USATE 2011 round 4: The edge of your seat

The pairings have heated up. The top seeded Ippolito team gave up a draw in round 3. Most of the Massachusetts teams have coughed up some points as well. Wouldn’t you know, the New England banner is being carried by IM David Vigorito’s team and Paul McIntyre’s team.

Vigorito beat NE Nor’easters teammate Robert Hungaski in round 3 and won again in round 4. Anybody ever won the US Chess League and USATE in the same year?

Round 4 saw all sorts of heavyweight individual battles. Kudrin v Norowitz, Hess beating Krush with Black, even some Schneider (Dmitry) on Schneider (Igor) violence. No IM draw that – it was a slugfest.

Winner of tonight’s Team Name competition: The Chilean Defense – No Miner Pieces Trapped. Pretty good!

For the first time ever, I had a USAT rematch. I first played expert Hana Itkis five or six years ago. Tonight I demonstrated once again why I have no business playing 1.d4, but after several hours of tense maneuvering to try to keep some compensation for a lost pawn, I made a draw in her time trouble. I think that was our only half-point so we’ll be paired down again tomorrow, maybe twice.

As my teammate Matthew Brown noted, I forgot how draining this tournament is. No matter how small the stakes – compared to the drama on the top boards – you spend 3 solid days on the edge of your seat.


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