Unfortunately for his team, their valiant effort lead by another impressive win by IM Korley over the second place MVP placer in 2015, wound up falling short by the narrowest of margins, but that didn’t stop him from snaring the best game award for the week with his nice positional victory.
In a smooth positional win against a very strong opponent, IM Korley’s nice 19. a5!, rerouting his Knight, soon brought about the loss of Black’s c-Pawn, after which he converted smoothly
FM Arthur Shen (1st Place, 4 Points): I felt that this was the best played game from both sides. It was a textbook positional example of how to play with the two Bishops and against weak Pawns from Korley. Stripunsky looked like he only made one or two inaccuracies in the opening and got an uncomfortable position which went downhill from there, with Korley showing excellent technique to reel in the full point.
FM Jason Doss (1st Place, 4 Points): A very strong positional performance by Korley that I felt was very impressive. The simple advantage of the Bishops along with the stranglehold on Black’s weak Pawns was simply too much to hold. There might be some nuances to improve upon in this game, but it was a clean mop-up even with these. Very well done by Korley against a very strong opponent, he should be proud of this one.
FM Eugene Yanayt (2nd Place, 3 Points): It seems like Black gave up a lot on moves 11-14 to create an imbalance, and I’m not sure why, having draw odds and a favorable matchup in terms of both ratings and colors on Board Two. From White’s standpoint, it was an excellent game with perfect technique.
Total score of Korley vs Stripunsky: 11 Points
In a typical unbalanced KID, GM Izoria played the surprisingly daring 18… hxg5!?, not fearing the open h-file
FM Eugene Yanayt (1st Place, 4 Points): It looks like the recently fashionable 9. Be3 took Black by surprise, given that he spent half his time after White’s only logical move 14. g4. But Black did an excellent job creating a mess on the board without truly ever being in trouble, which is probably what he had in mind when choosing 13… Kh7 over the more popular and forcing 13… f4. I thought 18… hxg5 was an amazing practical solution to Black’s problem on the light squares. Even if not objectively best, it immediately put White to some difficult decisions, and he quickly used up all his time and collapsed.
FM Arthur Shen (3rd Place, 2 Points): I thought that White’s attack looked crushing, but things were not as easy as I thought. The tables turned quickly, a testament to the fickle nature of the KID. While White’s play could have been improved on, without a computer I can’t say for sure where. Black’s attack seemingly came out of nowhere and was conducted with both energy and accuracy.
FM Jason Doss (4th Place, 1 Point): I struggled with this game because I didn’t want to rank it last, but the result didn’t feel completely deserved. Rohde played a very ambitious line and got an interesting attack, but like any King’s Indian, a couple dropped passes and everything collapses quickly. It almost feels like an incomplete game. That being said, Izoria played a couple moves (like 18… hxg5?!) that were really gutsy, but I guess that’s par for the course in the KID.
Total score of Rohde vs Izoria: 7 Points
Having crashed through, NM Balleisen played the simple but very strong 26. Rf7!, breaking down Black’s defenses shortly
FM Arthur Shen (2nd Place, 3 Points): A smooth performance for Balleisen. He had an interesting idea in the opening (13. Nf1 and 14. Nd2 to prevent c4) that Black did not respond optimally to. Nh7 followed by f5 looks more natural, trying to punish White for keeping the King in the center. After c4 was prevented, Balakrishnan didn’t manage to get any serious counterplay, and once White got e5 in his position was tremendous. White’s conversion was accurate, but more importantly flashy, with several very nice sacrifices.
FM Jason Doss (2nd Place, 3 Points): This was the most entertaining game to examine, but completely one-sided. Normally I would rank lower but it was fun trying to figure out what the strongest lines were. There were many flaws, but entertaining flaws! I liked Mr.Balleisen’s instincts in the game, lots of clear thematic sacrifices that were correct, but still murky to figure out.
FM Eugene Yanayt (4th Place, 1 Point): To counter White’s unusual Nf1->d2 maneuver, all Black had to do was quickly play 15… Nh7 and 16… f5. With no Queen on d2, Black would get f4 and g5 in (or White’s f4 would be met by Ng4) for a comfortable game. Instead it seems Black’s Bd7, b5, Nc4 plan played right into White’s Knight on d2, and White quickly obtained a decisive advantage.
Total score of Balleisen vs Balakrishnan: 7 Points
In a wild game, SM Chandran took good advantage of his opponent’s weak King with the strong 29. Rh5!
FM Jason Doss (3rd Place, 2 Points): I wanted to rank this game second but the glaring Rxf7 kept bothering me. I think White played extremely well, and did a nice job dismantling Black’s swiss cheese-esque Pawn structure, but I keep being drawn back to the Qd2-Rxf7 series of moves that seemed to nearly ruin a well played game.
FM Eugene Yanayt (3rd Place, 2 Points): White initially did a nice job punishing 17… e5, but even in severe time pressure Black was able to make a game of it. The time scramble after move 30 was really exciting and on two separate occasions Black had equalizing moves. Great fight!
FM Arthur Shen (4th Place, 1 Point): Black’s position looked uncomfortable out of the opening, and things got very bad very quickly (e5, opening thing up, seems wrong). Chandran’s technique was good as well, refuting the cute stalemate trick at the end of the game with a nice piece of calculation.
Total score of Chandran vs Rozman: 5 Points