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.