This weekend the Marshall Chess Club is having its second 2 player Amateur Team Tournament. The team average had to be under 2200. The time limit is Game/2 hours which is a nice change of pace from "chess crack". I hooked up with IM Jay Bonin and he decided our team should be called "Not The New York Knights". I thought maybe we should be the LT Fan Club in honor of my inability to beat Larry, and Larry's inability to beat Jay. However we went with Jay's name. There are 9 teams entered, and our team is ranked number three. In the first round we got paired down against a team with two players whose first and last names had about 10 letters each in them. I thought they should have called their team "Alphabet Soup", or maybe "Vanna White's Letter Stash". We won the match 2-0. My first round game was very interesting. We reached this position. With it being my move as White.
I took 17 minutes on the move 23 Qa3. It's sort of an insane looking move because stuff is hanging all over the place. My bishop on d2 is unguarded, and the pawn on b4 is pinned. 23...a5 looks really annoying, so that's what I spent the time looking at. Just how annoying is it? I looked at 24. Nc4, ab, 25. Nxd6, ba3, 26. Nxe8, Rxe8. I figured there was no way black wanted to play that line. I figured he'd retreat the queen to either b8 or f8. I think I was seeing ghosts because I thought 24...Qb8 would be dangerous for me because he could push e3 and I can't play fxe3. In reality e3 is covered enough. The game proceeded 24. Nc4, Qf8, 25. 25. Nxa5, b5, 26. axb5, cxb5 27. Rec1, Nb6, 28 Rxc8, Rxc8, 29. Rc1 Nc4, 30. Nxc4, bxc4, 31. Bc3, e3, 32. f4 I debated this move for awhile. I was considering 32. Bd5+, Kh8, 33. Bxg7+, Kxg7, 34. Qc3+. Instead I played it safe with f4 to avoid the one cheap shot on f2 that e3 was threatening. Black proceeded to play probably the worst move on the board. Even though I have a significant time advantage of 26 to 9 minutes, there is still a lot of time. He played 32...Bh6?? I did a brief double take to make sure I wasn't missing something, but 33. Bd5! is a killer now. Good bye queen. He resigned.
I was genuinely pleased with this game. It was my second nice win in two days. Though sandwiched between the nice two wins was Alexandra Wiener paying me back for the two defeats over the summer, and King Kong jumping on my hastily played dumb ass recapture in a position where I was attacking and got a little overconfident. (That's a new one for me!)