Saturday, November 08, 2008

USCL Playoffs Round 1-- Boston vs. Queens


Jason Rihel here with all the insider news about the Boston USCL playoff chances!


Christiansen vs. Stripunsky on Board One!


US Chess League MVP Lenderman sits on the pine!


Esserman upset at the Lenderman dodge, despite dramatic loss last weekend in CT!


Krasik gets the Black pieces against a rising Junior! Duck and cover!


This Blog-nosticator can't contain his excitement for the USCL playoff action. The future is a quivering, shimmering burst of nebula gas and dust -- the Blitz-Queens match will go supernova, I tell ya, supernova! The Blitz did no favors for themselves by their Pioneering play in Week 10, when a less convincing win would have paired them against a weaker Carolina team. Now it is rematch time!

Here are the matchups:

(Blitz have white on 1 and 3)

Boston Blitz vs Queens Pioneers
GM Larry Christiansen: 2670 GM Alex Stripunsky: 2601
GM Eugene Perelshteyn: 2619 IM Dmitry Schneider: 2508
SM Marc Esserman: 2307 IM Eli Vovsha: 2532
NM Ilya Krasik: 2144 Aleksandr Ostrovskiy: 2042
Avg Rating: 2435 Avg Rating: 2421

Board 1. GM Larry Christiansen vs. GM Alex Stripunsky. Board 1 has no less than GM on GM action. No doubt Willa Cather would write frothy frontier sagas about this matchup ("My Alexander", anyone?) The Strip has been more active chessic-ly than Larry, including a respectable 6/9 in the GM heavy Pan American Championship last week. He didn't lose a single game, but he did give up some crucial draws, leaving him a point out of first place. Meanwhile, Larry caught the blunderbug midseason. One plus is that any attempt by Stripunsky to intimidate with dark glasses won't be effective across the Information Superhighway. My tiny magical shoebox friend tells me this will be a draw.

Board 2. GM Perelshteyn vs. IM Schneider. Eugene almost gave me a draw in a simul, and that is just embarrassing for him. Really- the Blitz number 2 had to Blitz me out of a half-point. Here is the gamescore:

GM Perelshteyn vs. Jason Rihel --- sometime in the past.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f3 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. Be3 0-0 9. Qd2 Be6 10. O-O-O a5 11. a4 Nc6 12. Kb1 Nb4 13. Nb5 Rc8 14. c4 Rxc4 15. Bxc4 Bxc5 16. Qc3 d5 17. exd5 Bxd5 18. Nc7 Bd6 19. Ncxd5 Nfxd5 20. Rxd5 Nxd5 21. Qd3 Nxe3 22. Qxe3 b6 23. Rd1 Qb8 24. Rd5 Qc7 25. Qd3 Rd8 26. Nd2 Be7 27. Nc4 RxR 28. QxR Qe5 29. QxQ BxQ 30. Nxe5 Bd6 31. Nc4 Bc5 32. Kc2 f6 33. Kd3 Kf7 then I played a bunch of moves and flagged.

What is the point of showing this game? Eugene must be good at clock management. Eugene can sac back material when the need arises. Eugene can beat me while playing other people. What does that spell? My invisible pet unicorn says-- "Whinny-- a winny for Eugene!"

Board 3. Esserman vs. IM Eli Voshva. Shocker! No MVP Lenderman vs. near-MVP Esserman (tied with Larry for USCL Bionic Lime rating at 10!) This is too bad, since Esserman and Lenderman played last weekend at the 14th Northeast Open. In that game, Lenderman won.

Esserman and Vovsha have played with the opposite colors recently, in the New England Masters. Here was their black hole forming, atom-smashing game:

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Ng4 7.Bc1 Nf6 8.f3 e6 9.Qe2 b5 10.a3 Nbd7 11.g4 Nb6 12.g5 Nfd7 13.a4 bxa4 14.Nxa4 Bb7 15.Nb3 Qc7 16.Nxb6 Nxb6 17.Na5 Bc8 18.Bf4 e5 19.Bd2 Be6 20.Ra3 d5 21.Rc3 Qa7 22.Nc6 Qb7 23.Na5 Qa7 24.exd5 Nxd5 25.Rb3 Bd6 26.Rb7 Qc5 27.c4 Nf4 28.Qe3 O-O 29.Qxc5 Bxc5 30.b4 Bd4 31.Nc6 Bc8 32.Ne7 Kh8 33.Nxc8 Raxc8 34.Kd1 Ne6 35.Bd3 a5 36.Kc2 axb4 37.Bxb4 Bc5 38.Bc3 Nxg5 39.Bxe5 Nxf3 40.Bc3 Nd4 41.Bxd4 Bxd4 42.Rf1 Kg8 43.Be4 Be5 44.Bd5 Rc7 45.Rxc7 Bxc7 46.h3 g6 47.c5 Kg7 48.Kd3 f6 49.Re1 Be5 50.c6 Rc8 51.Kc4 Rc7 52.Kc5 Re7 53.Re4 Kh6 54.Rh4 Kg5 55.Rg4 Kh5 56.Bf3 Kh6 57.Rh4 Kg7 58.Re4 f5 59.Rxe5 Rxe5 60.Kd6 Re8 61.c7 Kf6 62.Bc6 Rf8 63.Bd7 f4 64.h4 f3 65.c8Q Rxc8 66.Bxc8 f2 67.Bh3 h5 68.Kd5 g5 69.Ke4 1/2-1/2

I think Eli is going to allow the Smith-Morra Gambit, taking it for granted like so many strong players do. Too bad for him. My space monkey, born in the antimatter rubble of Multiverse #C61236, says "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO O OO OOO." Clearly, he supports an Esserman victory, but I'll be more pragmatic. Draw.

Board 4. Ilya Krasik vs. Aleksandr Ostrovskiy. Ilya Krasik (has anyone else noted the obvious that Ilya Krasik would make a great Bond villian name?) has the Black pieces, which means an ugly Sicilian or maybe a Benko is on its way. But I cannot be too harsh on Ilya-- he has been winning many convincing games for the Blitz in the second half of the season. Still, Aleksandr is exactly the kind of opponent that Ilya can take for granted-- an expert-rated Junior. He must keep his attitude about his opponent in check for this game if he wants to help push the Blitz into the next playoff round (and his win here is essential).

Look what I was able to dust off from my year in New York City!

Rihel - Ostrovskiy
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.0-0 Nf6 6.Re1 Be7 7.c3 b5 8.Bb3 Na5 9.Bc2 c5 10.d4 Nc6 11.dxc5 dxc5 12.Qxd8+ Bxd8 13.a4 Bb7 14.axb5 axb5 15.Rxa8 Bxa8 16.Na3 b4 17.Nc4 Bc7 18.Ba4 Nd7 19.cxb4 cxb4 20.Bd2 f6 21.Bxc6 Bxc6 22.Bxb4 Kf7 23.Nfd2 Rb8 24.Ba3 Ke6 25.Rc1 Bb5 26.Ne3 Ba5 27.Ndc4 Rc8 28.b3 Bb6 29.Nf5 Bxc4 30.Rxc4 Rxc4 31.bxc4 g6 32.Nd6 Bc5 33.Nb5 Bxa3 34.Nxa3 Kd6 35.g4 Kc5 36.Kg2 Kb4 37.Nb5 Kxc4 38.Nd6+ Kc5 39.Ne8 Kd4 40.f3 Ke3 41.Kg3 Kd4 42.h4 Ke3 43.g5 fxg5 44.hxg5 Kd4 45.Nf6 Nf8 46.f4 exf4+ 47.Kxf4 Ne6+ 48.Kg4 Nf8 49.Kf3 Ke5 50.Ng4+ Ke6 51.Kf4 Nd7 52.e5 Nf8 53.Nf6 Nd7 54.Nxd7 Kxd7 55.Ke4 Ke6 56.Kd4 Kd7 57.Kd5 Ke7 58.e6 Ke8 59.Kd6 Kf8 60.e7+ Ke8 61.Ke6 h5 62.gxh6 g5 63.h7 g4 64.h8Q# *

Look at all those moves the kid played! Look at how he hung on when I was up a pawn! Look how I blundered into a drawn endgame! Look at how I ignobly swindled him in the endgame! Alexsandr was only 9 when we played that game, and I danced around the board to rub his face in it. That's right, I do that. I'm a troglodyte. My precious ring-bearing blind cave fish says, "EEELLLLYYYAAA WEEEEELLLL NOOOOOOOT WHEEEEEEN." I take that to mean a draw.

Summing it up, draw, win, draw, draw-- OH! BLITZ WIN!

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