Rainbow Unicorns: Only in the US Amateur Team West

12744755_926406237415342_3120699865746372647_n Sid Banik, Albert Lu, Cameron Wheeler, Alvin Kong (from left to right), Photo Kerrie Utsumi
The US Amateur Team West held in Santa Clara, California (Feb 13-15) saw "Rainbow Unicorns" prevail after their final round victory over the BAC Dark Knights. The team consisted of Board 1: FM Cameron Wheeler (2436) Board 2: NM Albert Lu (2317) Board 3: NM Siddharth G Banik (2265) Board 4: Alvin Kong (1742) Cameron Wheeler, who recently was awarded the Falconer Award, praised the games of his team-mates including the following annotated victories from Albert Lu, who scored a perfect 6-0, and Siddharth Banik.

[Event "Amateur Team West 2016"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.02.14"]
[White "Sharma, Arun"]
[Black "Lu, Albert"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D35"]
[WhiteElo "2450"]
[BlackElo "2315"]
[PlyCount "50"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2016.02.21"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 {Normal Queen's Gambit Declined until this move.
An issue on the white side of this opening is that finding a solid plan can be
difficult.} 4. cxd5 {A common move as everyone wants to do the f3-e4 Botvinnik
setup as it seems strong and Botvinnik's games are absolutely one sided.
However, it's simply too slow} (4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bg5 O-O 6. e3 {Typical Queen's
Gambit structure. Solid with play for both sides}) 4... exd5 5. Bf4 Nf6 6. e3
O-O 7. Bd3 {Continuing with Botvinnik} (7. Rc1) 7... c5 {Speeding up the game
and trying to take advantage of white's underdeveloped kingside.} 8. dxc5 Bxc5
9. Qc2 $6 {super greedy. Lets me develop my pieces with a free tempo.} Nc6 10.
a3 h6 (10... d4 {was the best move following with my previous lines of play.
Not sure what I was scared of.} 11. Ne4 Nxe4 (11... dxe3 12. Nxc5) 12. Bxe4 {
And here I missed Qa5 and decided not to continue with this line} Qa5+ 13. Ke2
dxe3 14. fxe3 Re8 {Exposed king, underdeveloped, and a generally easy game for
black to play.}) 11. Nf3 (11. Nge2 d4 12. exd4 Nxd4 13. Nxd4 Qxd4 14. Bg3 Bg4
15. O-O {Solid, slighly better game for black because of piece activity.})
11... d4 12. Ne4 {He probably missed my response} (12. exd4 Re8+ 13. Ne2 Bb6
14. O-O Bg4 {my pieces are all over him making it an easy game to play for
black.}) 12... Bb6 (12... Nxe4 13. Bxe4 Qa5+ {Is probably what he was
expecting but after} 14. Ke2 {I actually didn't like my position very much.
Even though his king is very exposed and in the middle of the position, my
pieces have no coordination and I felt the other option was better}) 13. exd4
$2 {another mistake} Bg4 14. O-O {He castled right after played his previous
move. Maybe he thought he could survive this position. I think it's already nearly hopeless for him.} Bxf3 15. gxf3 Nxd4 16. Qd1 Nh5 17. Be3 Qh4 18. Ng3
{By this point I was playing quickly beacuse honestly, any move wins because
it is so difficult to play for white.} Rad8 19. Kg2 Ne6 20. Nxh5 Qxh5 21. Qc2
Ng5 22. Be2 Qh3+ 23. Kh1 Nxf3 24. Bf4 Rd4 25. Bg3 Nxh2 {This game featured many mistakes by my opponent and mediocre chess by
me. Fortunately the quick win helped my team net a win against one of the
many Bay Area Chess team's that we played(beat). So if someone says
that the Queen's Gambit Decined is a boring opening, just show them this one.}

[Event "Amateur Team West"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.02.15"]
[White "Banik, Siddharth"]
[Black "Padmanabhan, Aksha"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C42"]
[WhiteElo "2270"]
[BlackElo "2036"]
[Annotator "Siddharth Banik"]
[PlyCount "55"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "Rainbow Unicorns"]
[BlackTeam "BAC Dark Knights"]

{Before the last round, we were all ready to play the menacing North
California House of Chess Team, Feel The Bern. However, due to colors, we
played our fourth Bay Area Chess Team. This team however gave us the hardest
struggle of the whole tournament. They outrated us on boards 1 and 4. Their board two was getting better each tournament he played in. So
there was a lot of pressure on my board, to make sure we get a win.} 1. e4 e5
$5 {My opponent is an avid Dragon player, so seeing him reply e4 with e5
surprised me.} 2. Nf3 Nf6 {From the Dragon, one of the sharpest systems in all
of chess to the Petroff.....(Yawn)....} 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be7 7. Be3 Nc6 8. Qd2 Be6
9. O-O-O Qd7 10. Kb1 {There is nothing special about mainline Petroff
positions.} O-O-O $6 {I believe that this already gives white a slight edge.
Here the a7 pawn is weak, and the move Bb5 will make black weaken his
Queenside.} (10... a6 11. h4 {1-0 (41) Bologan,V (2692)-Grabarczyk,M (2475)
Warsaw 2009}) 11. Nd4 $5 {I played this move instead, to immediately put the
question on black. Will he give up the two bishops or try to sacrifice a pawn?}
(11. Bb5 a6 (11... Rhe8 12. Nd4 $1) 12. Ba4 b5 13. Bb3) 11... Bf6 $6 (11...
Nxd4 $5 12. Qxd4 (12. Bxd4 $5 Rhg8 13. Bxa7 $4 Qa4) 12... c5 13. Qxg7 Rdg8 14.
Qh6 Rg6 15. Qf4 Bg5 16. Qe4 Re8 $13) (11... a6 {Leads to similiar positions as
the game.} 12. Nxe6) 12. Nxe6 Qxe6 $5 $14 (12... fxe6 13. g4 Kb8 14. Bg2 $14)
13. Bb5 (13. g3 {This is probably stronger, as you can pressure d5.} d5 14. h4
Kb8 15. Bg2) 13... d5 14. Rhe1 Qd6 15. Qe2 {Trying to maneuver the queen to
the kingside. I also thought that it stops Rhe8, but I was wrong.} Rhe8 $1 16.
Qh5 Rf8 $2 {Missing a chance to win time on the queen.} (16... g6 $1 17. Qxh7
$4 Rh8 18. Qxf7 Ne5 $1 19. Bc5 Nxf7 20. Bxd6 Nxd6) 17. Qxh7 Ne7 18. Qh3+ Kb8
19. Qf3 $16 {White is up a pawn and has the two bishop advantage. White is
clearly better.} Qxh2 $2 20. g3 Qh3 21. Bc5 c6 22. Bxe7 Bxe7 23. Rxe7 cxb5 24.
Qf4+ Ka8 25. Rde1 {A bit of prophylaxis, to stop the rook from being
displaced on e7.} Rd7 26. Re8+ Rd8 27. Qxf7 $1 {A little tactic, that wins the
pawn.} Qc8 $4 28. Qxf8 1-0[/pgn]
    Find more full standings and team compositions on the Bay Area chess website, photos on their facebook page and rated results on MSA. 


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] See full results on the US Amateur Team North here. Also find our coverage of the US Amateur Team East, South and West. […]

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I am a chess legend

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] Wheeler (2nd from the right) with his U.S. Amateur Team West 1st place team, “The Rainbow Unicorns”. Photo: Kerrie […]

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] will be covering the West: “we hope to dethrone the champs” he told us, referring both to last year’s dominant performance led by Cameron Wheeler and to the previous years’ threepeat champs from 2013-2015, NorCal House of Chess. Organizer […]

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