GM Julio Becerra wins game of the week for his exciting win over GM Pawel Blehm
by NM Arun Sharma
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Game of the Week:  GM Julio Becerra (Miami) - GM Pawel Blehm (Baltimore)   1-0
    As FM Marcel Martinez noted in his blog discussing this match, it would have taken a very impressive game on Wednesday to be able to top this for the game of the week, and I really don't feel any other game came close.  Most of the excitement began around the shot 16. Bf5!.  From that point, GM Becerra really had GM Blehm backpedaling for the rest of the game as he refused to ever relinquish his initiative, further taking advantage of it with 23. Bg5! Nd7 24. Rxd7! which gave up the exchange for a fierce attack.  Once again, Becerra put his opponent on the extreme defensive, forcing a King walk to the Queenside and then finishing the game off nicely with 24. Nd6! to which Black can't really avoid mate without a fatal loss of material.  A very nice win for GM Becerra as after what I'm sure was a disappointing week one loss, has stormed back with three straight wins putting himself right in the thick of the MVP race and showcasing the results which were instrumental in getting the Sharks to the finals last year.  A big win for Miami of course also, not only in somewhat avenging their loss in the finals to Baltimore last year, but keeping them solidly in the playoff hunt after their slow start.  Although the Sharks have a bit of ground to make up to the Sluggers and Mechanics, if they can keep up the current winning trend, especially considering they get two cracks at playing the Sluggers and one more at the Mechanics, they certainly still can be in a position to win the division (though of course at the same time, this tough schedule will of course be very trying for them so they'll really need to be on top of their games to pull it off).

Honorable Mentions:

GM Magesh Panchanathan (Dallas) - IM Josh Friedel (San Francisco)   0-1
    A game which was surely a spectator's delight online due to it being very unclear which side was winning and its potential implications on the match as a whole.  IM Donaldson has detailed some of the key moments in the game in his match report and since he's surely more qualified than me to quantify where the game was potentially won/lost for each player, I'll leave you to his analysis.  A big score for IM Friedel though who had stumbled a bit up to this point in the season, but winning a game like this (which most felt was almost surely a draw) to save a draw for his team should surely be a big morale boost. 

FM Oleg Zaikov (Carolina) - NM Mackenzie Molner (New York)   1-0
    1. a3, nuff said.

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