Thursday, September 18, 2008

Week 4 Recap by Amanda Mateer

This week, the Arizona Scorpions faced off against the Tennessee Tempo in our biggest nail-biter of the season to date. In a match-up that everyone knew would be close, the Scorpions were able to hold off the Tempo, even with the successful debut of GM Jaan Ehlvest on Board 1. Arizona stood at 1-2 while Tennessee was at 0.5-2.5, and
both teams were looking for a convincing win to put them back in the middle of the standings; luckily, the Scorpions were the team to walk away with the win.

For the first three matches, the Scorpions have struggled on Board 4, a board in which they typically have a comfortable rating advantage walking in. Having only scored 0.5 out of 3 on Board 4, it was clear a nice game by hard-to-prepare-for alternate NM Joel Johnson (2211) against the Tempo’s FM John Bick (2249) (NM Joel Johnson (ARZ) vs FM John Bick (TEN) 1-0) would put the Scorpions back on track. Joel played an aggressive King’s Gambit with 3. Qh5, and black’s passive play and uncoordinated pieces left him in danger very early on. After 13 ...Ne5?, Joel played the pretty 14. Nd2!, forcing the win of a piece. By move 20, the game was over, and the Scorpions had finally scored a victory on Board 4.

Even with this nice game, the match was nowhere close to over. IM Rogelio Barcenilla (2560) was hanging on with the black pieces in a King’s Indian against Tennessee’s newly acquired GM Jaan Ehlvest (2668). Rogelio offered a draw on move 25, but Ehlvest declined, keeping the pressure and about a 20 minute time advantage. His decision to continue pressing worked, and left with under 2 minutes after 37 …Qh5 against Ehlvest’s 26 minutes, Rogelio faltered and played 38 …Nf6?, going on to lose the game on move 41. Instead 38...Bd4! gave Rogelio some chances to save the game, although the position is still very complicated. You can see the whole game by clicking on GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) vs IM Rogelio Barcenilla (ARZ) 1-0.

The match was now tied at 1-1, and Tennessee’s hopes to score at least a draw in the match were renewed. IM Mark Ginsburg (2410) had been pushing with a small edge with white against IM Ron Burnett (2412). However, Mark went a little astray with 21. Qc7?!, leading to exchanges that did not really improve White’s position. In an unclear endgame, Black made a few inaccuracies and after 40 …Kg5, Mark missed the pretty 41. Rhg1!, giving him some winning chances. After this, 41...Bxd4 is impossible due to 42. Rxd4 Rxg1 43. Nh3+. If in the final position White had gone 41. Nxd5 Rd6 42. Ne3 like many people thought was winning for White (because of the line 42...Rgxd4 43. Rg1+ Kf6 44. Rxd4 Rxd4 45. Rxg7!) then Black has 42...Rf4+! first followed by 43...Bxd4 with an unclear game. Upon noticing Robby’s position on Board 3 looked much better, Mark played out the perpetual and on move 44, the game ended in a draw. You can follow this at IM Mark Ginsburg (ARZ) vs IM Ron Burnett (TEN) 1/2-1/2.

The final game between FM Robby Adamson (2377) and FM Todd Andrews (2350) (FM Todd Andrews (TEN) vs FM Robby Adamson (ARZ) 0-1) proved to be the decisive factor in the match. Andrews made an interesting opening choice with white, playing the Stonewall and making the move 8. dxc5, an odd idea in this opening. Robby played a strong middlegame and was left better heading into the endgame, even though he was, as usual, severely down on time. He played 35 …Re4, where 35 …Re2 left him with a much more decisive advantage. In a 2 rook, 3 pawns for each side endgame, it was unclear if Robby would be able to still win the game, even though White’s pawns were much weaker and White’s time advantage had vanished. ICC kibitzers were torn about Robby’s winning chances, but Robby was able to showcase his spectacular endgame-in-time-trouble technique and finish off Andrews.

Back at 50% with their 2.5-1.5 victory against the Tennessee Tempo, the Scorpions will have a chance to regain their plus score next week against the Carolina Cobras. The location of the match will be announced soon – be sure to catch the games live in person or on ICC at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, September 24th!


Anonymous said...

well i am very pleased at the verile performance of robby the cat this week. and whats up with elvest bein on tennesse? 'a little corrupt' in m book. anyway, i hope the scorpions continue to penetrate their opponenets wid the same rigor as they had this week, n they oughta make it to thjee world championships

Anonymous said...

What's corrupt about Ehlvest playing for Tenn? These guys are mercenaries. Where's your conspiracy theory about Hikaru changing from NY to Seattle? Or Friedel going to SF from Boston?

Anonymous said...

If Josh does go from SF to Boston, obviously it would have be a conspiracy.

Sam S

p.s. great article!