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