Friday, September 08, 2006

Mechanics' defeat Sharks 3-1; run record to 2-0

[From the Mechanics Institute Newsletter, written by team captain John Donaldson]

Round two of the US Chess League saw the San Francisco Mechanics' defeated the Miami Sharks 3-1 in what is quickly turning into a traditional rivalry. Both teams feature top heavy lineups with titled players on the top three boards and Experts on board four making for competitive match ups throughout and this match was no exception.

15-year-old Sam Shankland, making his debut on the MI team, scored first despite he and his opponent playing more moves than any other game. Credit this to Sam having 47 minutes on his clock at the end (time control for this match was G/60 with a thirty second increment). Next to score was MI Trustee IM Vince McCambridge with a crisp attack after Black's Queen was misplaced. GM Julio Becerra, one of the highest rated players in the league brought the score to 2-1 but by that time it was clear that IM David Pruess was winning for San
Francisco. A analysis of the games shows the match was closer than the final score indicates and although Miami has dropped to 0-2 in the standings expect them to bounce back in the next few weeks.

Here is Vince's game against Moreno, briefly annotated by John:

McCambridge,V (2502) - Moreno Roman,A (2437) [A03]
USCL Miami vs San Francisco Internet Chess Club (2), 06.09.2006

1.f4
Vince has never played this move before and after the game offered no clue as to what inspired him. Could it be the view of Alcatraz from his home in the Presidio?
1...d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.b3
Local Bird aficionado Michael (fpawn) Aigner usually prefers to play the Bird as a Stonewall or Leningrad Dutch reversed.
3...c5 4.e3 Bg4 5.h3 Bxf3 6.Qxf3 Nc6 7.Bb2 e6 8.Bb5 Rc8 9.Nc3 a6 10.Bxc6+ Rxc6 11.0-0 Be7 12.g4 0-0 13.g5
So far play has been within normal bounds but Black's next move, the pseudo-aggressive 13...Ne4, lands him in hot water if not followed up precisely.
13...Ne4?!
13...Nd7 or 13...Ne8 were more prudent.
14.Nxe4 dxe4 15.Qxe4 Qxd2 16.Rad1 Qb4 17.c4!
This strong move cuts off Black's Queen, putting it far from the action in the center.
17...Qa5?
This is the losing move. As MI Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky pointed out in his delayed commentary down the hall, 17...Rd6 was forced.
18.Rd7
The threats to capture on b7 and more importantly e7, are decisive.
18...Qxa2 19.Rf2 Re8 20.Rxe7! Rxe7 21.Qe5! f6 22.gxf6 Qb1+ 23.Kh2 Rec7 24.f7+ 1-0
As 24...Kxf7 25.Qxg7+ Ke8 26.Qg8+ Ke7 27.Rg2 is curtains.

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