Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nor'easters Win over Baltimore 2.5-1.5

The Boylston Chess Club hosted the first New England Nor'easters match of the United States Chess League on Wednesday night. Nearly 15 spectators were spectating; the projector was projectating; Boston Blitz Marc Esserman was gesticulating. Instead of the cold Rybka analysis spouted by the ICC comment boards, non-stop color commentary was provided our own Boylston Chess Quad Core processor of masters Carey Theil, Paul MacIntyre, Chris Demarais, and Charles Riordan. My summary is a pistache of half-remembered jokes, ideas, and gross speculations that were pinging around the room while the Nor'easters toiled in silence in the back room.

Board 1 IM Hungaski- IM Enkbhat, 1-0

Eventually a smooth victory for Hungaski, Board 1 started off as a Nightmare on Elm Street. Visiting our club for the first time, Robert knocked on the door of 240 Elm Street..... in Cambridge. When the door creaked half-open and a, "What do you want?" steamed out of the mist inside, Robert meekly asked, "Is David Vigorito home?" Eventually, he stumbled away from a possible haunting to our Somerville locale, 20 minutes late, where he played a clean game that impressed the hometown crowd with its economy.

After some positional manuvering, Hungaski wins the b-pawn with 24. Rxb4. Staring at a monster a-pawn, Black sacrifices the exchange with 24.... Rxa5 25. Nxa5 Qxa5 26. Rd1 and now Black can't unleash on the d4 pawn: 26... Rxd4? 27. Rb8+ Ke7 28. Qxa5, as there is no back rank threat after Rxd1 29. Bf1. After some more clean play, White won.

Board 2 --WGM Foisor- IM Vigorito 0-1
Ironically, Board 2 was the first one declared as a victory by the crowd but turned into the longest game of the night (no pre-mature resignations here, I guess).

Dave's savvy opening choice paid dividends when he side-stepped the Saemish King's Indian by playing unexpectedly and then managed a kind of transposition into more traditional King's Indian lines, with White's a3 thrown in.

An unexpected opening choice for Vigorito:
Ah, this is more like it:
White exchanged the d-pawn (a rather toothless move says this KID player), and after some additional shuffle-feet, reached the following unhappy position.

At this point, the consensus was that Black had a winning position, and some players were already baldly calling this one in favor of Dave. The rest of the game wasn't that simple, of course, and White managed to fight tooth and claw for many, many, many, many moves. Dave finally crashed through with the nice 23.... Nxh3 when White defences finally break down (despite the game lasting to move 65).
Dave crashes in with Nxh3:
Board 3-- Bournival-Balasubramanian 1/2-1/2
I'm sure there was tension and thrills in this game somewhere, but, frankly, White looked to have a slight pull for most of the game that ended in peace with opposite colored bishops. With Boards 1+2 (and yes, board 4) looking sealed up for the Nor'easters, it appeared to the crowd that Bournival was happy with a draw. He was, and it put the Nor'easters on top.

Board 4-- Schoch-Chase 1-0
The two USCL newcomers provided some of the best entertainment of the night. Our quad-core processor devolved into hysterical laughter all night long with some of the crazy lines that both the spectators (and ultimately, the players!) had created. A real treat.
Visually, Chase looked to be in big trouble early, as he lined up all his pieces on the h-file. Longtime Boylston Chess Club members, however, know that Chris (a multi-time club champion) is a kind of chess-masochist who really loves these kinds of Black hari-kari setups.
After 13... Qh4, one line that slayed the crowd ran: 14. Rg5 Qh3?? 15. Nb1 when the Black queen is trapped. Odds were placed at this ACTUALLY appearing over the board at somewhere around 250:1. To everyone's mirthful relief, this did not occur.

The position eventually settled, and the super-solidity of Black's king became clear to all. I started to think that my prediction of 4-0 was a real possibility, with Boards 1, 2, and 4 looking very good for the Nor'easters, and Board 3 looking like a solid small edge.

Schoch ripped the funny bone off the crowd a second time when he uncorked a sacrifice that was pinging around in our quad-core's side-line fancy.

Here White uncorked the desperado 23. Rxg6!? to the glee of the fans. A real bullet chessplayers move, that! It seemed to fade quickly into nothing after Chase plays a series of good moves with 23...hxg6 24. Rxg6 Qh7 25. Rxe6 Nxf4 26. Bxf4 Bxf4 27. Nd5 Qxh2 28. a3 Qg1+ 29. Ka2 Qxd4 30. Qf1 Bg5 31. f4. The position remained dangerous though, and Chris had used considerable time to find the right defensive plan.

Here, everything went astray when Chase failed to find 31...Rxd5, instead opting for Na5? and a quick finish after 32. Qh3+ Kg7 33. Ne3! Rf8 34. fxg5 Nxc4 35. Re7+ Rf7 36. Nxf5+ Kg6 and there is nowhere to hide the Black king this time.

Overall, a great success for the Nor'easters debut. We in New England are looking forward to Week #2, when hopefully we can have more wins from both of our local teams.

No comments: