Round 6 Report

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *