After one of the most successful seasons in USCL History in 2013, GM Izoria continues his torrid pace, winning Game of the Week in a close vote in a big win for his team that has put them in good position to try to capture the Eastern Division Title.
In a strong effort, GM Izoria won material with the aesthetically pleasing 19. Nc6!!
IM Jake Kleiman (1st Place, 5 Points): Izzy gets my nomination for Game of the Week. I’ve never seen a tactic with the exact motif of the position after the very simple but cool looking 19. Nc6. Izoria played the game well from start to finish and showed creativity along the way.
FM Jason Doss (2nd Place, 4 Points): Stonewall players everywhere rejoiced with this game. Ok, it wasn’t a Stonewall, but close enough. Maybe this idea of g6-f5 gives Black a few too many weaknesses to deal with in a practical situation. Perhaps a similar idea with Ne8 and f6 would have kept the e-file and the pesky e5 square from becoming so problematic. Izoria does an excellent job pouncing on the swiss-cheese nature of Black’s position.
GM Robert Hess (4th Place, 2 Points): To me, the only cool moment of the game was 19. Nc6!, a great tactical shot. White’s Knight is completely en prise, but neither Black Knight can capture it without losing material. Before and after this move, though, the game was a cakewalk. Izoria easily gained space and a superior position, and the much lower rated Brattain couldn’t keep up with the 2013 runner-up for USCL MVP.
Tiebreaker Judge, IM Marc Esserman (1st Place)
Total score of Izoria vs Brattain: 11 Points
Taking advantage of Black’s weaknesses, GM Holt plunged forward with 26. Rc6!, winning decisive material
FM Jason Doss (1st Place, 5 Points): A nice game to show kids about piece centralization! This game feels very proper from White’s point of view. Even if Black is not so much worse according to the silicon monster, it still feels like the weakened King and uncoordinated aspect of his pieces will do him in. I really like how Holt zero’d in on the g6 and c6 squares so quickly. Perhaps this is a bit too one-sided, but really well executed by Holt.
GM Robert Hess (2nd Place, 4 Points): This game was easy for Holt, who seemed to know the intricacies of the opening better than his opponent. 13. Nxf7 is optically pleasing, but not a difficult tactic. White’s pieces were simply better than Black’s, and Thunder Holt (nickname courtesy of Danny Rensch) could not be stopped. Flores’s overextended Pawn structure did him no favors, as they became susceptible to attack (the d4 pawn did a nice job keeping the c and e Pawns at bay. Conrad won material and swiftly defeated his GM opponent – a nice effort, but too easy a game to win the GOTW prize.
IM Jake Kleiman (4th Place, 2 Points): Holt played a really nice game. I wanted to rank this one higher, but the fireworks were lacking.
Tiebreaker Judge, IM Marc Esserman (2nd Place)
Total score of Holt vs Flores: 11 Points
In a nice upset, IM Katz continued nicely with 28. h5!, winning back material, and transposing to a winning endgame
GM Robert Hess (1st Place, 5 Points): Katz played a nearly flawless game, soundly defeating a very strong GM. A wise piece sacrifice – making the material imbalance a Rook for two minors – could have culminated in a dull repetition, but the teenager rejected the draw. A smooth Rook lift later, Kacheishvili was forced to return the material after the phenomenal 27. Rf7+, 28. h5 maneuver. But once equal material was restored, Black’s King was ensnared on h6, forcing the GM to jettison his unmoved Bishop, after which Katz sailed to victory. Quite frankly a flawless effort that I’m honored to have analyzed.
IM Jake Kleiman (2nd Place, 4 Points): The upset of this week’s finalists. Katz did a good job of tying down Kacheishvili’s pieces and definitely deserves second place.
FM Jason Doss (5th Place, 1 Point): A game with both big blunders and big misses. 14… Rxf3 looks thematic but tactically fails on its face. Katz misses the super cute 16. Bxh7, the entire line is fantastic to look over. After these initial ups and downs White really puts the hammer to the nail and never lets Black finish getting his last pieces out before it’s too late.
Total score of Katz vs Kacheishvili: 10 Points
Some interesting back and forth play started with GM Nyzhnyk’s creative 27. Rxg7+!, with a draw eventually coming about
FM Jason Doss (3rd Place, 3 Points): A nail-biter for the viewers undoubtedly! This game certainly has the potential to be Game of the Week, but I think the amount of missed strong continuations taints it a too much. Hats-off to Barcenilla for keeping his cool and holding a difficult position. If White played 29. Qg5+ it would have been a fantastic finish and a deserving result to Nyzhnyk’s wonderful Ra3-g3-xg7 attack.
GM Robert Hess (3rd Place, 3 Points): This game was pretty one-sided for the first 30 moves. The Webster GM was cruising, first up a pawn and then crashing through with the sweet rook sacrifice 27. Rxg7+. Illya could have ended things with 29. Qg5+ followed by Qh4+ and Qg3+, picking up the Rook on e5. Instead, things got complicated, and Barcenilla survived. Not an amazing game, though an interesting one.
IM Jake Kleiman (5th Place, 1 Point): This game was a fun one for the fans, but with so many inaccurate moves it is hard to claim it is GOTW quality.
Total score of Nyzhnyk vs Barcenilla: 7 Points
In a dominating effort, GM Stukopin effectively finished the game with the attractive 37. Rxe7!
IM Jake Kleiman (3rd Place, 3 Points): Stupokin demonstrated why there is a problem with making eight of the first ten moves with pawns. I think this was a great example of how to win winning positions.
FM Jason Doss (4th Place, 2 Points): Not sure Black ever really got off the ground this game. At move 15 just looking at the position aesthetically White is very pleasing. Sevillano puts up some valiant defense with his King-walk, but White’s pieces are all just so well placed and centralized. There is a humorous point on move 35 with Kb3 instead of Kc3, allowing Rb4 to end the game immediately.
GM Robert Hess (5th Place, 1 Point): A bad opening for Sevillano, a cramped position, and then a King run. That sounds exciting on paper, but in practice it was all out of desperation. Stukopin completely dominated this game from start to finish. 33. Rxe7 was a nice finishing touch, but the game had already been long over.
Total score of Stukopin vs Sevillano: 6 Points