I am pleased to report that the Dallas Destiny began the 2007 USCL season with a convincing 3-1 win over the Tennessee Tempo. On paper, this seemed like a routine win. Still, we knew Tennessee to be a tough squad that would come well-prepared.
Things started off a little shaky when the room we were supposed to be playing in was locked upon our arrival. It took the UTD Police Department about 30 minutes to come out and unlock it for us. In the meantime, we had started our games in the hallway (thank you, wireless internet!).
Here is a summary of each matchup (click the hyperlinks to view):
Board 1: IM Davorin Kuljasevic (2489) vs. IM Ron Burnett (2407)
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.Nc3 Ne4 7.Bd2 0–0 8.0–0 f5 9.Qc2 Na6 10.Rad1 Nb4 11.Qb1 Nxc3 12.Bxc3 Be4 13.Qa1 a5 14.Ne1 Bxg2 15.Nxg2 Bf6 16.Qb1 c6 17.a3 Na6 18.e4 fxe4 19.Qxe4 Nc7 20.Nf4 d5 21.Qe2 Qd7 22.Rfe1 Rae8 23.b3 c5 24.Qb2 a4 25.bxa4 cxd4 26.Bxd4 e5 27.Bxe5 Rxe5 28.Rxe5 Qd6 29.Rde1 dxc4 30.Qc3 Qc6 31.Nh5 Bxe5 32.Qxe5 Rf7 33.Rc1 Ne6 34.Re1 Nc7 35.Nf4 Rf8 36.Rc1 Re8 37.Qd4 Re4 38.Qb2 Ne6 39.Nxe6 Qxe6 40.Qb4 h6 41.Rb1 Re2 42.Kf1 Rc2 43.Re1 Qc6 44.Kg1 c3 45.Qb3+ 1-0
Burnett played the unfashionable yet solid 4...Bb7 in the g3-Queen's Indian. My feeling is that white can retain a small advantage for a very long time in this line, and that is exactly what Davorin was able to do! He opened up the position a bit with 18.e4!? and after 18...fxe4 19.Qxe4 Nc7 20.Nf4, Burnett responded with the commital 20...d5, inevitably leaving him with a weak central formation with the backward pawn on e6. To his credit, Burnett found an intriguing counter-attack with 26...e5!, which could have been quite successful if he had met 27.Bxe5 (27.Rxe5! looks dangerous for black) with 27...Bxe5! 28.Rxe5 Rxf4! (possible because of the loose rook on d1) 29.Rxe8+ Nxe8 30.Rxd5 Qg4. Instead, Davorin won a pawn and retained considerable pressure. After some mutual innaccuracies in time trouble, Burnett finally blundered with 44...c3??, inexplicably hanging his rook on c2. 44...Qf6 would have left him very much in the game. All in all, an interesting encounter that we were fortunate to win.
Board 2: FM Todd Andrews (2337) vs. IM John Bartholomew (2476)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 dxc4 4.e3 Be6 5.Nc3 b5 6.Be2 Nf6 7.0–0 Bg4 8.a4 b4 9.Na2 e6 10.Ne5 Bxe2 11.Qxe2 Be7 12.Qxc4 Qd5 13.a5 Nfd7 14.Qxd5 cxd5 15.Nd3 Nc6 16.Bd2 Nxa5 17.Bxb4 Nb3 18.Rad1 a5 19.Bxe7 Kxe7 20.Nac1 Rab8 21.Nxb3 Rxb3 22.Rd2 Rc8 23.Ra1 Kd6 24.Kf1 Rb5 25.Ke2 f6 26.b4 axb4 27.Rb2 b3 28.Rab1 e5 29.Rxb3 Ra5 30.dxe5+ fxe5 31.R3b2 Ra3 32.Rd1 Ke6 33.Rdd2 1/2-1/2
My game was fairly quiet. I chose an off-beat Slav line with 3...dxc4!?, which I believe is better than its reputation. It was surprising to me that Andrews reacted so passively with 6.Be2 and 7.0-0. 6.a4 is a much stiffer test of black's opening. I obtained an equal position with 13...Nfd7!, which all but forces white to trade queens on d5. After a few more piece exchanges, I even held a slight initiative in the endgame. However, Todd alertly played 26.b4! and the draw was not far off.
Board 3: IM Jacek Stopa (2414) vs. FM Peter Bereolos (2317)
1.Nc3 Nf6 2.d4 g6 3.e4 d6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.h3 c6 6.a4 Qc7 7.Be2 e5 8.0–0 0–0 9.Re1 Nbd7 10.Bf1 b6 11.b3 Bb7 12.Ba3 exd4 13.Nxd4 a6 14.Nde2 c5 15.f3 Rad8 16.Qd2 Bc6 17.Rad1 Ne5 18.f4 Ned7 19.Qxd6 Qxd6 20.Rxd6 Bxe4 21.Nxe4 Nxe4 22.Rc6 Nd2 23.Bc1 Nxf1 24.Kxf1 Rfe8 25.Rd1 Nf6 26.Rxd8 Rxd8 27.Ke1 Nd5 28.Bd2 a5 29.c4 Nb4 30.Bxb4 axb4 31.Rxb6 Bc3+ 32.Kf2 Rd2 33.a5 Ra2 34.a6 Kg7 35.Ke3 Be1 36.Rc6 Ra3 37.Nc1 Ra1 38.Nd3 Bc3 39.Nxc5 Re1+ 40.Kf2 Re7 41.Kf3 Bd4 42.g3 Re3+ 43.Kg2 Re2+ 44.Kf1 Rf2+ 45.Ke1 Ra2 46.Na4 Ra3 47.c5 Rxb3 48.a7 Re3+ 49.Kd2 Re8 50.Nb6 b3 51.a8Q b2 52.Qa2 Re3 53.Rc7 1-0
Jacek was incredible last season, scoring 6/9 on board 1+2 for a performance of 2600+. He has an unusually flexible style, as evidenced by his 1.Nc3. His opponent, FM Bereolos, steered the game into calm waters with a Pirc line that is unquestionably solid, albeit somehwhat passive. It seems to me that 16...Bc6?! was just a waste of time, as black could simply have played 16...Ne5 immediately. This brief reprieve allowed Jacek to bear down on the d6-pawn with 17.Rad1. Still, Bereolos's position looked fine up until 22...Nd2. This may be a very slight innaccurary. 22...f5! was interesting, anchoring the e4 knight and intending to challenge white's active rook with...Rf6. In the game, Jacek was able to win the b6 pawn and won comfortably. I suspect black's position was already lost after 25...Nf6.
Board 4: NM Jerry Wheeler (2200) vs. WFM Bayaraa Zorigt (2196)
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.Nc3 Bb7 5.a3 Be7 6.d5 0–0 7.e4 exd5 8.cxd5 Re8 9.Bd3 d6 10.0–0 Nbd7 11.Nd4 Nc5 12.Bb5 Ncd7 13.Re1 a6 14.Bc6 Qc8 15.f4 Bf8 16.Bxb7 Qxb7 17.Nc6 Nb8 18.Nxb8 Raxb8 19.Qf3 c6 20.Be3 c5 21.Bf2 Qc7 22.Rad1 Nd7 23.Bg3 g6 24.e5 f5 25.exf6 Nxf6 26.f5 Qg7 27.Re6 Rxe6 28.dxe6 Rd8 29.fxg6 hxg6 30.Rf1 Be7 31.Qc6 Qh6 32.Qxb6 Qe3+ 33.Kh1 Qxe6 34.Re1 Qf7 35.Qxa6 Nh5 36.Qd3 Kg7 37.Nd5 Nxg3+ 38.hxg3 Bf6 39.Nxf6 Qxf6 40.Qc3 Qxc3 41.bxc3 Ra8 42.Ra1 Ra4 43.Kg1 Kf6 44.Kf2 Ke5 45.Ke3 Kd5 46.Kd3 Rg4 47.Rd1 Rxg3+ 48.Kc2+ Kc6 49.Rd2 Kb5 50.Kb3 c4+ 51.Kb2 Kc6 52.a4 d5 53.Rc2 Kc5 54.Rd2 g5 55.Kc2 g4 56.Kb2 Re3 57.a5 g3 58.a6 Kb6 59.Rxd5 Re2+ 60.Ka3 Kxa6 61.Kb4 Rxg2 62.Rd6+ Kb7 63.Kxc4 Rg1 64.Rg6 g2 65.Kc5 Rc1 66.Rxg2 Rxc3+ 67.Kd4 1/2-1/2
You really gotta give Bayaraa credit for this game. After committing a known mistake in the opening with 5...Be7?! (surprisingly common if you check the database), she got down to business and grimly defended her position. Still, Wheeler remained in full control, and after 24.e5! (thematic and strong) things weren't looking good for the home team. Bayaraa resorted to drastic measures with 24...f5, accepting some chronic weaknesses in the process. She finally got some play when Wheeler tried 32.Qxb6?!, which allowed her to win the e-pawn. Instead, 32.Qb7! eyes up all of black's weaknesses (a6,b6, and now e7), and 32...Qe3+ would fail to 33.Bf2 Qxe6 34.Re1 +/-. White still held the upper-hand, but after some time-trouble innaccuracies culminating with 40.Qc3?, Bayaraa had turned the tables. She overlooked an excellent chance with 48...Kc4!, but by then the match had been won anyway.
Watch our for the Destiny this season! We are young (I was actually the oldest player competing today at 20 years of age), but hungry. Make no mistake - we will be ready to fight it out with San Francisco next week!
-Johnny B, manager