Team 45 45 League

Team 45 45 League

Serious Chess and Team Spirit on the ICC
Game of the Week

To nominate a Game Of The Week, tell us about the game, in the appropriate Game Forum.

 Recent Game of the Week forums (T41 to current) can be found here.

Some older GOTW's are shown below.

T37 Round 4 GOTW: spacecadet - FriedEggs

Nominated by iwulu, andreip, and searchforbobby1.  Comments by GOTW guru tomate:

Wow!  This was a difficult call, selecting just one from all of these nice games was not easy.

But, I must say that spacecadet's nice attack caught my full attention with his impressive application of pressure.

Nice job, spacecadet! :)

Other games nominated for this round ¹ :
OOB1 - Emrebey, evsponge1 - AlPearson, Lazerpawn - PJ, palito - LeSacAttack, trophyking - Meowsers, Avedldesierto - Rookmaster, lw - C-Jones, Ehab - Archdruid

T37 Round 3 GOTW:  Lazerpawn - BigMike

Nominated by Checkmates & SuperPeon.  Comments by GOTW guru PandorasBox:

Hi guys n gals is time for a tough call.  All the nominated games had something good this week.

Big H conducted a tense power struggle for control and finished off with a calculated mating net in BigH - PJ

Hastings exploded out of the blocks - even if it became a helpmate at the end :)  hastings - supraholic

gtm found the elegant Nc3 !! to carve open the defence on a/b files  powerchess1 - gtm

But this weeks winning game, Lazerpawn - BigMike, saw Lazerpawn play an opening gambit, tactically demolish his opponents defence with great aplomb and then clinically maintain the permanent tension around the black king until the mate was inevitable.

Congrats to all concerned!

Other games nominated for this round ¹ :
frank001 - saksipotku, BigH - PJ, hastings - supraholic, powerchess1 - gtm

T37 Round 2 GOTW:  SWAT-TEAM - iwulu  

Nominated by spacecadet & searchforbobby1.  Comments by GOTW guru NFork:

I decided to choose SWAT-TEAM - iwulu game as round 2 GOTW although the game kwameh72 - incachess was interesting also !

In iwulu's game it looked brave to let white trade black's pawn on d3 and perhaps get pawn up later. The moves just looked very nice: tactically good moves and esthetically as well :) Knight also hopped nicely around the board scaring opponent's army ;)

Other games nominated for this round ¹ :
therealwizard - cocio, kwameh72 - incachess, andrew28 - DeepStudy, rubo - frank001, AntonioMendonca - Fezzik, Mfalme - tomate

T37 Round 1 GOTW:  tomate - Just-Jim

Nominated by Emrebey.  Comments by GOTW guru Invicta-Knight:

I have gone for the miniature!!!

Tomate hasn’t blindly gone into an oft played and familiar opening as some (even with far higher ratings) would do. The result was borne from carrying out a carefully worked plan; tempting his opponent with his queen before exploiting the light squares around his opponents king is a joy to watch, even more so as it comes from the Planetary section. Well played Tomate!

Other games nominated for this round ¹ :
LeSacAttack - NFork, andreip - Ser-Enigma, ampolsager - lmadueno, Capamuerte - syy89, TomBolini - Gupta, FiendAngelical - kabindra

Games of the Week from previous Tourneys:

T36 Round 4 GOTW:  Ocho-Cinco vs Rookmaster

T36 Round 3 GOTW:  mickeys vs adiokiddo4ever

Comments by GOTW guru fpawn:

All three of my top candidates came from Aquatic section (U1800).

Raisingthebar 1-0 IceBox (U1800)  This game was popular with the fans and merits due consideration. The game starts out with the Advance variation of the French defense. I personally prefer 6.a3 Nc6 7.b4 but 6.Be2 is a move too. Now black succeeds in trading away his bad bishop two moves later. Despite this small inaccuracy, white dominates the next phase of the game with Na3-c2, a2-a4 and Ba3. Maybe he should have played b4-b5 sooner than move 19, but white can't complain about his position. Black was holding on fairly well until he hung a piece with 23... Bc7 (the queen needs to move, so perhaps Qc7 instead). But I wonder... would not 24.g4 Ne7 25.Bb4 Qb6 26.Bxe7 be more precise than the immediate 24.Bb4 that was played? The ensuing endgame is, of course, supposed to be a fairly simple win for white. How? Just try to trade major pieces or pick up the queenside pawns. Here's one sample variation: 29.Rc1 (trying to fork Q and R) Qa2 30.Qc6 (attacking the R anyways) Rd8 31.Qb6 Ra8 32.Qxd4 wins the center pawn several moves faster and without threats against white's king. Nonetheless, white eventually wins and should be congratulated on a fine demonstration of how to play on the queenside in the French.

scottrugby 1-0 oldsj (U1800)  This is another Aquatic game. The Scotch gambit is a common opening at the 1200-2000 where white uses a temporary pawn sacrifice to get his pieces active. At the master level, however, it has a drawish reputation. White should have tried 8.Bxc6 instead of Nxc6 to save a tempo when you retreat the bishop. On move 15, black misses a chance to regain material equality with 15... Re8 and 16... Bxe5. A few moves later, it was white's turn to misunderstand the center pawn--better was 18.f4, defending e5 while threatening to trap the bishop on g6. As is typical in many games, a threat that both players don't understand will repeat itself. In this case, white seizes the opportunity on move 19 to win a piece. On move 24, white looks for a way to get out of a pin on the d-file, but overlooks all of black's weaknesses (e.g. 24.Qf3 gets out of the pin by hitting the f7 pawn with a checkmate threat). While the endgame on move 28 is a technical win, black can fight on for a while with two pawns for the knight. One improvement might have been trading rooks on move 30 with 30.Rxe2 Rxe2 31.Kg1 c4 32.Ne1 Kf7 33.Kf1 Rd2 34.Nf3. Nonetheless, I did like the plan in the game of 33.Rd7+, 35.Nd5, 37.Kg2 and 38.Kf3. The rook trade that occurs on move 54 probably should have happened sooner, like move 47, but the endgame was won either way.

mickeys 0-1 ADIOKiddo4Ever (U1800)  These players apparently like to play classical chess, in this case one of the main lines of the King's Indian defense. Bravo! The first 13 moves are all well-known theory, although I tend to prefer 9... c6 for black. The KID is known for attacking chess and sacrifices, and black laid down the gauntlet with 17... Rxe5 (not really a sacrifice as black knows he'll get a piece back). Did white miss a zwischenzug with 18.Bxf7+ to pick up one more pawn? In any case, the material is officially equal on move 20, but black is totally crushing because he has two bishops for a rook and a pawn. How much is the bishop pair worth? When both bishops are active like in this game, I tell my students that the killer B's are worth at least one extra point (7 points total). Continuing with the game, I would like to commend black's knight for its nifty maneuvers, especially from f4 to e2 to c2 to a2. Despite a terrible position, white does not give up and instead creates threats against black's monarch (e.g. back rank mate threat on move 35). It is instructive for the reader to take one more look at the complete and utter dominance of black's bishops on three of the four corners of the board around move 35-37.

Picking a Game of the Week is always subjective. In two of the games, the loser hung a piece and the result was never really in doubt after that point despite the number of moves played. While the third game was the shortest, the opponent put up a fight and forced the winner to be careful--something which, from my own experience, is not always easy to do.

Congratulations to ADIOKiddo4Ever for winning the Game of the Week for round 3 in a powerful display of dominance using the two bishops!

T36 Round 2 GOTW:  Kiutner vs Gail

Comments by GOTW guru fpawn:

I looked at all of the games nominated. Thanks for the variety--keep them coming. I would like to see a few more interesting games from lower divisions, especially games featuring nice attacks. Here are my top three picks for this week.

joshtournman 0-1 GrandPoobah069 (U1600)   The game started out with 1.e4 c5 2.c4. This can transpose into a lot of different opening systems, including the Maroczy Bind and the English opening. Personally, I would have preferred to see white try d4 on move 4-6 for a Maroczy Bind, which is an opening known to give white a healthy advantage. Nonetheless, the game continues with white playing some sort of English opening and black pretending that it is a King's Indian Defense. I liked black's moves 9... f5, 14... b5 and 15... a5, gaining tons of space on both sides of the board. White is already quite uncomfortable when he blunders his entire queenside with 19.b3 (maybe Rc2 was better, but that's no fun to play).

By move 25, I was wondering if black was channeling a medium to Capablanca. The tactic 27... Rxe2 greatly simplified the game and probably the improvement 30... c4 (passed pawns must be pushed) ends the game in a few more moves. Black probably would have earned Game of the Week honors if he found 32... Bxe5, but alas the move Rg3+ throws away the win. In fact, white had winning chances later on (38.Ne4 instead of the blunder 38.e7). The final mistake was when white took a poisoned pawn with 42.Nxd6 and should have instead boxed out black's king with Ke4. In the end, white's extra knight cannot stop black's multiple passed pawns.

nardz 0-1 CMerli (U2200)   The game began as a theoretical battle in one of the most theoretical chess openings: the King's Indian Defense. It followed the main lines for 12 moves, with white gaining space on the queenside while black plays on the kingside. Move 13.Nb3?! (trying to support c5) seems to be imprecise because <a> it moves away from the kingside (white may need to move the knight from d2 to f1 to protect the h2 square) and <b> it blocks the white queen from supporting the thematic Na4 in the near future. After 21... Bh3 it is clear that black has emerged from the maneuvering struggle with an advantage.

While 17.g4 looks insane at first glance, the move is not new and has the clever idea of opening up the second rank for white's rooks. The tactic 19... g4 is quite inspired but fails (!) to the surprising exchange sacrifice 21.Rxf6 which traps black's bishop on h3. However, white's kingside is still weak and precise defense is required. At move 27, white's only hope according to computers was 27.Bf2, which certainly doesn't inspire. The attempt 27.Qd3 Bxg3+! 28.Qxg3 Rg6 followed by either Rf8 or Rg8 leads to a position that only black can try to win. However, white blunders big with 27.Ne2?, allowing 27... Bxg3+ 28.Nxg3 and white get his queenside rook into the game with 28... Ra2+! That didn't happen and the game continued two more moves until a second blunder 29.Kxg3 resulted in a forced checkmate.

Kiutner 0-1 Gail (U2200)   The opening of this game is a standard Richter-Rauzer. Instead of 10.Be3, the theory calls for 10.Bd2 hitting the black queen for a future Nd5 move. White is not in trouble, but after the queen trade on move 12, the position is dead even. While Sicilian middlegames allow white some strong attacking chances, the endgames tend to favor black more often than not. This game was no exception. I enjoyed the positional move 20... f5 which locks up the kingside in black's favor, also recognizing how weak white's bishop comes thanks to the white pawn stuck on d5. I have no doubt that the position on move 30 is a technical win for black.

Gail demonstrates the necessary technique in a very instructive example. The key sequence was the temporary pawn sacrifice 38... e6 and 39... d5, locking out white's bishop. At that point is was merely a matter of time before black's knight hopped to the outposts on e4 and c4.

Considering that the first two games were marred by serious mutual blunders, I will award the Game of the Week to Kiutner-Gail. Congratulations to Gail for an instructive endgame victory, demonstrating how careful pawn play can render a bishop helpless against the nimble dances of a knight!

T36 Round 1 GOTW:  PandorasBox vs Zkid 

Comments by GOTW guru fpawn:

There were only 3 games nominated, so I looked at all three.

parrot9 0-1 Creb (U1600)   French fans will love the opening play by black. However, castling proved hazardous to the health of black's king. White missed a thematic 2-move tactic on move 18: Bxh7+ and Qh5+. Nonetheless, black defended well against a strong attack and managed to force a rook endgame with even material. White was in trouble, but not completely lost until he rejected 37.Ke2 and instead walked into mate in 2 in the center of the board!

Fezzik 1-0 camembert (U2000)   The Tolush-Geller gambit of the Slav defense has seen its fair share of brilliancies over the years, including a few by a magician named Mikhail Tal. This game was an impressive piece of opening preparation by white, following theory all the way to move 19. However, judging from the move times, both players were on their own before then. Move 19.Qxd5 looks bizarre considering that white is down a pawn, but black's pieces lack coordination which white nicely exploited in the game. One interesting variation that was not played is 20.Bf3 (the d5 pawn can't be defended) Kd7 21.Bxd5 Bxf6 22.Bxc6+ Kxc6 23.Ra6+! Kb5 24.Rxf6 where I would prefer white by a little because of the monster rook on f6 and the white king can run to a1 if needed.

 With both players down to under 3 minutes, white uncorked 26.Bxc4, which isn't really a sacrifice because the knight on c6 can't move (if 27.Nxe5 then d6+ is strong). Both sides made errors in time pressure, but ultimately the outcome should have been a draw until black blundered into a lost R+P vs R endgame. Black resigned after 65.Rd3 because his king was now cut off from stopping the last pawn.

PandorasBox 1-0 Zkid (U2000)   This game is difficult for me to judge as I am both a strong believer in the Dutch defense and a teammate of the black player. White essayed a theoretical line with the pawn sacrifice 3.e4 and later castled queenside. The question would be whether black could ever castle? The energetic moves 11.g4 and 12.h4 were definitely the way to go in this position.

Perhaps unwisely, black took the bait on h4 and soon lost the pawn shield in front of his king. Rybka still gave black a small advantage after 18... Na6, but in reality the situation was quite tense as one inaccuracy could mean instant defeat. Like a rubber band, that tension snapped painfully as black castled long, overlooking the devastating Nxd5 threatening the black queen and Qc7 checkmate. Objectively the best continuation was 20.Nxd5 cxd5 21.Rc3+ Nc5 (only move) 22.Rxc5 Kd7 23.Rc7+ skewering the queen.

Out of these three games, only one saw the winner follow through from the opening on a plan that, in the end, would give him or her victory. Although I love the Dutch defense (as black!), PandorasBox demonstrated very nicely the dangers of this opening. His opponent went pawn grabbing instead of castling and paid the price.

Congratulations to PandorasBox for winning the GOTW for round 1!

T35 Round 5 GOTW:  Checkmates vs f5

Nominated by f5: I would like to nominate my loss for Game of the Week. Although I lost, I had a great pleasure playing this game. It was far from a perfect game, but that's what makes it exciting. Two players gave it all. Unfortunately, only one could win and it wasn't me.

White obtained an opening advantage and could have prosecuted it with 19.c4. By move 25, it appears as if black has turned the tables and suddenly is better! But alas, black rejected 26... a5 and instead chose the inferior plan of opening the c-file. On move 32, white had the immediate d4-d5 but instead played the lame Bh3. Both my opponent and I thought black was back on top after the queen trade on move 34, but Fritz sees the powerful white pawns and favors white. The endgame went back and forth until move 66, when the hasty Rc1+ loses yet the more patient Kb8 appeared to set up a fortress position. Black can defend 67.Rh8+ Ka7 68.Rc8 with Rg7. In another game, I might have bemoaned the blown draw, but in this game it was just one of many missed opportunities by both players.

Thanks to Checkmates for playing a fun game!

T35 Round 4 GOTW: HocusPocus vs. Raisingthebar

And I just wanted to say again what a great job you guys are doing nominating. Every week we get good solid games and all are worthy, but each week one seems to rise above the rest :-)

T35 Round 3 GOTW: Russellovich vs smsxman

Congratulations this week are in order for Russellovich :-)  Everyone may remember week one when Russellovich was on the losing end of game of the week. This week however he has won game of the week with a decisive victory over smsxman. Great nominations this week everyone :-) and your descriptions of the games were wonderful.

T35 Round 2 GOTW: Ser-Enigma vs. andreip   

rgadoury: Nice bishop vs rook endgame.

T35 Round 1 GOTW: thalamus vs Russellovich

Nominated multiple times.  f5's comments: I was very impressed by the thalamus-Russellovich game and give my support as well. The Danish gambit can lead to some nice sacrificial attacks against the black king and white executed this one beautifully. Moves like 13.Rd1 and 14.Rxd6 demonstrate a deep understanding of initiative. The cold blooded move 19.O-O brings the other rook into the game just in time to finish off the black monarch. If I had one criticism of this game, it is the mate in 2 that white missed on move 25 (Qf8+ Ke6 Qe7#).

T34 Round 9 GOTW: EUPHRATES vs Smitty120

Euphrates:  2 knight sacrifice.  Then 4 pawns against a piece.

T34 Round 8 GOTW: Siddhu vs Wheels

Fledermaus: Black needed a draw, but looked like surely losing.  After a slight inaccuracy however he was able to restore the material balance with a little tactic.  White fought for the win until the end, but without success.

T34 Round 6 GOTW: EUPHRATES vs SpaceCadet

T34 Round 5 GOTW: Gil-Galad vs Izit    Longest known game in League history!

Many nominations marked this 202 move, five and a half hour game:

Occasionally there occurs a a chess game, a battle of such epic proportions that it will go down in history and become the stuff of legend. Today we have witnessed such a game.

Replay it and you see that there's marvelous fighting spirit and endgame knowledge from both players here. . . A legendary game. . . Instructive endgames? This had a rook and minor piece ending, a bishop ending and a mindboggling technical queen ending. The general consensus at about move 20 was drawish! Incredible stamina and commitment from both players.

What a PGN score.. . Nice finesse with the king and queen working together at the the end, and definitely a hard fought game. . . Well, it was an epic game, and their fighting spirit deserves to be mentioned.:

And pure class from our GOTW guru, TrickyBishop:

I would also like to add that a few people will remember me saying during the week that I did not like this game. Indeed I did find this game a little boring for a while. I would also like to say it is not always my opinion that matters most. I always try to take into account the feelings of the rest of the league.

Its multiple nominations however are not what earned this game "game of the week".

My entire thinking process about this game changed just before I selected it. These two players battled for five and half hours. Izit's desire for a win was admirable. He could have easily taken a draw, but he wanted more, and in the end it was his persistence and unwillingness to give in that earned him this spectacular victory. It takes an enormous toll mentally, and even physically to play such a long game, and it takes a great amount of stamina and skill to keep your mind sharp and ready for that small mistake that can give you what you want.

My sincere congratulations to these two mental gladiators who gave us a game that will surely be remembered for tournaments to come.

T34 Round 4 GOTW: SaltofLife - Ozgur-Bjk

TrickyBishop:  This week's game of the week by popular demand is SaltofLife - Ozgur-Bjk :-) .     Well played.

EUPHRATES: If there were 3 rooks, black would absolutely sacrifice.  Dynamism tactical motives, usage of open lines, and dragon bishop.  Nice example of dragon.  Just watch and enjoy.

T34 Round 3 GOTW:  Extremophile - Burning-Bush

Nominated multiple times, and selected for GOTW honors by guest GOTW guru, chessateers:

Hello all.I'm filling in for TrickyBishop for this round only. This week's GoTW is Extremophile - Burning-Bush, I'm sure it's no surprise.  As can be expected of players at that level both sides came well out of the opening. Then Extremophile opens up his g-file, directs his rooks there and unleashed heck. Awesome rooksacrifice indeed!  As Tricky would say: Brutal! =)

T34 Round 2 GOTW:  C-Jones vs Sleete

TrickyBishop: This week's game of the week was played by C-Jones and Sleete. In the opening white appeared to be taking care of business, but due to a tricky bishop  :-)  black overcame.

Sleete: K-pawn opening with black playing the French defense, exchange variation. Black makes a mistake early on (move 11) in grabbing the b2 pawn, allowing white's knight to get the exchange N for R.  This made black (me) really start to think!

It appeared that black has compensation in the form that all of his pieces are active, especially his bishops. A struggle ensues with white slowly swapping pieces off until the only major ones left are a white rook and black bishop, even on pawns.

However Black has managed to place his bishop on an extremely good square/diagonal making it more than a match for the rook, and has also got his king in on the act and manages to get give-up his passed a-pawn to get the white k-side pawns, and thus win the game. 

An excellent example showing that good active pieces can be more than enough compensation for an exchange loss.

T34 Round 1 GOTW:  martineden vs backfire

Nominated by backfire:  Great exciting Albin counter gambit game up until the very last moment. It was filled with wonderful novelties which helped black stay in the game until the very end. Also, there was a great novelty with the Knight promotion! The way black's pieces worked together helped to solidify his position and helped him win. Very nice game overall from both sides.

Reviewed also by GOTW chief, TrickyBishop: I have reviewed all the games, and I am happy to say martineden vs backfire is this week's GOTW.  It was played wonderfully by black, and white having to have seen disaster coming played on to allow us an exciting finish well worth recognition. Thank you to everyone that nominated a game. They were all very enjoyable. Good luck in this weeks games. I look forward to next weeks nominations.

T32 Round 4 GOTW:  HomerSimpson vs iwulu

T32 Round 3 GOTW:  mambomex vs andrew28

Nominated by az2112:  I just finished watching an extremely hard fought, solidly played, entertaining game in the Niagara Division. It featured a QR vs. RRN on an open board. As the game went on, there were observers that could not decide which side was better. The game moved along like a tornado ripping through the poor little pawns, few of which survived. The ones who did factored into the mating net (one was a Benedict Pawn) weaved by the RRN combo. This was a well played game with a fabulous finish. 

Justinsane and JeCrainsDegun further describe this game with such praise as:

"... really an incredible game to play through. I haven't analyzed it in depth, but white displayed wonderful creativity to overcome some tough resistance from black, right from the opening (where he castled queenside in a position where many players wouldn't even think of the possibility) to the finishing attack."

"This game is really amazing. The kind I'd like to win. Congratulations to both players."

T32 Round 2 GOTW:  thestorm vs chsrules88

Nominated by chsrules88.  Reviewed by f5: Black plays the St. George's opening (1.e4 a6) in an effort to confuse his opponent. It appears that white was not confused and obtained a sizable advantage by move 17. Black regroups to force an endgame of two knights (black) vs two bishops (white). Normally this would be an overwhelming edge for white, but white's rook ends up tied down to stopping a dangerous passed a-pawn. I suspect the endgame is drawn by best play. White surprisingly trades all the minor pieces into a drawn but complicated rook endgame. The players made a double blunder with 74. d5 (Rg8 was better) and 75... Ra5 (Ra6 with the idea of swinging over to Rh6 on the spot). Certainly this was far from a perfect game, but interesting nonetheless.

T32 Round 1 GOTW:   Changuito-77 vs az2112

Nominated by rgadoury: The final 60 moves featured jockeying queens and opposite colored bishops. The ending position, black's desparate 96...Qa1+, fails when white moves his King, resulting in simultaneous Discovered Check by his queen and a Skewer of black's queen with his bishop!

Reviewed by f5: The first 45 moves of this game are typical for the Erg section: both players had chances to win (black missed 25... Rd8 trading the main defender of white's back rank; white missed 44.Bxc5 followed by trading twice on e7, resulting in a simple endgame up three pawns). Then white's king begins a journey from h1 to c3 via such exotic squares such as e6 and a5. The king finally is safe on the queenside and white has time to freely push his pawns. The irony of this game is that white accidentally allowed an unclaimed draw by repetition after move 58 (the position after moves 54, 56 and 58 is identical)!

¹Listings of other nominated games are in the order nominated.

Sponsors: Prizes donated by ICC