Sluggers Qualify for 2018 PRO Chess League

With the help of returning Slugger and World No. 10 GM Hikaru Nakamura, it is my pleasure to announce that the Seattle Sluggers have officially qualified for the 2018 PRO Chess League!  Here is a link to the detailed qualifier article:
Other Sluggers who helped the team qualify include GM Georgi Margvelashvili, IM Bryce Tiglon, and FM Anthony He!  We finished in second place with 35 points behind the new Chinese team, the Chengdu Pandas, and half-a-point ahead of 3rd place finishers, the Australia Kangaroos.
Here is the tentative 2018 Sluggers Roster:
Pos Name FIDE Rating (Sept 17)
1 GM Hikaru Nakamura 2781
2 GM Gabriel Sargissian 2652
3 GM Tigran Petrosian 2615
4 GM Victor Mikhalevski 2547
5 GM Giorgi Margvelashvili 2530
6 IM Georgi Orlov 2481
7 IM Bryce Tiglon 2439
8 FM Roland Feng 2369
9 FM Anthony He 2281
10 NM Kyle Haining 2169
Alt Benjamin Mukumbya 1924
Matches will take place on Wednesday evenings and occasionally on Saturday afternoons with a tentative start date of Wed. January 17, 2018.

Sluggers Week 2 Report

logo (high res)

by Mark Smith and Curt Collyer

In the second week of the US Chess League season, the Seattle Sluggers scored a convincing 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Blizzard.

In an energetic game on board 1, IM Georgi Orlov lost on the black side of a Nimzo-Indian (starting with the Two Knights Tango) to IM John Bartholomew. Orlov’s piece play on the kingside was vigorous, but his queenside development lagged.  21…Qg6 seemed, to Fritz, to be the tipping point as the evaluation jumped from +0.68 to +2.1.

While that loss unfolded, IM Michael Lee gained an advantage in his English against IM Sean Nagle. To those of us in the commentary room, Lee’s position seemed to be accomplishing  very little until it suddenly accomplished very much, especially after Black’s self-destructive 18…Ke7. The hand of a magician created a rout out of a molehill.

David Golub’s Benko Gambit looked smooth against Kevin Wasiluk. Golub’s grip strengthened bit by bit as he dominated the a and b files and eventually captured White’s passed a pawn. He made it look easy and will no doubt influence others to play the Benko.

Bill Schill varied from GM practice on move 10 against a Sicilian Najdorf played by Andrew Titus, soon winning a pawn and nursing the small advantage to victory. A big slip by Titus on move 52 enabled Schill to convert to a pawn race in which he queened well ahead.  Schill’s skillful grit paid off in the longest game of the match.

Final score of the match:   Seattle 3.0 – Minnesota 1.0

Some photos from the match can be found here.