Thursday, September 4, 2008

Blaze Hold on for Draw Vs. Frisco Powerhouse

Blaze chief technology officer Sevan Muradian served as the official team glad-hander last night, congratulating the winning players: Mehmed Pasalic (top) and Angelo Young.

After beating the Dallas Destiny last week, the San Francisco Mechanics may have thought they’d make short work of the Chicago Blaze. But the Bay Area powerhouse, which some say is the strongest team in the U.S. Chess League after their defeat of the defending champions from Texas, were thwarted in their march to glory as the new team from the Windy City posted two victories last night to come away with a draw for the match.

Though the Mechanics’ blog spoke of compounding the Blaze’s misery after our opening-week loss to the Arizona Scorpions, the Blaze gave as good as they got from the Holiday Inn Skokie, as FM (IM-elect) Mehmed Pasalic beat FM Sam Shankland and FM Daniel Naroditsky fell to IM Angelo Young of the Blaze.

Mehmed, who is undefeated in the first two weeks of play, posted the first victory of the night. At that point it looked like it could be a big evening for the Blaze, but then FM Florin Felecan lost a hard-fought game to GM-elect Josh Friedel, and IM Emory Tate’s characteristically wild and wooly game with IM Vinay Bhat dropped into the San Francisco W column. It fell to Angelo to pull it out for the Blaze, and he did so masterfully, going up on time against Daniel Naroditsky and squeezing the California FIDE Master’s position. Naroditsky resigned at about 10:45 PM Chicago time.

Don’t get me wrong: the Blaze would have been thrilled with a victory for the night, but considering this was only our second match and we were again facing an opponent with an overall ratings advantage, most of the team was satisfied with the result.

Here are the games, in order of board number:

1. FM Florin Felecan (CHC) vs IM Josh Friedel (SF) 0-1
2. IM Vinay Bhat (SF) vs IM Emory Tate (CHC) 1-0
3. FM Mehmed Pasalic (CHC) vs FM Sam Shankland (SF) 1-0
4. FM Daniel Naroditsky (SF) vs IM Angelo Young (CHC) 0-1

We hope to have more later on—maybe some analysis later in the week. Please look at the games, leave your comments, and stay tuned. The Blaze are starting to set the league on fire.

P.S. Many thanks to Maret Thorpe for first-rate tournament direction last night.
photos by Chessdad64
Update (09/06): See a commentary on the match by IM Vinay Bhat of the Mechanics.

1 comment:

glennpan said...

Excellent match last night! Very Exciting! If anything, SF barely skated away with the draw.

I am looking forward to facing Tennessee next week. If Ehlvest plays for them, they are a force. Even if he doesn't, they really gave Seattle all they could handle. Bereolos played great in their match.