Sunday, September 30, 2007

Kasparov visit to Cambridge

Garry Kasparov will be talking about his new book on October 15th. Tickets are on sale in the Harvard Book Store starting October 1st at noon. Tickets are only 5 dollars and can be used as a 5 dollar coupon at the Harvard Book Store.

Here is a link with more information.

If that doesn't interest you, Stephen King is slated for the following day.

Friday, September 28, 2007

High Horses

Two local players share very divergent recent tournament experiences: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Don't confuse speed with value...

...or as they say, all good things come to those who wait.

Here are the Original US Chess League Quantitative Power Rankings at the midway point of the season:

Original US Chess League Quantitative Power Rankings v.2
After Week 5
Format - (Match Record, Scaled Score, Last Week's Rank)
  1. Boston (4.0, .901, 1st) - The Blitz are ahead of the Destiny in game score, performance rating and strength of schedule

  2. Dallas (4.0, .837, 3rd)

  3. Seattle (3.5, .829, 2nd)

  4. San Francisco (3.0, .761, 6th) - The Mechanics have a higher game score than the other 3.0 teams

  5. Baltimore (3.0, .733, 5th)

  6. Carolina (3.0, .695, 4th)

  7. Philadelphia (3.0, .584, 8th)

  8. New Jersey (2.5, .508, 9th)

  9. Queens (1.5, .454, 7th)

  10. New York (1.0, .332, 10th) - When do you suppose that the qualitative rankers are going to come to terms with the fact that the Knights are not a very good team? Despite their playoff run, they weren't a particularly strong regular season team in 2006 either, finishing with a losing record. Of course, if they can figure out how to start winning a few matches, nothing precludes them from squeezing into the tournament and making another run in '07.

  11. Miami (1.0, .324, 11th)

  12. Tennessee (0.5, .096, 12th) - The league psychologist has asked us to refer to the Tempo as "victory-challenged" (at least until their manager learns to take a joke)
**********
Here are a few interesting facts after 5 weeks of the regular season:
  • Queens has faced the toughest competition of any team in the league, both in terms of opposition cumulative record (16.0) and opposition average rating (2410)

  • On the other hand, New Jersey's opponents have the lowest cumulative record (7.5) and Seattle's, the lowest average rating (2351)

  • Dallas and Seattle, 2nd and 3rd in the rankings, are tied for the 2nd easiest schedule in the league (opposition cumulative record = 9.0)

  • Boston has the highest performance rating (2523) and Tennessee, the lowest (2169) -- a difference of over 350 points
BCC Weblog provides independent coverage of the United States Chess League. It is not affiliated with the USCL or the Boston Blitz.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The US Chess League Blogosphere

In one of her recent US Chess League recap articles, Chess Life Online's Jennifer Shahade wrote:
Each year, the USCL's popularity grows. This year's highlights include an explosive USCL blogosphere, (way too many to list here...
Well, I'm up for the challenge!

Let's start with some taxonomy -- I've broken USCL blogs down into two major categories:
  1. Affiliated - Blogs that are written by and/or represent specific teams, players or USCL officials

  2. Unaffiliated - Independent blogs which provide coverage of the league and/or specific teams. Unaffiliated blogs come in two flavors -- blogs which are dedicated exclusively to USCL coverage and general (chess) blogs which include coverage of the league
In addition to blogs, there are a few websites which cover the USCL. In the past, the commissioner has used the term "blog" fairly loosely. Therefore, I'm uncertain whether any of these will be eligible for the USCL Blogger of the Year award.

Affiliated - Team Blogs

Carolina Cobras Blog - Some photos and an annotated game, but no new posts since 9/13

New Jersey Knockouts - Offers live blogging of Knockout matches, annotated games and player profiles

San Francisco Mechanics - Last year, this was a very active blog with many entertaining posts. They've been somewhat less active in 2007. Since it's been proved that blogging coverage is a prerequisite for success in the league, this might explain their average results so far

Seattle Sluggers - Inside scoop from Sluggers' players and Manager Eddie Chang. You'll find even more Sluggers talk at the Northwest Chess Forum

Tennessee Tempo - Here you'll learn that making jokes about the Tempo's misfortunes is unprofessional, but spewing personal attacks at bloggers and fans isn't

Affiliated - Player Blogs

Johnny B's Chess Connection - Dallas' IM John Bartholomew provides weekly reports on the team's matches in his general chess blog

Shakmaty Bereolos - FM Peter Bereolos is a long time chess blogger and player for the Tennessee Tempo. In the past he has annotated his league games and this season he has started live blogging Tempo matches

USCL news and gossip - It's hard to know where to place New York Knights alternate Liz Vicary's blog. She has mostly focused on generating humor from the dark and seamy side of the league, but has received the most reaction from a fight she picked with a Boston Blitz reporter over her game with NM Chris (is Awesome) Williams

Affiliated - USCL Official Blogs

This category might be a bit of a misnomer since it has never been completely clear what Arun Sharma and Ron Young's relationship with the league is. Nevertheless, last year they were referred to as "official prognosticators", so until I learn otherwise that's what I'm going with.

US Chess League News - Arun Sharma provides predictions and weekly qualitative power rankings, while Greg Shahade posts the Game of the Week articles here

FM Ron Young's USCL Predictions - Just what it says

Unaffiliated - Dedicated USCL Blogs

A Carolina Cobras Fan - This fan hasn't had anything to say since September 1st

USCL ChessCenter - OrangeKing offers predictions, qualitative power rankings and his own version of the MVP award rankings

USCL Groupies - From the same writer as A Carolina Cobras Fan, this blogs purports to focus on "trash talk" and "cute guys." I guess she couldn't find too many, since she stopped posting

Unaffiliated - General (Chess) Blogs

BlueEyedRook - Provides on-site coverage of the Philadelphia Inventors

Bionic Lime Thoughts - Another blog which is hard to classify since it is written by the individual behind the New Jersey Knockouts blog -- perhaps we should consider it "Semi-affiliated." The tart, green one is the brains behind the completely misnamed Famous Original Power Rankings

Boylston Chess Club Weblog - BCC Weblog has been providing independent coverage of the Boston Blitz since the very beginning, often to the chagrin of the players and Manager Matt Phelps

JG's Master Quest - JG obliterated the official USCL prognosticators in 2006, but is having a tougher go of it this year

The Kenilworthian - One of the finest chess blogs in the 'sphere, Michael is covering the New Jersey Knockouts this year

The pHtest - Author Paul Hoffman has been sharing the ups and (mostly) downs of the New York Knights

Websites

Boston Blitz - The Blitz have certainly set the standard for team websites; you'll find bios, articles, games, photos, video interviews with players and a live feed of one game a week

Chess Life Online - Provides weekly articles recapping league action

Queens Pioneers - Fairly light content so far, but give them time -- they are an expansion team, after all.

United States Chess League - The official league website
**********

No post at BCC Weblog about the chess blogosphere would be complete without a discussion on cross-linking. As you may have noticed, all of the blogs mentioned above are linked on the sidebar. Most are listed under "US Chess League Coverage" -- (w) indicates a website and (u) denotes that the site covers topics other than the USCL. I left long-time residents of the sidebar like BlueEyedRook and The Kenilworthian where they were and in this case used (u) to indicate that they were general chess blogs that also cover the USCL.

It is linking like this across a set of related blogs which creates and fosters a sense of community. For readers, it creates a useful supplement to the article listings at official league website. So what do you say USCL bloggers? Why not add a list of USCL blogs to your sidebar today.

BCC Weblog provides independent coverage of the United States Chess League. It is not affiliated with the USCL or the Boston Blitz.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Vigorito leads, Kaden still undefeated

2007 BCC Championship after Week 3

3.0/3 - IM Vigorito (2432)
2.0/3 - Kaden (2071)
1.0/2 - FM Chase (2338)
1.5/3 - NM Riordan (2331)
1.5/3 - NM Williams (2302)
1.5/3 - NM Cherniack (2296)
1.5/3 - FM MacIntyre (2276)
1.5/3 - NM Times (2241)
0.5/3 - NM Rueda (2261)
0.0/2 - NM Wang (2249)

2007 Hauptturnier after Week 3

2.0/2 - Theil (2031)
2.5/3 - Glickman (2027)
2.5/3 - Newman (1909)
2.0/3 - Chisam (2063)
2.0/3 - Lee (1724)
1.0/2 - Slive (2000)
1.0/2 - Driscoll (1800)
1.0/2 - Oresick (1472)
1.0/3 - Portugues (1823)
0.5/3 - Haunstrup (1898)
0.5/3 - Frazier (1600)
0.0/3 - Gorczyca (1380)

"I’m sort of a failed prodigy..."

The Swarthmore Daily Gazette profiles new college freshman, and frequent BCC tournament player, Noah Pang.

Hat Tip: Susan Polgar Chess Blog

Monday, September 24, 2007

Is Billy Beane working for the Kingfishers?

While lineup strategy is an often discussed topic around the US Chess League, Boston Blitz Manager Matt Phelps has made it clear on numerous occasions that player availability, not competitive gamesmanship, is the driving force behind his player selections each week. It would be interesting to poll the rest of the managers in the league to see how they approach the weekly lineup process. What we do know, is that Seattle's Eddie Chang puts significant energy into this weekly task...
Every week, I spend a lot of time working on the lineups...
...though it's hard to know how much he relies on statistical analysis and competitive strategy.

I bring this up because the lineup which Baltimore is bringing to the boards against Boston this week, looks like it was crafted directly from the numbers. Do they have a bunch kids with laptops crunching statistics behind the scenes?

Let's start by looking at the matchups (the Blitz have White on Boards 1 & 3):

GM Larry Christiansen: 2663 vs. GM Pawel Blehm: 2589
SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun: 2558 vs. FM Tegshsuren Enkhbat: 2411
NM Vadim Martirosov: 2270 vs. WGM Katerina Rohonyan: 2329
Ilya Krasik: 2191 vs. WIM Tsaagan Battsetseg: 2234

Just focusing on the ratings, which we know is both superficial and dangerous when analyzing these team matches, one might be inclined to say that slight edges go to Boston up top and Baltimore down below. But, let's look at some other factors the Kingfisher's might have been considering prior to submitting their lineup:
  1. GM Blehm went 2-0 vs. Boston in 2006, including a win as Black against GM Christiansen.

  2. While FM Enkhbat did lose a game to FM Kelleher in 2006, he owned Boston in 2005 scoring wins against IM Friedel and FM Winer.

  3. WGM Rohonyan is undefeated against the Blitz in two seasons, scoring 1.5-.5 against Ilya Krasik and drawing last year with Black against NM Martirosov.

  4. WIM Battsetseg has never faced the Blitz, but she went 2.5/3 in 2005 league play earning a 2467 performance rating.
Of course, it's possible that these were just the four players who were available this week and that the Kingfishers didn't even look at any of this data that seemingly supports the notion that this should be a competitive group of players against the Blitz. Unless they tell us their secrets, I guess we'll never know.

As for what will actually happen on Wednesday night, the best bet is for an exciting, close match where every result seems possible on each and every board.
**********
The Blitz factored into last week's Game of the Week voting with GM Perelshteyn's loss taking top honors (I'm having trouble remembering his opponent's name). The Nakamura-Christiansen game came in 6th.
**********
WFM Liz Vicary posted some detailed analysis of her game with NM Chris Williams. As someone who knows nothing about the Sveshnikov Sicilian from either side of the board, I found it fairly impenetrable, though I would imagine it would be of great interest to those who play this line.

Her post probably wouldn't have merited much of a mention here except for what happened next... Sparks began to fly after Mark LaRocca made some comments on the game at the Boston Blitz website and Vicary took exception in a follow-up post. Comments are flying* as we speak. I don't want to wade into the middle of this conflagration as there are enough voices there already. Though, as an outside observer, its worth noting that, just as in the Coleman-Krasik case, USCL fandom appears to have limited sympathy for those who want to talk about how well they played in a losing cause.

Apparently the players, managers and teams are going to inevitably learn that, just like in other professional sports leagues, the only thing that matters is winning. I'll have much more to say on this topic later.

* Note to Liz: you might want to disable anonymous comments to encourage your commenters to post under a name, even if it is a fake one.

BCC Weblog provides independent coverage of the United States Chess League. It is not affiliated with the USCL or the Boston Blitz.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A couple of Round 2 Championship games

What the heck, they're fairly easy to post like this. By the way, games from Round 1 are playable in a more traditional web-based format at the BCC Games page.

Kaden-MacIntyre

Cherniack-Times

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Blitz seek Canadian pest removal service

Before you give them a call, I just want to be clear that Boston's US Chess League team is not looking for a company from Canada that sprays for cockroaches, but instead, someone or something that can help them remove a Canadian pest from New York City.

We are going on three years now, and still Boston has no answer for GM Pascal Charbonneau. So, in spite of solid efforts across the boards on Monday night, the Blitz could only come away with a drawn match after Pascal managed a win over GM Perelshteyn. Boston still leads the East and New York remains two and a half points behind, but in a league where it doesn't take much to make the playoffs, fans can't be too comfortable about the fact that New York has one player the Blitz simply can not defeat.
Enough is enough, I say. Let's stop beating our heads against a wall trying to take Pascal down over the board and, instead, start brainstorming ideas to ensure that Boston won't have to face Pascal on the Knights in the future. Here are a few thoughts:

Trade - Get the Knights to trade Charbonneau to Tennessee for the entire Tempo's roster. New York will gain a large number of middle board options and surely the Tempo players will benefit from a change of scenery. Tennessee fans won't notice much difference, as their new one-man team will still lose most every match by a 3-1 score or greater.

Bribery - It's tough to make a living as a chess professional, so I have to imagine that Pascal has his price. If all Blitz fans were willing to donate to a Pascal Charbonneau support fund, I'm sure we could a raise enough to get him to leave the Knights. Sign me up for $50.

Rule Change - This is the United States Chess League. Let's make foreign born players compete in their own league. It's true that this would impact many players on many teams, but in support of this important goal, some collateral damage is acceptable.

Government Intervention - Encourage the US Congress to declare war on Canada. Pascal will either feel compelled to return home to defend his country or else we'll be able to hold him indefinitely as an enemy combatant.

Coercion - Break into his apartment and leave a horse head in his bed. He must have watched movies growing up, so I'm sure he'll get the message.

That's a starter list for Blitz management to work with. Help them out with more ideas.
**********
In case you haven't seen it yet (links have been previously posted in the comments here and at USCL news and gossip), check out this musical homage to Blitz 4th Board NM Chris Williams. Lizzy mentioned her favorite lines from the song, but I was most amused by this sentence on the page itself: "Chris is Awesome has 0 friends."
**********
With the Bionic Lime legal troubles behind us, we've been able to get back to work on the Original US Chess League Quantitative Power Rankings. This week we introduce version 2 of the methodology.

With several weeks of data now available, we can now incorporate the concept of momentum -- how well has a team been doing recently. To accommodate this new variable, we've eliminated Game Score with Black, which many people thought wasn't all that relevant to begin with and which was rarely a deciding factor in rankings anyway. Here are the Week 4 rankings under this new methodology:

Original US Chess League Quantitative Power Rankings v.2
After Week 4
Format - (Match Record, Scaled Score, Last Week's Rank)
  1. Boston (3.5, .893, 1st)

  2. Seattle (3.0, .842, 2nd) - Now I don't want to claim that the QPRs have predictive value, but it's worth noting that we had the Sluggers ranked #2 last week when their match record was below the Destiny's. Everyone else's rankings are just catching up to their strength this week.

  3. Dallas (3.0, .715, 3rd)

  4. Carolina (2.5, .610, 5th) - The Cobras have been quietly moving up the list.

  5. Baltimore (2.5, .607, 7th)

  6. San Francisco (2.0, .499, 4th)

  7. Queens (1.5, .380, 9th)

  8. Philadelphia (2.0, .366, 6th) - The Inventors are the first victim of the new momentum variable, having gone 0-2 in the past two weeks.

  9. New Jersey (1.5, .308, 8th)

  10. New York (1.0, .278, 10th) - Despite two draws in a row, Paul Hoffman's despair still seems warranted.

  11. Miami (1.0, .216, 12th)

  12. Tennessee (0.5, .063, 11th) - I guess it was inevitable.
BCC Weblog provides independent coverage of the United States Chess League. It is not affiliated with the USCL or the Boston Blitz.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Qualifier Kaden no pushover in Championship

2007 BCC Championship after Week 2

In past years, it may have been the case that Masters in the BCC Championship looked upon their games with Reubens-Landey qualifiers as breathers from the week after week intensity of Master vs. Master competition. However, if two weeks make a trend, then this is unlikely to be the case in 2007. Greg Kaden, the winner of this year's qualifier and the lowest rated player in the Championship, remains undefeated after scoring a week 2 victory over FM Paul MacIntyre. Do we have a Cinderella story brewing?

Here are the standings after week 2 (note that a few Round 2 games were postponed and will be made up later):

1.0/1 - IM Vigorito (2432)
1.0/1 - NM Riordan (2331)
1.5/2 - NM Cherniack (2296)
1.5/2 - Kaden (2071)
0.5/1 - NM Williams (2302)
0.5/1 - NM Rueda (2261)
0.5/2 - FM MacIntyre (2276)
0.5/2 - NM Times (2241)
0.0/1 - FM Chase (2338)
0.0/1 - NM Wang (2249)


2007 Hauptturnier after Week 2


Carey Theil has joined the junior circuit, making it a 12-player field. For those who like fighting (or perhaps more accurately, decisive) chess, we can report that so far there have been no drawn games in the Hauptturnier.

Here are the current standings (a couple of Round 1 games still need to be made up):

2.0/2 - Chisam (2063)
2.0/2 - Glickman (2027)
2.0/2 - Newman (1909)
2.0/2 - Lee (1724)
1.0/1 - Theil (2031)
1.0/1 - Driscoll (1800)
0.0/1 - Slive (2000)
0.0/1 - Oresick (1472)
0.0/2 - Haunstrup (1898)
0.0/2 - Portugues (1823)
0.0/2 - Frazier (1600)
0.0/2 - Gorczyca (1380)

Monday, September 17, 2007

It's probably nothing...

...but I found this line in one of Susan Polgar's many posts intriguing:
I will be there to represent Texas Tech University, the Susan Polgar Foundation as well as the USCF.
Is the new Chairman saying that the USCF is third on her priority list of chess institutions to promote? Maybe I'm just reading too much into sentence structure.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ivanov Fundraiser

GM Alexander Ivanov will be holding a simultaneous exhibition on October 7th at the S.M.ART School in Newton to raise funds for the care of his son. Andrew Ivanov has Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type III and needs special home accommodations to help him move independently around the house.

Details for the event are available at the MACA website.

Boston Blitz featured in Sunday New York Times

Dylan Loeb McClain of the New York Times covers the first few weeks of the US Chess League season with emphasis on the Boston Blitz. SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun's win over IM Bryan Smith of Philadelphia is reviewed.

Read "Boston Takes an Early Lead in United States Chess League."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Wamala chess friends doubt verdict, prosecutor makes stupid chess joke

From "Ex-teacher convicted in rape case" at the Nashua Telegraph:
Wamala organized chess tournaments called the NorthEast Getaway, which drew ranked players from across the region.

Two of those chess players, Robert Feldstein and his wife, Debbie Rothman, traveled from New York City to watch the trial and support their friend Wamala.

The couple said even after the conviction that they do not believe the charges against their friend.

Rothman said she hopes the victim will eventually "come forward" and admit the allegations are not true.

From "Ex-teacher guilty of rape" at the Lowell Sun:
After the verdict, prosecutor Roger "Rusty" Chadwick said the verdict rewarded the victim for her courage in coming forward.

Prosecutors had suggested that Wamala had attempted to tamper with some of the witnesses to get them to change their testimony, but the youngest victim stood firm. And the jury, Chadwick said, was able to see the truth.

"Wamala, the so-called chess champion, just checkmated himself," Chadwick said.

Blitz crush Inventors, make league history

Many were asking if Philadelphia was for real after their 2-0 start to the 2007 US Chess League season. Third week opponent Boston's response was a resounding NO! With a 3.5-0.5 thrashing, the Blitz made the Inventors look like just another also-ran in the East, not a contender for the division crown.

I didn't get a chance to watch the match live, so I can't provide any insight into the ups and downs of the night. Then again, how many downs could there have possibly been for Boston? Was the outcome ever in question? I doubt it.

As for the games, the GM matchup on Board 1 looks like it was a snore. Maybe there were some hidden tactics in the minds of the grandmasters that never reached board, but I couldn't find anything to hold my interest. Takes, takes, takes, takes, draw -- that was about it.

Sammour-Hasbun's game on Board 2 has more to sink your teeth into. Despite Robby Adamson's contention that "Jorge ... fought off a fierce attack from IM Bryan Smith," it didn't look all that fearsome to me. Nevertheless, Jorge did find some very nice moves keep his opponent off balance -- particularly 26.Rxd6. Here are a few interesting positions from the most entertaining game of the night:

Sammour-Hasbun - Smith after 19.Bxa6
White seeks to undermine Black's control of d5.
If 19...Bxa6, then 20.g5

after 26.Rxd6
A move that must have taken nerves of steel to unleash
(or at least good calculating skills)

after 32...Nxb3
Here White moved 33.Rf1,
but could he have played 33.Qxc8?

I don't have much to say about the games on Boards 3 & 4, which both seemed to go relatively easily for Boston, though Denys' subtle trapping of his opponent's Queen was nice...

Yeager-Shmelov after 27.Qxc4
Denys played 27...Qb7 and suddenly
White's queen had no squares

**********
The Boylston Chess Foundation lawyers have been busy this weekend preparing an injunction against Bionic Lime and his "new" objective power rankings. While the tart, green one claims that "There are others that have power rankings, but my rankings have no subjective elements...", he fails to note that the US Chess League Quantitative Power Rankings, here at BCC Weblog, were the first purely objective, quantitative rankings for the league. It may take some time for this matter to work its way through the courts, so in the meantime, in order to avoid confusion, the QPRs will be renamed the Original US Chess League Quantitative Power Rankings. [Blogger's Note: Actually, I'm from the "more the merrier" school of thinking, but we'll keep running with this storyline just for fun.]

Here are the current rankings:

Original US Chess League Quantitative Power Rankings
After Week 3
Format - (Match Record, Scaled Score, Last Week's Rank)
  1. Boston (3.0, .944, 1st)

  2. Seattle (2.0, .743, 5th) - While the Sluggers are a half point behind the Destiny in match record, they've managed to edge out the Western Division leaders with stronger scores in all the other quantitative dimensions

  3. Dallas (2.5, .740, 4th)

  4. San Francisco (2.0, .692, 3rd)

  5. Carolina (2.0, .617, 6th)

  6. Philadelphia (2.0, .536, 2nd)

  7. Baltimore (1.5, .470, 7th)

  8. New Jersey (1.5, .394, 8th)

  9. Queens (0.5, .234, 9th) - The Pioneers have faced the toughest opposition of any team so far this season, both in terms of average opponent rating and opponent's match record.

  10. New York (0.5, .206, 12th) - The Knights are finally out of the cellar after splitting a point with last year's champs

  11. Tennessee (0.5, .136, 10th)

  12. Miami (0.0, .110, 11th)
Click here for a discussion of the methodology behind the Original US Chess League Quantitative Power Rankings.

**********
Despite the great disparity in the standings, no one should think that the Boston Blitz aren't taking this Monday Night's matchup with the rival New York Knights very seriously. For the Knights, this is virtually a must win match in order to maintain contact with the division leaders. Therefore, it is no surprise that they dipped into their alternate pool and took advantage of the "10 points for girls" rule in order to field one of their strongest possible lineups. Not to be outdone, Boston also opted for a two GM lineup. As a result, for the first time in USCL history two Grandmasters will face off on Board 2.

Here are the pairings (the Blitz have White on Boards 2 & 4):












GM Larry Christiansen: 2663 vs. GM Hikaru Nakamura: 2709
GM Eugene Perelshteyn: 2601 vs. GM Pascal Charbonneau: 2532
NM Denys Shmelov: 2251 vs. IM Jay Bonin: 2340
NM Chris Williams: 2175 vs. WFM Elizabeth Vicary: 2153













You have to figure that Nakamura has the edge with White on Board 1. I'd be inclined to say the same for Perelshteyn on Board 2, except for the fact that Charbonneau never loses to the Blitz. Stealth 2300-player Chris Williams must be considered a strong favorite over Vicary, especially since league humor is not part of the scoring criteria. That leaves Board 3, where I think it is likely that this match gets decided. I'd bet heavily on a 2.5-1.5 outcome, though it beats me which team pulls through.

Again this week, I will not be available to watch the match live, this time because it conflicts with Round 2 of the Boylston Chess Club Championship and Hauptturnier. One must have their priorities, and this is BCC Weblog after all.

BCC Weblog provides independent coverage of the United States Chess League. It is not affiliated with the USCL or the Boston Blitz.

Championship Standings - Week 1

2007 BCC Championship after Round 1

1.0 - IM Vigorito (2432)
1.0 - NM Riordan (2331)
0.5 - NM Williams (2302)
0.5 - NM Cherniack (2296)
0.5 - FM MacIntyre (2276)
0.5 - NM Rueda (2261)
0.5 - NM Times (2241)
0.5 - Kaden (2071)
0.0 - FM Chase (2338)
0.0 - NM Wang (2249)

2007 Hauptturnier after Week 1

1.0/1 - Chisam (2063)
1.0/1 - Glickman (2027)
1.0/1 - Newman (1909)
1.0/1 - Lee (1724)
0.0/0 - Slive (2000)
0.0/0 - Driscoll (1800)
0.0/0 - Oresick (1472)
0.0/1 - Haunstrup (1898)
0.0/1 - Portugues (1823)
0.0/1 - Frazier (1600)
0.0/1 - Gorczyca (1380)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Guilty

From "Wamala guilty on 11 counts of rape" at the Lowell Sun:
Former Lowell High School Math Department Chairman Severine Wamala was convicted this afternoon of 11 counts of felonious sexual assault against a then 15-year-old girl.

A Hillsborough County Superior Court cleared Wamala, 46, of Nashua, of one count of incest involving a 19-year-old girl.

Wamala showed little emotion as the verdict was read....

Wamala faces a maximum sentence of 10-20 years in state prison for each rape conviction, prosecutors said.

The sentencing was postponed for 30 to 45 days so the Probation Department can do a presentencing report.

No sentencing date was set.

From "Former Mass. high school teacher convicted of sexual assault charges" at The Boston Globe:
His main accuser was a 16-year-old girl. Several other charges involving two other women were dropped after the women recanted statements they made to police.

The teenager stood by her original statement, and prosecutors were allowed to introduce a "time capsule" she had made which showed the abuse had been going on for years.

"This girl showed remarkable poise and bravery in testifying against Wamala, who had been abusing her for years," said Patricia LaFrance, assistant county attorney.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

BCC Championship Round 1 Games

It is not my intent to post the Championship games this year since they will eventually be available on the BCC Website. However, I thought readers might be interested in this new, sophisticated game score viewing technology. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.

Vigorito-Chase
Riordan-Wang












Rueda-Cherniack
Times-KadenWilliams-MacIntyre

Judge calls witness a liar, but still drops most charges

From "Judge allows rape witness testimony" at the Nashua Telegraph:
After declaring he was certain she had just committed perjury, a judge allowed prosecutors to call a witness who testified Severine Wamala never sexually assaulted her in any way.

Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Robert Lynn expressed frustration with the situation, saying he wished New Hampshire's rules of evidence allowed prosecutors to fully question a witness whom they believe is lying.

"I'm trying to follow the rules of evidence, but it is abundantly clear – there isn't the slightest doubt in my mind – that the witness's testimony we just heard is not candid," Lynn remarked after a hearing outside the presence of the jury.
Photo by The Associated Press

From "Many assault charges tossed" at the Nashua Telegraph:
The judge in the trial of a former Lowell, Mass., high school teacher accused of sexually assaulting three young women dismissed many of the charges in the case Tuesday, ruling that prosecutors hadn’t produced enough evidence for the jury to even consider them....

Two of the three women later recanted ... and testified during Wamala’s trial that police pressured them into making false accusations. The third, a 16-year-old, testified that Wamala had sex with her at least once a month during an 11-month span in 2005 and 2006.

Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Robert Lynn dismissed many of the charges against Wamala after prosecutors finished presenting evidence Tuesday. Jurors still must consider aggravated felonious sexual assault charges involving the 16-year-old, and one lesser felony sexual assault charge involving a 19-year-old woman, Lynn ruled....

Lawyers for both sides expect to make their closing arguments after prosecutors finish questioning Wamala on Wednesday morning, and jurors may begin deliberating soon afterward...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

BCC Championship field strongest in years

Thanks to a big turnout of club masters, the 2007 Boylston Chess Club Championship tournament sports an average rating of 2280. The field includes one International Master; only the Reubens-Landey qualifier lacks initials in front of his name.

IM David Vigorito - 2432
FM Chris Chase - 2338
NM Charles Riordan - 2331
NM Christopher Williams - 2302*
NM Alex Cherniack - 2296
FM Paul MacIntyre - 2276
NM Libardo Rueda - 2261
NM Frank Wang - 2249
NM Lawyer Times - 2241
Gregory Kaden - 2071

The group includes the 2006 Co-Champions Chase and Riordan, along with former Champions Cherniack and MacIntyre. Games in the 10-Round Robin event began last night and will continue into early November.

The 11-player Hauptturnier field is also a touch stronger than the last few years, though not even close to as much as the Championship and nowhere near what it was 10-15 years ago.

Edward Chisam - 2063
David Glickman - 2027
Alex Slive - 2000
Ken Newman - 1909
Joshua Haunstrup** - 1898
Ruben Portugues - 1823
Walter Driscoll - 1800
Jonathan Lee - 1724
Frank Frazier - 1600
Robert Oresick - 1472
Ted Gorczyca - 1380

Chisam's participation this year is notable -- he seems to show up about once per decade, win the whole thing and then disappear again -- a bit like a Cicada. Welcome back, Eddie.

* compare this to his USCL rating of 2175
** author of the
Chess Praxis blog

Monday, September 10, 2007

Don't cry for me...

Poor Teddy Coleman, what did he do to deserve this?

First, he was the only member of his team, the Queens Pioneers, to do his job and win a game against Boston in last week's US Chess League match. Next, his game gets serious consideration in the Game of the Week voting, ultimately finishing third. So you'd think that everybody would be talking about him and how he played. Not so!

Instead, they're talking about his opponent -- that's right, the guy who lost. It got so bad that the commissioner said Teddy's game would have received his top vote for Game of the Week, if only Teddy hadn't won!
It's a real shame that Krasik didn't either win or draw this, because if he did I'm pretty sure it would have gotten my vote for game of the week.
At least Greg had the decency to recognize that Teddy was a participant in the game. The two other voters didn't even bother to mention his name at all.

Now, none of this is intended to disparage the game that Ilya played. It was remarkable and complex, and certainly escaped the understanding of this viewer. Nevertheless, doesn't it seem like Teddy deserves better?
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Speaking of the Game of the Week voting, a Blitz-Pioneers game was also the second place finisher. As I anticipated, Christiansen-Ibragimov received serious consideration in the voting. Unfortunately for Larry, the voters felt that his opponent let him down by not playing well enough at the end. Then again, I'm sure that he and the team, and Blitz fans everywhere would rather have the win, than the award.
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While a 2-0 start for the Blitz isn't likely to have surprised too many people, the same can't be said for the Philadelphia Inventors. The Inventors, back when they we were the Masterminds, were always a troublesome team that often played over their heads. However, without a legitimate first board, they often entered matches with a distinct disadvantage to overcome. With GM Kudrin at the top this year, things appear to be different -- at least so far. Nevertheless, the Blitz, who have never lost a match to Philadelphia, should prove to be a stern test.

With LarryC presumably unavailable due to the Rosh Hashana holiday, GM Eugene Perelshteyn will be leading the way for Boston this week. SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun and NM Denys Shmelov man the middle boards again, with NM Chris Williams returning, after a one week hiatus, for Board 4 duties. Here are the pairings (the Blitz have White on Boards 2 & 4):

GM Eugene Perelshteyn: 2601 vs. GM Sergey Kudrin: 2599
SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun: 2558 vs. IM Bryan Smith: 2446
NM Denys Shmelov: 2251 vs. NM Daniel Yeager: 2247
NM Chris Williams: 2175 vs. NM Elvin Wilson: 2240

Only JG has posted Week 3 predictions so far, and he expects a drawn match. I am, however, more optimistic about Boston's chances. Board 1 will, of course, be a competitive game; however, I like the Blitz's chances on both of the middle boards. Williams has been playing so well as of late, that I might even be inclined to say he has an edge as well, except for the fact the Wilson has frequently been a monster in league play, especially on Board 4. In fact, in 2005, Elvin was named to the 1st USCL All-Star team on the bottom board. Putting it all together, I'm looking for the Blitz to squeak out a 2.5-1.5 victory.

No live blogging this week at BCC Weblog, in fact, I won't even be available to watch the match live at all. We'll catch up with all the action next week.

BCC Weblog provides independent coverage of the United States Chess League. It is not affiliated with the USCL or the Boston Blitz.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Judge doubts credibility of victim's recantation

A 24-year-old Lowell, Mass., woman swore to tell the truth, and then testified Friday that Severine Wamala never touched her....

"It never happened," she said.

Later Friday afternoon, however, jurors watched a videotape in which the same woman told Nashua Police Detective Michael Moushegian that Wamala had sexually assaulted her on the very first day she arrived in the United States from her native Uganda, and repeatedly afterward in Lowell and later in Nashua....

She testified that Wamala never did anything more than hug her to show affection, and she falsely accused him of rape because Moushegian badgered and intimidated her into saying so....

When Assistant County Attorney Patricia LaFrance asked the woman to recount what she had told Moushegian during an interview last year, the woman said repeatedly that she couldn’t remember details of what she said about the alleged abuse....

At one point, however, when LaFrance asked the woman where Wamala had assaulted her, she answered, "in the bathroom."

Wamala’s lawyers immediately interrupted with an objection and LaFrance was unable to immediately follow up.

Judge Robert Lynn later mentioned the incident while discussing with lawyers what other evidence ought to be allowed and made clear (while the jury was out of the room) that he thought the woman was lying.

“It would be obvious to anyone that not only was her credibility severely impeached,” Lynn said, then added, the woman’s answer to the question suggested something did happen between her and Wamala in a bathroom.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

From the Bard of the Blogosphere

While his essay project on chess bloggers is still far from complete, DK Transformation has embarked on another major blogging project. Parts 1 & 2 of 3 of his Semi-Annual State of the Elation/Divination Report are posted.

While part 2 is a rather straightforward discussion of chess improvement plans (until one reaches the notes and comments), part 1 is vintage DK. When finished you'll ask, "Is he crazy or is he brilliant?" I'm betting on both.
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Speaking of essays in three parts, Chess Tales is in the midsts of posting 16-year old Emma Pierson's piece entitled, Why I Play Chess (part 1 and part 2). Here is a sampling:
It is getting late. I am sitting across the table from a guy, our knees not quite touching. Around us, the room has gradually emptied and now we are alone. Our eyes meet for half a second; he looks away. I continue to study his face, searching for clues. He seems composed; my hands are shaking. I watch intently as he meets my eyes again and reaches slowly towards me.

Then he moves his rook two squares to the right and taps the clock, starting my timer counting down. I cup my chin in my hands, trying to overcome my exhaustion. We have been playing for four hours, and I have not eaten dinner; my headache has faded to a mental numbness. As my energy has ebbed, however, my antipathy has grown; at this point, my need for food is compensated for by my desire to destroy my opponent. I contemplate hideous chessboard revenges–first, I'll skewer him, then I'll fork his rooks; I'll finish him off with a vicious zugzwang. He resigns half an hour later, to my relief, and I feel my anger fading. No longer my opponent, he now seems likeable once more. As we pick up the pieces, I remember what it's so easy to forget–it's only a game.
Imagine being able to write like this at the tender age of 16.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Blitz and Inventors top the QPRs

There has been a fair bit of movement in the US Chess League Quantitative Power Rankings this week, which is not surprising since we are so early in the season. Boston and Philadelphia take the top spots as the only undefeated teams in the league. Interestingly, the two teams are scheduled to play each other next week. The top teams in the West, San Francisco and Dallas, hold the next two spots.

Not only is Tennessee not at the bottom, but they have inched their way up to 10th. Meanwhile, the New York Knights -- pre-season favorites of some -- continue to occupy the cellar, and next week they have to face the 3rd ranked Mechanics.

US Chess League Quantitative Power Rankings
After Week 2
Format - (Match Record, Scaled Score, Last Week's Rank)

  1. Boston (2.0, .913, 4th) - Greater strength of schedule than the Inventors

  2. Philadelphia (2.0, .889, 5th)

  3. San Francisco (1.5, .827, 1st) - Mechanics are ahead of the Destiny on game score with Black, performance rating, and schedule strength

  4. Dallas (1.5, .731, 3rd)

  5. Seattle (1.0, .682, 9th) - More game points than the other 1-1 teams

  6. Carolina (1.0, .628, 10th) - Cobras have a slightly lower performance rating than the Kingfishers but are way ahead on schedule strength and game score with Black

  7. Baltimore (1.0, .518, 2nd)

  8. New Jersey (1.0, .451, 7th)

  9. Queens (0.5, .318, 6th) - Pioneers have a slight edge over the Tempo in performance rating and strength of schedule

  10. Tennessee (0.5, .281, 11th)

  11. Miami (0.0, .112, 8th) - The Sharks and Knights share the worst scores for match record, games score, and games score with Black. They also have the same strength of schedule. Miami gets the nudge with a 2192 to 2160 performance rating advantage

  12. New York (0.0, .100, 12th) - I must admit that I'm not shedding a tear for the Knight's predicament. Then again, the Yankees are odds on favorites to make the playoffs after their horrendous start.
Click here for a discussion of the methodology behind the US Chess League Quantitative Power Rankings.
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How could I not rip this picture?

It's Boylston Chess Foundation Board Member Natasha Christiansen all decked out in Boston Blitz attire. I'm not sure what her connection to the team is, but she must be a very big fan.
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More multimedia from the Blitz -- this time it is an interview with Jorge Sammour-Hasbun after his Board 2 victory on Wednesday night. I was happy to hear that he also thought he was about to be mated before coming back to win.

There is also an 8-minute video of game action from the match. You can skip the first 5:20 which is incredibly boring, but don't miss the the last two and half minutes which covers the moments immediately after FM Critelli's mouseslip.

Disclaimer: BCC Weblog provides independent coverage of the United States Chess League. It is not affiliated with the USCL or the Boston Blitz.

"...a man who must be obeyed...."

From "Teen tells of alleged rapes by teacher" at the Lowell Sun:
Wamala was a strict disciplinarian, the girl testified, who demanded obedience and put signs up in his bathroom warning that defiance won't be tolerated.

"This is a case about a man who must be obeyed," prosecutor Roger "Rusty" Chadwick said.

The girl testified that once a month, after her chess tournaments, Wamala only needed to give her "a look" with his eyes and she knew to go to his room either later that night or early the next morning.
Here is more coverage of the first day of the trial from the Nashua Telegraph:
In their opening arguments, the two attorneys touched on Wamala’s Ugandan heritage and his success in New England. [Wamala's public defender, Anthony] Sculimbrene started his argument with a slow recounting of why Wamala wanted to flee violent Uganda, including having to walk by a dead body left to rot on the ground.

Wamala, who wore a suit and sat at a table taking notes and listening, stood to shake Sculimbrene’s hand after his opening statement.

Prosecutors called the youngest of the three women, now 16, as their first witness. The girl testified matter-of-factly that Wamala raped her at least once a month during an 11-month span in 2005 and 2006, often around the time of chess tournaments in which they were both involved....

Sculimbrene began to question the girl before the trial broke off for the day, and focused on her academic achievement and chess skills, apparently trying to lay the ground for an argument that she is clever enough to orchestrate a campaign of false allegations.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Live Blogging: Boston Blitz vs. Queens Pioneers

It's time for live blogging coverage of the Boston Blitz, here at BCC Weblog. Tonight, Boston faces off against the Queens Pioneers, one of two new US Chess League expansion teams this season. For the Blitz, it's an opportunity to stay atop the Eastern Division standings after last week's narrow win against Seattle. The Pioneers are looking for their first match win, having drawn with the expansion New Jersey Knockouts in last week's Monday night action.

The prognosticators (Arun, JG, and Ron) all have things going Boston's way tonight, and all by the same score -- 2.5-1.5. I figure the Blitz ought to be good for 1.5 points on the top boards. Therefore, they'll need to find one more point on Boards 3 & 4, both of which look to be competitive matchups. So tonight, we'll probably see just how under-rated NM Shmelov really is and which version (2005 or 2006) of Ilya Krasik shows up this year. As JG put it:
...he's pretty inconsistent so basically are we seeing a Krasik that can play on Wednesday or normal Krasik? I'll give it a 50/50...
No less of an inside source than the official Boston Blitz website claims that Ilya is likely to be one of the key story lines of the night:
Ilya has been a permanent fixture in the Blitz lineup for the last couple of years, being a big part of the Eastern Conference Championship winning team, although this year his time may be limited due to the arrival of Chris Williams.... This week though will be about him and his game, and it's time for him to show that should things start going wrong at the bottom of the board order, that he can step in and still do a job.
The other big story tonight is the USCL debut of top players on both teams -- SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun on Board 2 for the Blitz and GM Ildar Ibragimov on Board 1 for the Pioneers. Further, three quarters of the Queens lineup will be playing in their first league match this evening.

The games will begin shortly, so let's take a moment for a quick commercial break.
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The Boylston Chess Club Championship and Hauptturnier kick-off on Monday, September 10th at 7pm. Click here for more information.

Check out BCC Weblog throughout the fall for weekly reports and updated standings on these events. Games from the Championship will be posted at the BCC website.
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Welcome back to Week 2 USCL action, featuring the Boston Blitz and Queens Pioneers. It looks like everything is in order, so let's head out to the boards on the ICC.
7:20 pm : Sorry, blogger managed to crash right after 7 p.m., but we're back now.

Let's take a look at the openings. Christiansen is playing the white side of a Queen's Indian with the somewhat unusual move 5.Qb3. Board 2 is a standard Ruy Lopez through six moves. Shmelov is facing the Nimzo-Indian on Board 3. White played an early f3 and later Black opened up the center with f6. We're at move 11, and while I don't know if this is theory, it sure looks like White better get his King out of the center soon. Over on Board 4, we've got a King's Indian with Krasik playing black. Let's see how things develop.

7:30 pm: By the way, if you don't have access to the ICC, the Boston Blitz website is broadcasting the moves on Board 2.

7:38 pm: I guess the Blitz like the move b5 when playing Black. Both Jorge and Ilya played the move at almost the exact same time.

7:40 pm: On Board 1, Black's white squares on the queenside look weak to me (though I'm sure the GM must know what's he doing). Can LarryC take advantage?

Shmelov looks like he's untangling a bit on Board 3 (after 14.Be5), but I'm not sure where his King is going to go. Black's Qg5 might be menacing.

7:55 pm: So far, Queens is winning the time battle. They are ahead on the clock on every board. On Board 3, Critelli has over 30 minutes more than Shmelov. LarryC has used 15 minutes more than his opponent.

8:11 pm: Krasik just exchanged pawns on c4 to open the b-file for his rook. Now he's trying to breakup White's center with 14...d5. I'm not sure how to the assess the position at this point. But I don't see that White is threatening anything in particular, and it seems that Ilya is trying to dictate the play.

8:18 pm: Let's try to assess where the Blitz stand on the other boards (keeping in mind that it's me -- and not a "real" chess player -- making the assessments). I like Christiansen's position on Board 1 after 11.b4. He's gained a lot of space on the queenside and Black's pieces look a little cramped.

On Board 2, after 11 moves, we have one of those slow maneuvering Ruy's. Neither player has a piece or a pawn (!) past their own fourth rank. I guess I'll call it equal for now.

After 20 moves on Board 3, I'm a bit concerned for Denys. While he's managed to develop and get his King castled, his queenside pawns are weak and Black has a great outpost for his Knight on c4.

8:30 pm: Some pictures from tonight's match are already posted at the Boston Blitz website.

8:38 pm: Christiansen has managed to lock down the light squares on the queenside, but in the interim, Ibragimov has started shifting his minor pieces to the kingside.

I don't like Krasik's c7-pawn with White's Rc1 bearing down on it. On the other hand, he's found an active post for his bishop on b5.

Critelli is giving up the big time advantage he had over Shmelov. I guess he's not sure how to best press his advantage (assuming he has one).

8:55 pm: The ChessFM commentators don't like Krasik's position at all. They think Black's pieces don't coordinate too well and claimed that White "doesn't have any weaknesses." I guess we'll have to wait and see.

9:00 pm: There are still no pieces in enemy territory on Board 2, but Sammour-Hasbun is down to 26 minutes only 13 moves into the game. Maybe he prefers to play blitz?

Larry's got 34 minutes left and Ilya, 28. Time still seems to be the Pioneers' friend.

9:14 pm: Larry has a great diagonal for his g2-bishop and right now Black's Nd5 is pinned to his Ra8. As compensation, Ildar may be able to work on White's IQP at some point.

Krasik is still trying to find some counterplay, but now he is under 17 minutes.

Denys might be offering a repetition on Board 3 with the maneuver Ng3-f5-g3. I doubt Critelli will go for it.

9:25 pm: Suddenly Board 2 is getting interesting. Kleiman just left his Knight hanging on h4 (it may have been lost, or close to it, anyways) for an attack against f7. Can Jorge take it and survive or does he need to defend f7 first?

9:28 pm: Larry has an extra a-pawn and he's managed to push it down to a7. It looks really powerful in conjunction with that bishop on g2. Perhaps the GM matchup is going Boston's way.

9:33 pm: Krasik is giving up the exchange for a pawn. Shmelov still seems to be struggling.

Wow! Sammour-Hasbun's Bf6 defends f7 and attacks the loose Knight again -- but now he's down to 12 minutes.

9:39 pm: Now Board 4 is exploding in tactics. Coleman didn't take the exchange immediately and instead attacked Ilya's Ne5 with f4. In response, Krasik gave up his other rook for the knight on b2 in order to setup a double rook and queen fork with Nd3. I'm not sure who's going to come out on top when the complications resolve.

9:44 pm: Kleiman gave up his knight on Board 2 but in compensation he opened up Black's king position and has strong Knight on f5. Jorge is going to need to find some good defensive moves to survive the upcoming attack.

9:47 pm: I think Krasik might be busted. It looks like he can get one exchange back, but not two.

Shmelov is offering up his a-pawn for some kingside play. It better come fast since if Critelli takes the pawn, his passed a-pawn will have a clear path to promotion -- he didn't take it.

Larry traded his bishop for the Knight on d5. What's the follow-up?

9:56 pm: Every player for the Blitz is under 10 minutes.

10:00 pm: Jorge is either winning or he's about to be mated (how's that for a helpful comment?). Krasik might not be busted after all. Perhaps he ends up with a passed pawn in compensation for the exchange. Larry's advantage on the queenside seems to be dissolving and Board 3 seems up in the air.

In summary, at this point, I have no idea what the final score of this match will be.

10:12 pm: The ChessFM guys just reviewed Board 4 and they think Krasik has great compensation for the exchange. Can Ilya pull out another crazy game?

10:18 pm: Time Check! Larry 5:43, Jorge 2:30, Denys 5:04, Ilya 0:56. Thankfully, they're playing with a 30 second increment.

10:23 pm: Things are moving fast now -- hard to keep up. Ildar gave up the exchange for two passers on the queenside. Jorge looks like he might beat off Jake's attack. Denys still seems to be holding his own. Ilya's got his passer down to d3.

10:35 pm: Sammour-Hasbun is now up a rook and White's attack isn't going anywhere. I think we can give this point to the Blitz. The other three boards are still unclear.

10:37 pm: Now Critelli is offering the repetition. Will Shmelov take the draw?

10:41: Ildar just gave up his Queen for two rooks. So Larry will have a Queen for Rook, Knight and Pawn. No, wait! Ildar has resigned. 1-0 Blitz.

10:45 pm: Board 2 is over also. Jorge secures another point and Boston now leads 2-0. Where will the winning point come from?

10:48 pm: I have to wonder why Denys didn't take the repetition when he had it. It would have won the match for Boston. Maybe, he didn't realize Larry was about to win?

Krasik just resigned, so it's up to Shmelov. Hopefully passing up the draw won't come to haunt the Blitz. Boston now leads 2-1.

10:58 pm: Mouse slip!!! Critelli just played Qe7?? and Denys snapped it off with Bxe7. Will it stand?

11:01 pm: It looks like it's over. ICC says that Critelli forfeited on time. Wow! What an end to this match. Denys had a long defense ahead of him to hold a draw after he had forgone a repetition earlier that would have won the match. Instead, in mutual time trouble, his opponent handed him a gift and the Blitz, the match.

Beyond this surprise ending, the story of the match has to be GM Christiansen's big win on Board 1. The analysts will have to give it a going over, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's a big vote getter for Game of the Week.

As for the other stories we were following, Jorge Sammour-Hasbun acquitted himself well in his first USCL outing. He won material, staved off the kingside attack, and won rather easily in the end. As for Ilya Krasik, while he lost his game, he gave the fans a vintage Krasik performance -- an exciting tactical slugfest that was unclear for quite awhile. Even when it looked like he was cooked, he continued to find resources. It will be interesting to see what improvements are unearthed during the post-mortem.

So that's it ... the Blitz will hold on to at least a share of the Eastern Division lead with tonight's 3-1 win over the Queens Pioneers. Next week, they face that pesky team from Philadelphia with the new name.

Goodnight everybody.

Disclaimer: BCC Weblog provides independent coverage of the United States Chess League. It is not affiliated with the USCL or the Boston Blitz.