Monday, December 10, 2007

Boston Blitz All-Stars

Unlike 2006, the Blitz were well represented in this year's US Chess League All-Star Team selections. Obviously playing well is important, but this year's difference seems to be the fact that most of their games were concentrated among four players.

Board 1: Larry Christiansen - 3rd Team

Board 2: Jorge Sammour-Hasbun - 1st Team

Board 3: Denys Shmelov - 2nd Team

Board 4: Chris Williams - 2nd Team

In addition, Sammour-Hasbun received Rookie of the Year honors.
Due to the Boston Globe's standard chess article publishing delay, Harold Dondis' recap of the USCL finals finally came out today.
Chess Notes
By Harold Dondis and Patrick Wolff
Globe Correspondents

The US Chess League came to a climax in one event-filled evening that lasted until 2:30 in the morning. Dallas Destiny defeated the Boston Blitz in what must be called a most surprising finish. The two teams were matched in the first play-off as follows:

First board (Blitz v. Destiny): Larry Christiansen v. Drasko Boskovic; second board: Jorge Sammour-Hasbun v. Davorin Kuljasevic; third board: Denys Shmelov v. Jacek Stopa; fourth board: Chris Williams v. Bayaraa Zorigt. Christiansen, as Black, drew early when his opponent elected to play a repetition of moves. Sammour-Hasbun came up with a victory and Denys Shmelov drew against Stopa. Williams had the better position against Zorigt, but she gained material during time pressure, and the match was tied.

So the two teams went into the accelerated play-offs. The rules were that these would start with Board 4 and move to the top by elimination. A draw eliminated both players until only one player was left on a team. Boston Blitz seemed impregnable, with ICC champion Sammour-Hasbun and former US champion Christiansen on first board. Williams started off by avenging his defeat by Zorigt, but was eliminated by Stopa, who turned out to be a spoiler in the match. Stopa defeated Shmelov and then drew with Sammour-Hasbun, thus striking three Blitz players off the list. Christiansen was left alone to face Dallas' first two boards. Christiansen drew with Kuljasevic and then defeated him. He then moved on to Boskovic, but erred in the end game and Boskovic won. Thus did Dallas end Boston's long list of victories and became US Chess League champion. A remarkable win....

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