There is no other way to say it, that was not what I expected. The Sluggers came through for us and.... didn't lose! That old saying about a tie is "like kissing your sister" sorta rings true here. Let's talk...
Serper did a great job pulling a little opening surprise on Friedel. Avid Mechanics fan f-pawn had pointed out that these 2 have faced each other 5 times with White winning every one. That came to an end, and a lucky thing it did. Serper does like that structure with an open d-file and semi open c-file to work with.
Second board looked about the way I had thought, a QGD Exchange variation. I don't know if Eric prep'd for it or not, but they followed some previous games up to 10. Bg3 by White. I am not sure why 10.e3 wouldn't be ok for White, but I know that Eric has his reasons. Anyway, I think that Preuss was able to combine his more recent practice with some youth to outplay Eric in the endgame.
Donaldson - Lee on board 3 was quite interesting. John gambitted a pawn, not normal for the English, the older player or John, but that is what happened. White got a nice bind for a pawn, but not much more and Lee defended. If anything I would suppose that this could be a lesson for Michael in terms of preparation.
Board 4 is where things were oh so close. The game left standard practice quite early on as Sinanan plunked the h-pawn up the board. The structural advantage this offered Josh had a price as winning the f5 pawn was going to involve some tactics. In the end White had 2 pawns for the exchange with the 2 Bishops and Rook against 2Rooks and Bishop situation. My feeling is that as soon as this became clarified Josh went into prevent mode. Instead of 22. b3 which gave Black a hook to try to work with Josh can play Rd1 or 000 as Black playing Bxc4 allows Rd7+ which is like near death for Black. Even so the real culprit came later when the black square bishop was relocated to c3. I think this is a total misread of the position. If White keeps the B on the h4-d8 diagonal, plays Rd1 and works the f-pawn forward to f5 Black is lost. Frankly, I don't see any design for a good defense for Black. In the end of the actual game every aimed to have a B on a different color and a draw was agreed.
So, I forecast that the Sluggers would lose based on history, they pulled out a tie based on some tough play and could have won based on better calculation. I won't complain, mostly because I predicted incorrectly. Oh well.
Ok, the Sluggers next opps play Wed. as New York faces New Jersey.
See you later when board assignments are up!