Thursday, August 28, 2008
The Sharks faced the Seattle Sluggers in the first match of season four. We didn't field a lineup with our biggest guns due to various time issues which did not allow us to plan as well as we would have liked, but nevertheless, we had a pretty good lineup, and I think this year we have a better tuned team than any of our previous seasons. One of our newest and most important additions to the team is FM Bruci Lopez who recently graduated from UMBC and is now once again a part of the "Miami Cuban Mafia".
In the match itself, on the top board, Bruci battled against GM Serper. He knew he would probably be facing Gregory's ever dynamic Paulsen Sicilian, but still unfortunately Bruci did not have too much time to prepare for the game due to work issues. While watching the game I felt he had gotten the worst out of the opening as swapping on e5 fortified Black's position in the center and enabled him to place a strong Knight on d4. But in exchange for this Bruci got a pawn majority on the Queenside which he was later able to utilize to good effect. I think Serper played a little bit too aggressively on the Kingside also which caused him some serious problems. A nice victory for the Sharks on Board One against a very strong opponent.
On Board Two, I was looking for revenge from my last year's loss to IM Tangborn. I felt in that game I had had a nice position with a pretty good edge but played it badly and lost at the end. This time I was much more accurate and did not give White any unneeded chances. In the opening I think I misplaced the dark squared Bishop, putting it on d6 instead of e7, but I played largely on auto-pilot, not thinking too much about that detail and later on picked up a nice initiative and did not let go of it until White resigned.
On Board Three, Blas Lugo faced a Pirc Defense which is supposed to be FM Readey's best weapon. Blas got a nice attacking position similar to that of the English Attack and Sicilian Dragon set ups but somehow later on it became a slug fest of mistakes in the complicated struggle for which a draw was probably the fairest result.
On Board Four, the most improved player of the Miami Sharks, Eric Rodriguez won fairly easily on the Black side of a Slav Defense. A nice victory over Seattle by a 3.5 - 0.5 score and a nice start to the season. Next week we face the New York Knights. Watch out for the Sharks this year!!!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
With two expansion teams, the Chicago Blaze and the Arizona Scorpions joining, the US Chess League is adding many more titled players and young talents to the fray. I would like to thank League Commissioner Greg Shahade for his efforts in keeping this great initiative running. In future weeks, I will begin to comment on Miami's (hopefully successful!) results.