This past Wednesday the Manhattan Applesauce defeated the strong New England team that continues a tough start to the season despite a draw with the league's top team- Dallas.
We knew this match would be difficult since we would have a disadvantage on board 1 with GM Alex Ivanov versus IM Eli Vovsha. And of course our huge rating deficiency on board 4 made this a tough match-up for us. Going in we knew we had a chance if Eli could draw or if Shaun could draw and we won boards 2 and 3, both of which we had slight rating edges on. With a big win for Shaun on board 4 and a smooth victory for Lev on board 3 and a tight draw on board 2 the Applesauce have moved into a 3-way tie for first place in the Eastern Division.
This was our first match on chess.com and while we had some problems in the beginning, everyone enjoyed playing on the interface. We also reccomend this site to all chess fans as the site has so many great features to improve one's game.
Here is a quick breakdown of the match:
On board 1- IM Eli Vovhsa had a tough game versus GM Ivanov and held on for some time before GM Ivanov eventually ground out the win.
You can see the Ivanov-Vovsha game here: http://www.uschessleague.com/games/aivanovvovsha12.htm
On board 2- IM Dmitry Schneider played a nice close game versus FM Charles Riordan who kept the game balanced throughout. At one point it looked like Dima had an edge and chance to win outright. However, his opponent kept the game interesting and marched a passed pawn down to the 6th rank and with the help of his king and rook it almost looked like Riordan would win the game. With that said, Dima played precisley and with a repition of moves secured the draw that won the match for the "Sauce."
You can see the full game here:
On Board 3- IM Lev Milman played a great game and seemed to carry an edge for some time and his opponent held on for most of the game. However, after Bxf6 followed by Qf7 the game was clearly in Lev's favour.
Lev eventually mated his opponent's white King on the opposite side of the board on f8!
You can Lev's full game here:
On Board 4 - Shaun Smith, our team's lowest rated player and team manager had a tough match with a player that had never previously lost a game in the USCL. To make matters worse, Shaun has never won a game in his time in the USCL, and has had to be happy with a couple of draws with limited playing time. Shaun played a line he was very comfortable with and reached a solid opening position against his higher rated opponent NM Ben Goldberg.
In this position, Shaun came up with a good idea to trade his bishop for the Knight on f6 when it could only be captured by dark square bishop. In doing so, Shaun was able to play b4 and create a successful minority attack.
After eliminating the pawn on the queen side and creating a weakness on the backward c6 pawn, Shaun went on to win a clean game via "Clinical Conversion."
In this position, Shaun feared that with the rook coming into the attack he might be in trouble. He spent a significant amount of time coming up with a solid defense and played Nb1 with the idea of moving his second knight to f1 to creat a safe position for his King.
It looks like Black has something with his attack. But Smith found the strong Qc2 move which leads to simplification of the position and a smooth win.
After a few more moves the final position was reached and NM Goldberg resigned.
Shaun was very excited with his win and was even more excited in that his game helped his team win an important early season match.
Shaun was rewarded with a nomination for Game of the Week
See Shaun's full game here:
The Manhattan Applesauce look to next week's match versus Arizona and hope to take sole possession of first place with a victory. Stay posted and watch out games on the ICC and Chess.com
On a side note: The Manhattan Applesauce would like to thank our location sponsor- Chess-in-the-Schools, for providing us with a superb location to play our weekly games. Without their support our success would not be possible.
We would like to also help Chess-in-the-Schools have more fans on their Facebook page. So if you have a chance check out the nation's top scholastic program's Facebook page and like them to hear about the great things this program does for NYC children with their chess program.
Chess-in-the-Schools is running their 12th Annual Chess-in-the-Parks Rapid Open in Central Park this Saturday. USCF Executive Director Bill Hall is expected to be on hand as over 800 players play in the what many consider the largest outdoor chess tournament in the US or even world? Not sure of the actual answer.
Here is a cool video where you can see what this event is all about: