After a tough week 3 loss to Chessbrahs, we found redemption in week 4! Unfortunately it came at the cost of knocking California Unicorns out and landing co-founder John in hot water with his daughter, a Unicorns fan, yet it was a do-or-die matchup that we needed to win.
With GM Oleksandr Bortnyk hitting an MVP 3.5/4 performance he had the support of GM Sam Sevian and GM Aleksandr Lenderman both going 3/4; Sam via 2 wins and 2 draws while Alex had 3 convincing wins and a lone loss to GM Gukesh D. IM Carissa Yip played brilliantly yet couldn’t find the finishing touch as she let 3 wins escape along with a better position leading to a misleading 0/4 performance.
We had a dream start as we went 3-1 with a strong chance of a 4-0 finish yet Gukesh was able to do 2700+ things and get back into the game with a win against Carissa. Sam and Bortnyk both got the expected results while Alex had something to prove with a convincing win against the board 2, GM Dariusz Swiercz. Alex having a weaker week 1 performance was able to show why he’s a crucial member of our team not only off the board yet also as a player!
This fantastic result put the Unicorns on the back foot and forced them to have to take more chances before the match had a chance of being out of reach. Passers 3-1 Unicorns.
Unicorns needed results and they got them! Not our best of rounds yet it was exciting for the viewers as California struck back with a 2.5 round in their favor. After a great first round, Alex found himself against Gukesh and that would prove to be his only loss. Along with that Sam drew GM Johan-Sebastian Christiansen which was a great result for the 2481 board 3. From there Bortnyk showed his strength against an impressive WIM Zoey Tang on board 4. Carissa was looking great in her game against Dariusz who was looking to overcome the last round loss, which unfortunately for us he did.
With this round, Unicorns clawed their way back in winning it 2.5-1.5 leaving it: Passers 4.5-3.5 Unicorns.
Just like round 1 we came out strong with a convincing 3-1 result. For awhile it was looking like we might be taking it in this round with a clean 4-0 sweep as Johan-Sebastian was able to overcome a rook against Carissa’s two minor pieces. On the other boards it was nothing but wins with Bortnyk coming back strong against Gukesh as a time scramble muddied Gukesh’s advantage; something that Bortnyk excels at.
Sam’s game featured an absolute dire position for Dariusz as the ending black was practically out of moves.
Lastly Alex had a clean win against Zoey leaving us 3-1 for the round and 7.5-4.5 for the match.
What a nervous round this was as Unicorns found themselves fighting well on all 4 boards. For awhile it looked like it might come down to a lone win by Carissa against Zoey until it ended up being a win and 2 draws on the other boards, whereas Zoey ended up winning that matchup.
After his round 3 heroics, Johan-Sebastian ended up blundering a piece and being the first result of the round. That win by Alex sealed the 8.5+ victory taking the stress off of all the other boards. With the win under our belt Bortnyk found a way to stay undefeated finding a repetition in a worse position while Sam and Gukesh ended peacefully; Sam also going undefeated.
With the round ending 2-2 we continue on to week 5 thanks to the 9.5-7.5 final tally. We’re disappointed it came at the cost of the Unicorns as we love their franchise, commentary team, and players yet it was a must-win match for us.
Next match, another do-or-die, is this Friday, March 17th, at 10:30am ET against Team MGD1 over at twitch.tv/PassersGG and twitch.tv/Chess!
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