Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chicago Blaze ties Dallas Destiny 2-2, advances in playoffs!

The Blaze came in with the best regular season record and only needed to tie Dallas on Monday night to make it to the semi-finals. A tie was all they could manage, but that was enough to advance!

Here's the Board 1, matchup GM Yury Shulman of the Blaze vs. GM Cristian Chirila:

White eliminated Black's "good" bishop on move 10, but Black's position is still fully playable. After move 36, it's easy to see that White wants to evacuate the king from the kingside in preparation for the breakthrough. So White moved the king from h1 to d4 in the middle game!

To me, phase 1 of White's redeployment (moves 36-60) wasn't so hard to understand, but I was really impressed by Yury's second reorganization (moves 60-66). Every available unit is needed for the attack, including the lowly h-pawn!

This was the last game to finish: Yury kept the draw comfortably in hand and patiently improved his position until it became clear that he would need to win for the Blaze to advance.  And win he did: congratuations, Grandmaster!

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