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2018 US Cadet - Day 3 report

Posted: 9 months, 2 weeks ago

by IM Vignesh Panchanatham

 

With three rounds in the books, Josiah Stearman led the pack on Saturday morning with a perfect 3/3. He was trailed closely by David Brodsky with 2.5/3 and a host of other were hoping for the two leaders to falter at 1.5/3.

David and Josiah were paired up in the fourth round, and the winner would likely have the best chance at the 2018 US Cadet Title. Josiah held the two bishop advantage with the white pieces, but took a dubious pawn. His queen was then trapped in enemy territory while David got lots of activity. In order to allow his queen to escape, Josiah had to sacrifice a pawn and in the resulting endgame, David had all the activity. David never relinquished his hold on the position and his advancing pawns secured the win.

Max Li went into a complex tactical position against Akira Nakada’s French Defence. Both kings remained open in the center of the board, but Akira was able to shelter his on f8. Eventually Akira was able to win a piece and the rest was simple execution.

After an opening mistake by Gabriel Sam, Rayan Taghizadeh won a clear pawn for not much compensation. Rayan was able to untangle his pieces quickly and took control of the extra pawn and open d-file to extend his edge. After maneuvering and trading, Rayan’s active queen and rook proved too much for Gabriel to stop.

The sole draw of the round, between Jason Wang and Aravind Kumar, was an exciting affair. Jason snatched up the a7 pawn and then Aravind counterattacked on the kingside despite castling there. Jason won another pawn, but all of his pieces were stuck on the back rank. However, Aravind’s attack, while extremely dangerous, was thwarted by his exposed king. Jason made use of the lack of cover to escape with a perpetual.

The results led to a new leader atop the crosstable. David now held the lead with 3.5/4, while Josiah was in second with 3/4. After his win, Rayan jumped into a position to possibly catch the leaders with 2.5/4.

Gabriel retained a small, but solid advantage with white in the Exchange Slav against Josiah. Josiah’s bad bishop proved difficult to improve, but with his rook’s doubled on the b-file, Josiah was doing ok. However, after his rook got trapped on b2, Josiah had no choice but to sacrifice an exchange. Gabriel easily converted his advantage.

Akira also chose the Exchange Slav against Aravind and the two eventually ventured into a queen endgame. Akira had a very slight edge due to his superior pawn structure, but not enough to win. However, Aravind played too aggressively and allowed Akira’s queen to penetrate and harass his king. Akira won back all the pawns he sacrificed and more and his mass of pawns was then enough to win.

David and Max went into a sharp Najdorf position where David held the two bishops. David utilized his d5 pawn to plant a knight on c6, but in ensuing exchanges ended up with an advantage in a heavy piece middlegame due to Max’s weaker king position. Using back rank tactics, David was able to make many threats, and after a final mistake from Max, he won the game.

Rayan won a pawn quickly against Jason for the cost of the two bishops, but Jason’s king was also forced to f8. However, Jason rapidly pushed his h-pawn and subsequently made use of the open h-file to launch a devastating attack. When Rayan defended inaccurately, he was forced to give up an exchange to fend off mate. Up an exchange and a pawn, Jason made quick work of the ensuing endgame.

After all four games ended decisively, David held the sole lead, 1.5 points ahead of his nearest rival. With only two rounds left to go, Josiah is the only one with any chance left to catch him, but those chances are very slim. However, chess is an unpredictable game, so with some help from Aravind and Akira, it is certainly possible for someone to overtake or tie David.

The next rounds will be at 10 AM and 3 PM on Sunday, July 15.

Follow along live with http://www.calchess.org/dgt/USCadet/index.htmlor download PGNs after each round at bayareachess.com/cadet. Check out the BayAreaChess Facebook page for pictures, videos, and updates!

Come back tomorrow to read the final report.