US Chess League: Tactics and Best Games

Who says chess is an individual sport?

If you’ve ever played in any of the U.S. Amateur Team tournaments, you know how fulfilling it is to win a game that secures your team victory.

The U.S. Chess League is team chess at its best: the top players in the country compete on a weekly basis for an entire season. Thirty-nine grandmasters, including U.S. #3 and World #10, Wesley So, and many up-and-coming players formed teams for most of the major cities in the country.

In the end, St. Louis, the National Chess Capital, and Manhattan, an epicenter of chess for many decades, battled it out in the final.


logo 1 - st. louis archbishopslogo 2 - manhattan applesauce

St. Louis “Arch Bishops”


Manhattan “Applesauce”




The pivotal game of the Championship match was the upset victory of Expert Akira Nakada (MAN) against National Master Nicholas Rosenthal (STL).

Tactic #1

Akira Nakada vs. NM Nicholas Rosenthal

How did Nakada utilize his more active pieces and secure the victory for his team?

White to move.

With this game, a victory by NM Levy Rozman, and a draw by GM Zviad Izoria, the Manhattan Applesauce became the 2015 US Chess League Champions. Here was the team’s full line-up for the season, including four prominent grandmasters.

Manhattan Applesauce full roster 3

Additionally, the US Chess League regularly recognizes the best games of its players. A panel of highly-ranked judges share their thoughts and vote for the Game of the Week.

Try out these tactical puzzles from some of the best games of the season.

 Tactic #2: Best Game – Week 9


logo 2 - manhattan applesauce

Manhattan “Applesauce”logo 5 - new england


New England “Nor’easters”




GM Zviad Izoria (MAN) vs. SM Mika Brattain (NE)

How did GM Izoria take advantage of Black’s awkwardly placed pieces?

White to move.

Tactic #3: Best Game – Week 10

logo 3 - las vegas rats

Las Vegas “Rats”logo 4 - san diego surfers


San Diego “Surfers”



FM Elliott Liu (LV) vs. FM Ali Morshedi (SD)

FM Elliott Liu achieved an unprecedented 10 victories out of 10 games this year, earning the Board Three All-Star spot. How did he begin an overwhelming attack?

White to move.

 Tactic #4: Best Game – Semi-Finals

logo 6 - dallas Dallas “Destiny”logo 1 - st. louis archbishops


St. Louis “Arch Bishops”



IM Ruifeng Li (DAL) vs. GM Varuzhan Akobian (STL)

What endgame tactic did GM Akobian use to get an edge?

Black to move.


Stay tuned for the results for the 2015 Game of the Year.

For all games and standings, visit the US Chess League Official Website.


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