Peoria vs Iowa match November 16, 2020

Peoria chess club meets on Monday nights and I show up from time to time. I noticed that in October they were having low attendance, so I suggested a Peoria vs Iowa match. The original idea was to have each board play a 2 game against their counterpart. When it became obvious that each side would have 4 players, I suggested we follow the recently completed US States Cup format where everyone plays everyone on the other team. The players were like, sure Tim, whatever, it sounds like fun.

Peoria was represented by Daniel Garrett (1937) , Michael Leali (1800), Owen Zhang (1780) and Vinay Sama (1630). Iowa was represented by Cub Noble (1884), Joseph Pregon (1781), Alec Aimdilokwong (1781 online) and Mike Volz (1662). On paper, it looked like an even match, but as we all know, the proof is in the action. The players took over Peoria's zoom meeting in order to discuss any issues as they arise and to keep the event going. Since we were on a zoom call, it prevented Peoria's organizer (Murrel Rhodes) and myself from discussing any of the positions. One final note is that each side had elementary student on their team with Owen Zhang and Alec Aimdilokwong. The games were played on chess.com

Round 1 saw the youngsters Owen and Alec upset their opponents while the top seeds for each team Daniel and Cub win as well. After 1 round, the score was tied 2-2.

Round 2 was won by Peoria 3-1 with Daniel putting a stop on the youth movement by defeating Alec while Owen kept it alive by knocking off Cub after Cub decided to sac everything for something. In the post game analysis, Owen admitted to being nervous as Cub just kept saccing. Michael Leali and Joseph also won this round. Match score is Peoria 5 Iowa 3

Round 3 was won by Iowa 3-1 with the youth movement back on track as both Owen and Alec won. Joseph and Cub also won for Iowa to level the total match score at 6-6. This set up an exciting last round as all games were pivotal and the players knew their game could be the difference. As mentioned above, the even match shown on paper proved to be real.

Round 4. The first game to complete was Vinay's win over Mike Volz. Both players had lost their previous games so for Vinay it was a redemption win giving Peoria a 7-6 lead. The next game to finish was between the youths Owen and Alec. They traded down to an endgame with bishops of opposite colors and decided to call it a draw. This was the only draw all evening which made the score Peoria 7.5- Iowa 6.5. The next game to finish was Cub's win over Daniel. Cub learned that if you keep material on the board while attacking, it increases your chances of winning. This leveled the match at 7.5. All eyes were on Joseph's game with Michael Leali. Joseph had sacced the exchange for play. As time was winding down, Michael was unable to find the best continuation and eventually lost on time. Iowa won the hard fought match 8.5-7.5.

Congratulations to Owen Zhang for top scorer of 3.5. I would like to thank Murrel and Peoria for hosting the match. If anyone is interested in playing in their Monday night events, go to PeoriaChess.com for more details. After the match, all the players expressed interest in playing a similar match in the future, so if you would like to be involved, contact Murrel or me at timmcentee@msn.com

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