Wimpy logo or not, the Baltimore Kingfishers tragically defeated my New York Knights 3-1 in the first round of the United States Chess League. Pascal Charbonneau and Irina Krush were both winning in their respective games but threw it all away.
It is a very sad day in the Big Apple, but New Yorkers are used to bouncing back. I remember when the city was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1975 and President Gerald Ford refused to help (which occasioned the famous Daily News headline: “Ford to City: Drop Dead”). Well, we survived when Washington turned its back on us. And we will survive the indignity perpetrated last night by Baltimore.
After 34 moves, Irina had reached this promising position as White against her avian foe.
One of the joys of watching top-level games on the Internet Chess Club is that you never know who may drop by and kibitz. Last night, I and the other woodpushers who were watching Irina’s game online were treated to unexpected commentary by the legendary Gata Kamsky, the No. 1 ranked player in the United States. Gata said that she had a “strong advantage” in the position above and suggested a quiet continuation. But Irina surprised him (‘Nice,” he said, approvingly) with the forceful pawn push f5.
Now if Black is so greedy as to grab the f-pawn, he has no defense against the sly Bishop shift Bh5
and Irina shoving her e-pawn (after Black, say, moves his king):
The e-pawn is now immune to capture by the Black f-pawn because then her bishop will capture the opposing cleric.
But none of this after f5 was to be. Black did not grab the f-pawn bait, and although White continued to enjoy a strong game, the wily kingfisher eventually swindled her.