Saturday, September 13, 2014

Week 3: Plugging Along

We had a tense 2-2 draw against the defending champion Miami Sharks. 

FM Michael Bodek continues to deliver for the Knights, scoring a critical victory on board 3 against NM Tony Arencibia.  Arencibia played the opening well (14. ..Be6 looks like an excellent novelty) and had he continued with the principled
 18. ..dc! 19. Bh6! cb! 20. Rae1 Ne7!, white would have been fortunate to hold.  Instead, 18. ..Ne7 allowed white to stabilize the position.  Michael did his best to generate chances with [insert diagram after black's 21st move] 22. b4 cd 23. b5, but Arencibia could have put up firmer resistance with 23. ..a5! 24. b4 Rd5!. 23. ..Bb6? was a significant mistake and after 24. ba Ra8 25. Nd4 Ne5 26. Re5 Bd4 27. Rd5 Bf6 28. a7, Michael converted easily.

FM David Brodsky made his Knights debut with a very solid draw with black on board 4 against NM Carlos Gaston Andretta.  The game followed Portisch-Smyslov 1972 and white maintained a small but annoying pull. Andretta seemed to lose the thread around move 26 and the N+R endgame actually looked better for David. One small opportunity presented on move 44


when black could have defended b7 with 44. ..Nf7-d8!, creating the threat of Ke7-d7 and white's Rb8 is trapped.  After 45. Rc8 Kd7 46. Rc2 Ne6, white would have had to prove the draw in a pawn down rook ending.  Instead, after 44. ..Nd6, the position rapidly simplified and the players agreed to a draw a few moves later.

GM Gata Kamsky drew a tough game against GM Julio Becerra.  Becerra managed to neutralize Gata's queenside play and win a pawn, but Gata comfortably held the resulting R+B+5p vs R+B+4p ending.
My game on board 2 against FM Marcel Martinez was by far the sloppiest of the match and I committed the last oversight.  Martinez outplayed me in a Ruy Lopez that and won a clean extra pawn by move 20.  I set one last challenge with 20. ..Ne7 (preventing Qd1-d3-h7) 21. Nfd4 Ng6!?

 White is still winning, but can only prove it with 22. e6! after which all the complications work in his favor.  Marcel's 22. Qh5? was met by the previously impossible (due to Bb1-e4) 22. ..Qd8-d5! and the threat of mate forces white to retreat 23. Qh5-g4 and part with his extra pawn.  23. ..Re5 24. Re5 Qe5 25. Be3 followed and the super-solid 25. ..Qe5-e8, defending g6 and c8, would have forced white to find some accurate moves.   After 25. ..Nc4 26. Bg6 fg 27. Qc8 Kh7 28. Qa8 Ne3 29. fe Qe3 30. Kh2, I completely missed white's Qa8-g2 retreat idea and blundered away the game with 30. ..Qf4?? 31. g3!.  Instead, 30. ..Qe5! 31. g3 c5! 32. Nb3 Qe2! picks up the Nb5 and a draw would soon follow.  White was simply up a piece and I resigned shortly thereafter.

We return to divisional play on Wednesday against the Manhattan Applesauce.
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