Monday, December 21, 2009

Let Us Give Thanks: the Players

We have much to be thankful for in the Chicago Blaze season recently concluded. Let’s start with the players themselves.

NM Jon Burgess
IM Florin Felecan
NM Jeremy Kane
GM Nikola Mitkov
Trevor Magness
IM Jan van de Mortel
IM Mehmed Pasalic
NM Eric Rosen
IM Angelo Young

These guys deserve a round of applause from all Illinois chess fans, for showing up every week, playing hard, often (usually) against higher-rated opponents, and giving us a team we can root for and be proud of.

Thank you, gentlemen.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Young is a First Team All Star

Congratulations to IM Angelo Young of the Chicago Blaze for being named an all-star in U.S. Chess League's first team. The league has first, second, and third all-star teams, and Angelo is Board 3, behind GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Boris Gulko, on the first team. With NM Eric Rodriguez on board four, that's one heck of a team.

This comes as no surprise whatsoever, of course. Angelo was undefeated in six USCL games this year, extending his undefeated streak from the 2008 season. He's never lost a USCL game.

It's hard to find anything new to say about Angelo's extraordinary performance that hasn't been said before. He won the league Upset of the Week prize twice (a record), and won a game on Board 1 against a much higher rated player in a match where Angelo was filling in at the last minute for a sick teammate. Amazing.

Congratulations, Angelo!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Knights Win USCL Championship

In “stunning reversal of fortune,” losers are heroes in tiebreaks

Congratulations to the New York Knights, who have defeated the Miami Sharks to win the 2009 U.S. Chess League Championship. Last night's regulation match ended in a draw. As the USCL site reports:

“For the fourth year in a row the USCL Finals came down to a blitz tiebreaker. Two players lost during regulation, GM Giorgi Kacheishvili and IM Alejandro Moreno Roman. In a stunning reversal of fortune, both of these players were heros in the blitz tiebreaker. 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.”

We have been remiss, I must admit, here at the Chicago Blaze blog, at covering the fairly exciting post-season action in the USCL, and as it happens I don't have time to redress that neglect at the moment with a lengthy post (all the usual excuses), but go to the USCL site to see all the playoff games.

In due course we'll try to bring Blaze fans up to speed on the thrilling 2009 USCL postseason.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Quote of the Week

“The Chicago Blaze did not make the U.S. Chess League playoffs, but I think they had a much better season than the Chicago Bears are having.”

Bill Brock at the new Chicago Chess Blog, where he analyzes IM Florin Felecan's victory in the final match of the season.

Check it out.