Sunday, September 5, 2010

Week 3 Preview

Looks like Arun Sharma will not get his wish, for this week at least (see the last blog post).

In week 3, the Knights (1-1, 5.5) will take on the Philadelphia Inventors (1-1, 4.5), looking to bounce back from our first loss of the season. Philadelphia is also coming off their first loss, a 2.5-1.5 decision against Boston, proving once again that chess strength is not transitive (we beat Boston who beat Philly who beat NJ who beat us).

On board 1, GM Giorgi Kacheishvili faces IM Bryan Smith, a dangerous tournament player who has scored a number of victories in the last 12 months, including an undefeated 7/9 performance en route to winning the 2010 Philadelphia Open, undefeated =2nd at the 2010 Liberty Bell Open, =2nd at the 2009 Eastern Open and =1st at the 2009 National Chess Congress (where he defeated your author in a complicated round 3 game on board 1). Smith scored a shocking upset victory in week 7 with the black pieces against Giorgi last year, so expect both players to be out for blood.

On board 2, we see the return of legendary GM John Fedorowicz against FM Thomas Bartell, who is off to a 2/2 start (both wins with the black pieces), including his monumental upset of GM Boris Gulko in week 1 that has him tied for 1st in the MVP race. Fedorowicz and Bartell have faced twice in USCL history. John had a smooth win with the white pieces in 2008 and unfortunately missed a winning continuation last year en route to a draw with the black pieces in his only showing for the Knights. Should be quite a battle.

On board 3, Knights manager and 2010 US Women's Champion IM Irina Krush makes her 2010 debut with the white pieces against FM Karl Dehmelt. Dehmelt, who is nearly as old as Philly's board 1 and 2 combined, won a sizzling game in round 1, defeating Arthur Shen with a violent kingside attack after sacrificing/blundering a pawn in the opening.

On board 4, Justus Williams, the #5 ranked 12 year old in the country, makes his USCL debut against veteran IM Richard Costigan. Costigan's 41 games make him one of the most active USCL players, though his activity has leveled off the last two years. His career record is only 3/8 against the Knights, but in 2006 he scored an upset against GM Pascal Charbonneau in week 1 and drew IM Irina Krush in week 10 to bookend an impressive season. Justus may be the key to this match, as an upset (either draw or win) with the black pieces would put significant pressure on Philadelphia's top 3 boards.

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

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