The Seattle Sluggers have won their first US Chess League’s 2012 championship. The team defeated the Philadelphia Inventors in the final match by a score of 3-1. Their strength in this match turned out to be on the bottom boards. Seattle’s first board, Varuzhan Akobian, drew with Sergey Erenburg as did its second board, Georgi Orlov, with William Fisher. Joshua Sinanan and Roland Feng, who is in the sixth grade (!), turned in victories on the third and fourth boards.
Here is the fine victory by Feng of the Sluggers against veteran Richard Costigan of the Inventors. It is a Slav defense in which Feng starts out with an early 3.cxd5. After this exchange, Costigan plays conservatively with 5… e6, shutting in his queen’s bishop. Thereafter, he runs into trouble as Feng builds a wall with minor pieces and pawns in the center. Feng’s position is not necessarily winning, but Costigan never finds a way to pull down that wall. He does, however, put up an obdurate defense. Nevertheless, Feng pursues his opponent like the “Hound of Heaven” and he gradually strips down the pieces and triumphs in a simple but very pretty bishop and pawn ending.