Wednesday, September 02, 2009

SF Ties Seattle

The San Francisco Mechanics pulled off a feat that has never been accomplished in USCL history. I managed to send someone else to play in my stead! I got this idea from a member of another team, who was going to send in a homeless person to play for him. Rather then let him claim all the glory, I felt I needed to do it myself first. Of course I didn't send in a homeless person, at least not in the literal sense. The person who played for me was none other than league vice president Arun Sharma. All the while, I was back at my apartment logged onto his account, kibitzing during the games. I wasn't sure what he likes to say, so I just kibitzed the most obnoxious things I could think of, bashing Greg Shahade whenever possible. Anyway, he was doing fine, until he gave away his knight for no reason with Nxe6? I tried to message him to play Nc6, but I guess he got confused. Luckily, the rest of the team performed well, and managed to save the tied match.

Now, you might ask, why would I do this? Well, you could ask Hillary why he climbed Everest, or ask Einstein why he came up the theory of relativity - to see if it could be done. Now, why would Arun do this? Only he truly know. My own theory is that he was sick of taking orders from someone he despises so much. In any case, I was considering keeping this a secret, but I felt it was too good, and that people had to know. Only one question remains. How will this be topped next week?


Now for a respectable report by Mr. Donaldson-

The Mechanics' drew its opening US Chess League match with arch-rival
Seattle 2-2. Both teams were without some of their top guns and evenly
matched. The final score was probably fair but the individual results
could have easily have been quite different. Josh Friedel and Gregory
Serper have a real history in the USCL and have met roughly a half
dozen times on board one with the same result in every game - White
won! Strange things have happened as the two players checked each
other out. Try Gregory playing 1... e6! This time he put his favorite Kan
Sicilian on the bench and played the French. Mega Database gives one
game where he answered 1.e4 with 1...e6 back in 1991, so it was
definitely a surprise. Josh was always slightly better but
hallucinated on move 27 ( he thought Qb4+ would pick up the Rook
forgetting it was protected).

David Pruess and Eric Tangborn played the longest game of the match
and the last to finish. Both sides had terrible pawn structures in the
Rook ending ( four doubled f-pawns) but David was able to defeat Eric
despite playing the last part of the game on the increment.

Board three saw the game go back and forth between a Black advantage
and White holding even chances. Fortunately for me Michael spent a lot
of time in the opening and was in time pressure for much of the game
which is annotated below.

Hikaru may have been missing from the Seattle lineup but his team
gained one advantage as they could put Josh Sinanan, one of the
league's best fourth boards ( 2300 and very good with White), into the
match. When he secured three connected passed pawns for the exchange I
figured Yian Liou was a goner but the 12-year-old played very well and
was able to hold. A draw with Black against a tough opponent was a
good start to the USCL for Yian.

Donaldson,John (2408) - Lee,Michael (2384) [A33]
1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.g3 Qb6 7.Nb3 Ne5
8.e4 Bb4 9.Qe2 d6 10.f4 Nc6 11.Bg2?!

I was playing too fast and forgot to play 11.Be3 first, and am
immediately fighting for equality after Black's next move. It is some
consolation that this mistake has been made by such greats as Karpov
and Portisch.

11...e5! 12.f5

12.Bd2 is likely better.

12...Nd4 13.Qd1?!

Here 13.Nxd4 exd4 14.a3 Qa5 15.Rb1 Bxc3+ 16.bxc3 Qxc3+ 17.Bd2 was superior.


This wins material but allows White to resolve his King position.
Maybe 13...Bd7 14.Bg5 Rc8 15.Bxf6 gxf6 or 13...0–0 14.Bg5 Bd7
15.Bxf6 gxf6 made more sense. In the latter position White would have
to try something like 16.Kf1.


14.Nxd4 exd4 15.Qxd4 Bxf5 16.Bd2 Bc5 17.Qd3 0–0 18.0–0–0 was sharper but risky.

14...Qxc4 15.Bg5?

This was a major mistake that could have had very serious
consequences. White wants to resolve the situation in the center but
the Bishop on c1 doesn't yet know it's best square. Much better was
15.Kh1 with the idea 15...Bxc3 16.bxc3 Nxb3 17.axb3 Qxc3 18.Qxd6 Qxa1

15...Bxc3 16.bxc3 Nxb3?

This isn't bad it's just that 16...Ne2+ probably wins or is at least
very strong for Black. . For example 17.Kh1 Nxe4 18.Nd2 N2xg3+
19.hxg3 Qxf1+! 20.Bxf1 Nf2+ 21.Kg2 Nxd1 22.Rxd1 f6 23.Be3 Bxf5 24.Nc4
Ke7 25.Nxd6 Bg4 26.Rd2 b6 and Black is consolidating his material

17.axb3 Qc5+ 18.Kh1 h6?! 19.Bh4

19.Bc1 was suggested by Josh Friedel after the game and it is
definitely better than what I played. After 19... 0–0 20.Ba3 Qxc3
21.Bxd6 Re8 (21...Rd8 22.Bxe5) White has better chances than in the
game. White could capture on f6 but after 19...gxf6 20.Rf3 Ke7 21.Rd3
b6 22.Qd2 Bb7 23.Rd1 Rad8 =0 Ait's hard to see how I can improve my

19...b6 20.Ra4

This weird looking move with a crude threat ( 21.Rc4) is designed to
provide ...b5. I thought if I tripled on the d-file and put my pawns
on b3 and c4 Black would guard d6 and later play ...a5-a4.

20... b5 21.Ra5 Qb6 22.b4

Now Black has the use of the c4 square but a break with ...a5 and
later ...b4 will trade all the queenside pawns.

22... Bb7 23.Qe2 a6 24.Rd1 Rc8 25.Rd3 Rc4 26.Bxf6 gxf6 27.Ra1 Ke7
28.Rad1 Rd8 29.g4?

This looks good as it prepares Rh3 but it is another critical mistake.
29.Re1 Qc6 30.Qd2 was correct. White should try to hold the position.


Immediately after the game Josh pointed out the brutal double attack
29...Qc6! hitting c3 and more importantly e4. White has no
satisfactory answer to this move. To be fair to Michael he had only
three minutes on his clock and had disconnected twice in the last
twenty minutes which might have rattled him.


White doesn't miss the opportunity to improve the position of his
Queen and hits the pawn on h6 hoping to capture it and quickly follow
up with g5..

30...Rh8 31.Qd2

31.Rxd6 Qxd6 32.Rxd6 Kxd6 33.h4 was possible b ut the inactivity of
the Bishop on g2 leaves the Queen playing by itself.

31...Rc6 32.Rh3 Rg8 33.Rg3 Rc4 34.Re1

I was very conscious of my weak back rank. 34.Qxh6 Rxc3 35.g5 Rxg5
36.Rxg5 Rc1! would not have been pretty.


=0 A
Black could have tried 34...a5 35.bxa5 Qxa5 planning ...b4 in the
future, but down to less than two minutes ( against twelve for White)
decides to allow the repetition.

35.Rh3 Rg8 36.Rg3 Rh8 37.Rh3 Rg8 38.Rg3 ½–½

-John Donaldson


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