Week 4 of the PRO Chess League paired the Carolina Cobras with the Montreal Chessbrahs. The Chessbrahs have proven to be one of the strongest teams in the Atlantic division over the first three weeks of the season, led by the extremely strong play of GM Li Chao. This week's Montreal lineup did not include Li Chao, which gave us definite hope of another strong performance.
The Cobra's lineup this week included NM Steve Wang, NM Daniel Cremisi and me, and also featured the season debut of South Carolina IM Alexander Matros. We were out-rated by a good 150 FIDE rating points on average, but still had hopes of a close match. Unfortunately, we were soundly defeated 12.5-3.5 by the Canadian team. Montreal's GM Eric Hansen went 4-0 against us, and board 4 NM (and North Carolina local?) Elias Oussedik had an excellent night with a 3/4 performance.
NM Daniel Cremisi delivered some of the most unpredictable results of the week, scoring 2/4 to lead the Cobras. He managed to score wins in two games where he was much worse or even losing at various points, but lost a very winnable game as well. The game below illustrates one of the wins: a back-and-forth endgame against IM Aman Hambleton. Daniel takes advantage of his opponent's mistakes in time pressure to bring home the full point.
My games this week were also a bit all over the place. I scored only one point out of four, notching a final round win against FM Michael Kleinman in a very strange symmetrical English. Neither of us moved either of our central pawns until move twelve! My most interesting game was definitely a loss against GM Hansen, when my attempts to play a la Tal backfired spectacularly after a promising opening.
While the result of this week's match was somewhat disappointing, it did feature a new promotional effort to showcase the the live games. NM Peter Giannatos conducted live commentary throughout the match, providing a great experience for audiences looking to follow along. The replay of the stream can be found at the link below Peter looks forward to doing more live commentary later in the season.
Our next match is unique for a couple of reasons. It is at a different time: Saturday, 2/11 at 10:20am. It also represents our only out-of-division match of the season, allowing us to face off with an Indian team from the Eastern division: The Amaravati Yodhas. As always, games will be broadcast live on chess.com.
Until next time,
LM Aaron Balleisen