Sunday, September 7, 2008

Week 3 Preview vs. Queens by FM Robby Adamson

The Arizona Scorpions look to bounce back from a tough Week 2 loss to the Dallas Destiny when they face off against the undefeated Queens Pioneers (2-0). This week's match will be played in Mesa at 2222 S. Dobson Road Suite 504 (Building 5), complements of John Lalonde, who has generously donated the use of his business for this week's match, as well as for future matches held in the area.

With the new playing venue also comes the USCL debut of 2 accomplished Arizona players, International Master Rogelio Barcenilla and National Master and Team Manager Leo Martinez. For those who do not know Rogelio, he is a strong International Master from the Phillippines, who is easily GM strength (I believe he has 2 GM norms) and is rated 2560. Rogelio does not get to play much anymore (which is why he does not have the GM title), but he is a very strong player with both colors.

Leo Martinez (a Junior at the University of Arizona) is our 4th board this week, and in the day was a very accomplished scholastic player. Leo won the K-8 National Championship in 2000 (FM Danny Rensch won the K-9 National Championship the same year - AZ dominance), and won numerous State Titles as an individual as well as for St Gregory High School. Recently, Leo cracked master with a fantastic victory against fellow-Scorpion IM Dionisio Aldama.

Onto the specifics of the match (Scorpions players in bold).

Board 1 - GM Alexander Stripunsky (2664) - IM Rogelio Barcenilla (2560)

This marks Stripunsky's 2008 debut as well, and I expect him to come after Rogelio, knowing they have a decent rating advantage on this board. Stripunsky, who finished 2nd in the 2004 US Championship behind GM Hikaru Nakamura, is also the team's manager. Expect an exciting game!

Board 2 - IM Mark Ginsburg (2414) - IM Alex Lenderman (2463)

This should be a very interesting match. I somewhat wish Mark was black so Alex could show off his knowledge of the Smith Morra Gambit, for which Alex recently did some videos on for ICC, against Mark "Theory Expert from the 1980s" Ginsburg. Maybe both can agree that Mark will play a Smith Morra against Alex!

I am quite familiar with Alex as he was on the powerhouse Edward R. Murrow team, which gave the team I coach, Catalina Foothills High School, a run for their money in High School Nationals from 2005-2007, something I personally will never forget. Special Note: Alex won the 2005 World Youth Championship for Under 16 years old, and is currently rated over 2500 USCF.

Board 3 - NM Parker Zhao (2227) - FM Danny Rensch (2411)

Parker, who is coached by Stripunsky, has improved dramatically in the last 6 months, recently cracking 2300 USCF. Last month he scored his first IM norm in the New England Masters. Danny will look to bounce back after last week's disappointing loss, this time with the black pieces.

Board 4 - NM Leo Martinez (2222)- Benjamin Katz (2101)

Benjamin Katz was a hero for Queens in Week 2 where he scored a minature victory against New Jersey's NM Victor Shen. Leo will get a break from his management duties and try to give the Scorpions some production from 4th board.

Come by the Phoenix location to support the Arizona Scorpions. We expect there to be some spectators and some live commentary on the games.


Mark Ginsburg said...

I just made some videos on how to deal with the Smith-Morra. I used Alex Lenderman's interesting lectures (they contained some new stuff) as a start point. Some of the possibilities are really interesting, with black even gaining a sacrificial attack (!) in some lines! I credit Rybka for a lot of the future-looking analysis.

Chess.FM will release them when I record the rest of the segments (it's a series on Sicilians where white avoids the Open Sicilian 3. d2-d4).

But since I am not black in the game, the "video war" will have to go on hold.

Anonymous said...


cjeagle1 said...

I just wanted to mention that Rogelio Barcenilla has qualified for the GM title already since he has fulfilled his 3 norms but bec. of Philippine chess politics the powers that be at FIDE(ex. President Florencio Campomanes et al) has blocked Fide from granting him this title. That is what made him stop playing awhile ago. Please tell him that Philippine chess is a lot better now with the current leadership with favoritism being cut down and that the philippine team in really improving by leaps and bounds.