schmidt played hard and got a draw out of it, a result we would have all taken before hand if it was offered. I think that Sinanan still has to work on his White openings, it didn't appear that he got much out of the line he played.

Ok, 8 days off and Miami. Seattle still has a great chance to be in the playoffs and face the Mechanics again. Let's keep our fingers crossed that they can get this turned around.


Seattle - San Francisco: USCL Rd 9 19:20 post

Bd. 1 is just into the middlegame and the kibitzers are already finding all kinds of "mates" for White. My feeling is that unless there is something really good the long term chances are with Black. The time is about even, which is always a good thing for Serper.

Bd. 2 Tangborn isn't sititng still!! He is lined up R's on b1 and c1 for a Q-side charge and then... played Nf1 and f3 to get in e4. I don't really know how good mixing those plans is, but he is the IM.

Bd. 3 Still in the Hedge phase of the Hedgehog. Funny side note, Donaldson has already played Nd5, then attacked the Black Q on a5 and then retreated Nd5-c3, in the position on the board John could play Nd5 as a tactic attacking the Black Q on c7 to which I am certain Loren would play... Qd8 and then white retreats Nd5 - c3 again. I wonder of there is any record for number of times a Knight retreated from d5 in a game?

Bd. 4 Black has gotten g5 and Ng6 in, the storm is brewing. Of course Sinanan has a4 in and a bunch of space on the Q-side.

back in a bit

Seattle - San Francisco: USCL Rd 9 19:00 post

F-S Serper exchanged pawns on e4 and got the 2 B's in the process. He is remaining true to himself in that he likes the prelates. The thing is, I don't know how active they are going to be as White won't have anything to target. Friedel has made a mate threat, so Serper had to weaken K-side with g6

Bd. 3 Schmidt had traversed the distance to play Nd3 and then two moves later retraced back Ne5. Black's position seems solid enough, just that he needs a real plan for setting up the fort.

Bd. 4 Sinanan has exchanged his white square B for a N that popped into d3. This is going to be a typical kind of KI middlegame with hodling a N on e4, hoping to get in c5 and working to make the Bg7 un important.

Seattle - San Francisco: USCL Rd 9 18:40 post

Hello again viewers, sorry I am late. Had some yardwork, got stuck behind a rake, yatta yatta... Anyway, the games are underway.

Friedel - Serper (F-S) is a Sicilian, Paulsen - Kann line. Serper seems to like this a lot as Black. Friedel player a line with Nxc6 after Bd3 and fianchettoed the QB. Serper has the e6/d5/c6 pawn triangle. Looks like White is going to try to put the squeeze on with c4 and Rac1. Time is about even

Tangborn - Bhat (T-B) Eric went right into the QGD exchange variation. The white squared B's are off and White just played Nf3-d2. This looks kind of like a non-commitment kind of approach, might work for Eric. The real deal will be in about 15 moves (they just played move 12) when one side or the other decides to make contact, it looks like Bhat will have to initiate the conflict.

Donaldson - Schmidt (D-S) Surprise, Surprise, an English, but for something different they got there from a Benoni Declined (old school speak). This one will go for a while also

Sinanan - Noroditsky (S-N) is a main line Bayonet Attack Kings Indian. I hope that this is some kind of prep by Josh, as the SF Mechanics have a player who published a book on this line. It is still early though, I don't understand some of the moves.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My first public attempt at conspiracy theory

It is my humble opinion that within the next 20 years there will be courses taught at small colleges on "Conspiracy Theory". My belief in this is due to the ever increasing number of situations and incidents that crop up to suggest such things. Area 51, the grassy knoll, New World Order and "Paul is dead" are all familiar phrases that have caused us to question the validity of what we hear and then question our own perception (for those of you too young to know "Paul is dead" check Wikipedia under conspiracy theories and then buy the Abbey Road album). While those are all likely to be overblown coincidences, the recent confession of an NBA referee to fixing point spreads in games has many people nodding their heads about games lost in the most peculiar circumstances, and the confession isn't a figment of imagination.

So, lets all bring the USCL into the modern world. What scenario would cause us to question the way things work in the USCL? Here is my idea. What if Seattle were to defeat San Francisco Monday night, then Carolina defeats a Miami team sitting there first board? That sets up a situation where if, just if, Tennessee were to get their first league win over Dallas the last round would see a Dallas team feeling the hot breath of Seattle on their heals facing a San Francisco squad needing a win to avoid sitting out the playoffs. In our scenario Carolina would be facing a Tennessee team coming off a big win, Seattle would have a chance for first yet facing the toughest lineup Miami has as Becerra would return. Sounds way outside, but like Judy Tenuta says "could happen". But wait....

In the East it is more crazy. Consider if Queens beats Boston (hey, we had Tennessee beating Dallas, work with me), then Philly - New York and Baltimor - New Jersey both end in ties? Then you have Boston vs. Philly at 5 1/2 each, New York facing New Jersy at 4 1/2 each and Queens in with Baltimore at 4 each. The symmetry for the points is fun, but the real neon sign is the New York - New Jersey winner is in the playoffs, while Boston might end up playing in the wild card round. This would be just too great for TV ratings! Uh, buh, un, no tv? Sorry, I got carried away. Guess that won't ever happen without TV.

Just remember this, if Seattle beats SF Monday watch the Tennessee match really closely.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

seattle - Dallas USCL Rd. 8 last post

OOOOFFF!! That was tough. I think that Slava got a bit carried away and ended up fighting to the bitter end a rook down. Tangborn was unable to make anything out of a structural superiority and was slowly outplayed and the same happened on fourth board to Sinanan, though that one was probably more of a desparation effort by Josh. Serper was able to sneak out a win, but it proved insufficient for a tie. So, congratulations are due to the Dallas Destiny. They seem to have just about wrapped up the West. Next up for Seattle is a match for 2nd/ 3rd place in the West with the Mechanics.

See you later.

Seattle - Dallas USCL Rd. 8 19:50 post

Well, stuff has developed. Not for the good either. Slava is a rook down and I don't know if his attack is really worth anything. The guy does calculate a lot though. Serper has rearranged his pieces and now has a space advantage, don't know how much it is worth. Board 4 Guadalupe seems to have changed his mind about a plan, while Sinanan has just simply arranged a pawn break on the Q-side. Tangborn has a bit more space in the middle, but I suspect that Kuljasevic is going to get a good game if he plays Ne4 sometime.

I will stop for a bit as I have some speed chess to play, back after that.

Seattle - Dallas USCL Rd. 8 19:15 post

The board 3 game has taken a course that wasn't unexpected. Mikhailuk lined up on the a2 pawn after Kiewra played Kb1, then sac'd the exchange on c3 to get it. Now, Kiewra is making some noise around b7/b8 and we will see if Slava has a good estimate of the position.

Tangborn's game looks like something I have played. He has a little better pawn structure, but things have a kind of random appearance. Maybe Eric is thinking about playing to take the Bc8 and then attack the pawn on f5?

Sinanan I think has played a little too slowly. It looks like Black is going to put a toll both on d4 and I am not sure how White can react.

I have to say that playing the white side of the Reti is slow business, and Boskovic seems to like it. But, so does Serper.

In the SF - Carolina match it looked like Shankland and Bhat had switched boards as the fourth board was a French! Oh, Craig Jones was Black on board 4. Never mind. I was a bit surprised that Donaldson offered a draw, must be feel pretty clear about the others, but I don't know if either of the top two is ok for SF.

Seattle - Dallas USCL Rd. 8 18:45 post

The game on board 4 is a line that is interesting. By playing a line in the symmetrical English reversed one side or the other seems to be saying that a tempo either isn't worth much (black plays a tempo less) or is worth a lot ( white gets to choose the defense he thinks is best with an extra tempo). All very subtle ( unline playing 1...e5 against the english, symmetrical lines aren't anything reversed, they are english lines). I think that Josh may have missed something as I remember a Romanishin game in this line where he played 8.Ng5 e6 9.Nge4 b6 10. Qa4 Bb7 11.Nxd5 exd5 12.Nc3 and won the d5 pawn.

Serper's game will also be interesting as he seems to have gotten a position that folks in San Francisco seem to think is ok if not pretty good for Black. Wait, are we relying on the Mechanics?

Board 2 is interesting as it isn't quite in character for Eric to pitch the 2 B's . Have to watch that one.


Seattle - Dallas USCL Rd. 8 18:15 post

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Seattle Sluggers Blog. It is a lovely day for a chess match, a balmy 53 degrees and steady rain out, beautiful conditions. To paraphrase that great Chicago C player Ernie Banks "let's play two!". The games seem to have already started. Boskovic on board one decided to try Serper from the white side of a Reti. Tangborn went into one of the books he wrote to find a line in the Benoni to play as white versus Kulhasevic. Kiewra - Mikhailuk is a Rauzer Sicilian, the line we used to call Larsen's variation with 6... Bd7, I don't know if Kiewra's 8.f3 is any kind of theory, but it seems quite reasonable. The Sinanan - Guadalupe game looks to be the most exciting of the bunch. I will likely comment more on this game and the others in a bit.

In the SF - Carolina match I am wondering if Sam Shankland is following the plan plotted out in ? Black on board one isn't playing the french, maybe it is Sam? Let me check board 4 and get back to you.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

3-1! (In more ways than one!)

Eddie has already mentioned a lot about the games (more than what I could input). But it was fun to stop by and watch the games. I'd only been there for the opening week heartbreaking loss to Boston, but it was evident that outside of the Boston match, Seattle hadn't really been tested. Eddie was telling me about being there for this match, and being the next real test for the Sluggers, I obliged.

Upon reaching the center a little into the match, my general (and I do mean general) thoughts were the following:

1) Wow. Serper's game has simplified REAL quickly.
2) Orlov's game seems standard and he looks to be holding his own.
3) Readey's game is a bit of a mess. He's got the pawn but almost crammed in there like a sardine,
4) Josh position looks good. I can't place my finger on it, but it seems like Naroditsky isn't able to generate any kind of momentum.

After a bit of looking at the boards, Eddie and I talk about other things for a bit. The next time we look at the position, the most notable thing was that on Orlov's game, he was ahead 58-1 on time and pretty much had Pruess. While it was a little amusing that after the comment was made that Pruess doesn't really resign and 30 seconds later he did, finding out that he had returned from the hospital recently I hope all is well with Pruess.

Back in another room analysis turned to Serper's and Readey's game. Serper played his game well and we could see the ending on the horizon. Meanwhile, we were shocked to see Readey give back his hard fought pawn and after seeing his break on e4, we still weren't sure he was getting enough counterplay. Regardless, things were looking good after Serper concluded his game and Josh (whose game we really didn't analyze at all) we suddenly found was up the exchange and winning his game.

With the victory already in hand, the question was whether or not we could achieve the sweep. But we realized the counterplay he received wasn't enough to gain an advantage. And after Bxf5, the game was pretty much over. While we could see drawing variations for him, it was Donaldson's suggestion right afterwards of 20. Nxa4 that might have been the best play.

So a 3-1 victory gives us a 3-1 record going into next week's match against Carolina. Certainly Carolina's record is well earned given it's early schedule. But we'll see if we can extend ourselves to a 4-1 next week.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sleeping with the Enemy

In a battle between GMs, especially when they have time to prep, a lot is decided by who gets in the first surprise/novelty. It surprises the opponent and avoids the other's preparation. Serper definitely did that with his 1. e4. Technically speaking, its a surprise, but because it was from Serper, it is a novelty. According to my database, Serper has played 1. e4 twice in 2002, once in 2000 against Yermo, and hasn't played 1.e4 fulltime since 1988. It was a beautiful stroke, and I wished that the judges had taken that more into consideration in the Game of the Week voting. I don't know if it would compete with the dramatics of the Eugene-Pascal game, but it was a key game against a team thats been unbeaten since 2005. It was a beautifully played game.

On Board 2, Orlov played a great game against David Pruess. I liked Orlov's position. It seemed that the bishop was going to have to retreat to e3 where it would get exchanged. After that, Orlov has a nice outpost for his knight on e5 and a weak e-pawn to play against. Bxc5 was bad due to the Re5. Though I think Orlov was the only person in the world to see Re5. I missed it, obviously David missed it, and so did all the internet kibitzers, including Pascal who was commenting on it as well.

On 3, Donaldson played a masterful Botvinnik System against Readey, getting the pivotal d5 break in and slowly squeezed Readey. Readey did miss quite a few lines that seems to lead to a draw.

On the final board, Josh did a great job with the closed Sicilian, managing to reach a position with better bishops and a slightly better pawn formation. Then Naroditsky just sac'ed the exchange and proceeded to get grounded down.

Next week, we play against Carolina. They are definitely not to be taken lightly. One of the stronger teams in the tough Western Division. Luckily we only have to play against them once this year. I will do my due diligence as usual, but will not be attending the match, since I will be playing in the U2000 section in Miami. Josh Sinanan will handle the match. And so I'll be sleeping with the enemy. I'm rooming with Josh Friedel and David Pruess for the tournament, so this will prove to be interesting.

Eddie Chang
Seattle Sluggers Manager

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Slugging it out in the Pirc

Going into tonight's match, I suspected Gerald would have something prepared against the Pirc which I played a couple of times last season. But I figured if he plays into a sharp line Black will have his chances as well...

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be3

6. Bd3 is more common, but the text has the point of stopping c5 for the moment.

6... b6 7.Qd2 Bb7 8. e5 Ng4 9. O-O-O c5

(Marcel suggested 9... Bxf3 10. gxf3 Nxe3 11. Qxe3 d5 after the match, but after 12. h4 h513. f5 Kh7 14. Bd3 Bh6 15. f4 e6 16. fxg6+ fxg6 17. Qh3 Black is busted. Book is to trade on e5 now, but I think White ends up a bit better, so I sack a pawn thinking it will be worth it to destroy the White center.)

10. dxc5 bxc5 11.Bxc5 Qa5

I originally intended 11... Nd7 but now I got a bad feeling about the move. Indeed Fritz points out after: 12. Bg1 Ndxe5 13. fxe5 Bh614. Ng5 f6 15. exf6 exf6 16. Bc4+ Kh8 17. Bd4 White is winning.

12. Ba3 dxe5 (12... Rc8 is interesting as well.) 13. h3 Bh6

Playing for complications. If 13... e4 14. Nxe4 Qxd2+ 15. Rxd2 Nf6 16. Nxf6+ Bxf617. Bc4 there's not much comp for the pawn.

14. Ng5 exf4 15. hxg4

I expected 15. Nxf7 But now I don't think it's better than the text. After ...Rxf7 16. hxg4 Bg5 17. Ne4 Qxd2+18. Nxd2 f3 19. Bc4 fxg2 20. Bxf7+ Kxf7 21. Rxh7+ Kg8 the strong g2 pawn compensates for the exchange.)

15... Bxg5 16. Kb1 Rc8

I had been planning to play 16... f3 but reconsidered as I thought it left my K-side to open as well as weakening the long diagonal e.g. 17. Qf2 fxg2 18. Bxg2 Bxg2 19. Qxg2 and black is lost.

17. Ne4 Qxd2 18. Nxd2 Rd8

At this point I thought I was just winning, but now Gerald played and inspired move...

19. Be2!

Now 19... Bxg2 look good, right? But after 20. Nf3! Nc6 21. Nxg5 Bxh1 Rxd1 the two bishops are stronger than the rook.

19... Nc6 20. Ne4 h6 21. Nc5

I was expecting 21. Bf3 but Black looks ok after something like Rab8 22. Nxg5 Rxd1+ 23. Rxd1 hxg5 24. Bxc6 Bxc6 25. Bxe7 Bxg2 26. Bxg5 f3 27. Bh4 Rb4 28. Bf2 Rxg4 29. Bxa7

21... Rab8 22. Bf3Ba8 23. Nd7 Rbc8 24. Rd3 Rxd7

I sack the exchange, which is not bad, but e5 was probably stronger.

25. Rxd7 Ne5 26. Rxa7 (White has the to sack the exchange back, otherwise the black pawns will be too strong.) Nxf3 27. Rxa8 Nd2+ 28. Kc1 Rxa8 29. Kxd2 f3+ 30. Ke1 fxg2 31. Rg1 f5 32. gxf5 gxf5 33. Rxg2 e5

Finally things have settled down to an obscure 3 passer vs. 3 passer endgame. I judged I was a bit better as my pawns a bit further advanced. Now I think White should just get going with c4. Trading Bishops just helps me activate my king.

34. Be7 Kf7 35. Bxg5 hxg5 36. Rxg5 Kf6 37. Rg3 Rxa2 38. Rb3Ra4

In the Tempo blog Peter Bereolos suggested this was an easy draw for White, but I suspect it's already winning for Black. Certainly it's hard to hold w in 30 sec increment play.

39. Ke2 f4 40. Rb8 Kf5 41. b3 Ra2 42. Rf8+ Ke4 43. Rc8 Ra7 44. Rc4+ Kd545. Rc8 Rh7 46. b4 e4 47. Rc5+ Ke6 48. Rc4 $2 Rh2+ 49. Kf1 Kd5 50. Rc8 e3 51.Re8 Rxc2 52. b5 Rb2 53. Rf8 Ke4 0-1

Whew! What a tough game! Maybe I should play the Petroff next time?


Tolilet Reading

I don't get a chance to play many tournament games these days. Weekend tournament games always seem to interfere with summer BBQs and weekend football games. So its always fun to play for the Seattle sluggers and play some fresh up and coming plays via the internet.

Tonight I played Jerry Wheeler in an a fairly 'tame' sicilian. Going into the round, I had asked a friend of mine to tell me what Jerry played against e4 and d4. The results were sort of disturbing in that against e4 he seems to be play either hyper-accelerated dragons (1..c5 and 2..g6) or 1..g6 moderns. While neither is terrifying, they both leave a lot of room for creativity and are hard to prepare concrete lines for.

Based on this I decided to do my usual crappy preparation by picking 3 opening books from my shelf and leaving them in my bathroom. My wife always seems to complain about how long it takes me to go the can and it is usually attributed to me finding some interesting line and me scribbling some notes in the margin.

Last nights 'bathroom' notes were as follows:
1e4 c5 2Nf3 g6 (Jerry) 3c3 Bg7 4d4 cd4 5Bc4!? Without fritz or chess base this seemed like a fun line to try for the chess league since it stoped 5..d5 (which is the usual move after 5 cd4 d5). It also seemed that 5..dc3 6Nc3 transposed into a super sharp and risky fiancheto line for black in the Smith Mora. I had good dreams last night...

John Ready ruined my prep by saying 5 minutes before the round that if he had black he would either play 5..d3 or 5..d5!? (anyway!).

Jerry plays 2..d6 in the Sicilian. While I did see Jerry had a few dragon games back in the late 90's this made me thing that their team had prepared some lines in either the Najdorf or the Rauzer (both of these I have had some published games against GM's the last few years...).

1e4 c5 2Nf3 d6 3Bb5+ I should also mention I picked up Richard Palliser "The Bb5 Sicilian" in 2006 while at the National Open. This made it to my bathroom shelf as well....3..Bd7 4Bd7 Qd7 5 c4 (The old main line and quite safe of preparation. Now days 'the Rub' prefers 5 c3.)
5..g6 (I was sort of hoping for 5...Qg4 6 0-0 Qe4 7d4 with compensation) 6 0-0 Bg7 7 d4 cd4 8Nd4 Nf6 9f3!? (Around here I was remembering the recent Kamsky game and a Rub. game where black easily equalized with 9Nc3 0-0 10f3 Rc8! 11b3 d5! I did not want this happening and had not really prepared anything....)
9...0-0 10Be3!? (10Nc3 see above) Rc8 (I wonder was my opponent thinking this was the Kamsky game?!) 11 b3 a6!? (It seems this is interesting and fine, but also playable is 11..Nc6 with +=/= game.) 12Nc3 (Rightly or wrongly not worrying about ..b5) 12...b5 (..Nc6) 13Nd5 Qb7 (13..Nd5 seemed slightly better for white with little risk). 14a4!? (Perhaps 14 Rc1 is more acurate since the ..bc4 is bad currently because of the positio of the black queen on the b-file after 15bc4 and Rb1.
14..e5!? This was a supprise but both fritz and crafty rank this move high.) I was thinking more along the lines of either 14..bc4 15bc4 Nd5 16 cd5 += or 14..b4 15Qd2 Nd5 16cd5 Nd7 +=
14Ne2 Nd5 15 Qd5 += Qd5 16cd5 ba4 17Ra4 Nd7 18Rfa1 (Perhaps black should have tried 18..f5 first?) 19..Rc2 (This looks agressive but there are may lines where the black back rank is weak or it alows Rc1 ideas and favorable trades.)
20 Kf2 Nb8 (20..Rb8 21 Ra6! Rb3 22Rc6 a key idea when I was thinking about these lines.+/- This will win the d-pawn at the minimum.)
21b4 ( I like this move. It seems cleaner than 21 Rc1 which is also good.) 21..Rb2 22Rc1 Nd7(box) 23Rc7 Nf6 +/- 24Rb7 This seems stronger to me than the fritzy 24Bc1 Rb3 25Rc6
24..Rc8? The move I was hoping for. Still the position is difficult for black. 24..h6(fritz) 25b5 a5 26b6 Rc8 27Rc7 Rc7 28 bc7 Rc3 29Bb6 Ne8 30Ke3! Nc7 31 Kd3 Na8 32Kc2 Nb6 33Ra6 +-
25Ra6+-Rc2 26 Ra8+ Bf8 27Bh6 Re2 28 Kf1 1-0

I think I'll add a few more books to the bathroom collection before next week.....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Week 3 - Part 2

Well, looks like Bereolos's prep against Schmidt is interesting. I wonder if he found improvements, since this game is identical to one Loren played in a postal game. John seems to be down a pawn on board 4. I'm don't really play the Pirc, or all that good at chess, but it seems John has some compensation for it, just how much is the question. Eric's game just looks like all of his other games. I predict this will be a long one.

Week 3 vs Tenn

Well, week 3 has started, and its time for me to get nervous. Every week, I spend a lot of time working on the lineups and when the week starts, my heart starts to pound. I hate not being able to affect the outcome of the match. All I can do is watch from the sidelines. No pinch hitters, no calling to the bullpen for help, no running of gadget plays, or calling for a corner blitz. Just sitting and watching intently.

There were no real opening surprises except that Todd Andrews played e4 instead of the d4 that we've seen. He must have a prep for Loren's Alekhine. We'll see how that plays out later.


Friday, September 7, 2007

Sluggers Rebound in Week 2

The Seattle Sluggers captured there first match victory of the 2007 season with a dominating performance against Miami. A last-minute substitution on Miami's board 4 seemed to give the Sluggers a clear edge on the bottom boards going into the match. Loyal Sluggers fan Drayton Harrison, who was on site at the Chess4Life Center, recorded his observations and posted them on the NW Chess Forum:

Board 1: Becerra played g3/Bg2 against Serper's Kan Sicilian and quickly lost or sacrificed his e4-pawn. Serper took the pawn and spent a lot of time on the clock, eventually reaching a possibly-winning rook endgame before accidentally repeating the position 3 times. 62...Rh5 63. b3 Rg5 would have put white in zugzwang, according to Serper. At least this game secured a team victory, while the board 2 game was still in doubt.

Board 2:
This game started late, although Tangborn was ready to play. Martinez did not have a penalty on the clock. Consequently this game was the last to finish. In the symmetrical English, the advantage shifted back and forth several times (both sides missed opportunities, for example check out white's 41st and 45th moves, and black's 50th, 52nd, 55th and 56th moves) until the end, Tangborn saving the game with 57.Bf1!!, followed by Martinez losing a piece with 57...Be5??. The players commented that Martinez must have been under a lot of pressure to salvage a point for honor after the Miami team had been defeated.

Board 3:
In contrast to the prediction from this forum, Espino played 1.d4, giving Mikhailuk a perfect opportunity to show off his mastery of the isolated queen's pawn in the Tarrasch Defense. White never managed to stop black's initiative and resigned on move 49. There was plenty of time left on the clocks, but no time left on the chessboard, as it was checkmate in 2 more moves. (So much for holding out longer in a team match.)

Board 4:
Sinanan, playing white against Mederos, also found himself in the Symmetrical English. Instead of fiddling around on the flank with a3/Rb1/b4, he seized the center with 7.d4 and established the Maroczy bind with 9.e4. His superior central position allowed him to prepare a kingside attack, but when his opponent floundered about for lack of space, he changed plans, won the exchange, traded queens and won another piece. (Looks like Mederos, not Sinanan, needs that lesson from Schill...)

This was an important get-back-on-track match for the Sluggers after a disappointing loss to Boston in week 1. Perhaps most relieved was team manager Eddie Chang, who sweated the games from L.A., where he was out of town on family business. Next week the Sluggers take on Tennessee, where they hope to build on this week's victory.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

And so it begins...

Hello there!

This is Edwin Dizon, friend of Eddie Chang and unofficial blogger for the Seattle Sluggers (why I'm not sure).

Small background on me is that I played chess back in high school, managed to be one of the better players in my grade level (not sure how), and after HS managed the Seattle HS Metro Chess league for about 10 years. Honestly when it comes to chess now, I'm on the outside looking in.

I'm interested to see how this league goes as this concept is rather interesting. When I was in college at Seattle U, we participated in a USCF collegiate internet chess league and it definitely was interesting to play against other colleges (even if at the time there were only 4 of us). Of course this league is something for the big shots around the country.

After perusing the site a little since I've been given this blogger status, there are a couple of things I'd like to comment on:

1) Unbalanced schedule - When NM Sharma was referring to intangibles, there was the mention of a harder schedule. This seemed a bit puzzling to me, so I went to the schedule. Specifically, I wonder how teams within the division either play once or twice. There are 10 weeks in the season and no byes. So why can't the teams play against each other in their divisions twice, once as white and once as black? Seems pretty simple to me. Otherwise, if you're going to have 10 weeks and play against teams in the other division, play 11 weeks instead, have a round-robin format and conglomerate everyone into one division.

2) Seattle's chip on its shoulder - As much as Seattleites may be nice and courteous, we resent the fact that for the most part we're ignored (ex. 2007 Mariners, Seahawks, all of Pac-10 if you want to include the west coast as well). So when we think we're slighted we tend to take it personally. Which is why when Seattle was ranked to finish 4th in the division, Eddie ended up taking it the way he did and from a glance of the prognostications and prior results, I might have done the same.

But as they say, "that's why we play the game", ne?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dear Mr. Sharma

Dear Mr. Sharma,

Wow, Seattle never gets any respect. Thats why we are here to prove everyone wrong. The Mariners never get any respect. Not until they won 116 games in 2001. And this year we are right behind the Angels and leading the wild card, and we still get no respect. Save goes for Seahawks. No one but us saw the potential that we had and predicted us to go the Super Bowl. The refs even had to rig the game so we wouldn't win. Maybe they had money on the games, like Donaghey. This is the second year in a row you have discounted us. This year you have us taking 4th, instead of the 3rd you predicted last year.

First off, I was unaware that we could recruit players from Canada. Marcel Milat lives here in Washington, but I would be more than happy to go recruit some guys from our neighbor to the north BC. We have good relationship with them, having an annual BC-WA match, so I'm sure some would be willing to come down to play. Especially with extremely low rated USCF ratings. (Greg: Is that ok?)

Second, for our fourth board dominance, expect it to continue. Unless you want to discount Josh Sinanan's run at the Far West Open, when he scored 3 draws in a row vs IM Zilberstein, GM Serper, and GM Kudrin. Throw in a win against IM Emory Tate this year, and you have a fourth board to be wary of. Or discount an improving Michael Lee who just seems to get stronger and stronger and continues to be dedicated to chess.

Lastly, you also addressed our lack of titled players. FM Loren Schmidt has 2 IM norms. FM Slava Mikhailuk is another 2400+ FM. And last year, Greg Shahade even contemplated giving IM Georgi Orlov an honorary USCL-GM title, because, according to his words, "There really is just a GM with an IM title."

Our goal this year is to win, and win it all. Again we are discounted by the nation, and again, we will prove them wrong.

Eddie Chang
Seattle Sluggers Manager

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Official Sluggers Announced

Ok, the 2007 roster has been announced. This year, they have added 2 alternate spots to the roster as well. The roster follows.

GM Greg Serper
IM Georgi Orlov
FM Slava Mikhailuk
FM Loren Schmidt
FM Marcel Milat
FM John Readey
NM Michael Lee
NM Josh Sinanan

We will be using the October 2006 ratings list, so we have a good set of underrated board 4s. I know people will look down on our roster because of the lack of GM/IMs, however I feel like people underestimate the strength of bottom boards. Look what we did on the shoulders of Michael and Nat last year. It is much harder to win on the top boards, and we had a rock on board one. We scored all our points on board 4, along with a stellar preformance from John Readey. On top of that, if 2 of our 4 FMs have 2400+ ratings and and I believe Loren even has 2 IM norms.

For those of you who don't know Josh, he is Seattle's newest master, after a great tournament season. This year he scored draws against GM Serper, GM Kudrin, IM Zilberstein, and a win over IM Emory Tate. He will also be filling in as my last year's role, the assistant manager.

I am looking forward to this season, and hope to take down a title for Seattle.

Eddie Chang
Seattle Sluggers Manager