Halcyon Days are back for Coral Reef! Reef Capture 2015 Summer Title!!

coral reef

On Friday October 2, 2015 a playoff match for the Open Section of the summer DCCL league was held at the Arlington Chess Club. 4 Players from the Coral Reef and 4 players from “Can You Smell What the Rook is Cookin” battled for the championship.

The match was held in a secret side room to limit distractions for the players. It was graciously and professionally hosted by the DCCL league Executive Director Andy Rea. Chief Td and Arlington Chess club president Adam Chrisney helped officiate all disputes.

If you didn’t already know and you probably do know, Coral Reef has quite a history in the league. From 2001 to summer 2005 the Reef unbelievably won 8 Championships in a row when you include both summer and winter titles.

reef 8 years

Three years later in winter of 2008 they won the league title again.

Since 2008 they have been one of the top teams in the league but the title has alluded them.

However in 2015 after a 7 year hiatus they turned it all around.

The match was won 2.5-1.5 by Coral Reef who can lay claim to the summer league 2015 championship.

Halcyon Days are back for the Reef!

The Reef has featured many of the Top players in the DC, VA and MD region for many years. On this night former World Open champ IM Eugene Meyer played board 1. His brother Fide Master John Meyer, who fought for the human race vs the most powerful computer in the world Rybka in 2008 and won was board 2 (See NY Times: http://gambit.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/01/man-vs-computer-match-ends-in-victory-for-man-but-with-a-catch/?_r=0 ). Board 3 was former DC champion and National Master Sal Rosario and board 4 was former Maryland State champion and National Master Stan Fink.

Leif Karrell

Pictured Above: Leif Karell: Long time captain and fearless leader of the Reef prepping strategy for the big match ( Ok maybe he was doing something else but it sounds good).

Can You Smell What The Rook is Cooking, featured some of the frequent players on the Ashburn Squad the last 6 years. The Ashburn crew had won 3 of the last 6 winter league titles and won the most recent winter title just prior to this summer season. The players were former US Open champion Fide Master Paolo Del Mundo on board 1, National Master Shawn Hoshall on board 2, National Master Andy Tichenor on board 3 and Expert Scott Webster on board 4.

Playoff Match

On the Left is Coral Reef:  FtoB:  E.Meyer, J.Meyer, S.Rosario, S.Fink  on Right Rook Cookin: FtoB: P.DelMundo, S.Hoshall, A.Tichenor, S.Webster

Del Mundo won for Rook Cookin on board 1, and J. Meyer and Fink won on boards 2 and 4 respectively for the Reef. Board 3 between Tichenor and Rosario ended in a draw.

One of the key games giving the Reef the title occurred between FM J. Meyer and myself NM Hoshall. I had played John 2 other times in league play before this and scored a win and a draw but tonight John got the best of me.


Meyer,J 2214

J Meyer

Hoshall,S 2241


A brief synopsis of the game: Black got out of the opening well with chances of an advantage and possibly winning a pawn after 10.0-0.

Black played the move 15…Nbd7?! to keep the integrity of his pawn structure. This was a bad, time wasting move by black and made it difficult for black to coordinate his pieces. After this move and the unnecessary 19…kh8 White gets a number of tempos on black.

The move 27…Bxf3? by black was made to destroy the integrity of whites pawn structure. It was a losing move by black and shortsighted. The problem with 27…Bxf3 is because of black’s weak queenside pawns and weak backrank black is simply unable to defend both the isolated ( C and A file) queenside pawns adequately. Credit white with allowing his kingside pawn structure to get wrecked but recognizing that the position was winning for him.

When we initially learn chess we learn that you can have a 1.positional, 2.material or 3.space/ time advantage.

It’s important to understand a positional (In this case stacked pawns on the kingside) is almost always never as good as a material (piece or pawn ect) advantage. If black recognized he would lose a pawn on the queenside he should have never taken the knight with 27…Bxf3.

The Game…

1.d4 e6 2.e4 John usually plays queen pawn openings nowadays but thought I may play the Dutch if he played 2.Nf3 or 2.c4 and did not want to play against that tonight. d5 3.Nd2 Tarrasch variation vs the French, 3.. a6 4.c3 c5 5.dxc5?! 5.dxc5 is not considered best. More normal here is 5. Nf3. dxc was only played 26 times in my database and the results for white were poor with a 33% winning percentage. Bxc5 6.Nb3 Ba7 7.exd5 Nf6 7…Nf6 is best. White cannot take the e6 pawn do to 8…Bxf2+! 8.Bd3 [ 8.dxe6 Bxf2+ 9.Ke2 Qxd1+ 10.Kxd1 Bxe6] 8…Qxd5 9.Nf3 0-0 10.0-0 Nc6

10…Nc6 is inaccurate better is 10…Rd8 first and black simply plays the same plan he does in the game with 12…Ng4 but white can’t swing a rook back to f1. Black would win a pawn and have an advantage. I think Fischer once said. It’s easy to find good moves, the hard part is figuring out when to play them. [ 10…Rd8 11.Bc2 Qxd1 12.Rxd1 Rxd1+ 13.Bxd1 Ng4 14.Nbd4 e5 15.h3 exd4 16.hxg4 dxc3 17.bxc3 Bxg4 and Black wins a pawn] 11.Bc2 Qxd1 12.Rxd1 Ng4 13.Rf1 e5 14.h3 Nf6 15.Bg5

nbd7 meyer


15…Nfd7?!. The price black pays ( Avoiding 16.Bxf6) to keep the integrity of his pawn structure is too high in lost time and development. After 15…Be6, 16. Bxf6, gxf6 black has the two bishops completed harmonious development, activity and full compensation for his compromised kingside pawn structure ( Computer rates this position in blacks favor -.21). After the game continuation note the difficulty black has coordinating his pieces and completing his development.

16.Rfe1 f6 17.Be3 Bxe3 18.Rxe3 Nb6 19.Nc5 Kh8?! 19…Kh8 is an unnecessary passive move that takes the king farther away from the center where he ultimately needs to go and creates possible back rank themes for white. 20.Be4 Nc4 21.Re2 Nd6 22.Bxc6 bxc6 23.Rd1 Nb7 24.Nxb7 Bxb7 25.Rd7 Rab8 26.Red2 c5 27.Rc7

27...Bxf3 Meyer


  1. Bxf3? is a mistake and loses the game. White set the bait for black allowing the integrity of his kingside pawns to be wrecked and his knight to be taken on f3. He does this because he knows without the black bishop it will be impossible for black to protect both queenside pawns and white will be winning.

[ 27…Rfc8 28.Rdd7 Bc6 29.Rxc8+ ( 29.Rxg7?! Rxc7 30.Rxc7 Bxf3 31.gxf3 Rxb2 And black is slightly better ) 29…Rxc8 30.Ra7 Bb5 31.b3 c4 32.Nd2 h5 33.a4 Be8 34.Nxc4 Bg6 35.Nd2 Rxc3 White is still better but black can hold] 28.gxf3 Rfc8 29.Rdd7 [ 29.Rxc8+ Rxc8 Is also winning for white] 29…h5 30.b3 [ 30.Rxc8+ Rxc8 31.Rd6 Rb8 32.b3 c4] 30…Rxc7 31.Rxc7 Rd8 [ 31…Rb5 32.c4 Ra5 33.a4 And the black rook is trapped on a5 and can’t move!] 32.Rxc5 Black went on to resign in about a dozen moves 1-0

About shoshall

Father, Chess player and teacher, Securities trader
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