NM Eric Rosen
The Chicago Blaze finished their 2009 USCL season on November 4 with a 2-2 draw against the division-leading Seattle Sluggers, capping off a late-season mini-surge that gave the team a respectable 4-6 record on the year after a poor start in the first half of the schedule.
With the Blaze officially eliminated from playoff competition by Miami’s draw against Boston the previous week, the pressure was off the Chicago squad, and they were relaxed going into the final round against the heavily favored Sluggers. That and the good turnout of fans at the Holiday Inn Skokie created a festive atmosphere for the night that helped the team hold the Pacific Northwest powerhouse.
One of the Blazers who took full advantage of the circumstances was IM Florin Felecan, who scored his first USCL victory against FM Slava Mikhailuk in a 28-move Sicilian Rossolimo.
It took NM Eric Rosen a few more moves to prevail over NM Joshua Sinanan in a Closed Sicilian, but prevail he did, and the two wins secured the draw against Seattle.
As always, here are the games:
1. GM Gregory Serper (SEA) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 1-0
2. IM Florin Felecan (CHC) vs FM Slava Mikhailuk (SEA) 1-0
3. FM Marcel Milat (SEA) vs IM Mehmed Pasalic (CHC) 1-0
4. NM Eric Rosen (CHC) vs NM Joshua Sinanan (SEA) 1-0
Though the season is over for the Blaze, the USCL playoffs have been exciting and rife with upsets, including the elimimation of the Seattle Sluggers and the New Jersey Knockouts, the teans with the best records in their divisions. The championship match will take place on December 7, when the Miami Sharks of the Western Division meet the New York Knights of the East.