Week 4 is in the books and the league is chugging along. Seems like just another week, you know Jersey won, Frisco won, Seattle won... oh yeah Seattle won! They defeated the 2 time defending champs from Dallas by 3-1 and keeps them on directly on the heels of the Mechanics. Here is a look.
Bd. 1 For the second week in a row Nakamura faced the Reti/English by fianchettoing the QB followed by c5 and then K-side fianchetto. Ah, I remember the days when this was termed "the two pockets" defense. Anyway, Bartholomew on first board for the Destiny arranged to play Nd5 and exchange knights and black square B's while opening the c-file. Eventually all the heavy pieces came off on the c-file leaving an ending of 1 knight and white square B each. White had more space, but Black had a better knight plus more flexible center pawns. Bartholomew was short of time which might have led to some of his problems. Naka reached a knight versus bishop ending. One question I had was at move 48 if White hadn't exchanged e4xf5 would the result have been the same. In the game Naka used a very nimble knight and a central pawn wedge to get the point
Bd. 2 Opened as a Reti with d5,c6,Bg4 for Black. Slava played Ne5 and then d4 in the opening. It resolved itself into a position where White had c5,d4,f4,g3 in and 2 B's versus a very compact c6,e6 for Black with 2 B's. Ludwig decided to leave an exchange on d5, but couldn't get anything going. A second exchange was gone in the melee and Slava avoided any accidents to score the point.
Bd. 3 Kiewra played the Rossolimo Sicilian the old fashioned way, with c3 and d4 instead of a quick exchange on c6. I don't think Lee was entirely familiar with the line, but kept his position stable. White sac'd an exchange on e5 for the black square B and lots of chances, forcing Lee to defend. Michael gave the exchange back, but Kiewra kept a pawn advantage. Black sac'd his B on h3 for some kind of phantom which didn't materialize and after a couple of tactical flurries lost.
Bd. 4 Went directly into a Semi Slav. Both sides manoueverd for some moves, with Black having handing c and d pawns. They proved to be a liability as Black was not able to inject an activity into the position. Eventually Sinanan picked up the c5 pawn followed by a6, then forced queens off. The pure rook ending appeared a bit rushed, but then Josh had been playing with less than 3 minutes for many moves. Eventually the board was cleaned up and Zorigt called it a night.
Ok, I will be honest... except for the course of board 1 and the rambuctious play by White late on board 4 I pretty much had this match nailed. Michael and Josh got a point between them and Seattle won the match. I didn't see Slava winning, but it was a bonus. The Sluggers seem to be picking up a bit of momentum at a good time. Their next match is with Tennessee, a squad that defeated them last year and just narrowly missed defeating Miami last week. They will not be pushovers. The potential clash of Ehlvest and Nakamura on board 1 will be quite interesting and past history suggests that Seattle has trouble on board 3 versus either Andrews or Bick. We will have to wait to see the actual lineups, but for now it promises to be a very interesting contest.
In the other matches, I picked incorrectly for New York over NJ and thought the Inventors would be a tougher test for Boston. I did get Queens defeating Carolina. So, I am 2 - 4 in matches and minus 6 in game points. Maybe that game point idea wasn't so hot?
ttyl and have a nice day