A Disappointing Monday…

Monday’s outing against the Baltimore Kingfishers could have been better from the Nor’easter’s point of view.

We couldn’t quite get a win with Boards 1-3 managing draws and Board 4 unfortunately losing. It’s a times like these that you move forward on faith – faith that next week is another match!

This week the games and photos are brought to us by New England Nor’easter fan Steve Stepek!

Baltimore vs New England (2.5 – 1.5)

Board 1

(143) Enkhbat-BAL (2509) – AIvanov-NE (2656) [E08]ICC 90 30 u Internet Chess Club, 01.10.2012[Hellsten]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Be7 5.Bg2 d5 6.Nf3 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.Qc2 Nbd7 9.Bf4 a5 10.Rd1 b5 11.Ne5 Bb7 12.c5 Nxe5 13.Bxe5 Nd7 14.Bf4 g5 15.Bc1 f5 16.Nd2 Bf6 17.Nf3 Qe7 18.Be3 Kh8 19.Ne1 Qg7 20.f4 gxf4 21.gxf4 Rg8 22.Kh1 Bh4 23.Bf3 Qh6 24.Bg1 Bxe1 25.Rxe1 Qxf4 26.Qd3 Qh6 27.a3 a4 28.Be3 f4 29.Bd2 Rg3 30.Rg1 Rh3 31.Rg2 Nf6 32.Qc2 Rf8 33.Rag1 Nh5 34.Bxh5 Rxh5 35.Qc3 Bc8 36.Qf3 e5 37.dxe5 Be6 38.Bc3 Rh3 39.Qf2 Qh4 40.Qxh4 Rxh4 41.Rd1 Rh3 42.Rf2 Re3 43.Rd4 Re4 44.Kg1 Kg7 45.Rg2+ Kf7 46.Kf2 Rxd4 47.Bxd4 Bf5 48.Rg5 Be4 49.Rg4 Ke7 50.Rg7+ Rf7 51.Rxf7+ Kxf7 52.e3 f3 53.Kg3 Ke6 54.Bc3 Kf5 Game drawn by mutual agreement 1/2-1/2

Board 2

(140) Vigorito-NE (2548) – LKaufman-BAL (2445) [D14]ICC 90 30 u Internet Chess Club, 01.10.2012[Hellsten]

1.c4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bf4 Bf5 7.e3 e6 8.Qb3 Bb4 9.Ne5 Qa5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Be2 Ne4 12.Rc1 0-0 13.f3 Nxc3 14.bxc3 Ba3 15.Bc7 Qxc7 16.Qxa3 c5 17.c4 cxd4 18.cxd5 Qb6 19.e4 Bg6 20.dxe6 fxe6 21.Bd3 Rac8 22.Ke2 e5 23.Rb1 Qf6 24.Rhc1 Qg5 25.Kf1 h5 26.Ba6 Rcd8 27.Rc7 Bxe4 28.Bc4+ Kh8 29.Re1 Bh7 30.Qc5 d3 31.Rd7 Rc8 32.Rc7 Rce8 33.Bf7 d2 34.Rd1 Rd8 35.Rd7 Rc8 36.Rc7 Rcd8 37.Rd7 Rc8 38.Rc7 Game drawn by mutual agreement 1/2-1/2

Board 3

(135) Defibaugh-BAL (2357) – AWang-NE (2302) [E92]ICC 90 30 u Internet Chess Club, 01.10.2012[Hellsten]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.Be3 Ng4 8.Bg5 f6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 Nh6 11.h3 Nd7 12.Qd2 f5 13.exf5 Nxf5 14.dxe5 Nxg3 15.fxg3 Nxe5 16.0-0 h6 17.Nd4 c6 18.Rxf8+ Qxf8 19.Rf1 Qe7 20.Nd1 Bd7 21.Ne3 Rf8 22.Ndf5 Bxf5 23.Nxf5 Qd7 24.Bg4 Nxg4 25.hxg4 Rf6 26.Qe3 a6 27.Re1 Kf7 28.Qe7+ Qxe7 29.Rxe7+ Kf8 30.Rxb7 Black resigns 1-0

Board 4

(138) Pellows-NE (2152) – Zimmer-BAL (2304) [A86]ICC 90 30 u Internet Chess Club, 01.10.2012[Hellsten]

1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 d6 6.Nh3 0-0 7.Nf4 c6 8.d5 Qe8 9.0-0 Na6 10.Be3 g5 11.Nh3 h6 12.f4 c5 13.fxg5 Ng4 14.gxh6 Nxe3 15.hxg7 Nxd1 16.gxf8Q+ Qxf8 17.Raxd1 Qh6 18.Nf4 Nc7 19.e4 fxe4 20.Bxe4 Bg4 21.Rde1 Rf8 22.Bf3 Bxf3 23.Rxf3 Qg7 24.Kg2 Rf7 25.Re4 Qh7 26.a4 Ne8 27.Ne6 Rxf3 28.Rg4+ Kh8 29.Kxf3 Qd3+ 30.Kg2 Nf6 31.Rg5 Qd2+ 32.Kh3 Qxb2 33.Nb5 Qc1 34.Nf4 Qf1+ 35.Kh4 Qxc4 36.Nc7 Qxa4 37.Nce6 Qe4 38.Kh3 Qh7+ 39.Kg2 Qc2+ 40.Kh3 Qh7+ 41.Kg2 Qc2+ 42.Kh3 Qh7+ Game drawn by repetition 1/2-1/2

The Nor’easters Go To Mondays!

NE Nor'eastersNow for a bit of a change of pace.

Week 5 of the season begins, and the Nor’easters start the second half of the season by starting play on Mondays at the Boylston Chess Club in David Square, Somerville, instead of Wednesdays.

The team’s first Monday Match will be against the Baltimore Kingfishers.

Heading the team on Monday night on the First Board will be GM Alexander Ivanov, followed on the Second Board by IM David Vigorito. The Third Board again will be filled by NM Andrew Wang. Rounding out Fourth Board will be Bennet Pellows.

The Nor’easters have a positive record against the Kingfishers, and are currently also ahead of them in the standings. We’re confident that both statistics will remain intact after tomorrows’s match!

Bets, anyone?

Back on the Board!

I’ll hopefully have more later, but 24 hours couldn’t go by without mentioning the little things…The Nor’easters are back on the board!

We owed it to our fans who have been patiently sitting back and wondering, perhaps, when we’d leave the block. Last night, we finally did!

The Nor’easters played a no-loss match against the Miami Sharks last night to take the match 3-1. Outright wins were garnered by Board 2′s Grandmaster Alexander Ivanov and Board 3′s National Master Andrew Wang. Draws were garnered by Board 1′s Grandmaster Sam Shankland and Board 4′s Bennet Pellows.

As luck would have it, your writer wasn’t at the match last night due to previous commitments. I always miss the great games!

Way to go, Nor’easters! Now let’s show the League how a hurricane makes a come back!

In the Dugout in the 21st Century

It was almost like being in the dugout with an old transistor radio.

For our third match of this season’s United States Chess League, the New England Nor’easters retired to the greyhound saving offices of National Master Carey Theil at Gray2K USA while their normal quarters, the Boylston Chess Club, were being cleaned.

The third match was the first time that many of the team had played on Chess.com. Setting up the computers on a new network, and making sure the team was able to log in successfully, took a few minutes of time. After just a small while, play began.

After a bit of time monitoring the players as arbiter, I took out my tablet and earphones and decided to see if I could patch into the Chess.com Chess TV commentary. As I tuned in they were discussing our game Shawn Smith vs NM Ben Goldberg on Board 4. It was a very interesting situation watching the internet TV commentary and then looking over to see the player’s live reactions. It was really like being in the dugout watching the game while listening to the commentary on the transistor radio. I guess the more things change, the more they can stay the same.

The Nor’easters continue to struggle at the beginning of this season. The Applesauce bested us 2.5-1.5 with Grandmaster Ivanov scoring a win, and International Master Riordan gaining us a draw. Boards 3 and 4 just didn’t have a good evening. National Master Ben Goldberg said it best when, after his game finished, he ruefully turned to me and commented, “I don’t think I’ll be annotating that game anytime soon.”

Join us next Wednesday at 7.15 at our normal quarters at the Boylston Chess Club as we attempt to eat the Miami Sharks!

The Boston-NYC Bash!

We’re all familiar with the “subway series” in baseball when the Yankees and Mets play. Things get a bit exciting whenever Boston play the Yankees as well here in town.

In chess, well, we go one better. Not only are the Boston Blitz playing the New York Knights this Wednesday, but more to our point, our boys are playing the Manhattan Applesauce!

Manhattan ApplesauceThe third time’s the charm for the New England Nor’easters! We began the season with a loss, improved in Week Two with a tie, this time the money is on a win as Ivanov, Riordan, Yedidia, and Goldberg go against Vovsha, Schneider, Milman, and Smith, respectively.

Stop by the Boylston Chess Club starting around 7:15 as the Nor’easters attempt to make make Manhattan’s applesauce for them!

What? Interested in the Boston Blitz? Well, I sympathize, mate, but you’ve come to the wrong website for that!

First Analysis of the 2012 Season

On Tuesday, September 4, 2012 the New England Nor’easters began its season. Battling against the NJ Knockouts, as with any sports contest, things didn’t seem to go exactly as planned. Coming away with only 1.5 points out of four, NJ took the field.
This was the thorn in their paw.

National Master Ben Goldberg  (2233) – National Master Christopher Wu (2304)
12 September 2012
New England vs New Jersey, United States Chess League

1) d4 Nf6
2) c4 e6
3) Nc3 Bb4
4) Qc2 0-0
5) a3 Bxc3
6) Qxc3 Qe8
Diagram 1

Diagram 1

I have never seen this move before. I’d assumed it was a newfangled way of delaying or preventing Bg5, but I seriously doubted this move would put the Classical Nimzo Indian out of business. This morning I looked online and saw some high level games with this move, where the responses were quite varied. According to Dave, the Qc2 Nimzo Indian guru, it’s actually an old move that has recently been getting renewed attention.

7) f3 d6

I would have thought d5 would make more sense, making use of the queen’s position on the e file. If I don’t capture on d5, e3 keeps the c1 bishop at home, and Bg5 might run into something like dxc4, Qxc4 b6 with the idea of Ba6, sacrificing the c pawn to cause a disruption in white’s development. Who knows?

8 ) Bg5

Though Qe8 was originally a means to dissuade Bg5, here it is an even more comfortable developing move, as there are no typical Ne4 tricks that are a common tactical way black can counter white’s lack of development.

8)… Nbd7
9) e4 e5
10) d5 a5
11) b4
Diagram 2

Diagram 2

This closed, King’s Indian style structure happens often in the Qc2 Nimzo Indian, where black’s active knights and slight lead in development counterbalance white’s bishop pair, which he may not be able to use right away. Based on black’s apparent loss of tempo with Qe8, I felt that I could take certain liberties with my development considering that black does not have any obvious counterplay.

11)… b6

A clear sign to me that black’s opening was unsuccessful. Black struggles just to find space for his pieces.

12) Bd3 h6
13) Be3

The inclusion of h6 and Be3 can only help white, as it will be much more difficult for black to try to prepare a future f5 break, and White is now preparing for an eventual c5 advance, which could cause serious problems for black based on the cramped nature of his position.

13) … Bb7
14) Ne2 axb4
15) axb4 Rxa1
16) Qxa1 Qa8
Diagram 3

Diagram 3

Here the computer likes just castling, allowing the major pieces to be exchanged on the a file. Though it’s true that common chess wisdom suggests keeping the minor pieces on the board and getting rid of the queens when you have more space, I had a specific idea in mind. A typical way of causing concrete problems in this type of structure is to put the heavy pieces on the b file and then playing c5, where black runs into tactical problems based on the position of the b7 bishop.

17) Qb2 Qa7
18) Nc3 Ra8
19) Kd2
Diagram 4

Diagram 4

As the only thing black can really do is try to trade queens with Qa3, I figured why not prepare for the endgame. Maybe it was a little risky because you never know when the most closed of positions can split wide open, but I felt confident. Qa3 could be met with Rb1, followed by c5 before or after trading queens. Here the king would be well poised for the ending, and protecting all the minor pieces. I felt that after 0-0, Qa3 would make more sense, where black’s rook has a chance to harass white’s minor pieces on the third rank.

19) … Ne8
20) Rb1

All preparations for c5 have been made.

20) … c6
21) c5
Diagram 5

Diagram 5

A very tense moment. Any pawn exchanges black initiates here could lead to the creation of potentially lethal passed pawns. Also, if black were to make a “pass” move, dxc6 Bxc6, b5 Bb7, c6 would be winning. Black has a difficult decision to make.

21) … Ndf6
22) cxb6

The aforementioned idea of 23) dxc6 Bxc6, b5 doesn’t work as well here, as black can play Bd7, c6 Be6, with domination of an important diagonal. With Nc7 and d5 coming, the position of white’s king could become insecure.

22) … Qb8
23) Qb3
Diagram 6

Diagram 6

I was really proud of this move during the game, but in retrospect it wasn’t as good as the more obvious dxc6. I didn’t want to free black’s pieces and give him a chance for an eventual d5 break, but that would never really have been possible. After dxc6 Bxc6, Qb3 black is out of good moves. Qb7 would be met with b5 Bd7, Bc4 dominating d5. On the bright side, black is still very constricted here. I need to play precisely though; if black regains the b pawn he could be back in business.

23) … cxd5
24) exd5 Qd8
25) Bb5 Nd7
26) Rc1

Black is trying to heat up the pressure on b6, but his lack of coordination is preventing him from doing anything immediate. Taking on b6 immediately would lose to Bxe8. Rc1 brings the last piece into the action and foreshadows an important tactical point.

26) … Nef6
27) Bc6 Qb8
Diagram 7

Diagram 7

Bxc6, dxc6 Nxb6 would have lost to c7! Qxc7 would followed by Nd5 winning a knight.

28) Nb5 Ra6


29) Nxd6 Qxd6
30) Bxb7 Rxb6
31) Bxb6 Qxb6
32) Rc8+ Kh7
33) Qc2+
Diagram 8

Diagram 8

An error in time pressure. Staying protecting the b pawn and simply protecting the bishop with Bc6 was prudent. Qf2+ would be met with Kc1, where the king heads towards safety on the queenside. Capturing the g pawn would result in a lost ending after the trade of queens with Qc2+.

33) … e4

Trying to mix things up, but I imagine this only makes matters worse.

34) Bc6 Qf2+

Now black can win by b pawn, where this wasn’t possible with the queen still on b3, keeping the check in tow.

35) Kc1 Qe1+
36) Kb2 Qxb4+
37) Ka2 Nb6
38) Rb8 Qa5+
39) Kb3
Diagram 9

Diagram 9

Eliminating the checks.

39) … Nbxd5
40) Rb5

Black blunders in a bad position with mutual time pressure. I emerge from the fray with an extra rook. The rest is history.

40) … Qa7
41) Bxd5 Nxd5
42) Qe4 g6
43) Qxd5 Qe3+
44) Ka4 Qf4+
45) Rb4

New England vs Dallas, 12 September 2012

I couldn’t do better than the wonderful overview written by Robert Oresick and the photos by Steve Stepak of the encounter last Wednesday between our Nor’easters and the Dallas Destiny where we tied 2-2.

So, I won’t try.

Head over to the famed Boylston Chess Club Blog to read and see how New England vs Dallas all went down.

Great job, guys!

A New Start to a New Season

The 2012 US Chess League season is now underway and we wanted to take this time to let you know of some of the exciting changes that have been made within the Nor’easters.

Welcome to the Team

We’d like to welcome back FM Chris Chase to the Nor’easter fold. Chris has been the Boylston Chess Club Champion more times than anyone else in history, and I’m sure we can look forward to some interesting results from him.

Grandmaster Alexander Ivanov

Grandmaster Alex Ivanov has been drafted into the Nor’easters raising our team’s average rating just a bit! A regular columnist for Chess Horizons via “Ivanov Annotates” we look forward to Grandmaster Ivanov bringing his over-the-board analysis skills to the team.

Staffing Additions

Sometimes an innocent question leads to an interesting opportunity. A few days ago I wrote Team Manager Dave Vigorito asking where I could send some photographs I’d taken of the team during their first match this year. David responded saying that he’d not quite been able to find someone to take care of the website. Was I interested? I decided I was, and that it was a great opportunity. I’m not a web designer, but I’ve been a website administrator.

Doc Kinne, Web Administrator

I’m Doc Kinne, currently the Boylston Chess Club Clerk, among other things. I started chess back in 1978 when I was 13 and played through High School where I attained a peak rating of 1419. College, and later career killed my chess. About 5 years ago now I moved to Boston for a new job. A little over a year ago now the chess bug re-bit, I found the Boylston, and am now attempting to clean off a couple of decades of rust with regard to playing ability.

Professionally I’m an astronomical technologist for the American Assoc. of Variable Star Observers, so I have a passing familiarity with web administration.

Our Story So Far…

As I write this two games, the first with the New Jersey Knockouts, and the second with the Dallas Destiny, have been played. We didn’t start the season off with a bang, losing to New Jersey 1.5-2.5. The match with Dallas went slightly better with us tying Dallas 2-2.

Currently you’ll find all the text on the website updated. Updated team lists, management pages, schedules, and standings. I’m working on updating pictures, and you can look forward to some game analysis from our players in the next couple of days.

Come join us as we again attempt to take on the US Chess League like a hurricane!

Ben Goldberg annotates

Our Week 5 victory over the Boston Blitz has been covered on Chess Cafe, but in addition, we are pleased to present NM Ben Goldberg’s annotations to his board four win, reproduced in full.  Congratulations to Ben, who is off to a strong 2/2 start in his debut season!

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 g6
3. Nc3 d5
4. Nf3 Bg7
5. Qa4+ Bd7

I had a feeling Ilya would throw some kind of opening surprise at me (not a hard thing to do against the Grunfeld, as there are tons of sidelines). I don’t know much about this line apart from the fact that it differs from the main lines of the Russian System with 5. Qb3 in the fact that with the bishop on d7 there are certain resources available based on a timely b5 counterthrust.

6. Qb3 dxc4

Qxb7 is nothing special, as …Nc6, Bf4 Rb8, Qxc7 Qxc7, Bxc7 Rxb2 leaves black with a lead in development.

7. Qxc4 0-0
8. Bf4

I was already out of book here. Even if he had played the more standard e4 here I would have been playing guessing games as to when b5 was appropriate. I thought about ideas with Na6 and c5, but considering the importance of the game, I didn’t want to take any uncalculated risks. I felt it would be a better practical decision to accept a slightly passive setup in hopes that my chances would come later if Ilya overextended, or faltered and lost the initiative.

… c6
9. e4 b5
10. Qb3 a5

I imagine I must be somehow worse here, but I’m not sure how white can best exploit it. Already I was enticing my opponent into a queen sacrifice, one I was certain he would not be able to resist.

11. e5 Be6

And here it is! Now this was a risk I was willing to take. Black gives up three minor pieces for the queen, but black all is not lost. Black will emerge with an extra pawn, superior pawn structure, and white lack’s solid outposts for his pieces as of now.

12. exf6 Bxb3
13. fxg7 Kxg7
14. axb3 Na6

All part of the plan. I found this position to be unclear and difficult to assess, much more to my liking than the passive setup I had to begin with.

15. Be2 Nb4
16. 0-0 Qd7

Now that the knight has reached its destination, I have my eye on the weak queenside pawns.

17. Rc1 Qe6
18. d5

A committal choice, and a good one. White’s pawns are under fire, and instead of trying to defend passively, Ilya pitches a second pawn to finish his development and open lines for his rooks.

… Nxd5
19. Nxd5 Qxd5
20. Rfd1 Qe4

I was afraid to grab the b3 pawn and open lines for white’s rooks, but it might have been possible. Maybe Qe6 was another option, keeping an eye on b3 and attacking white’s pieces. Regardless of my two extra pawns, I think white must be better now that his pieces are on the verge of being fully coordinated.

21. Be3 Rfd8
22. Nd4

Now I was really getting worried, as black’s position seems to be on the brink of collapse.

… Rac8

Hoping for some kind of back rank combination threats, though it was most likely wishful thinking.

23. Bf3 Qh4
24. Rc5

Now this is getting too fancy. Black would have had no adequate response to Nxc6, though in such a position of material diversity it is natural to be wary of your opponent’s tactical resources.

… h6

Preventing Bg5. The computer had a lot of fun with this position. Here (at first) it even suggested for white the eccentric Rf5 with more threats to trap the queen, though it can be parried with e6.

25. g3 Qf6

Just what I was hoping for, now with the tactical weakness on f3, and the unsteady rook on d1, black has in two moves gone from much worse to at least equal, possibly slightly better.

26. Bf4

Intent upon winning the queen.

… Kh8

27. Be5 Qxf3
28. Nxf3 Rxd1+

After a forced sequence, black emerges from the middlegame in great shape for the ending with a rook and two pawns against white’s two pieces and sickly queenside pawns.

29. Kg2 f6
30. Bc3 b4

Here I had strongly considered Rd5, capitalizing on white’s uncoordinated rook position. Even with the return of the a pawn, black would have plenty of compensation with his powerful pawn center, and passed d pawn.

31. Bd2 e5
32. Be3 Rd5
33. Rc4 c5

Not that I wanted my pawn fixed on a black square, but I didn’t want the bishop coming to b6.

34. Kf1 Kg7

This position is probably equal. I doubt either of us can make progress without taking unwise risks.

35. Nd2 f5
36. Ke2 g5

I was the first to play a weak move here. This invites g4, allowing the knight access to e4.

37. f3 Kg6
38. g4 fxg4
39. fxg4 h5

Trying to open lines for the rooks.

40. Ne4 hxg4
41. Nxg5 Rh8

Once again the tables have turned.

42. Ne4 Rxh2+
43. Nf2 Kf5

Not falling for the cheapo g3, Rg4. Black is completely winning now.

44. Ke1 g3
45. Ne4 g2
46. Kf2 Rd3
47. Ng3+ Ke6
48. Rc1 Rxb3
49. Bxc5 Rxb2+
50. Kg1 Rh8
51. Bf2 a4
52. Ne4 Rh1+


Week 4 Review link; Week 5 Preview

Just a quick note that this week’s review column has been posted at Chesscafe.com rather than the Nor’easters site.  In more important news, we will be playing Boston tonight in a rematch from Week One, which Boston won 2.5-1.5.  Both teams are currently out of playoff contention and need to win, and both teams have thus put forward strong lineups in what should be a compelling match.  Here are the pairings:

Board One:  GM Sam Shankland (NE) vs. SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (Bos)

Board Two:  IM Marc Esserman (Bos) vs. IM Dave Vigorito (NE)

Board Three:  NM Alex Cherniack (NE) vs. NM Vadim Martirosov (Bos)

Board Four:  NM Ilya Krasik (Bos) vs. NM Ben Goldberg (NE)

The match will start at 7:00.  As always, the Nor’easters will be playing from the Boylston Chess Club in Somerville, Massachusetts.