Friday, August 29, 2008

SF Beats Defending Champs in Week 1

The Mechanics are off to a good start in 2008. We started off the season by beating Dallas in week one 2.5-1.5. We managed the tough task of fielding a team with an average age over the legal limit, while our opponents fielded their typical lineup of strong college students. Let's check out the games.

Zorigt-Naroditsky was the first to finish. The kid played a KID, and it seemed like he was slightly worse, but he offered a draw and she took it. Not the most exciting game, but I think he saw Sam was winning by that point, so he offered to get us a 1.5-.5 lead.

Shankland-Schneider was a game in which the importance of opening preparation showed through. Igor can get a bit experimental in the openings at times, and in this game he payed for it, playing a sacrifice which is known to be bad. It wasn't known to me either, but luckily it was known to Sam, who looked at it as part of his preparation. He didn't bother hiding it either, managing to spend -4 minutes on the game due to increment. To be fair, I believe it was all known to him, and I think he only spent time on the final blow Qxf4. While it is a rare bit of luck when people walk right into your prep, it was still a nice victory by Sam, who continues to perform very well in the league.

Wolff-Zivanic was a very interesting game. Patrick played what I thought to be a somewhat dubious sacrifice in the opening, and I'm usually one to think even the dumbest sacrifices are jewels. Then it looked like his attack was looking promising, up until Zivanic found the nice defensive move Qb6! This is the kind of move a computer will play against you, and you want to bash it over the head with a frying pan. However, Patrick found a way to get to an exchange-down ending. which he held with surprising ease. In fact, it looked as if he was almost better in the final position, though it's doubtful he can break through, so he took a draw. A very entertaining, yet stressful game to watch.

I knew I'd have my work cut out for me this week. In fact, I'd probably have to cut it out for myself. I had black against IM Kuljasevic. He was one of Dallas's best performers last year, and his FIDE is now over 2500. Meanwhile, I've been having a rough summer chess-wise, right after making GM in late spring. Despite this, on Wednesday I managed to play a pretty solid game. In an e3 Nimzo, he mistimed an e4 break, and after everything fizzled I felt I was slightly better. He played an interesting exchange sac, and while I still felt I should be better, practically it is very difficult to play. Somehow I managed to play it correctly, however, finding the key idea Bc8-f5. It would have been tougher had he played Nd4 instead of Re1 in order to prevent it, but I think he missed that after Bf5 Nd4 Bg6 f3, I can play Qh4! Once I get that awful bishop into play, his compensation is minimal, and in the final position where we played a three-fold I was probably winning. Still, it would still take some effort to win, and anything can happen in time pressure, so I decided to play it smart for once and took a draw. This was understandable from his point of view also, as he can't really play for the win himself at that point.

So, a strong performance in the first week vs. an always tough Dallas team. Next week we get Chicago, one of the new additions to the league. They lost a tough match to Arizona in week one, and hopefully we can compound their misery next week.



At 3:48 PM, Blogger Zachi Baharav said...

Great job!

The games can be viewed at:



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