Greetings from where it’s always sunny and the skies are blue,
and home to the Carolina Cobras of the United States Chess League!
The Cobras play their games at Duke University, in the shadow of Duke Chapel.
(We make no claim correlating the grand chapel overhead with last season’s regular season finale!)
Our first match’s lineup consisted of Duke Junior Lev Milman on board one. Duke Sophomore, and last years USCL board 3 All Star, Oleg Zaikov on second board. Team captain and two time United States Postal Chess champion, Craig Jones on board three. Rounding out the squad was Satyajit Malugu. Satyajit is a Master’s student at the Department of Computer Science at N.C. State in nearby Raleigh.
After facing the now usual first match network and equipment glitches, we were underway.
Lev surprised everyone from the start by not playing the Sicilian. A Ruy Lopez Marshall shows up on the board, with Friedel playing Serious help from his opponent in time pressure, no doubt, allowed Lev an active rook on the 7th and the win. ’s 12. g3. As with Fischer’s g3 games, the game appeared to fizzle out until move 32. It seemed to me that white’s push to d5, instead of sitting tight, would have lead to an easy draw.
We were without IM Jonathan Schroer or SM Andrey Chumachenko tonight on board 2, so we knew we’d have our hands full. This put Oleg and Craig playing up on boards 2 and 3 against the meat of the Mechanic’s lineup. Our team captain, Craig Jones, has nothing but praise for Oleg’s talent and mature style. This time though, Oleg had it tough against Vinay Bhat. After Oleg’s aggressive Saemich Nimzo, black liquidated the center, with his Knights gaining control of c4. Oleg never seemed to recover and resigned after dropping a second pawn.
It was now SF 1-0.
After some major computer network connectivity issues Craig Jones on board 3 started significantly down on time. SFs Pruess showed that 11.Nb3 in this Classic French is a tough idea meet.
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bc5 9.Qd2 0–0 10.0–0–0 a6 11.Nb3 b6 12.h4 Bb7 13.Rh3 Rc8 14.h5 Na5 15.Bd4 Nxb3+ 16.axb3 Qe7 17.Kb1 Bxd4 18.Qxd4 f6 19.exf6 Qxf6 20.Qxf6 Rxf6. After Black’s queenside play stalled, there 18….f6 and the ensuing Q trade has left black’s center weak, which Pruess takes full advantage of.
Morozevich as black against Anand gives an example of how to drum up Q side play for Black in their San Luis 2005 encounter. with 11…. Bb4 12.Bd3 b5 13.Rhf1 Nb6 14.a3 Be7 15.Nd4 Qc7 16.Nxc6 Qxc6 17.Bd4 Nc4 18.Qe2 Rb8 19.Bxh7+ (with a perpetual in hand, this may be induced due to Black’s pressure) Kxh7 20.Qh5+ Kg8 21.Rd3 f5 22.Rh3 Bc5 23.Rff3 Bxd4 24.Rfg3 Rb7 25.Qh7+ Kf7 26.Qxg7+ Ke8 27.Qxf8+ ½–½
After Oleg’s relatively early loss, boards 1, 3, and 4 seemed up in the air.
On board 4 it appeared we’d surely pick up a win, but the young