Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blaze Beat Baltimore in Nail Biter

Blaze Manager Glenn Panner watches nervously in the early going as IMs Mehmed Pasalic and Emory Tate play their Baltimore opponents. All turned out well, however, as the team gave Glenn an excellent birthday present by beating the Kingfishers. photo: (c) Betsy Dynako

For the second week in a row IM Emory Tate posted the only game victory for the Chicago Blaze, but this time, thanks to draws on the other three boards, it was enough to secure the margin of victory, as the team won its match last night against the Baltimore Kingfishers 2.5-1.5.

On a night when Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen and Trustee Randy Roberts attended the games to show the town’s support for the Blaze, which plays at Skokie’s Holiday Inn, the four masters in the night's lineup took advantage of the political encouragement to finish the night without a loss.

One of the most exciting moments of the evening came at the very end, when all the other games were finished and IM Mehmed Pasalic of the Blaze, down a piece, executed an exciting and skillful endgame against FM Ray Kaufman to secure a draw in the game and seal the match victory for the Blaze. There was a lot on the line. A loss for Mehmed would have meant a drawn match, depriving the Blaze of the victory that now puts them in a four-way tie for third place in the U.S. Chess League’s Western Division and keeps our playoff hopes alive.

Here are the games by board number:

1. FM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (BAL) vs FM Florin Felecan (CHC) 1/2-1/2

IM Emory Tate (CHC) vs IM Larry Kaufman (BAL) 1-0

FM Ray Kaufman (BAL) vs IM Mehmed Pasalic (CHC) 1/2-1/2

IM Angelo Young (CHC) vs NM Aaron Kahn (BAL) 1/2-1/2

More later. For now, here’s what Mehmed’s endgame looked like.

Position after 54. ... Rf7

55.Bf4 Kc5 56.Kf3 b4 57.Ke4 Kc4 58.Be5 Re7 59.Rc1+ Kb3 60.Rc8 Ka2 61.Ra8+ Kb3 62.Kd5 Kc2 63.Ra2+ Kd3 64.Rb2 Rxe5+ 65.Kxe5 Kc3 66.Rh2 b3 67.Rh3+ Kc2 68.Kd4 b2 69.Rh2+ Kb3 70.Rxb2+ Kxb2 Game drawn because neither player has mating material 1/2-1/2

Once again, thanks to Betsy Dynako for serving as tournament director for the match.