In a near unanimous vote, the just recently adorned new GM continued his impressive season with his second GOTW award of the season, cementing him as one of the more dangerous Board Ones in the League – undoubtedly one of the big reasons for Dallas’s current top spot in the Western Division.
GM Xiong opened up the diagonal with the attractive 20. d5!, with his resulting long diagonal pressure eventually proving key to his victory
NM Jeff Ashton (1st Place, 5 Points): Simple, entertaining, and educational. White’s opening play is very straight forward. This game will touch the heart of any chess player that has dreamed of playing Qa1.
FM Varun Krishnan (1st Place, 5 Points): This game was a full-on positional masterpiece by Xiong which really deserves recognition. When confronted with the task of breaking down Black’s solid Kingside, Xiong starts with 20. d5, a brilliant pseudo-pawn sacrifice which eventually leads to the f6 Pawn falling. After that, Xiong’s execution is flawless, as he slowly converts his advantage, and exerts beautiful dark square domination. This, coupled with the fact that Sevillano defended very well until a time trouble blunder with 33… Qe4, makes this an excellent Game of the Week.
WGM Tatev Abrahamyan (2nd Place, 4 Points): I actually had a similar game vs. Enrico few months ago, but I liked Jeffrey’s handling of the position much better. I like the way he maneuvered his pieces and the Pawn sacrifice to bring in his light squared Bishop. Black probably could have defended better, but overall just a nice game on Jeffrey’s part.
Total score of Xiong vs Sevillano: 14 Points
After an interesting early Queen sacrifice, FM Atoufi continued the nice parade of tactics with 16… Bxh3!, helping his team score a big win
WGM Tatev Abrahamyan (1st Place, 5 Points): Interesting Queen sacrifice that as a former KID player I was very unfamiliar with. White was probably surprised and didn’t feel confident to play 16. Nd6, giving Black a very nice edge. I like the dominance of Black’s minor pieces of the position and the precision the game was played with.
NM Jeff Ashton (2nd Place, 4 Points): Mr. Atoufi is becoming quite the wizard in Queenless King’s Indian Defenses.
FM Varun Krishnan (3rd Place, 3 Points): A tactical bonanza! Atoufi begins the fun with 12… Nxe4, sacrificing his Queen for a Rook, Bishop, and Pawn. With 15. Bd5, White might have a good position, but after 15. Nb5, the tactics pile on. 16… Bxh3 is a nice shot, and after that the game only goes downhill for White.
Total score of Lee vs Atoufi: 12 Points
In a move that the esteemed Commissioner messaged me saying “mouseslip alert”, FM Colas found the brilliant exchange sacrifice 24. Bc3!! helping his team knock off the previously unbeaten Knights
FM Varun Krishnan (2nd Place, 4 Points): This game definitely features the move of the week: 24. Bc3. Most people would just play 24. Ra1 on autopilot, but Colas came up with a deep, brilliant exchange sac. Black could have defended better with 25… Qxb1, sacrificing the Queen for two Rooks, but even here White is definitely better. After 25… Qe8, though, it is amazing how what seems like a solid position falls apart so quickly for Black: unlike the Xiong-Sevillano game, this an example of light square domination, even after White gives up his light squared Bishop.
NM Jeff Ashton (3rd Place, 3 Points): Creative tactical play in the middlegame.
WGM Tatev Abrahamyan (3rd Place, 3 Points): Black had a fine position up until he blundered 23… Ba2. White’s 24. Bc3 is a hard tactic to spot, and it’s understandable that Black would miss it. The Bishop pair dominate the board quite nicely until White wins the exchange back and then the game with nice technique.
Total score of Colas vs Brodsky: 10 Points
With his eye on the Black King, NM Martirosov found a nice exchange bait with 18. Ne4!, scoring an attractive tactical victory in short order
FM Varun Krishnan (4th Place, 2 Points): 18. Ne4 is a very nice exchange sacrifice, after which Martirosov conducts the attack very well. As it turns out, Black’s King is far from safe, and Martirosov finishes the fun with 25. Bxd6!! A fun game, but it was a bit too one-sided, and Black could have probably defended better (for instance, he didn’t have to accept the exchange sacrifice after 18. Ne4 and could have played 18… Be7).
WGM Tatev Abrahamyan (4th Place, 2 Points): Strange game. After Black’s dubious 8… Qf6, white decides to punish Black for his lack of development with the Rook lift. After Black manages to survive and get a playable position, he plays the inexplicable 18… Bg3, leaving both his dark squares and King completely vulnerable. After that, it is hard to believe that White doesn’t have a win somewhere.
NM Jeff Ashton (5th Place, 1 Point): This Bxc6 idea is annoying and dangerous. Nice tactical play, and a warning to anyone who underestimates the power of this Bxc6-d4 idea.
Total score of Martirosov vs Pelaez: 5 Points
GM Baryshpolets won material with the nice tactic 15. b4!
NM Jeff Ashton (4th Place, 2 Points): Energetic play in the middlegame (Ne5, b4, etc.).
FM Varun Krishnan (5th Place, 1 Point): This was a nice win, but ultimately, it came down to one tactic: 15. b4, a removal of the guard after which Black is forced to lose an exchange. Cool stuff, but just not enough to put it over the other games.
WGM Tatev Abrahamyan (5th Place, 1 Point): White played flawlessly, but Black played d4 prematurely and his position collapsed easily. After that, White didn’t have to do anything too special to win the game.
Total score of Baryshpolets vs Kiewra: 4 Points