Round Report

The final round of the regular season for the MN Blizzard.  The Blizzard were up against the Lubbock Tornadoes, who we beat in week 3.  The Blizzard have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but it would be nice to end the season on a high note with a win.  NM Frank Johnson joined the team for the final round!  Great to see Frank playing again.

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Board 1:  IM John Bartholomew is back and faces a very strong IM (2600+ USCF!).    Game Link.

 

Board 2:  NM Frank Johnson debuts for the Blizzard against Steven Breckenridge.   Game Link.

Board 3: FM Kevin Wasiluk takes down an International Master!  Game Link.

Board 4:  NM Dane Mattson wins with the Black pieces against a WIM.  Game Link.

MN wins the match 2.5-1.5!  The team only missed the playoffs on tiebreaks.

Western Division

Team W L Game Points Opps Avg Rating
# - Dallas 6.5 3.5 24.0/40 (60%) 2408
@ - St. Louis 6.5 3.5 23.0/40 (58%) 2403
@ - Las Vegas 6.0 4.0 21.5/40 (54%) 2398
@ - San Francisco 6.0 4.0 19.5/40 (49%) 2402
@ - Seattle 5.5 4.5 22.0/40 (55%) 2405
@ - Arizona 4.5 5.5 19.5/40 (49%) 2404
X - Minnesota 4.5 5.5 17.0/40 (43%) 2397
X - Lubbock 4.0 6.0 19.5/40 (49%) 2382
X - Rio Grande 4.0 6.0 18.0/40 (45%) 2389
X - San Diego 2.5 7.5 16.0/40 (40%) 2395

Player highlights:

  • GM Wesley So won game of the week in week 7 and had a performance rating of 2708.  His scored 2.5/4 this year.
  • GM Flores also scored 2.5/4 and played against three GM's.
  • IM John Bartholomew scored 4/6 with a performance rating of 2639!
  • IM Sean Nagle scored 2/5 with draws against many top players.
  • IM Andrew Tang scored 2.5/6, scoring a couple of wins early in the season with the Black pieces.
  • FM Kevin Wasiluk finished the season on a high note to end 1/2 for the team.
  • NM Dane Mattson had a few long trips down to Minneapolis, but he didn't let that phase him!  Dane scored 1.5/3 with a performance rating of 2324.
  • NM Matt Jensen played one round to the team losing against an FM.
  • NM Andrew Titus played two matches against an FM and NM.
  • Eric Bell was solid on board 4 with a performance rating of 2061, scoring 1.5/4.
  • Saumik Narayanan played two games on board 4 against stiff opposition.

Thanks to the mangers, tournament directors, players and supporters for a fun first season.  We will be back next year!

 

 

 

Tough week for the Blizzard against the always talented Dallas Destiny.

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Board 1:

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 9"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.10.20"]
[Round "?"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Sadorra, Julio"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C11"]
[WhiteElo "2847"]
[BlackElo "2635"]
[PlyCount "110"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 Be7 8. Qd2
O-O 9. dxc5 Bxc5 10. O-O-O Qa5 11. a3 {Wesley has played this line against
Meier in 2012.} Be7 12. Kb1 Rd8 13. Nd4 Nxd4 14. Bxd4 Nb8 15. Bf2 Nc6 16. Qe1
Rb8 17. Nb5 Qxe1 18. Rxe1 a6 19. Nd4 Nxd4 20. Bxd4 Bd7 21. c3 Bb5 22. Bxb5 axb5
23. Rhf1 Rdc8 24. Rd1 Ra8 25. f5 Bc5 26. Bxc5 Rxc5 27. Rd4 exf5 28. Rxf5 Re8
29. Kc2 g6 30. Rf6 Rxe5 31. Rb6 Re7 32. b4 Rc6 33. Rxb5 Rec7 34. Kb2 Rxc3 35.
Rd2 Re3 36. Rbxd5 Rcc3 37. Ra5 h5 38. Ra7 h4 39. Rf2 Rb3+ 40. Ka2 Kg7 41. h3 g5
42. Rxb7 Rxa3+ 43. Kb2 Reb3+ 44. Kc2 Ra2+ 45. Kxb3 Rxf2 46. b5 Rxg2 47. b6 Rg1
48. Kc2 Re1 49. Rd7 Re6 50. b7 Rb6 51. Kd3 g4 52. hxg4 h3 53. Rd5 Rxb7 54. Rh5
(54. Ke3 {should lead to a draw.}) 54... Rb6 55. g5 Rb8 0-1

[/pgn]

Board 2:

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 9"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.10.20"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Holt, Conrad"]
[Black "Flores, Mauricio"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D97"]
[WhiteElo "2615"]
[BlackElo "2565"]
[PlyCount "71"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 O-O 7. e4 a6 8. e5
b5 9. Qb3 Nfd7 10. Ng5 {Holt has lost in this line against Robson (2015) and
Troff (2014). He has drawn in the same line against Molner (2013).} Nc6 11.
Be3 Na5 12. Qd1 h6 13. Nxf7 Rxf7 14. e6 Rf8 15. exd7 Bxd7 16. Be2 Be6 17. O-O
Nc4 18. Qc2 Kh7 19. Bd3 Bf5 20. Bxf5 Rxf5 21. b3 Na3 {The knight looks
misplaced on a3.} (21... Nb6 {might be an improvement. White still had a
comfortable advantage.}) 22. Qe4 b4 23. Ne2 Rb8 24. Nf4 Qd6 25. Rac1 e5 26. Rc6
{White has a really strong attack now with multiple pieces pointing at Black's
king.} Qxc6 27. Qxc6 exf4 28. Bd2 Nb5 29. Re1 Rb6 30. Qc4 a5 31. Re8 Bf8 32.
Re5 Rxe5 33. dxe5 g5 34. g3 fxg3 35. hxg3 Bg7 36. f4 1-0

[/pgn]

Board 3:

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 9"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.10.20"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Tang, Andrew"]
[Black "Vaidya, Atulya"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E81"]
[WhiteElo "2475"]
[BlackElo "2271"]
[PlyCount "66"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 d6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 Nf6 5. f3 O-O 6. Nge2 c5 7. d5 e6 8. Ng3
exd5 9. cxd5 a6 10. a4 Nbd7 11. Be2 Ne8 12. Be3 f5 13. Qd2 fxe4 14. Ngxe4 Ne5
15. O-O Nf6 16. Nxf6+ Bxf6 17. Ne4 Bg7 18. h3 Bf5 19. Nf2 Qh4 20. f4 Nd7 21.
Ng4 Rae8 22. Bf2 Qd8 23. Ne3 Nf6 24. Nxf5 Ne4 25. Qc2 Rxf5 26. Be1 Qf6 27. Bg4
Rxf4 28. Bc3 Nxc3 29. bxc3 Rf8 30. Rxf4 Qxf4 31. Re1 Be5 32. Bf3 Qh2+ 33. Kf1
Rxf3+ 0-1

[/pgn]

Board 4:

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 9"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.10.20"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Sanchez, Robert"]
[Black "Bell, Eric"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B90"]
[WhiteElo "2157"]
[BlackElo "2050"]
[PlyCount "69"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. f3
Be6 9. Qd2 b5 10. Nd5 Bxd5 11. exd5 O-O 12. Be2 Qc7 13. O-O Nfd7 14. a4 bxa4
15. Rxa4 Nb6 16. Rg4 f5 17. Rb4 N8d7 18. Ra1 Nc5 19. Nxc5 dxc5 20. Rb3 Rfd8 21.
Rxa6 Rxa6 22. Bxa6 f4 23. Bf2 Ra8 24. d6 Bxd6 25. Rxb6 Qxb6 26. Qd5+ Kf8 27.
Qxa8+ Bb8 28. Qb7 Qd6 29. Qc8+ Kf7 30. Bxc5 Qd1+ 31. Bf1 Qxc2 32. Qd7+ Kf6 33.
Be7+ Kf7 34. Bd8+ Kg6 35. Bd3+ 1-0

[/pgn]

Minnesota Blizzard Dallas Destiny
GM Wesley So: 2847 0.0 1.0 GM Julio Sadorra: 2635
GM Mauricio Flores: 2565 0.0 1.0 GM Conrad Holt: 2615
IM Andrew Tang: 2475 0.0 1.0 NM Atulya Vaidya: 2271
Eric Bell: 2050 0.0 1.0 NM Robert Sanchez: 2157
Average Rating: 2484 Average Rating: 2420
Minnesota Total 0.0 4.0 Dallas Total

Round 8 is another important round for the Blizzard.  Many teams are tied for the last playoff spot and it's important to play for a win.  Arizona has an interesting lineup this week and isn't fielding a team close to the max 2400 average rating.

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Board 1

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 8"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.10.14"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Guadalupe II, Francisco"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B84"]
[WhiteElo "2365"]
[BlackElo "2847"]
[PlyCount "112"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. Be3
Qc7 9. f4 Nc6 10. Qe1 O-O 11. Qg3 Nxd4 12. Bxd4 b5 13. a3 Bb7 {We have reached
a popular line in the Sicilian Scheveningen variation.} 14. Rad1 Rad8 15. Kh1
Bc6 16. Bf3 a5 {Black's idea is to play for queenside counterplay since
White's forces are focused on the kingside and center. It also makes sense
because Black has a pawn minority on the queenside so perhaps he can provoke a
weakness in White's pawn structure.} 17. e5 dxe5 18. fxe5 Nd7 19. Ne4 Bxe4 20.
Bxe4 Nc5 21. Bf3 b4 22. axb4 axb4 23. Qf2 Rd7 24. b3 g6 25. Bb2 Rxd1 26. Rxd1
Nd7 27. Qd4 Rd8 {Wesley is playing a nice positional game up to this point.
The e5-pawn and c2-pawns are both targets. The knight on d7 will prove
stronger than it's counterpart bishop on b2.} 28. c4 {A small mistake that
allows the knight important targets from the c5 square.} Nc5 29. Qe3 Rxd1+ 30.
Bxd1 Bf8 31. Qd2 Qa5 32. Bd4 Nd7 33. Qe3 Qc7 34. Qe1 Bc5 35. Bb2 Qa7 36. Qd2
Qa2 37. h3 Bf8 38. Qc2 Bg7 39. Bd4 Qxc2 40. Bxc2 Bxe5 41. Be3 Bd6 {Wesley won
the weak pawn and now begins to convert the advantage to a win.} 42. Be4 f5 43.
Bc6 Nc5 44. Bxc5 Bxc5 45. Kh2 Bd6+ 46. Kg1 Kf7 47. Kf2 Kf6 48. Ke3 Bc5+ 49. Kd3
e5 50. Bd5 e4+ 51. Ke2 Ke5 52. Bb7 Kd4 53. Bd5 Kc3 54. Bg8 h6 55. Bh7 g5 56.
Bxf5 e3 0-1

[/pgn]

Board 2

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 8"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.10.14"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Bartholomew, John"]
[Black "Adamson, Robby"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D30"]
[WhiteElo "2555"]
[BlackElo "2360"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "99"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 d5 4. Qc2 {John plays a rare line. I believe this
is his attempt to reach a quiet position. 4.Nc3 allows for the Ragozin
Defense which can lead to sharp positions.} dxc4 5. Qxc4 a6 6. Bg5 b5 7. Qc2
Bb7 8. Nbd2 Nbd7 9. Nb3 Rc8 10. Nc5 Nxc5 11. dxc5 Be4 12. Qc3 Qd5 13. Bxf6 gxf6
14. Nd2 Bxg2 (14... Bg6 {Stockfish really likes Black's position here with the
bishop pair and open d-file.}) 15. Rg1 Bxf1 16. Qxf6 Bh3 (16... Rd8 17. Kxf1
Qd4 {is a clever way to hold onto h8. Black retains the advantage here.}) 17.
Qxh8 Qxc5 18. Qc3 Qxc3 19. bxc3 Bf5 20. a4 b4 21. cxb4 Bxb4 22. Rg8+ Bf8 23.
Rc1 Bg6 24. Rc6 a5 {Now John has an endgame advantage. He's able to route his
knight to attacking positions.} 25. Nc4 f6 26. Rxe6+ Kd7 27. Rxf8 Rxf8 28. Ra6
Be4 29. Rxa5 Kc6 30. f3 Bd5 31. Ne3 Be6 32. Nc2 Bd7 33. Rh5 Rf7 34. a5 Be8 35.
Nd4+ Kd6 36. Nf5+ Kc6 37. e4 Rd7 38. Rh6 Bg6 39. Nh4 Rg7 40. Kf2 Kb5 41. Ke3
Kxa5 42. f4 c5 43. f5 Be8 44. Rxf6 Bb5 45. Rf8 Rg4 46. Nf3 Bc6 47. Nd2 Kb4 48.
Rc8 Bd7 49. Rc7 Rg7 50. Nf3 1-0

[/pgn]

Board 3

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 8"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.10.14"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Atoufi, Pedram"]
[Black "Tang, Andrew"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C91"]
[WhiteElo "2368"]
[BlackElo "2475"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "99"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3
O-O 9. d4 Bg4 10. Be3 exd4 11. cxd4 d5 12. e5 Ne4 13. Nbd2 Qd7 14. h3 Bh5 15.
g4 Bg6 16. Nxe4 dxe4 17. e6 fxe6 18. Ne5 Nxe5 19. dxe5 Qc8 20. a4 c5 21. axb5
c4 22. Ba4 Bb4 23. Re2 Rd8 24. Qc1 Qc7 $2 (24... Bc5 {leads to an equal
endgame.} 25. bxa6 Bxe3 26. Rxe3 Qxa6) 25. b6 {White finds the best move} Qxe5
26. b7 Rab8 27. Bf4 Qd5 28. Bxb8 Rxb8 {Sometimes a bishop pair can be as
strong as a rook, but Black's pawns are very weak.} 29. Bb3 Qxb7 30. Bxc4 Kh8
31. Rxa6 Rc8 32. Qg5 Be7 33. Qb5 Qc7 34. Bxe6 Rf8 35. Qc6 Qb8 36. Bd5 Be8 37.
Qe6 Bc5 38. Kg2 Qb5 39. Bc4 Qb7 40. Bd5 Qb5 41. Rc2 Bd7 42. Bc4 Qb7 43. Qd5 Qc7
44. Ra8 Bc8 45. b4 e3 46. f3 Bxb4 47. Bb3 Bc3 48. Qe4 Qc5 49. Be6 e2 50. Qxe2
1-0

[/pgn]

Board 4

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 8"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.10.14"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Bell, Eric"]
[Black "Yim, Sung Ho"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E11"]
[WhiteElo "2050"]
[BlackElo "2251"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "74"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 Qe7 5. a3 Bxd2+ 6. Nbxd2 d6 7. e3 e5 8.
Qc2 O-O 9. dxe5 dxe5 10. Be2 a5 11. O-O Nc6 12. Rad1 e4 13. Ne1 Bf5 14. Nb3 Ne5
15. Nd4 Bg6 16. c5 c6 17. b4 axb4 18. axb4 Nfd7 19. Qb3 Nf6 20. Nec2 Nd5 21.
Ra1 Rad8 22. Ra7 Rd7 23. Na3 Nd3 24. Bxd3 exd3 25. Nc4 Qg5 26. Nf3 Qe7 27. Nfe5
Rc7 28. Nxg6 hxg6 29. Nd6 b6 {Eric has built up a nice advantage. The knight
outpost on d6, Black's weak d3-pawn, and the more active major pieces all give
White an edge.} 30. Rxc7 Qxc7 31. e4 Nf4 32. g3 Ne6 33. Rc1 $2 {Eric misses a
tactic unfortunately.} bxc5 34. bxc5 Nxc5 35. Rxc5 Qxd6 36. Rc3 Rd8 37. Kf1 Qd4
0-1

[/pgn]

Arizona Scorpions Minnesota Blizzard
NM Francisco Guadalupe II: 2365 0.0 1.0 GM Wesley So: 2847
FM Robby Adamson: 2360 0.0 1.0 IM John Bartholomew: 2555
FM Pedram Atoufi: 2368 1.0 0.0 IM Andrew Tang: 2475
NM Sung Ho Yim: 2251 1.0 0.0 Eric Bell: 2050
Average Rating: 2336 Average Rating: 2482
Arizona Total 2.0 2.0 Minnesota Total

There are no easy match-ups in the US Chess League!  Round 7 pit the MN Blizzard up against the SF Mechanics.  The Mechanics have a very talented young team with a 20 year old GM on board 1!  Wesley So was back for the Blizzard on board 1 to help him prepare for the Millionaire Open in Las Vegas.

12074682_879693322117656_9123646166385982002_n

Board 1:  Wesley and Daniel go into a line that Daniel has played a few times in the past.  Wesley shows outstanding technique with a nearly perfect game.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 7"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.10.06"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Naroditsky, Daniel"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C06"]
[WhiteElo "2711"]
[BlackElo "2847"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "66"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Be7 4. Ngf3 Nf6 5. e5 Nfd7 6. Bd3 c5 7. c3 Nc6 8. O-O
a5 9. Re1 {Naroditsky has plalyed this line more than once. Wesley must have
prepared for this variation!} cxd4 10. cxd4 Qb6 11. a4 {Daniel deviates from a
2013 game where he played Nb1.} Nxd4 12. Nxd4 Qxd4 13. Nf3 Qb6 14. Be3 Nc5 15.
Bb5+ Bd7 16. Nd4 {According to the engine it's a mistake to let Black castle.}
(16. Bxd7+ Kxd7 17. Nd4 {holds equality.}) 16... Bxb5 17. Nxb5 O-O 18. Qg4 Rfc8
19. Bd4 Qa6 20. Nd6 Nb3 $1 {The best move! Wesley sacrifices the exchange.}
21. Nxc8 Rxc8 22. Rad1 Qc4 23. h3 h5 24. Qf4 Qxa4 25. Rd3 Qb4 26. Rb1 {White's
rooks have limited mobility.} Rc7 27. Qe3 a4 28. Bc3 Qe4 29. Qxe4 dxe4 30. Re3
b5 31. Rd1 Rc4 32. Be1 b4 33. Rd7 Bg5 0-1

[/pgn]

Board 2: IM Sean Nagle is back for another game!  He has the White pieces against FM Cameron Wheeler.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 7"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.10.06"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Nagle, Sean"]
[Black "Wheeler, Cameron"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A27"]
[WhiteElo "2542"]
[BlackElo "2425"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "63"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf3 g6 4. d4 exd4 5. Nxd4 Bg7 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. g3 Ne7 8.
Bg2 O-O 9. O-O d6 10. Qc2 Be6 11. b3 Nf5 12. Bb2 {Sean reaches a nice low-risk
position out of the opening. White has an advantage here due to his better
placed pieces and central mobility. Black is stuck trying to defend a few
weaknesses.} Rb8 13. e3 c5 14. Rfd1 Qe7 {Sean decides to head towards the
endgame with the bishop pair.} 15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. Bxd5 Rfe8 17. Bxg7 Nxg7 18. Qc3
Rb6 19. Qa5 c6 {Positionally this move is questionnable. Now both the c6 and
d6 pawns become weak.} 20. Bg2 Reb8 21. Rd3 Ne8 22. Rad1 Qb7 {Pushing the e
and f-pawns is probably the way to go here instead of sacrificing the exchange.
} 23. Rxd6 (23. e4 f6 24. f4 {Trying to play for e5.}) 23... Nxd6 24. Rxd6 Ra6
25. Qxc5 Rxa2 26. Qd4 Qxb3 27. Rd8+ Rxd8 28. Qxd8+ Kg7 29. Qd4+ Kg8 30. Qd8+
Kg7 31. Qd4+ Kg8 32. Qd8+ 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]

Board 3:  NM Dane Mattson is back from Duluth after his nice performance last week!

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 7"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.10.06"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Critelli, James"]
[Black "Mattson, Dane"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C00"]
[WhiteElo "2376"]
[BlackElo "2261"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "117"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. e4 e6 2. b3 {A very rare line! Perhaps James prepared this just for the
match.} b6 3. Bb2 Bb7 4. Qe2 Nf6 5. Nc3 Bb4 6. e5 Bxc3 7. dxc3 Ne4 8. Nh3 Qh4 {
This looks too aggressive. White is going to castle queenside now and have a
nice space advantage.} (8... O-O 9. O-O-O a5 {and hopefully in a few moves
Black can play Qe7 and d6.}) 9. O-O-O Nc5 10. f4 Nc6 11. g3 Qe7 12. Bg2 O-O-O
13. c4 Kb8 14. Rhe1 {White has a clear advantage now even though the material
is even. The bishop pair plus the pressure down the d-file is hard to compete
with.} h6 15. Rf1 Rhe8 16. Qh5 Rf8 17. Rf2 Rh8 18. f5 exf5 19. Qxf5 Rhf8 20.
Bd5 Ne6 (20... Rde8 {is a nice way to fight back in the center.} 21. Re1 f6 22.
Qh5 Nxe5 23. Bxe5 fxe5 24. Rxe5 $11) 21. Kb1 Rde8 22. Re2 Qc5 23. Qg4 Qe7 24.
Nf2 Ng5 25. h4 f5 26. exf6 Qxe2 27. Qxe2 Rxe2 28. fxg7 Rexf2 29. hxg5 hxg5 30.
Bc1 Re8 31. g8=Q Rxg8 32. Bxg8 Rf8 33. Bh7 Rf7 {Both sides were getting low on
time at this point and FM Critelli shows a nice display of the bishop pair's
power.} 34. Bg6 Rg7 35. Bf5 d6 36. Rh1 a5 37. Rh8+ Ka7 38. g4 Ne5 39. Bb2 Re7
40. Rg8 Nf3 41. Bf6 Re1+ 42. Kb2 Be4 43. Rg7 Bxf5 44. gxf5 Nh4 45. Rxc7+ Kb8
46. Rc6 Nxf5 47. Rxb6+ Kc7 48. Rb5 Ne3 49. Bxg5 Nd1+ 50. Ka3 a4 51. Bf4 Nc3 52.
Rf5 axb3 53. axb3 Ne4 54. c5 Ra1+ 55. Kb2 Rd1 56. cxd6+ Kc6 57. Rf7 Rd5 58.
Rc7+ Kb6 59. Be3+ 1-0

[/pgn]

Board 4:  Board 4 features Blog Editor Matt Jensen from Rochester.  Do I have to annotate it? 🙂

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 7"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.10.06"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Jensen, Matt"]
[Black "Taghizadeh, Rayan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2199"]
[BlackElo "2245"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "110"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bg2 dxc4 6. O-O {The Catalan was
what I expected going into the game.} Rb8 7. e3 b5 8. Qe2 Bb7 9. Rd1 Nb4 10. a4
Be4 {At this point I took a long think. My position feels comfortable and I
felt there were two options. The first would be to play 11.axb5 and possibly
sacrifice the exchange if I can get Black's light-squared bishop off the board.
The second option, chosen in the game, involves retreating the knight and
playing solid.} 11. Ne1 $6 (11. axb5 Bd3 12. Rxd3 cxd3 13. Qd1 Rxb5 14. Qa4 {
was the line I analyzed during the game. I felt that Black had more winning
chances here than the 11.Ne1 variation. Looking at the lines now shows I made
the wrong choice! White is doing great in this line and is very passive in
the game line.}) 11... Bxg2 12. Kxg2 a6 13. e4 Be7 14. Nc3 O-O 15. Bf4 Ne8 16.
axb5 axb5 17. Ra5 c6 18. Ra7 Bd6 19. Be3 Ra8 20. Rxa8 Qxa8 21. Nf3 Nc7 22. Bg5
Qe8 23. Be3 Qd7 24. h4 (24. b3 {At some point here I need to change the
dynamics of the position. 24.h4 had ideas of defending Bg5 in some lines, but
I went down in flames quickly after.}) 24... f5 25. Ne5 Qe8 26. Bf4 Qd8 27. f3
Bxe5 28. dxe5 Nd3 29. Bg5 Qe8 30. b3 Qg6 31. bxc4 bxc4 32. exf5 exf5 33. Kh2
Qe6 34. Bf4 Rb8 35. Rd2 Rb3 36. Rc2 Nd5 37. Nxd5 cxd5 38. Ra2 h6 39. h5 d4 40.
Kh3 Rb8 41. Qd2 Nxf4+ 42. Qxf4 c3 43. Rg2 d3 44. g4 fxg4+ 45. Rxg4 c2 46. Kg3
Rc8 47. Rg6 Qxg6+ 48. hxg6 c1=Q 49. Qf7+ Kh8 50. e6 Qg5+ 51. Kh3 Qd8 52. e7 Qe8
53. Qf5 d2 54. Qd5 Qxe7 55. Qxd2 Qe6+ 0-1

[/pgn]

San Francisco Mechanics Minnesota Blizzard
GM Daniel Naroditsky: 2711 0.0 1.0 GM Wesley So: 2847
FM Cameron Wheeler: 2425 0.5 0.5 IM Sean Nagle: 2542
FM James Critelli: 2376 1.0 0.0 NM Dane Mattson: 2261
FM Rayan Taghizadeh: 2245 1.0 0.0 NM Matt Jensen: 2199
Average Rating: 2439 Average Rating: 2462
San Francisco Total 2.5 1.5 Minnesota Total

 

Western Division

Team W L Game Points Opps Avg Rating
Las Vegas 4.0 3.0 15.0/28 (53%) 2400
Dallas 4.0 3.0 15.0/28 (53%) 2396
Arizona 4.0 3.0 15.0/28 (53%) 2390
St. Louis 4.0 3.0 14.5/28 (51%) 2406
Seattle 3.5 3.5 14.5/28 (51%) 2406
Rio Grande 3.5 3.5 14.5/28 (51%) 2393
Lubbock 3.5 3.5 14.5/28 (51%) 2378
San Francisco 3.5 3.5 12.5/28 (44%) 2404
Minnesota 3.0 4.0 12.5/28 (44%) 2398
San Diego 2.0 5.0 12.0/28 (42%) 2401

Round 6 was a battle among two of the leading teams.  The St. Louis Arch Bishops won the USCL last year with Wesley So as their anchor.  This year Wesley plays for the Blizzard which makes for a very intriguing match-up!

12047150_876877692399219_3859816715312949399_n

Board 1:  GM Varuhzan Akobian vs. GM Wesley So.  This is a rematch of their controversial game at the 2015 US Championships.  Wesley had the black pieces and they followed one of Var's recent games for 14 moves.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 6"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.29"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Akobian, Varuzhan"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E36"]
[WhiteElo "2721"]
[BlackElo "2847"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "139"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. Nf3 d5 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. Qxc3 dxc4 {
Nimzo Indian Classical Variation.} 8. Qxc4 b6 9. Bg5 Ba6 10. Qa4 Qd7 11. Qc2 c5
12. Bxf6 gxf6 13. dxc5 Rc8 14. Rd1 {Up until this point we are following 4
Grandmaster games, including one game Akobian-Kryvoruchko 2013. Wesley
deviates from that game with 14...Qb5.} Qb5 15. e3 Qxc5 16. Qxc5 bxc5 17. Be2
Kf8 18. Nd2 Bb7 19. f3 Ke7 20. Kf2 Nd7 {White has a small advantage going into
the endgame due to Black's weak c-pawn.} 21. e4 Bc6 22. Rc1 Rab8 23. b3 Bb5 24.
Rc3 Rc6 25. Bxb5 Rxb5 26. Rhc1 Ra6 27. Nc4 Rb7 28. a4 Nb6 29. Nd2 Nd7 30. f4
Rd6 31. Ke3 Rd4 32. g3 e5 33. f5 {It's instructive how Wesley defends c5 with
the knight and looks for rook activity.} h5 34. Nc4 Rb4 35. Kf3 Rb8 36. h3 Kf8
37. Ne3 Rdb4 38. Rd3 Rd4 39. Rdc3 Rdb4 40. Rd3 R8b7 41. Rcc3 Rd4 42. Nd5 Kg7
43. Ke3 a5 44. Kf3 c4 45. bxc4 Nc5 46. Rxd4 exd4 47. Ra3 Nd7 48. Ke2 Nc5 49.
Kf3 Rb2 50. Nf4 Nd7 51. Nd3 Rc2 52. c5 Ne5+ 53. Kf4 Nd7 54. g4 hxg4 55. hxg4
Nxc5 56. e5 Nd7 {It appears Wesley is trying to avoid Varuzhan's draw attempts.
In this case it may have been best to trade knights and go into a drawn rook
endgame.} (56... Nxd3+ 57. Rxd3 Rc4 58. exf6+ Kxf6 59. g5+ Kg7 60. Ke4 Rxa4 61.
Rxd4 Rxd4+ 62. Kxd4 Kf8 63. Kc4 Ke7 64. Kb5 Kd6 65. g6 fxg6 66. fxg6 Ke6 $11)
57. exf6+ Nxf6 58. g5 Nd5+ 59. Ke4 Nb6 60. Rb3 Nxa4 61. Rb7 Rc8 62. g6 Rf8 63.
Ra7 (63. Ke5 {gives White strong winning chances according to Stockfish.} Nc3
64. Nc5 {looking at the e6 square} Kg8 65. f6 $18) 63... Nc3+ 64. Kf4 Nb5 65.
Rxa5 fxg6 66. Rxb5 Rxf5+ 67. Rxf5 gxf5 68. Kxf5 Kf7 69. Ke5 Kg7 70. Kxd4
1/2-1/2

[/pgn]

Board 2: IM John Bartholomew with the white pieces has been a monster this season!  John is going up against IM Kannappan, who has had 2650+ performance ratings in all 3 of his USCL seasons.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 6"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.29"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Bartholomew, John"]
[Black "Kannappan, Priyadharshan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A90"]
[WhiteElo "2555"]
[BlackElo "2567"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "144"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 e6 2. c4 f5 {A modern way to reach the Dutch that avoids many of the
Anti-Dutch systems.} 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 d5 5. Nh3 c6 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bf4 O-O 8. O-O
Be7 9. Nd2 Nh5 10. Nf3 {John takes a very solid approach and obtains a small
advantage out of the opening. Black will have some trouble getting his
queenside pieces developed.} Nxf4 11. Nxf4 Bd6 12. Nd3 Nd7 13. b4 Qe7 14. c5 {
John is creating a bind in order to lock in Black's c8-bishop.} Bc7 15. Qb2 Re8
16. Nfe5 (16. a4 e5 17. Ndxe5 Nxe5 18. Nxe5 Bxe5 19. dxe5 Qxe5 20. Qxe5 Rxe5
21. e3 {is an improvement over the game. Now White can try to grind with same
colored bishops.}) 16... Nxe5 17. dxe5 {The minor piece exchange gave Black
counterplay on the queenside.} Bd7 18. a4 b6 19. Rfc1 Reb8 20. Qd4 a5 21. b5
Bd8 22. bxc6 Bxc6 23. g4 g6 24. gxf5 gxf5 25. Kh1 Kh8 26. cxb6 Bxb6 27. Qf4 Bd7
28. Rab1 Ba7 29. Bf3 Rxb1 30. Rxb1 Rb8 31. Rxb8+ Bxb8 32. Qd4 Be8 33. Qb2 Ba7
34. Qc3 Bb6 35. Qc8 Qd7 36. Qb8 Ba7 37. Qa8 Kg7 38. Nf4 Bxf2 39. Qxa5 Be3 40.
Qb4 Bf7 41. a5 Qc7 42. Nd3 Qc2 43. Qe1 Kf8 44. Kg2 Qa4 45. Qb4+ Qxb4 46. Nxb4
Ke7 47. a6 Kd7 48. Nc2 Bc5 49. e3 Kc7 50. Be2 Kb6 51. Kg3 Be8 52. Nd4 Bd7 53.
Kf4 h6 54. Nb3 Be7 55. Nd4 Bc5 56. Nb3 Ba3 57. Nd4 Bb2 58. Bd3 (58. Nb3 {leads
to a draw. Letting Black exchange the b2-bishop for the knight gives Black
strong winning chances.} Bc8 59. Bd3 Ba3 60. Nd4 $11) 58... Bc8 59. h4 Bxd4 60.
exd4 Bxa6 61. Bxf5 $5 {An interesting try! Black has to be very careful now
to avoid a draw.} (61. Bc2 Kb5 62. Ke3 Kb4 63. Kd2 f4 64. Bg6 Bf1 {is a win
for Black still.}) 61... exf5 62. Kxf5 h5 63. Kg6 Be2 64. e6 Kc7 $2 (64... Bg4
65. e7 Bd7 66. Kxh5 Kc6 67. Kg6 Be8+ {only move!?} 68. Kg5 Kd6 69. h5 Kxe7 70.
h6 Kf7 71. Kf5 Bb5 72. Ke5 Bc4 73. Kf5 Bb3 74. Kg5 Bc2 75. Kh5 Kf6 76. Kg4 Kg6
{and Black will go on to win.}) 65. e7 Bb5 66. Kxh5 $2 (66. Kf7 Kd6 67. e8=Q
Bxe8+ 68. Kxe8 {is drawn!}) 66... Kd6 67. Kg5 Kxe7 68. h5 Bd3 69. Kf4 Kf6 70.
Ke3 Bc2 71. Kf4 Bd1 72. h6 Kg6 0-1

[/pgn]

Board 3: National Master Dane Mattson makes his debut for the Blizzard.  Again we see a stonewall Dutch!

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 6"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.29"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Eckert, Doug"]
[Black "Mattson, Dane"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A40"]
[WhiteElo "2272"]
[BlackElo "2261"]
[PlyCount "63"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 e6 2. c4 f5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 d5 5. Bg2 c6 6. O-O Bd6 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Qc2
Ne4 9. Rb1 Nd7 10. b4 b5 11. cxb5 Nxc3 12. Qxc3 cxb5 13. Qc6 Nb6 14. Qxb5 Nc4
15. Qa4 Bd7 16. Qd1 Rb8 17. Bf4 Rxb4 18. Bxd6 Rxb1 19. Qxb1 Nxd6 20. Ne5 Bb5
21. Qb4 Re8 22. Re1 Qc7 23. a4 Bc4 24. e3 Rb8 25. Qc5 Rc8 26. Qxc7 Rxc7 27. Rb1
Ba6 28. Bf1 Bxf1 29. Rb8+ Rc8 30. Rxc8+ Nxc8 31. Kxf1 a5 32. Nc6 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]

Board 4:  National Master Andrew Tang is back to play the White pieces against NM Rosenthal.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 6"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.29"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Titus, Andrew"]
[Black "Rosenthal, Nicholas"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C06"]
[WhiteElo "2189"]
[BlackElo "2162"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "160"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Bd3 c5 6. c3 b6 7. Ne2 Ba6 {French
Tarrasch variation.} 8. Bb1 cxd4 9. cxd4 Nc6 10. Nf3 Bb4+ 11. Bd2 Bxd2+ 12.
Qxd2 Na5 13. b3 Rc8 14. O-O {Black has solved the question of where to put his
minor pieces. White has a lot of kingside pressure though so it will be tough
for Black's king to find safety.} g6 15. Re1 Qc7 16. Bd3 Bxd3 17. Qxd3 Qb7 18.
Ng5 Nb8 19. Rac1 Nbc6 20. Qh3 h5 21. Qf3 Qe7 22. h4 Rc7 23. Rc3 Kd8 24. Rec1
Kc8 25. g3 Kb8 26. Kg2 Rhc8 27. Qf4 Nd8 28. Rxc7 Rxc7 29. Rxc7 Qxc7 30. Qc1 {
A mistake by White. The endgame should be approximately equal.} Qxc1 31. Nxc1
Nac6 32. Nf3 Kc7 {They say you can evaluate King+Knight+Pawn endgames similar
to King+Pawn endgames. That looks to be true here.} 33. Ne2 a6 34. Nd2 (34.
Ne1 Nb4 35. a3 Nbc6 36. b4 {keeps Black's knight out nicely.}) 34... Nb4 35. f3
{Now Black has an advantage because the a2-pawn will fall.} Ndc6 36. g4 Nc2 37.
gxh5 gxh5 38. Ng3 N2xd4 39. f4 Ne7 40. Nxh5 Ng6 41. Kh3 Nf5 42. Nf3 d4 {Andrew
has faught back to equality. Can he use the h-pawn to his advantage now?} 43.
Ng3 Ne3 44. Nxd4 $2 (44. h5 Nxf4+ 45. Kh4 d3 46. h6 Ng6+ 47. Kg5 {puts the
pressure on Black to stop the h-pawn.}) 44... Nxf4+ 45. Kh2 Ng4+ 46. Kg1 Nxe5
47. Kf2 Kd6 48. h5 Kd5 49. Nde2 Nxe2 50. Kxe2 Ng4 51. Kf3 Nh6 52. Kf4 f6 53.
Ne2 e5+ 54. Ke3 f5 55. Nc3+ Kd6 56. b4 Nf7 57. Na4 Kc6 58. Nc3 b5 59. a3 Kd6
60. Kf3 Ke6 61. a4 Nd6 62. a5 Ne8 63. h6 Nf6 {Nicholas missed 64.Nxb5 and
Andrew found it! Now Andrew is playing for a win.} 64. Nxb5 e4+ 65. Kg3 (65.
Ke2 {avoiding the pawn checks is the best bet.}) 65... Ke5 66. Nc3 f4+ 67. Kg2
f3+ 68. Kf1 e3 69. Ne2 (69. b5 Kd4 70. h7 Nxh7 71. bxa6 Kxc3 72. Ke1 f2+ 73.
Ke2 f1=Q+ 74. Kxf1 Kd2 75. a7 e2+ 76. Kg2 e1=Q 77. a8=Q {is a draw!}) 69...
fxe2+ 70. Kxe2 Kd5 71. b5 axb5 72. Kxe3 (72. a6 {keeps drawing chances.} Kc6
73. a7 Kb7 74. Kxe3 Kxa7 75. Kf4 Nh7 76. Kf5 b4 77. Kg6 b3 78. Kxh7 b2 79. Kg7
b1=Q 80. h7 {is a draw. There might be somthing for Black that I missed
though.}) 72... Ng4+ 73. Kd3 Nxh6 74. Kc3 Kc6 75. Kb4 Nf7 76. a6 Nd6 77. Ka5
Kc7 78. Kb4 Kb6 79. a7 Kxa7 80. Kc5 Ka6 0-1

[/pgn]

St. Louis Arch Bishops Minnesota Blizzard
GM Varuzhan Akobian: 2721 0.5 0.5 GM Wesley So: 2847
IM Priyadharshan Kannappan: 2567 1.0 0.0 IM John Bartholomew: 2555
FM Doug Eckert: 2272 0.5 0.5 NM Dane Mattson: 2261
NM Nicholas Rosenthal: 2162 1.0 0.0 NM Andrew Titus: 2189
Average Rating: 2431 Average Rating: 2463
St. Louis Total 3.0 1.0 Minnesota Total

Round 5 pit the MN Blizzard against the Las Vegas Desert Rats.  Las Vegas is also a new team for 2015 and has the same record as the Blizzard.

12004895_874290192657969_5077306833857746624_n

Board 1:  GM Mauricio Flores is back for the Blizzard after scoring 1.5 points in his first two games!

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 5"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.22"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Flores, Mauricio"]
[Black "Sevillano, Enrico"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2565"]
[BlackElo "2526"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "82"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 dxc4 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. Qa4 Bd6 {A rare line
against the Catalan defense played frequently by Vadim Milov.} 7. O-O O-O 8.
Qxc4 e5 9. d5 Ne7 10. Nc3 h6 11. Rd1 a6 {Mauricio has a slight edge with a
solid pawn on d5.} 12. Nd2 b5 13. Qd3 Nd7 14. e4 f5 15. exf5 Nc5 16. Qe2 Nxf5
17. Nf3 b4 (17... Qf6 18. Ne4 Nxe4 19. Qxe4 Bd7 {gives Black the advantage
with the strong bishops and f-file pressure.}) 18. Ne4 Nxe4 19. Qxe4 Qf6 20.
Be3 Nxe3 21. fxe3 Bd7 22. Rac1 Rf7 23. Rf1 Raf8 24. Nd4 Qe7 25. Ne6 Bxe6 26.
dxe6 Qxe6 27. Rxf7 Qxf7 28. Qd5 g5 29. Rf1 Qxd5 30. Bxd5+ {Now in an opposite
colored bishop ending it will be near impossible for either side to play for a
win.} Kg7 31. Rxf8 Bxf8 32. g4 Bc5 33. Kf2 Kf6 34. Kf3 a5 35. b3 Ba7 36. Ke4
Bb6 37. h3 Ba7 38. Bc4 Bb6 39. Bd5 Ba7 40. Bc4 Bb6 41. Bd5 Ba7 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]

Board 2:  IM Sean Nagle, multiple time state champion, is back for another game this round!

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 5"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.22"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Kamberi, Sonny"]
[Black "Nagle, Sean"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A37"]
[WhiteElo "2366"]
[BlackElo "2542"]
[PlyCount "147"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. c4 g6 2. Nc3 Bg7 3. g3 c5 4. Bg2 Nc6 5. Nf3 e5 6. O-O Nge7 7. d3 (7. a3 O-O
8. Rb1 a5 {is a more popular move order. These positions tend to lead to
drawish positions unless White is able to get in a successful pawn break.})
7... d6 8. Ne1 Be6 9. Nd5 O-O 10. Rb1 Rb8 11. Nc2 {A symmetrical English
variation.} b5 12. a3 bxc4 13. dxc4 Na5 14. Nce3 Nb3 15. Bd2 Nc6 16. Bc3 Qd7
17. Qd3 f5 18. Nc2 e4 {A very nice move by Sean! Now Black has the initiative.
} 19. Qd1 Ncd4 (19... Ne5 {is the Stockfish recommendation, threatening c4.}
20. Nce3 Nd4 {Now the threat is renewed since Black can take on c4 and then d5.
}) 20. e3 Nxc2 21. Qxc2 Bxd5 22. cxd5 Bxc3 23. Qxc3 Qg7 24. Rfd1 Qxc3 25. bxc3
c4 26. Bf1 {The knight is stronger than the bishop. Will it be enough?} Rfc8
27. Rb2 a5 28. a4 Kg7 29. Rdb1 Kf6 30. Bxc4 Rxc4 31. Rxb3 Rxb3 32. Rxb3 Rxa4
33. Rb7 Ra1+ 34. Kg2 h5 35. h4 Rc1 36. Ra7 Rxc3 37. Rxa5 Rc5 38. Ra7 Rxd5 39.
Kf1 g5 40. hxg5+ Kxg5 41. Rg7+ Kf6 42. Rh7 Rd1+ 43. Kg2 Kg6 44. Rd7 d5 45. Kh2
Rd2 46. Kg1 h4 47. gxh4 Kh5 48. Rf7 Kg4 49. h5 d4 50. exd4 Rxd4 51. h6 Rd6 52.
h7 Rh6 53. Kg2 f4 54. f3+ exf3+ 55. Kf2 Rh2+ 56. Kg1 Rh6 57. Rg7+ Kf5 58. Kf2
Rh3 59. Rf7+ Kg5 60. Rg7+ Kf6 61. Rg4 Ke5 62. Rg5+ Ke4 63. Rg7 Rh2+ 64. Kg1 Rh4
65. Kf2 Rh2+ 66. Kg1 Rh3 67. Kf2 Ke5 68. Re7+ Kf6 69. Re4 Kg5 70. Re7 Kg6 71.
Re4 Kxh7 72. Rxf4 Kh8 73. Rxf3 Rxf3+ 74. Kxf3 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]

Board 3:  IM Andrew Tang is back after playing some very impressive matches so far!

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 5"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.22"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Tang, Andrew"]
[Black "Liu, Elliott"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E81"]
[WhiteElo "2475"]
[BlackElo "2329"]
[PlyCount "108"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e4 d6 5. f3 O-O 6. Nge2 c5 7. d5 e6 8. Ng3
exd5 9. cxd5 a6 10. a4 Nh5 11. Nxh5 gxh5 12. Bd3 f5 13. exf5 Qe8+ 14. Ne4 Bxf5
15. O-O Bd4+ 16. Kh1 Qg6 17. Bf4 Nd7 18. Qc2 h4 19. Rae1 Ne5 20. Bxe5 Bxe5 21.
b3 Kh8 22. Nf2 Rg8 23. Rg1 Bxd3 24. Nxd3 Raf8 25. Qd2 Bd4 26. Rgf1 Qf5 27. Nb4
Rg5 28. Nc2 Be5 29. Re2 b5 30. axb5 axb5 31. b4 Qf4 32. Qxf4 Bxf4 33. Rb1 c4
34. Rd1 Re5 35. Rxe5 Bxe5 36. Na3 Ra8 37. Nxb5 c3 38. Nxc3 Bxc3 39. b5 Ra5 40.
Rb1 Bb4 41. h3 Rxb5 42. g3 hxg3 43. Kg2 Kg7 44. Kxg3 Kf6 45. f4 Kf5 46. Kf3 Rb6
47. Rg1 h6 48. Rg7 Bd2 49. Rf7+ Kg6 50. Re7 Rb3+ 51. Kg4 h5+ 52. Kh4 Bc3 53.
f5+ Kxf5 54. Kxh5 Bf6 0-1

[/pgn]

Board 4:  This is a great game by Eric Bell.  See if you can find his opponent's blunder.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 5"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.22"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Mateer, Amanda"]
[Black "Bell, Eric"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E15"]
[WhiteElo "2127"]
[BlackElo "2050"]
[PlyCount "36"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. Qc2 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Bg2 O-O 8. O-O
d5 9. Ne5 Bb7 10. Nc3 Nbd7 11. Rac1 c5 12. e3 Qc8 13. Qa4 dxc4 14. Nc6 Bd6 15.
d5 exd5 16. Nxd5 Nxd5 17. Bxd5 a6 18. Nb4 b5 0-1

[/pgn]

team icon vs team icon

All Time Series Record: (This is their first meeting)

Starts at 8:45 PM EST

Time Control: Game in 75 with 30 second increment

Minnesota Blizzard Las Vegas Desert Rats
GM Mauricio Flores: 2565 0.5 0.5 GM Enrico Sevillano: 2526
IM Sean Nagle: 2542 0.5 0.5 FM Sonny Kamberi: 2366
IM Andrew Tang: 2475 0.0 1.0 FM Elliott Liu: 2329
Eric Bell: 2050 1.0 0.0 WFM Amanda Mateer: 2127
Average Rating: 2408 Average Rating: 2337
Minnesota Total 2.0 2.0 Las Vegas Total

The Blizzard are now tied for 2nd place in the West.  We can do this!!

Western Division

Team W L Game Points Opps Avg Rating
Dallas 3.5 1.5 12.0/20 (60%) 2396
Las Vegas 3.0 2.0 11.0/20 (55%) 2412
St. Louis 3.0 2.0 10.5/20 (52%) 2394
Minnesota 3.0 2.0 10.0/20 (50%) 2384
Seattle 2.5 2.5 10.5/20 (52%) 2399
San Francisco 2.5 2.5 8.5/20 (42%) 2393
Arizona 2.0 3.0 9.5/20 (47%) 2408
Rio Grande 2.0 3.0 9.5/20 (47%) 2401
Lubbock 2.0 3.0 9.5/20 (47%) 2394
San Diego 1.5 3.5 9.0/20 (45%) 2405

 

Update!  IM John Bartholomew's game analysis on his YouTube channel!

11990519_870412653045723_6014510791901508274_n

Round 4 was another big match for the MN Blizzard.  We were paired up with the Rio Grande Ospreys.  The Ospreys were 6.5-3.5 last year making it to the Quarterfinals before losing to New York.   The rating distribution of our lineup was similar to other successful rounds, and Rio Grande appeared to have a similar strategy.

Board 1 was IM John Bartholomew with the white pieces against IM Vazquez.  John played energetically and there were lots of tactics to calculate early.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "ICC 75 30 u"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.15"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Bartholomew-MIN"]
[Black "Vazquez-RIO"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A17"]
[WhiteElo "2555"]
[BlackElo "2546"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "119"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. g4 {I love this idea from John! Not the
most popular move, but he's playing to mix things up and as White he has some
flexibility.} O-O 5. g5 Ne8 6. Qc2 d5 7. b3 (7. e3 {was played in
Maksimenko-Zorko 2013. Black went on to win that game.}) 7... c5 8. Bb2 Bxc3
9. dxc3 dxc4 10. e3 {A pawn sacrifice offer to open up the two bishops.} cxb3
11. axb3 f5 12. gxf6 {An interesting choice. At first it appears the trade
will strengthen John's bishops. After going forward 6-7 moves though it seems
an improvement could be made on move 12.} Qxf6 13. Be2 e5 14. Qe4 Nc6 15. c4
Bf5 16. Qh4 Rd8 17. Qxf6 {Black's king seems fairly safe and it will be
difficult for John to prove he has adequate compensation for the pawn.} gxf6
18. Rg1+ Kh8 19. Bc3 b6 20. Nh4 Be4 21. f4 exf4 22. exf4 a5 23. Rd1 Rxd1+ 24.
Bxd1 Ng7 25. Kf2 Nf5 26. Bf3 Nxh4 27. Bxe4 Nd4 28. Bxd4 cxd4 29. b4 axb4 30.
Rb1 f5 31. Bd5 Ng6 32. Rxb4 Rf6 33. Kg3 Rd6 34. Bf3 Kg7 35. Rb5 Kf6 36. c5 bxc5
37. Rxc5 d3 38. Rc4 d2 39. Bd1 Re6 40. Rd4 Re4 41. Rxd2 Nxf4 42. Bf3 Rb4 43.
Rd6+ Kg7 44. Rd7+ Kh6 45. Rf7 Kg6 46. Rd7 Kh6 47. Rf7 Kg6 48. Rd7 Kg5 49. Rxh7
Ng6 50. Rc7 Rb3 51. Kf2 Ne5 52. Be2 f4 53. Rc5 Kf5 54. Ra5 Rb2 55. h4 f3 56.
Rxe5+ Kxe5 57. Kxf3 Rb3+ 58. Kg4 Rb4+ 59. Kg5 Rxh4 60. Kxh4 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]

Board 2 was Sean Nagle against IM Ynojosa.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "ICC 75 30 u"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.15"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Ynojosa-RIO"]
[Black "Nagle-MIN"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E61"]
[WhiteElo "2471"]
[BlackElo "2542"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "62"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. c4 g6 2. Nc3 c5 3. e3 Bg7 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. d5 d6 7. Be2 Na6 {We've
reached a King's Indian position. Sean has lots of experience in these setups.
} 8. O-O Nc7 9. e4 Bg4 10. Ng5 Bxe2 11. Qxe2 a6 {Playing for the thematic pawn
break ...b5.} 12. f4 b5 13. e5 Nd7 14. e6 fxe6 15. Nxe6 Nxe6 16. Qxe6+ Kh8 17.
Ne4 Nf6 18. Ng5 Qd7 19. f5 Qxe6 20. Nxe6 {Less experienced players should
study this position closely. Sean sacrifices the exchange for a pawn and
obtains an advantage.} bxc4 21. Nxf8 Rxf8 22. fxg6 hxg6 23. Bd2 Rb8 24. Bc3
Nxd5 25. Bxg7+ Kxg7 26. Rf2 Nb4 27. Raf1 Nd3 {White obtains a position with
perpetual check possibilities and the game headed towards a draw.} 28. Rf7+ Kh6
29. R1f3 Rxb2 30. Rh3+ Kg5 31. Rg3+ Kh6 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]

Board 3 was IM Andrew Tang against IM Joshua Ruiz in his USCL debut.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "ICC 75 30 u"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.15"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Tang-MIN"]
[Black "Ruiz-RIO"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E32"]
[WhiteElo "2475"]
[BlackElo "2491"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "156"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 b6 7. Bg5 Bb7 8.
e3 d6 9. Ne2 Nbd7 10. Qc2 h6 11. Bh4 Qe8 12. Rd1 Ne4 13. f3 Ng5 14. Bg3 f5 15.
h4 Nh7 16. Bf2 e5 17. d5 Nhf6 18. Nc3 Bc8 19. Nb5 Qd8 20. Qxf5 e4 21. Nd4 Ne5
22. Ne6 Qe8 23. f4 Neg4 24. h5 c6 $2 (24... Rf7 {Threatening ...Nxd5.} 25. Be2
Nxd5 26. Qxd5 Bxe6 27. Qxe4 {is close to equal.}) 25. Be2 Nxf2 26. Kxf2 {Now
Andrew has the chance to push the g-pawn up the board for a dangerous attack.}
Rf7 27. Qg6 Bxe6 28. dxe6 Qxe6 29. Rd2 Rd8 30. Rhd1 Rc7 31. g4 d5 32. Kg2 Re7
33. g5 hxg5 34. fxg5 Nh7 35. Qxe6+ Rxe6 36. cxd5 Red6 37. Rd4 cxd5 38. Bc4 Nxg5
39. Rxd5 Rxd5 40. Rxd5 Rxd5 41. Bxd5+ Kh7 42. Kg3 Kh6 {The game is close to
equal but Andrew finds a way to get a won endgame.} 43. Kh4 Nf3+ 44. Kg4 Ne5+
45. Kf5 Nd3 46. Kxe4 Nxb2 47. Bf7 Kg5 48. Kd4 Nd1 49. e4 Kf6 50. Bg6 Nf2 51.
Bf5 Nh1 52. Kd5 Ng3 53. Bg4 Nf1 54. Kd6 Ne3 55. e5+ Kf7 56. Be2 Nf5+ 57. Kd7
Ne7 58. Bc4+ Kf8 59. Kc7 Ke8 60. Bb5+ Kf7 61. Kd7 Kf8 62. Bc4 Nf5 63. a4 Nh6
64. e6 Nf5 65. Bd3 Ne7 66. Be4 Ng8 67. Bf3 Nf6+ 68. Kd8 Ng8 69. Bg2 Ne7 70. Be4
Ng8 71. Bf3 Ne7 72. Be2 Nd5 73. Bc4 Ne7 74. Kc7 Nf5 75. Bd3 Ne7 76. Bc4 Nf5 77.
Kd8 Ne7 78. Kc7 Nf5 {Unfortunately while trying to gain time with the 30
second increment a three-fold repetition was reached.} (78... Nf5 {The endgame
is complicated. It looks like White's king can attempt to capture the
queenside pawns.} 79. Kb8 Nd6 80. Bd5 a6 81. Ka7 Ke7 82. Kxa6 Nc8 83. Kb7 Kd8
84. Bb3 {and Black is in zugswang.}) 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]

Assistant Manager and USCF Expert Eric Bell played board 4 for the Blizzard.  Most of the notes are from Eric (Thanks Eric!).

 

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "USCL Week 4"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.15"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Serna, Jeffrey"]
[Black "Bell, Eric"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B22"]
[WhiteElo "2108"]
[BlackElo "2050"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. c3 {Eric was prepared for a Be3 Najdorf and the Alapin took him by
surprise. He didn't mind though due to his experience in the opening.} d5 3.
exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. Be2 e6 7. O-O cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bxe2 9. Qxe2 a6 ({
Eric wanted to play} 9... Nc6 {but he didn't like} 10. Nb5 {To avoid
complications Eric decided to try to castle kingside quickly.}) 10. Be3 Be7 11.
Nd2 O-O {Eric thought now any advantage White had is probably dulled by the
c3-pawn being misplaced.} 12. Rfd1 Nbd7 13. h3 {"He spent a lot of time to
come up with h3.. maybe didn't like the idea of allowing Qh5 after Nf3 but I
felt I needed to keep an eye on the b6 from the bishop messing with my d-file
control" - Eric} Rfd8 14. N2f3 Ne5 15. Nxe5 Qxe5 16. Nf3 Qa5 17. Bd4 Nd5 18.
Ne5 Bf6 19. Re1 ({"luckily he overlooked Nf7 after Bf6.. but the continuation
isn't easy" - Eric} 19. Nxf7 Kxf7 20. Qh5+ Kg8 21. Bxf6 gxf6 22. c4 {Gives
White an advantage.}) 19... Nf4 {"after he moved his rook off the d-file,
seemed like an opportunity to offer a pawn to grab control of that file seemed
to pay off" - Eric} 20. Qf3 Ng6 21. Nxg6 hxg6 22. Bxf6 gxf6 23. Qxf6 Rd5 24.
Red1 Rad8 25. Rxd5 Rxd5 26. Qf3 Qb6 27. Qe2 Qd6 28. Rb1 Rd2 29. Qe3 Kg7 30. c4
Rd3 31. Qe1 Rd2 32. a3 Qd4 33. a4 Rxb2 {"finally he resigned a pawn to relieve
the pressure, I unfortunately missed Qc3 after Rd2.. which would have lead to
an advantage in a rook pawn ending, much easier to convert than an advantage
in a queen pawn, but time pressure was definitely an issue" - Eric} 34. Rd1 Qf6
35. Rd2 Rxd2 36. Qxd2 Qa1+ 37. Kh2 Qxa4 38. Qd4+ Kf8 39. Qd6+ Kg7 40. Qd4+ Kg8
41. Qd8+ 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]

team icon

Minnesota Blizzard (2.0 - 1.0)

team icon

Rio Grande Ospreys (1.5 - 1.5)

All Time Series Record: (This is their first meeting)

 

Minnesota Blizzard Rio Grande Ospreys
IM John Bartholomew: 2555 0.5 0.5 IM Guillermo Vazquez: 2546
IM Sean Nagle: 2542 0.5 0.5 IM Felix Ynojosa: 2471
IM Andrew Tang: 2475 0.5 0.5 IM Joshua Ruiz: 2491
Eric Bell: 2050 0.5 0.5 Jeffrey Serna: 2108
Average Rating: 2406 Average Rating: 2404
Minnesota Total 2.0 2.0 Rio Grande Total

Until next week!

After two weeks the MN Blizzard are right in the middle of the West division with 1/2.  Week 3 faces the Blizzard off against the Lubbock Tornadoes, a new team this year.  This is a big match for the Blizzard as they look to move into a playoff spot down the stretch.  Lineups for these matches must be submitted by a certain deadline, and the Tornadoes were late to submit their roster.  The Blizzard were awarded a time bonus with the clocks showing 84 minutes (Blizzard) - 66 minutes (Tornadoes).  A nice start to the match!  Let's dig into the games.

Lubbock Tornadoes Minnesota Blizzard
GM Andrey Baryshpolets: 2608 GM Mauricio Flores: 2565
FM Steven Breckenridge: 2414 IM John Bartholomew: 2555
WIM Irina Andrenko: 2323 IM Andrew Tang: 2475
WGM Carla Heredia: 2227 Saumik Narayanan: 1949
Average Rating: 2393 Average Rating: 2386

11986415_866752086745113_429392599685403321_n
GM Flores played board 1 for the Blizzard again after taking a week off.  He had the very nice win against Keaton Kiewra with the Black pieces in the first match and now finds himself against GM Andrey Baryshpolets.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "ICC 66 30 u"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.08"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Baryshpolet-LUB"]
[Black "Flores-MIN"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D97"]
[WhiteElo "2608"]
[BlackElo "2565"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 O-O 7. e4 a6 8. Be2
b5 9. Qb3 c5 10. dxc5 Be6 11. Qc2 Nbd7 12. Be3 Rc8 13. Rd1 b4 {Up until this
point we've been following a main line Grunfeld. White deviates from the
standard 14.Nd5.} 14. Na4 Qa5 $1 {A very nice reply threatening ...b3+ and ...
Nxe4!} 15. O-O Nxe4 16. Qxe4 Qxa4 17. Ng5 Nxc5 18. Qh4 (18. Bxc5 Rxc5 19. Nxe6
Re5 $1 20. Qb7 Rxe6 {gives Black a slight edge.}) 18... h6 19. Nxe6 Nxe6 20.
Bc4 {A good move. White puts immediate pressure on the e6-knight.} Bf6 {
Attacking the queen, which must remain in defense of c4.} 21. Qe4 Kg7 {
Mauricio must give back the pawn, leading to a drawn endgame.} 22. Bxe6 fxe6
23. Qxe6 Qc6 24. Qh3 h5 {The players have been following Morozevich -
Kasimdzhanov 2012, which continued 25.b3. That game ended in a draw.} 25. Bd4
Rfd8 26. Qe3 Rd7 27. Bxf6+ exf6 {We now reach a symmetric position that is
headed for a draw.} 28. Rxd7+ Qxd7 29. Qb6 Qb5 30. Qa7+ Kh6 31. h3 Rc2 32. Qd4
Kg7 33. Qa7+ Kh6 34. Qe3+ g5 35. Qe7 Qb6 36. Qf8+ Kg6 37. Qe8+ Kh6 38. Qh8+ Kg6
39. Qg8+ Kh6 40. Qf8+ Kg6 41. Qg8+ 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]

Board 2 featured IM John Bartholomew, hot off a 3rd place GOTW performance last week.  John won his previous match with White and now had the White pieces against FM Breckenridge.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "ICC 84 30 u"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.08"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Bartholomew-MIN"]
[Black "Breckenridg-LUB"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2555"]
[BlackElo "2414"]
[PlyCount "109"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. d4 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. Rc1 c6 7. e3 Nbd7 {This
game is following a standard Queen's Gambit Declined (QGD) setup. Black has
chosen a solid pawn formation with the c-pawn on c6 instead of pushing to c5.}
8. a3 Nh5 {John makes an interesting decision here giving up the bishop pair
and accepting an isolated pawn on d4. Is he crazy?! After looking deeper
into the position it appears he gets the exact position he was aiming for.} 9.
Bd3 Nxf4 10. exf4 dxc4 11. Bxc4 {It's time to start focusing on the pawn
breaks. If Black isn't able to safely play ...c5 or ...e5 White will have
complete control of the position.} Nb6 ({I would like to see Black go for
quicker development of the light square bishop. For example:} 11... b5 12. Bd3
a6 13. O-O Bb7 14. Qe2 c5 {White has a slight advantage still, but one could
argue Black is close to equal.}) 12. Bd3 Nd5 13. g3 Nxc3 14. Rxc3 {White is
gaining control of the dark squares.} b6 $2 {The c6-pawn becomes too weak
after this move. If Black has time to play ...c5 next it should be fine but
John doesn't allow it.} 15. Be4 Bb7 16. Ne5 Rc8 17. O-O ({Taking the pawn too
soon doesn't work.} 17. Nxc6 Bxc6 18. Rxc6 Rxc6 19. Bxc6 Bf6 20. d5 exd5 $11)
17... Bf6 18. Qa4 a5 19. Rfc1 b5 20. Qc2 g6 21. Bxc6 Bxe5 22. dxe5 {John is up
a pawn now and has more active major pieces. The downside for him is that the
extra pawn could be hard to mobilize down the stretch.} Rxc6 23. Rxc6 Qd5 24.
Qc5 Qf3 {A very aggressive move for Black keeping the light square threats on
the board. 25...Rd8 is the threat.} 25. Qxb5 Rb8 26. Qb6 Kg7 27. Qc7 a4 28. h4
h5 29. Qxb8 Bxc6 30. Rxc6 Qxc6 {John should feel comfortable now once he gets
out of the checks.} 31. Qb4 Qc1+ 32. Kg2 Qc6+ 33. Kf1 Qc1+ 34. Ke2 Qc2+ 35. Ke3
Qc1+ 36. Qd2 Qc5+ 37. Qd4 Qc2 38. Qc3 Qd1 39. Qd2 Qb3+ 40. Ke2 Qb5+ 41. Ke1 Qc4
42. Qb4 Qc1+ 43. Ke2 Qc2+ 44. Kf1 Qc1+ 45. Kg2 Qc6+ 46. Kh2 Qc2 47. Qd4 Qe2 48.
Kg1 Qe1+ {A mistake for Black switching the queen to the dark squares.} (48...
Qc2 49. Qc3 Qd1+ 50. Kg2 Qd5+ {makes it difficult for White to improve.}) 49.
Kg2 Qa5 50. Qc4 Qa8+ 51. Kg1 Qa5 52. Qb4 Qc7 (52... Qa6 53. b3 axb3 54. Qxb3 {
is also winning.}) 53. Qxa4 Qc1+ 54. Kg2 Qxb2 55. Qa8 1-0

[/pgn]

Board 3 for the Blizzard this week was IM Andrew Tang.  Andrew also won his last match with the Black pieces in week 1.  This week he is playing WIM Irina Andrenko.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "ICC 66 30 u"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.08"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Andrenko-LUB"]
[Black "Tang-MIN"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C45"]
[WhiteElo "2323"]
[BlackElo "2475"]
[PlyCount "72"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 {The Scotch Opening. Employed this year by
Minnesota's own Wesley So in January vs. Aronian.} exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nxc6
bxc6 6. Qe2 {6.e5 is the main move here. Now Black can safely play ...d6.} d6
7. g3 Be7 8. Bg2 O-O 9. O-O Nd7 10. f4 Re8 11. Nc3 Rb8 12. Rb1 Bb7 13. Be3 Bf6
14. Nd1 c5 15. Nf2 Bc6 {Andrew obtains a solid position out of the opening
with equality.} 16. c4 $6 {Creating some weaknesses.} Qc8 17. b3 Qb7 18. Qd3
Re7 19. Rfe1 Rbe8 20. Re2 g6 21. Rbe1 Bg7 22. Bh3 Nf8 23. e5 (23. Bc1 {is
better according to Stockfish. Black still has a small edge.}) 23... Bf3 $1
24. Rc2 f5 25. exf6 Bxf6 26. Rcc1 Bd4 27. Bd2 Be2 28. Rxe2 Rxe2 29. Rf1 Qe4 30.
Qxe4 R8xe4 31. Bg2 Re7 32. Bd5+ Kg7 33. Ba5 Rxa2 34. b4 cxb4 35. Bxb4 c5 36.
Be1 Rxe1 0-1

[/pgn]

Board 4 featured Saumik against WGM Heredia.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "ICC 84 30 u"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.08"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Narayanan-MIN"]
[Black "Heredia-LUB"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A52"]
[WhiteElo "1949"]
[BlackElo "2227"]
[PlyCount "130"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 3. dxe5 Ng4 4. Nf3 Bc5 {Budapest Gambit.} 5. e3 Nc6 6. b3
O-O 7. Bb2 Re8 8. Be2 a5 9. O-O Ncxe5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Nd2 Ra6 12. Nf3 Nxf3+
13. Bxf3 Rh6 {Black is playing extremely aggressive.} 14. g3 d6 15. Bg4 Re4 16.
Bxc8 Qxc8 17. Qf3 Qh3 18. Qg2 Qe6 19. Rad1 Rg6 20. Bd4 b6 21. Bxc5 bxc5 22. Rd5
a4 23. Rfd1 h6 24. Qf3 Rf6 25. Qe2 a3 26. R1d2 g5 27. Qd1 g4 28. Qc1 Qe8 29.
Re2 Qa8 30. Qc3 Rfe6 31. Qd2 Kg7 32. Qc3+ Kg6 33. Qd3 f5 34. Qc2 h5 35. h4 gxh3
36. Kh2 R4e5 37. Qd3 Qd8 38. Rxe5 Rxe5 39. e4 Qg5 {The game has been close to
equal, but here Black missed the fork!} 40. exf5+ (40. f4 fxe4 41. Rxe4 {and
White is winning.}) 40... Qxf5 {Now the tables have turned and Black is
winning.} 41. Qxf5+ Kxf5 42. Rxe5+ Kxe5 43. Kxh3 c6 44. Kh4 d5 45. Kxh5 d4 46.
f4+ Kf5 47. g4+ Kxf4 48. g5 d3 49. g6 d2 50. g7 d1=Q+ 51. Kg6 Qg4+ 52. Kf7 Qd7+
53. Kf8 Qd8+ 54. Kf7 Ke3 55. g8=Q Qxg8+ 56. Kxg8 Kd3 57. Kf7 Kc3 58. Ke6 Kb2
59. Kd6 Kxa2 60. Kxc6 Kxb3 61. Kxc5 a2 62. Kd5 a1=Q 63. c5 Qa8+ 64. c6 Kb4 65.
Kd6 Qc8 0-1

[/pgn]

Lubbock Tornadoes Minnesota Blizzard
GM Andrey Baryshpolets: 2608 0.5 0.5 GM Mauricio Flores: 2565
FM Steven Breckenridge: 2414 0.0 1.0 IM John Bartholomew: 2555
WIM Irina Andrenko: 2323 0.0 1.0 IM Andrew Tang: 2475
WGM Carla Heredia: 2227 1.0 0.0 Saumik Narayanan: 1949
Average Rating: 2393 Average Rating: 2386
Lubbock Total 1.5 2.5 Minnesota Total

Minnesota has moved to 2-1 now!  See you next week.

The MN Blizzard played their round 2 match last night against the Seattle Sluggers.  Seattle won the league in 2012 anchored by Varuzhan Akobian.  In this match-up the Sluggers and the Blizzard were evenly matched on all boards.

The top board for the Blizzard this week was IM John Bartholomew.  John has four years of experience in the USCL playing for the Dallas Destiny (2007-2009) and the Manhattan Applesause (2011).  He also has a very popular and instructive YouTube Channel.  In this game he played a very solid opening and fought his way through some tactics to obtain an endgame attack!

BartholomewGame2

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "ICC 75 30 u"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.01"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Bartholomew-MIN"]
[Black "Orlov-SEA"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E33"]
[WhiteElo "2555"]
[BlackElo "2528"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "75"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 Nc6 {A rare move that often transposes to a Nimzo Indian.} 3.
Nf3 e6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Qc2 d6 6. Bd2 O-O 7. a3 Bxc3 8. Bxc3 Qe7 9. e3 e5 10. d5
Nb8 11. Nd2 {John obtains a comfortable advantage out of the opening with the
bishop pair and more space.} Ng4 $6 {A sharp move that isn't in the ChessBase
Online Database. John finds a way to convert this position into a better
endgame.} 12. Bd3 f5 13. h3 Qh4 14. Nf3 Qh6 {Threatening ...e4.} 15. O-O-O {
John is ready to counter 15...e4 with 16.hxg4 now.} Nxe3 (15... e4 16. hxg4 $18
) 16. fxe3 e4 17. Bxe4 Qxe3+ 18. Nd2 fxe4 19. Rde1 Qh6 20. Qxe4 Bf5 21. Qe3 Qg6
({Trading queens looks dangerous for Black. For example:} 21... Qxe3 22. Rxe3
Nd7 (22... Bg6 {is the engine move.} 23. h4 Nd7 24. h5 Be8 $16) 23. Re7 Rf7 24.
Rxf7 Kxf7 25. Rf1 Kg6 26. g4 Bd3 27. Rf3 Nc5 28. b4 Be2 29. Re3 Nd3+ 30. Kc2
Nf4 31. Re7 {White is winning at least a pawn.}) 22. g4 $1 {John finishes this
game with some flair.} Bd7 23. h4 Re8 24. h5 Qf7 25. Qd4 Na6 26. Ref1 Qe7 27.
h6 Nc5 28. hxg7 Qe5 29. Qxe5 Nd3+ 30. Kb1 Nxe5 31. Ne4 Nxg4 32. Ng5 h6 33. Nf7
Kh7 34. Nxh6 Nxh6 35. Rf6 Kxg7 36. Rxd6+ Kf8 37. Rxd7 Nf7 38. Rf1 1-0

[/pgn]

Board 2 featured Sean Nagle in his second appearance for the MN Blizzard.  Sean played a nice game in the first round against San Diego and this match-up he is facing another former child prodigy Michael Lee.  Both players were national masters at a young age.  Sean played a rare opening setup and Michael chose to trade queens early and kept Black's counterplay to a minimum.

SeanGame2

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "ICC 75 30 u"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.01"]
[Round "?"]
[White "MichaelLee-SEA"]
[Black "Nagle-MIN"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A37"]
[WhiteElo "2503"]
[BlackElo "2542"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. c4 g6 2. Nc3 Bg7 3. g3 c5 {Sean started with the Modern Defense and now we
are transposing into a Symmetrical English.} 4. Bg2 Nc6 5. Nf3 a6 (5... d6 6.
O-O e6 {is a more popular setup as of late. Gelfand, Leko, and Dominguez
Perez have all used this setup with some success.}) 6. O-O Rb8 7. e3 d6 8. d4
Bg4 {Something feels a bit shaky with Black's setup now that White can safely
go into a queenless endgame up a couple tempi.} (8... cxd4 9. exd4 Bg4 {is
perhaps an improvement.}) 9. dxc5 dxc5 10. Qxd8+ Rxd8 {The active move!} (10...
Nxd8 11. Rd1 Nf6 {feels too passive for Black.}) 11. Na4 Na5 12. Nd2 b5 (12...
Nxc4 $5 13. Nxc4 b5 {is an interesting idea, but White still appears better
after} 14. Nxc5 bxc4 15. a4 $1 (15. Nxa6 c3 16. bxc3 Bxc3 17. Rb1 {gives Black
some creative counterplay.} Be2) 15... Rd6 (15... c3 16. bxc3 Bxc3 17. Ra2 {
and Black doesn't have 17...Be2.}) 16. Nb7 $16) 13. cxb5 axb5 14. Nxc5 Nf6 15.
h3 Bd7 16. b4 $18 {Sean accepts being a pawn down and his opponent makes life
difficult.} Nc6 17. Rb1 e6 18. Bb2 Ke7 19. Nxd7 Rxd7 20. Bxc6 Rxd2 21. Bxb5
Rhd8 22. a4 Bh6 23. Bc6 Nh5 24. b5 R8d3 25. Bc1 Ra2 26. b6 Rd8 27. b7 Rb8 28.
Rd1 Nf6 29. Bb2 Nd5 30. Bxd5 exd5 31. Be5 1-0

[/pgn]

The top two boards were also the first games to finish, leaving the match tied at 1-1.  Board 3 for the Blizzard featured FM Kevin Wasiluk, former U2300 US Open Champion!

WasilukGame2

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "ICC 75 30 u"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.01"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Wasiluk-MIN"]
[Black "Golub-SEA"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A57"]
[WhiteElo "2317"]
[BlackElo "2321"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. cxb5 a6 5. bxa6 g6 6. Nc3 Bg7 {This move order
has been revived recently after Gelfand-Carlsen 2014. Black delays the
capture on a6 to create a different type of counterplay. It can be a useful
move order if you fear White is prepared for the main lines.} 7. e3 (7. e4 O-O
8. Nf3 Qa5 9. Bd2 {is the main line.}) 7... O-O 8. Nf3 Qa5 9. Nd2 {My feeling
here is that Black has very nice activity at the cost of a pawn.} (9. Bd2 Bxa6
10. Be2 Bxe2 11. Qxe2 {should give White at least equality.}) 9... Bxa6 10. Nc4
Bxc4 11. Bxc4 Ne4 12. Bd2 Nxd2 13. Qxd2 d6 {There is no immediate counterplay
for Black but the development is so smooth Mr. Golub should be pleased.} 14.
O-O Nd7 {heading to b6 if White isn't ready.} 15. a4 Rfb8 {Black is
threatening ...Rxb2.} 16. Ra3 (16. h3 Rxb2 17. Qxb2 Bxc3 18. Qb3 Bxa1 19. Rxa1
{equal or slight edge for Black.}) 16... Qb4 $1 17. Bd3 Nb6 (17... Qxb2 18.
Qxb2 Rxb2 {gives Black a clear advantage.} 19. Bb5 Nb6 $17) 18. Rfa1 Nxd5 19.
Bf1 Nc7 {Preparing to advance pawns in the center.} 20. R3a2 d5 21. Qc2 c4 22.
a5 e6 23. a6 Ra7 24. Nd1 Qb6 {Black's pawns are solid, but the queenside pawns
for White are weak. Kevin decides to go for some quick play in the center.}
25. e4 Rxa6 26. Ne3 Rxa2 27. Rxa2 Bd4 28. exd5 exd5 29. Qd2 Re8 30. Nc2 Bxb2 {
The pawns are unstoppable now.} 31. Qf4 Be5 32. Qg4 Qb3 {Kevin was low on time
and missed this fork.} 0-1

[/pgn]

Board 4 was the debut game for one of the top 13 year old's in the country - National Master Andrew Titus!

TitusGame2

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "ICC 75 30 u"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.09.01"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Schill-SEA"]
[Black "Titus-MIN"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B99"]
[WhiteElo "2236"]
[BlackElo "2189"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "137"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3
Nbd7 9. O-O-O Qc7 10. f5 {A rare move in this position.} Ne5 {A strong reply
by Andrew gaining the initiative.} 11. Qh3 Nfg4 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. Qg3 Qg5+ $6 (
13... O-O {is the safest move here and should give Black equality.}) 14. Kb1
Qe3 15. Nf3 $1 {Now things feel shaky for Black. The d6-pawn is a huge
weakness since the Black king is still on e8.} Qf2 16. Rxd6 Qxg3 17. hxg3 Ke7
18. Nxe5 Nxe5 19. Rd4 h6 20. Be2 Bd7 21. Rh5 {For a while now White tries to
figure out how to convert the extra pawn into a winning position. Black has a
lot of defense resources at his disposal.} Nc6 22. Rd1 Rhd8 23. Bf3 Be8 {A
very nice defensive move! White was threatening e5 and f6.} 24. Rhh1 Ne5 25.
Kc1 Rxd1+ 26. Rxd1 {Stockfish says the position is about equal now!} Rd8 (26...
Bc6 27. fxe6 fxe6 28. Ne2 Rf8 29. Nd4 Be8 30. Kd2 Bg6 31. Ke2 Rc8 {White is
still up a pawn but it's very difficult to make any progress.}) 27. Rxd8 Kxd8
28. fxe6 fxe6 29. Be2 Ke7 30. Kd2 Kd6 31. Ke3 Kc5 32. a3 g5 33. Nd1 Kd6 34. Nf2
a5 35. Kd4 Nc6+ 36. Ke3 Ne5 37. b4 b6 38. c4 Nc6 39. Nd3 e5 40. Bg4 Bf7 41. c5+
bxc5 42. bxc5+ Kc7 43. Bd1 Be6 44. Ba4 Kb7 45. Kd2 Kc7 46. Kc3 Nd4 47. Bd1 Nb5+
48. Kb2 Kc6 49. Ba4 Bg8 (49... Bc8 {is best.}) 50. Nxe5+ (50. Bb3 Bxb3 51. Kxb3
{with a plan of a4, Kc4, Nxe5 and White is winning.}) 50... Kxc5 51. Nd7+ Kc6
52. Nf6 Be6 (52... Bc4 53. e5 Bd3 {Allows the Black king to move if White
pushes the e-pawn.}) 53. Nd5 Bxd5 {White was able to calculate out the win now.
} 54. exd5+ Kc5 55. Bxb5 Kxb5 56. Kb3 a4+ 57. Kc3 Kc5 58. d6 Kxd6 59. Kb4 h5
60. Kxa4 h4 61. Kb5 Ke5 62. a4 Kf5 63. a5 Kg4 64. gxh4 gxh4 65. a6 Kg3 66. a7
Kxg2 67. a8=Q+ Kh2 68. Qg8 h3 69. Qg4 1-0

[/pgn]

Next week we play the Lubbock Tornadoes on Tuesday, September 8th at 7:00 PM CST.  Go Blizzard!

The Minnesota Blizzard's U.S. Chess League season kicked off last night at the Chess Castle of Minnesota.  Our opponent was the San Diego, also a new team for the 2015 season.  The Blizzard had a rating advantage on the first three boards, with a rising star on board 4.

team icon vs team icon

All Time Series Record: (This is their first meeting)

Starts at 9:00 PM EST

Time Control: Game in 75 with 30 second increment

San Diego Surfers Minnesota Blizzard
IM Keaton Kiewra: 2518 GM Mauricio Flores: 2565
NM Stevan Djordjevic: 2366 IM Sean Nagle: 2542
IM John Watson: 2340 IM Andrew Tang: 2475
FM Ali Morshedi: 2328 Saumik Narayanan: 1949
Average Rating: 2388 Average Rating: 2383
Photo by Arun Narayanan
MN Blizzard Round 1 Team - Photo by Arun Narayanan

The top board featured Chess Coach Keaton Kiewra against University of MInnesota PhD student Mauricio Flores.  Keaton chose a quieter opening and a positional battle ensued.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "ICC 75 30 u"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.08.25"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Kiewra-SD"]
[Black "Flores-MIN"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D03"]
[WhiteElo "2518"]
[BlackElo "2565"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "106"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. Nbd2 O-O 5. c3 d5 6. e3 Nbd7 7. Be2 h6 {Up
until this point we have been following Kramnik-Caruana Gashimov Memorial 2015.
Caruana played 7...c5 and eventually won the game after 54 moves. Black plans
to play for the bishop pair by trading off the f6-knight for the g5-bishop.} 8.
Bh4 g5 9. Bg3 Nh5 10. Be5 f6 11. Bg3 Nxg3 12. hxg3 Nb6 {Mauricio is probably
planning to play ...e7-e5 soon to open up the center for his bishops.} 13. c4 {
Keaton strikes first, attempting to take control of the center.} dxc4 14. Nxc4
Be6 15. Rc1 c6 16. O-O Nxc4 17. Bxc4 Bxc4 18. Rxc4 Qd5 19. Qb3 {Black cannot
move the queen due to discovered check threats.} Rfd8 20. Rfc1 Rd7 {After the
opening phase of the game White appears to have a small advantage. Black's
position is very solid, but he is tied down to the defense of a few queenside
targets.} 21. Qc2 Rad8 22. a4 Qf7 23. b4 e6 24. b5 cxb5 25. axb5 Bf8 26. Qa2 b6
27. Rc6 Bd6 28. Nd2 e5 29. d5 Bf8 30. e4 {Keaton has been playing to lock up
the pawn structure. Now we've reached a position where White has every piece
placed well, a protected passed pawn, and pressure on the a7-pawn. Mauricio
looks for quick counterplay.} f5 31. Qc2 Bg7 32. exf5 Qxd5 33. Ne4 Qxb5 {A
great practical choice! 33...Qxb5 may not be the computer's top option, but
it gives Mauricio connected passed pawns on the queenside. If Keaton isn't
able to find accurate attacking moves he may run into trouble on the queenside.
} 34. Rg6 Kh8 35. Kh2 (35. f6 $1 Bf8 36. f7 Rxf7 37. Nf6 Rxf6 38. Rxf6 {is
close to winning for White.}) 35... Qd3 36. Qc6 Qd5 37. g4 $2 {37.f6 would
have been best.} (37. f6 Bf8 38. Qxd5 {trading queens on White's terms.} Rxd5
39. f7 Bg7 40. Rc7 {There are lots of tactics in White's favor here. For
example:} R5d7 41. f8=Q+ Bxf8 42. Nf6 {and White is winning.}) 37... Qxc6 38.
Rcxc6 b5 {Now the game is dynamically balanced. These positions tend to be
easier to play in time pressure when you have the passed pawns. Keaton (21
mins) - Mauricio (16 mins).} 39. Nc5 Rf7 40. Rge6 b4 {White's advantage is
gone now and the b-pawn becomes very dangerous. It's very difficult to find a
plawn for White in this position.} 41. Ra6 (41. f3 Bf8 42. Nb3 {is Stockfish's
attempt to hold on. Black still has an edge.}) 41... Bf8 42. Ne4 b3 43. Rxe5
Rb7 44. Ra1 b2 45. Rb1 Rc8 46. Rd5 Rc1 47. Nd2 Bg7 48. f4 Bc3 49. Rxb2 Rxb2 50.
Rd8+ Kh7 51. Rd7+ Kg8 52. Ne4 gxf4 53. f6 Rbb1 0-1

[/pgn]

The Blizzard's board 2 for this match was Sean Nagle.  Sean has been the MN State Champion every year since 2009!  He also recently earned his IM title and sports a 2550 rating.  Not bad for board 2!  I really liked Sean's low-risk strategy here against a slightly lower rated opponent.  We never looked at risk to lose this game and Sean held an advantage out of the opening.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "ICC 75 30 u"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.08.25"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Nagle-MIN"]
[Black "Djordjevic-SD"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D30"]
[WhiteElo "2542"]
[BlackElo "2366"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "68"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 e6 3. c4 c6 4. Qc2 Nf6 5. Bg5 Qa5+ {White scores very well in
this line and it isn't popular at the top level. It might have been a
surprise weapon.} 6. Bd2 Bb4 7. e3 {Sean reacts well and obtains a comfortable
advantage out of the opening.} Bxd2+ 8. Nbxd2 O-O 9. Bd3 dxc4 10. Bxc4 Nbd7 11.
O-O e5 12. Qc3 Qxc3 13. bxc3 exd4 14. cxd4 {White has the center pawn duo and
more space. Black reacts quickly with a pawn break trying to neutralize
White's control of the center.} c5 15. e4 cxd4 16. e5 Ne8 17. Rfe1 Nc5 18. Nxd4
Nc7 {White has a slight advantage at this point, but there's no clear way to
increase his advantage. Sean tries to activate his rooks quickly and push the
f-pawn.} 19. Ne4 Nxe4 20. Rxe4 Bd7 21. f4 g6 22. Rf1 Ne6 23. Nb5 (23. Nxe6 Bxe6
24. Bxe6 fxe6 {also looks drawish.}) 23... Bxb5 24. Bxb5 {The game is headed
towards a draw.} Rad8 25. Bc4 Nc5 26. Re2 Rd4 27. Rc2 b6 28. f5 {An
interesting idea. Sean may have been playing for a win at this point.} Re4 29.
e6 fxe6 30. fxe6 Rxf1+ 31. Kxf1 Nxe6 32. Bd5 Re5 33. Rc8+ Kf7 34. Rc7+ Kf6
1/2-1/2

[/pgn]

Board 3 features one of Minnesota's fastest rising talents, IM Andrew Tang.  This was a very impressive game by Andrew and I don't think he made any mistakes.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "ICC 75 30 u"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.08.25"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Watson-SD"]
[Black "Tang-MIN"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2340"]
[BlackElo "2475"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "98"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 {John Watson wrote a book titled "A Strategic
Chess Opening Repertoire for White" where he recommends the Exchange Variation
- 4.cxd5.} 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. Be2 dxc4 8. O-O c5 9. dxc5 Nxc5
10. Bxc4 Qxd1 11. Rfxd1 a6 (11... b6 12. Nd4 Bb7 13. Rac1 a6 14. b4 Nce4 15.
Nxe4 Bxe4 {is the main line.}) 12. Ne5 Re8 13. Be2 b5 14. Bf3 {Allowing Black
to finish development and offer the bishop trade simultaneously.} (14. Nc6 Bf8
15. Rac1 Bb7 16. Na5 Bd5 {retains a slight edge for White.}) 14... Bb7 15. Bxb7
Nxb7 16. Nc6 Bf8 17. Bg5 Rac8 18. Na7 $2 {Andrew spots John's mistake and
immediately sets up the knight trap. From here to the end one could argue
that Andrew plays a perfect game.} Rc7 19. Rac1 Ra8 20. Bf4 Rc4 21. b3 Rc5 22.
e4 Rxa7 23. Be3 b4 24. Bxc5 Nxc5 25. Na4 Nxa4 26. bxa4 Nxe4 27. Rc8 Nf6 28.
Rdd8 Nd7 29. Rc6 g6 30. Rd6 Nf6 31. Rc6 Kg7 32. a5 Ne4 33. Kf1 Nc3 34. a3 Nd5
35. axb4 Bxb4 36. g4 Bxa5 37. Rdd6 Bb6 38. Rxd5 exd5 39. Rxb6 a5 40. Rb3 a4 41.
Ra3 g5 42. Ke2 Kf6 43. Kf3 Ke5 44. Ke3 d4+ 45. Kd3 Kd5 46. h3 h6 47. f3 Ra6 48.
Ra1 a3 49. Ra2 Ra5 0-1

[/pgn]

Board 4 featured our toughest game on paper.  Saumik Narayanan played extremely well and held at least equality until both players were down to 5 minutes or less.  At move 15 you'll see a pawn structure that was referenced in GM Flores' outstanding book, "Chess Structures A Grandmaster Guide" by Quality Chess.  GM Flores mentions multiple plans for each side, and both players seemed to know what to go for!  Great positional chess.

[pgn layout=horizontal autoplayMode=none]

[Event "ICC 75 30 u"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2015.08.25"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Narayanan-MIN"]
[Black "Morshedi-SD"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A56"]
[WhiteElo "1949"]
[BlackElo "2328"]
[Annotator "Jensen,Matthew"]
[PlyCount "50"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e5 4. Nc3 d6 5. e4 Be7 6. Nf3 Nbd7 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O
Ne8 9. a3 g6 10. Bc2 Ng7 11. Qe2 f5 12. b4 f4 13. Ba4 g5 14. Bxd7 Bxd7 15. bxc5
g4 16. Ne1 Rf6 17. f3 g3 18. hxg3 Nh5 19. gxf4 exf4 20. Qc2 Rg6 21. Ne2 Bf6 22.
Rb1 Be5 23. Rf2 $2 {Saumik should try to trade off the f4-pawn here and reach
an equal endgame. Saumik was down to only 3 minutes here, and Black had 6
minutes. It's hard to defend accurately in time pressure and Saumik has
played a great game up until this point.} (23. Nd3 Qh4 24. Ndxf4 Nxf4 25. Bxf4
Bxf4 26. Nxf4 Qxf4 {holds equality.}) 23... Qh4 24. Kf1 Qh1+ 25. Ng1 Ng3# 0-1

[/pgn]

So there you have it, MN Blizzard takes the match 2.5-1.5!

San Diego Surfers Minnesota Blizzard
IM Keaton Kiewra: 2518 0.0 1.0 GM Mauricio Flores: 2565
NM Stevan Djordjevic: 2366 0.5 0.5 IM Sean Nagle: 2542
IM John Watson: 2340 0.0 1.0 IM Andrew Tang: 2475
FM Ali Morshedi: 2328 1.0 0.0 Saumik Narayanan: 1949
Average Rating: 2388 Average Rating: 2383
San Diego Total 1.5 2.5 Minnesota Total

The MN Blizzard's next round will take place on Tuesday 9/1 at 7:30 PM against the Seattle Sluggers.  We'll be back with a round 2 report after that match-up!