While there was certainly no shortage of excitement & close calls in tonight's round 2 games of the 2015 George E. O'Rourke Memorial, the vast majority of the outcomes followed expectations based on ratings. The only two exceptions of note were Tom Fratturelli's holding Gary Brassard to a draw at board 4 despite Gary's 157 rating point advantage. In fact Tom had won the exchange with a big advantage on the board, but Gary was able to find a way to repeat moves for the draw. Playing at board ten, John Bastarache out maneuvered his 160 higher rated opponent, Gail Lingner & won the full point.
Though the eventual outcomes were somewhat as expected on all the other boards, class B ranked Ken Gurge, at board 2, forced his class A opponent, Larry Gladding into a king & pawn ending in which despite his extra pawn, Larry was only able to win because he correctly achieved a "zugzwang" position whereby Ken had no moves available to maintain his blockade. Meanwhile at board 8, relative newcomer & nearly 300 rating point underdog, Randy McLaughlin, had the upper hand for most of his game against class B ranked Jim Hankard but found himself in a close but tough knight plus 2 pawns vs bishop plus three pawns ending which he was unable to hold. Having taken a half point bye in the first round, George Mirijanian, rated 1965, found himself way down at board 14 but paired with Nowell Sheinwald rated 1923, a rather unusual situation. Nowell with the black pieces, played into a subvariant of George's "Blackmar-Diemer Gambit" which is known to lead to ultra sharp forcing sequences & tactical positions with abundant opportunities for blunders on both sides. The game was sharp & tricky throughout, eventually leading to a forced sequence in a multiple minor piece ending to split the point.