Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mechanics Clinch!

The San Francisco Mechanics clinched with a 2.5-1.5 victory over the Seattle Sluggers. There were quite a few interesting games, Zilberstein was likely losing his game for a while, but then got down into a 4v3 rook ending that really should have been lost, but gave drawing chances and honestly considering the situation with just 30 seconds per move he defended spectacularly for a draw. IM Bhat won a nice game to end IM Orlov's undefeated status in a very complicated game. On board 4 NM Shankland got revenge against the Slugger's Michael Lee in a Chinese Dragon. So what happened on board 1? Well, at a quick glance it would appear that Serper won fairly smoothly after getting a slight edge from the opening where he had a nagging endgame advantage. Well, it's kind of hard to agree with you when in fact, amazingly he was losing for one move. The following is the position after white's 29th move, he played Kc3-d4:
Position after 29. Kd4??

Here, believe it or not, black is completely winning with the move 29... b6!! it makes sense when you see that it's tactically justified, but it's really hard to believe such a move exists and in fact wins! Check out the variations below:

29...b6!! 30.Kc3 a) 30.e3 Be5#; b) 30.h4 Be5+ 31.Ke3 Bc3 32.f3[] Nd5+ 33.Kf2 e3+ 34.Kf1 gxh4 35.gxh4 Bb2-+; c) 30.g4+ hxg4 31.hxg4+ Kxg4! (31...Kf4?? 32.e3+[] Kxg4[] 33.Bxe4[] Nxe4[] 34.Kxe4[] Bc7[] 35.f4[] Kh5!? 36.fxg5 Kxg5 37.Bxb6! and draw) 32.Bxe4[] (32.Bxb6 e5+ 33.Kc3 Nd5+) 32...Nxe4 33.Kxe4 Bc7 34.e3 Kh3 35.Kd3 g4 36.Ke2 Kg2 37.e4 e5 38.Ke1 Kf3-+; d) 30.Bxb6 e5+ 31.Kc3 Nd5+-+; 30...Nd5+ 31.Kb3 Bc7 in most non-critical lines black just worms his king back go b7 32.e3 Ne7 33.Bf1 Nc8 34.Bxb6 Nxb6 35.Bxb5 Nd5-+ for example 36.Be8 g4 37.h4 Nxe3 38.fxe3 Bxg3

Instead in the game Friedel played 29... e5, certainly it's impossible to blame him for missing this move with a couple of minutes on his clock, but I can't imagine being white in this position, playing the reasonable looking Kd4 and suddenly seeing b6 on the board in utter shock to find out I was losing! An interesting missed opportunity. My congrats to the Mechanics on their victory and clinching a first week playoff bye and draw odds in the division championship. What a victory and what great Monday Night Chess, truly what Shahade was hoping for when he added this feature in season 2 of the US Chess League.

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