Week 2: Game of the Week
by NM Arun Sharma
Home     Standings Games
  Schedule   Players   Rules  Polls    League Leaders
Team Stats                                                                                                                       

Game of the Week:  GM Pawel Blehm (BAL) vs GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY)  1/2-1/2

I don't know about the rest of you, but to me this was by far the best
game of the week in so many ways. First, all the pregame hype around
this particular matchup (with Charbonneau taking on the team he lead to the
Championship last year as well as a former collegiate teammate of his)
had many looking forward to the game, and it surely didn't disappoint.
Although I'm really not in a place to claim who was winning at any
given point, I can say with certainty that the opinion the internet crowd
held about the game was certainly very split from move to move. After
23... Nd4 the majority thought Black was now better due to his powerful
Knight and the weak nature of the f3 pawn, but soon after when White
played 27. Qh6 the straw poll changed to them thinking White was a
solid pawn up. However, with 27... Nxb3+ the game took a interesting swerve
which ended in a Queen versus two Rook battle where both sides probably
had no better than to take a perpetual check by Black.

Blehm - Charbonneau, Black to move after 27.Qh6
Black played 27...Nxb3!, practically forcing a draw after
28. axb3 Qa1+ 29. Kd2 R8d3 30. Ke2 (If 30. cxd3 Qb2
31.Ke1 Qf2 mate) 30....Rfe3 31. Qxe3 Rxe3 32. Kxe3
Qc3+ 33. Kf4 Qf6+ 34. Ke3 Qc3+ and neither side has
anything better than 3 fold repetition.

Other Candidates:

FM Robert Hess (NY) vs FM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (BAL)  0-1

Though this game was certainly not as accurately a played game as
the former, I think it had the most excitement to it (and to be
fair many of the big fireworks in this game occurred with both players
in severe time trouble as both players went under thirty seconds on their
clocks at more than one point in the game). After all, when White
castles queenside, and his King still winds up on g2 with the majority of the
heavy pieces still on the board, you can be sure something unusual was
happening. After most of the complications had been sifted through,
Enkhbat found the nice tactic 49... Bb8! which won instantly for Black.
A nice win for Enkhbat as he now leads the MVP race and a great
win for Baltimore as with this lopsided match win they've definitely sent
New York a message that they are prepared to be the ones to knock the
Knights out of the USCL should it be necessary once again.

(Hess vs Enkhbat, black to play after 49.Kh2)
With both players very low on time, Enkhbat found the
killer blow 49....Bb8, because after 50.Qxb8 Qf2 51.Kh2
Qxe1+ and black is totally winning.

FM Marcel Martinez (MIA) vs IM David Pruess (SF)  0-1

A somewhat wild game from IM Pruess, playing a dangerous
varation which I'm sure many would never dare try. He, however, proved
up to the task, and despite many feeling his position was rather ugly
throughout the early middlegame, he defended well and brought the full
point home from SF, a very important win over their biggest foes from last
year which also sent them to the top of the division. After their
Championship appearance last year, I'm sure no one expected this 0-2
start from Miami, but they have played two very tough teams and so far luck
has not been on their side so I still fully expect them to come back and
make the playoffs.

Click here to go back to the US Chess League homepage