[imagefield_assist|fid=8386|preset=bdynako-preview|lightbox=true|title=GM Hikaru Nakamura carried the Arch Bishops to a match victory by scoring a full point against GM Dmitry Gurevich.|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=250|height=375]By Spencer Finegold
Last Wednesday, the Arch Bishops played our rival, the Chicago Blaze. Our previous encounter in week two was interesting in that we had our starting rotation: GMs Hikaru Nakamura, Yury Shulman, Ben Finegold, and myself (Spencer Finegold) and somehow only managed a draw. The difference this time around was that we were playing without Shulman on board two, who somehow lost with White in the second week, and to make matters worse they injected GM Mesgen Amanov to their line-up for this week’s showdown. All of the games were suspiciously played, as we were probably worse on all four boards at one point or another, but we managed a less-than convincing 2.5-1.5 victory to which I can recite the tautological phrase: "A win is a win."
We were all optimistic about our chances on board one. In week two the same players played, Nakamura with Black and Gurevich with White, and Nakamura managed a quick, clean victory. The only difference this week was that our guy moved first. The game took only two moves to get out of theory, and only six more to have an extremely complicated, materially imbalanced position. Nakamura played characteristically quickly as he preserved 80 minutes after 20 moves for the rest of the game, and obtained a nice advantage on the board as well. After some unreasonably quick moves, Nakamura saw his advantage disappear and the headshaking commenced. He would have been close to losing had Gurevich not elected to trade queens on move 26. The rest of the game was shabbily playedand ended with black hanging mate-in-two in a dead-equal position.
Amanov-Finegold Sr. started as a Chigorin. Finegold deviated from his loss to Sargissian in Chicago 2008 with his sixth move (he had played 6...Nd6 against Sargissian) and White obtained a significant, but not decisive, advantage. After some trudging about in less-than theoretical grounds, White threw away huge chunks of his advantage with his hasty 14th and 15th moves. The game was creeping towards equality until Amanov traded queens, which gave Black's knight a wonderful e5 square in which to sit. Black grandmasterfully increased his advantage and could have had a near-winning position with 35...Rxa5. The text move however, throws it all away and his 36th move let White have all the fun (instead Rybka prefers 36...Rxf5). White then allowed Black's pawns to get a bit dangerous around move 45, but it was okay, Black was in no mood for an advantage and was completely lost five moves later. Instead of 50. Nd6 1-0, Amanov played the strange 50. Re4 and the game was drawn in a rook-and-two against rook-and-one endgame.
IM Michael Brooks' game against Florin Felecan was particularly interesting to me because of the opening. As you may recall, I lost with White in a Sozin against Cindy Tsai, and I have played the Najdorf more than any other opening against 1.e4 and specifically this ...Bb7 move (instead of the more normal ...Be7) against the Sozin. Brooks decided he was fed up with having all his pieces and gave one away on move 10. This is a normal idea after 10. Bg5 Be7? where 11. Bxe6! gives White a huge advantage, but I hadn't seen it without Black playing the natural but inaccurate developing move. It wasn't terrible though, as White was not losing but maybe struggling for equality. To be completely honest there isn't much to say about this game, it had a few peccadillos but nothing serious. There was never a time where one side was winning; probably I would rather have had Black for most of the game but a draw was the right result. If anything can be taken away from this game, it's that 10. Bxe6?! doesn't give White much in the way of an advantage.
I'll keep the synopsis of my draw with WIM Cindy Tsai shorter than usual considering all the variations I gave. The allure of this game was really at the end. I think my opponent wasn't aware that I could claim three-fold repetition; if I was her I would have played on forever. Low-rated players normally don't specialize in defending worse endgames for 50+ moves. Even though I may have had a winning continuation at one point, I was satisfied not only with the lucky draw to clinch the match in our favor, but also maybe with a little revenge for last time. Of course, normally one exacts revenge with a victory, but Cindy is obviously the stronger player and I'll take what I can get.