The Cobras' season kicked off Wednesday, January 11 with a 5.5/16 performance against the Philadelphia Inventors. It was a solid effort by our local players against a team that featured two GMs along with strong masters on the lower boards.
Carolina's lineup for the match featured NMs Peter Giannatos, Steve Wang, Daniel Cremisi, and myself. We all played some very interesting games, some of which I have highlighted below with annotations and analysis.
NM Peter Giannatos scored a very respectable 2/4 in the match, taking care of business against Philly's two lower boards and losing tough games to GMs Erenburg and Vovk. Below is a clinical victory against FM Dov Gorman, which illustrates the lasting power of the bishop pair. At several moments during the game, Peter could have cashed in his bishops for a small, concrete advantage. Waiting for the right moment to turn a dynamic advantage into a concrete plus is always a challenge, and Peter waits until a nice tactic allows him to force a clearly winning endgame.
NM Daniel "let's just play chess and not embarrass ourselves" Cremisi did just that with a 2/4 performance. Like Peter, Daniel went 2-0 against the lower rated opponents, only losing to the two top GMs. In the following game, Daniel builds up a nice attack from an opposite-colored bishop middlegame, culminating in a nice tactical breakthrough.
NM Steve Wang had a tough night, losing all four of his games. He had some definite unlucky moments, most notably against NM Peter Minear, when a mouse-slip in time pressure dropped a queen and cost a full point. His game against GM Erenburg was extremely back and forth, and could have gone either way until the very end.
My games were all quite tense, a definite byproduct of the short time control and online playing environment. I scored 1.5/4, notching a win against NM Matthew O'Brien and a draw against GM Erenburg. Both games featured interesting endgames, and time pressure scrambles. In the game against O'Brien, I found a direct tactic which transformed the position into one where only two results are possible, win or draw. Positions like this are especially desirable in rapid time controls where there is an added advantage in being able to play "safe" moves quickly.
My draw against GM Erenburg involved a difficult, pawn down rook ending. In the position below, I am already significantly worse, with weak light squares and passive pieces. Qd3! simplifies to a rook endgame at the cost of a pawn, where I have good chances to hold.
I hope you enjoyed this recap, and I look forward to continuing this article series throughout the PCL season! Our next match is Wednesday, January 18 at 6:40pm against the Columbus Cardinals. Games can be viewed live on chess.com.
Until next time,
LM Aaron Balleisen