Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Live Blogging: Blitz vs. Cobras

8:32pm: Evening chess fans! Welcome to week 3 of US Chess League Action. Tonight the 1-1 Boston Blitz face off against the Carolina Cobras. GM Christiansen is playing Board 1 again for the Blitz. Unfortunately the ICC doesn't let me watch that game live, so we'll focus on the other three boards.

On Board 2, IM Friedel is White against IM Schroer in a French Winawer. It looks like a strange variation to me, but I'll look it up and see.

On Board 3 - FM Hoekstra-FM Kelleher, a d-pawn opening has transposed into the g6 line of the Panov Attack. Queens are off the board and White is developing activity as Black piles up on the double IQPs. Looks like it will be an interesting battle.

Over at Krasik-NM Samsa, it is Black with the IQP in a game which started as a QGD Exchange Variation. It's too early for me to tell which way this one is going.

8:42pm: As I suspected, Friedel's 11.Kd2 is a novelty. Two other games continued with Bd2; instead, Josh has developed the bishop to a3 -- sacrificing the a-pawn but keeping the Black king in the center for now.

9:08pm: Kelleher either sacked or lost a pawn, so now he is down two pawns. It looks like he ought to be able to regain at least one on the d-file, but I'm guessing that he's playing for a draw now.

9:17pm: GM Christiansen takes out IM Milman and scores a point for the Blitz. I still can't see the moves on the ICC so I can't tell you how it went it down.

9:30pm: After 16...g6 the kibitzers like Friedel's chances. Black has severly weakened his dark squares and, of course, he no longer has a dark squared bishop to cover them. Meanwhile, Kelleher finds himself in an ending down a passed d-pawn.

10:00pm: Hoekstra made it look easy grinding Kelleher down in the ending, so the score is now tied at one game a piece. Friedel continues to look good and I still have no clue about Board 4 (although Black's doubled rooks on the c-file are at least visually impressive).

10:08pm: That was scary! Apparently there was a mouse slip or a relay error, but for a minute it looked like Friedel just hung his queen for nothing. Now it looks like they are taking back the move and giving Black a 2-minute time bonus. I'm not sure what the USCL rules are regarding mouse slips.

10:15pm: Well, they still haven't taken back the move on Board 2 and Friedel's clock continues to run. This might be very bad news. Friedel was clearly winning and planned to move his queen to e3, but it landed on d3 instead. Black happily played cxd3.

10:21pm: They just put the Board 1 game up for examination. Milman played a Ruy Lopez - Delayed Exchange Variation against Christiansen. Later in the game he sacrificed both his knights for a mate or perpetual that just wasn't there. So he resigned.

10:27pm: Samsa is down to 1:10 on Board 4; Krasik still has about 16 minutes. Still nothing on Friedel's board. Either he's lost or there's some big conference going on with league officials.

10:31pm: Phew! GM Christiansen just commented on ICC that they did give Friedel a takeback and they are now resetting the position and times. 24.Qe3, now on the board!

10:36pm: The position on Board 4 is getting crazy but it looks like Krasik might have the better of it.

10:58pm: Friedel scores the point with a nice attack. Its now 2-1 Blitz. Again it comes down to Krasik on Board 4.

11:02pm: Krasik is up a pawn in an ending and only needs a draw, but both players are under a minute on the clock.

11:09pm: What the heck!!?! Samsa offered a draw and Krasik played on. A draw would have sealed the win the Blitz! Ilya better not lose now or he'll have some 'splaining to do.

11:16pm: Another draw offer by Carolina refused!! Which team is he playing for?

11:28pm: Well the position is an obvious draw at this point. I have no idea why Krasik is continuing to play on. In any case, I'm not staying up to watch anymore. The Blitz are going to win 2.5-1.5. As for Mr. Krasik, let me just say I've never witnessed a more selfish display in a team event. After last week's collapse and this pathetic exhibition, I say trade him to Vancouver for anything you can get. Maybe I'll feel differently in the morning.

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