Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Blitz take early lead vs. Masterminds

It's US Chess League Night at the ICC and here at BCC Weblog. Tonight the Boston Blitz are facing off against the Philadelphia Masterminds. The buzz in Boston has been all about GM Larry Christiansen's debut on Board 1 for the Blitz.

And an auspicious start it was as Larry easily dispatched FM Rogers in 24 moves on the Black side of an Italian Game. Both players managed to open up their opponent's castled king positions. However, it cost Rogers a bishop to do so, while Christiansen did it for free. Meanwhile, Larry's attack came a bit quicker and there was nothing left for White to do but resign.

With Boston leading 1-0 the other three games are still in progress at this moment. On Board 2, the Blitz's IM Josh Friedel looks to have the better of it against NM Carl Boor. He is up an exchange in an endgame, though it looks like he still has some work to do to bring the point home.

Board 3 is not so promising for the good guys. FM Paul MacIntyre is down a pawn in a double rook and minor piece ending (queenless middle game?) vs. IM Richard Costigan and his opponent's pieces look much more active. Finally, Boston's Ilya Krasik looks to be holding his own against NM Elvin Wilson on Board 4. Playing white, he is down a pawn with each player having a queen, rook and dark squared bishop remaining. In compensation, white has a cramping pawn on e5 that may lead to some kingside attacking chances (though that same pawn currently makes his bishop bad). It will be interesting see how this one turns out.

My projection at this point -- a 2.5-1.5 victory for the Blitz. Stay tuned.

Update (10:47 pm): Friedel secures the point for Boston on Board 2. I guess he didn't have much more work to do at all.

Update (10:58 pm): MacIntyre goes down -- a two pawn deficit in a rook ending with three of his four remaining pawns lined up in a row on the e-file -- sadly amusing actually. This leaves the match hanging on Board 4 where Krasik's pawn disadvantage has been eliminated. It now looks as if black is trying to liquidate the remaining pawns on the queenside to increase the chances of a draw.

Update (11:09 pm): Apparently not! Wilson is playing aggressively for the win and looks like he might get it. That's it! What a comeback by the Masterminds to secure a drawn match. A disappointing outcome for the Blitz who squandered an opportunity for their first win of the season. Final Score -- Boston Blitz 2 - Philadelphia Masterminds 2.

See you next week for more US Chess League action when the Boston Blitz take on the Carolina Cobras.

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