Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Boston Blitz fall to Dallas Destiny 1.5-2.5

The Boston Blitz fell tonight to the Dallas Destiny in a heartbreaker of a match.
Not Blitz's Destiny
Perhaps someone can assess for me the timing of when the games ended, because that will perhaps explain some of the decisions in the other games. Also, let's see how my prognostications went.

On Board 1, Jorge didn't appear to get too much out of the opening, (Sammour-Hasbun vs Kuljasevic), although visually his passed d-pawn and Bishop protected on e7 later in the game looks impressive at first glance. But first glances can be deceptive, and I think Black as a clear plus in the late stages of the game

The position after 25...Qc8

The problem here to my mind is that the Bishop on e7 is now practically out of the game and leaves a bunch of dark squares weak behind it (see the a7-g1 diagonal). The Knight and Queen quickly exploit that diagonal plus the outpost on d3 to force a draw. More analysis will be needed(I'd like to hear Jorge's take, of course), and I believe Black has some time trouble, but I thought 30.Qxf2 instead of Nxf2 was a way to play for a win.

I had predicted a win for Jorge, but I didn't get it. I could possibly get half credit, but the Blitz wanted a win not a draw on Board 1 tonight, and Black could have maybe pressed more at the end?! 0 prediction points for me.

Board 2 I know I mischaracterized David's game1 draw in my last post, but perhaps even he will agree that this time he held a pretty safe and comfortable draw throughout this game. Bartholomew-Vigorito White had only minimal chances to open the Kingside, and David put the kibosh on any funny business. How did I do? Well, I predicted a draw, but I thought maybe it would have been tougher than this. 0.9 prediction points for me.

On Board 3, Shmelov-Schneider, I understand Denys wanted to play against the French and opened with 1.e4. I thought in the early part of the game Denys had maybe a slight plus, but shortly after 16.g3, Black had a bunch of annoying pins that kept White from doing anything. After Black wins the f-pawn with 21...Nxg3, White's rook activity maybe compensating just enough. Black does seem to throw away winning chances later in the endgame, and I wonder if anyone can clarify for me if Black already knew that a draw would win the match?! For example, 41...Rxd5 just immediately allows a drawn 3 vs 2 on the same side rook and pawn endgame.

I predicted a draw, and that is what we got. 1.0 prediction points for me.

Board 4. Much has already been written about my prediction for Board 4, and I am sorry to say that I was right Zorigt-Krasik (1.0 points for me.) I am sorry because I am definately rooting for the Blitz and want them to win. I am also sorry because I didn't mean to be picking on Ilya, but I wanted to predict something to get this coverage going, and it was my honest assessment. Credit to Chris Bird who rightfully predicted a tactical slugfest with chances for both sides. White's early initiative failed to overly impress me(again with the visuals instead of the goods) and I thought White was slowly drifting into at least an equal position, if not a worse one. White was also under the gun with the clock, according to the timestamps I was getting on-line. But Ilya made one crucial misstep in the following position after 32. Qe2:

Ilya, eager to get his own attack on, played 32...a5?, overlooking the strong 33.Bb5!. It is hard to blame Ilya, this is a good move with deep enough implications that white had to find quickly. Now, 33....Bc6 looks like the only try (else bxc3 is an immediate threat), but 34.Bxc6 Rxc6 (34...Qxc6? lets the Bishop on c3 hang when White has time to defend b2 and the b-file) 35.e5. The point is that if 35... dxe5? 36. bxc3! bxc3+ 37.Nb3 and Qxe5 is going to do it. Trickier to see is that after 35....d5, 36.Qg2! threatens to penetrate on those weakened dark squares (again with the weak squares behind the Bishop), and Black will probably have to contort his position to the breaking point to stop it. Also see how the Bishop on c3 is oddly trapped there. So after 35.e5, perhaps the best is to play 35...a4, trying to keep Black's attack alive... this is beyond what I want to cover now. Unfortunately, after 33...Bxe4, Black's position quickly crumbles.

Well, I had fun making my predictions (final score this week 2.9 out of 4), and thinking about the results. Please feel free to add or detract from my observations.

Good luck to the Blitz next week. I'll try to keep posting, so stay tuned.

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