Jon Burgess and Tournament Director Betsy Dynako joke as Betsy collects the players' cell phones before the game.
Niles North High School star Ilan Meerovich overcame a 170-point ratings deficit against National Master Warren Harper last night to post the sole victory for the Chicago Blaze, as the Windy City's new chess team lost its first match, the U.S. Chess League season opener, to the Arizona Scorpions.
The score was 2.5-1.5, a perfectly respectable showing for the Blaze considering that Arizona enjoyed a ratings advantage on all fours boards. IM Mehmed Pasalic was the other Blaze player to get on the scoreboard, with a 70-move draw against Arizona IM Mark Ginsburg that went late into the night.
The key to victory for Ilan was a ferocious kingside attack that deconstructed Harper's Nimzo-Indian Defense, prompting the Arizona master to resign on move 25. See all the games here:
Thanks to the four Blaze players and also to Betsy Dynako for serving as tournament director. Next up: the Blaze face the San Franciso Mechanics on Wednesday, September 3, at 7:30 Central Time.
Update (8/27): Blaze Manager Glenn Panner, who unfortunately had to be out of town for the first match, has this to say on his blog.