Skip Navigation Links
MACA Chess Horizons Magazine Article
 U.S. Chess League Boston Blitz Season Recap
 Mark LaRocca
  November 2014
Chess is a game; Chess is a sport; Chess is a refuge for antisocial single-minded nerds!
The Boston Blitz finished this US Chess League (USCL) 10th season with a woeful record of 1 win, 4 draws, and 5 losses, (3 – 7) placing them in 5th place in the Eastern division and out of the playoffs. For those of you keeping score, this was the 3rd worst record in the league, besting only the L.A. Vibes (2.5 – 7.5) and our neighboring N.E. Nor’easters (0.5 – 9.5), who, by the way, are the Blitz’s only victim this season in the infamous week 8 “Toilet Bowl.” “If it weren’t for bad luck, we’d have no luck at all” (sing along if you know the words) was our theme and the sound of the Nor’easters gurgling down the drain was our only consolation. We kid NE, really; they are, after all, one of us… except, I think they are black on the left side (a little Star Trek reference for you fans out there). 
Well, back to my opening thought about Chess. I guess we can debate the first two points, but, the Blitz’s week 10 draw with the New Jersey Knockouts categorically refutes the third (nerds) point as the Blitz demonstrated the brotherhood that exists among fellow chess players by celebrating their fourth board loss. Yes, a celebration it was… the debut of the team’s 10th man, William “Billy” Collins.
Billy is a regular in the Harvard Square chess scene, often hustling a few dollars from the unsuspecting with his amazing skill at speed chess. Smack talk and fun-filled banter are always present in these matches, as is a smile belying the tough times that he has come upon. He has many friends, many of them quite good chess players, and they offer no quarter as they take him on. And it is these friends that brought him to this match, relayed the moves as he played, and helped him to help us. In the end, he lost, the Blitz drew the match, and we all won.
And in this spirit of comradery, I would like to present Billy’s game, along with Steven Zierk’s win from the same match as a sort of tour de Blitz, a representation of our season within one single match, a promising win and a dramatic loss.
William Collins - BOS, 2122
Aaron Jacobson - NJ, 2158
U.S. Chess League (10)
Caro-Kann, Classical [B19]


After the match, we all analyzed the game with him, as if this were the only thing that mattered, this one struggle, one game, and for this moment, this night, we were content.

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”

Now, how often do we get to quote Shakespeare in a chess article?

Meanwhile, back on first board, Steven was in the midst of his own struggle with New Jersey’s top board, GM Alex Stripunsky. Steven is definitely the Blitz MVP this season with a record of 3 wins, 2 draws, and 1 loss (a total of 4/6) on first board against 3 GMs and 3 IMs. This week 10 win with Black was, in my opinion, hisfinest performance.

GM Alex Stripunsky - NJ, 2656
IM Steven Zierk – BOS, 2543
U.S. Chess League (10)
French Defence, Labourdonnais [C00]


What can I say about this lost season? Without pointing fingers, we performed reasonably well on the top two boards, perhaps a little below expectations on the 3rd board, and pretty miserably bad on 4th board.

Team manager, NM Ilya Krasik, put together a fairly balanced team. And, on the top boards, it seemed to work. We really couldn’t expect much more on boards 1 and 2 since we were out-rated and out-titled there in many matches. Definitely, our strength, which should have been boards 3 and 4, failed to perform. So, now what?

I’ll leave that up to greater minds. Oh, there are no greater minds, you say. Hmmmm… you make a good point. I guess we’ll let Ilya have another crack at it then.

See ya next year,