Tuesday, December 08, 2009

New York Wins USCL Championship

For the fourth year running, the US Chess League final was decided by a blitz tie-breaker, which New York won over Miami in an amazing come-from behind finish.  

The rules for the tie-breaker require a bottom-up elimination playoff at 5 minutes, 5 seconds. To paraphrase the rules: The fourth boards from each team play each other, with the loser eliminated and the winner then paired with Board Three of the opposing team. This process continues with the next higher board on each team continually replacing any player of their team who gets eliminated. If a game ends in a draw, both players are eliminated, except if a team is down to its Board One, in which case there is no elimination on a draw, instead colors reverse and the game is replayed until there is a decisive result. This process repeats itself until all four players from one team have been eliminated.

I honestly thought that Kenilworth Chess Club Champion Yaacov Norowitz (who is lecturing this Thursday at the club on "Color Complexes," by the way) would demonstrate his incredible talent for blitz by single-handedly defeating the entire Miami team in this format, especially after he brilliantly defeated his first opponent, Eric Rodriguez, by sacrificing the Exchange for a strong passed pawn.

But Yaacov's forte is 3 minutes or less, and at 5:5 his opponents had too much time to think and he lost his next game to IM Alejandro Moreno Roman (Miami's board #3).
The rest of the match is very succinctly summarized at the USCL website:

Two players lost during regulation, GM Giorgi Kacheishvili and IM Alejandro Moreno Roman. In a stunning reversal of fortune, both of these players were heroes in the blitz tie-breaker. Moreno Roman knocked off everyone on New York's team except for Kacheishvili. Kacheishvili then turned around and did the exact same thing to Miami, finishing things off by defeating GM Julio Becerra with the black pieces. Congratulations to the New York Knights on becoming the 2009 USCL Champions!
You can see all of the games from the playoffs at the USCL website.  Congratulations to New York and to Yaacov, who we look forward to seeing lecture Thursday night at the Kenilworth Chess Club.

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