15. helmikuuta 2015

LauttSK 2 to qualification match

After 4 consecutive team victories for LauttSK 2, it came down to the LahS 2 vs LauttSK 2 to determine who would play against Karjaan Ura 2 on 14.3. to qualify for division 2. They had a very strong team on paper, so we knew it was going to be a tough challenge.

Evgeny was already at the venue before the rest of us had arrived, looking determined to fight hard on board 1. Tero was visibly pumped, as became clear when he told Evgeny at the start: "We have to win!" Mikko was his usual calm self, soothing my nerves by making sure I had a pen! I myself was pretty anxious, and determined to make sure I got a point for our team. Seppo had a quiet confidence that comes from experience.

The match started, and it looked pretty even on all the boards. Evgeny looked pretty solid in the Rb1 variation of Grünfeld with White. Tero had an uncharacteristically positional position, so I was a bit worried for him. Mikko looked pretty solid and self-assured. I myself opted for the complicated Nd7 variation of the Sicilian after 3.Bb5+. And Seppo had a pretty quiet game.

As the match went on, Seppo and his opponent drew their game relatively quickly. I felt pretty confident in my complicated position, but unfortunately blundered while approaching the time control and dropped a piece. I tried some drawing tricks but my opponent was alert. Tero looked in trouble for a while, but as he has a knack for doing, he managed to do some Terobble tricks and salvage a draw.

Mikko's and Evegeny's games looked pretty tight. Since I was destined to lose my game, we needed one of them to win and the other to draw. That way we would qualify ahead on tie-breaker points. Mikko's opponent seemed very edgy, constantly shushing his teammates for chattering too much, hahaa. After managing to get connected passed pawns in the center, Mikko took the lead but his opponent fought hard. Tero and I were watching anxiously, willing Mikko to make the killer blow – which he eventually did much to our delight.

Evgeny and his opponent played a marathon Queen + minor piece end game, which was obviously very tricky, and hats off to him for holding his nerve in that pressure situation. The game was basically drawn, but after realizing that only a win would do, Evgeny's opponent did the brave thing and "went for it", and ended up losing in the process.

A tough match, but thanks to some stellar play, we won and now have a chance for Glory!

Individual results of Lahden Shakki 2 – Lauttasaaren Shakkikerho 2 that ended 1–2:

1. Joona Tuominen (1969) – Evgeny Sobenin (1898) 0–1
2. Jarkko Kankainen (1879) – Tero Lehtinen (1894) ½–½
3. Jaakko Keipi (1908) – Mikko Piippo (1835) 0–1
4. Rami Kivilahti (1851) – Ashwin Kumar (1850) 1–0
5. Pentti Juppala (1790) – Seppo Järvinen (1732) ½–½

(Report by Ashwin Kumar.)

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