After seven Saturdays of play, the spring 2022 season of the PCSAA Middle School Chess League finished this afternoon. BASIS DC and District of Columbia International School both entered the final day of play with undefeated records, and in their match against one another, either school could have taken the season championship with a victory.
In the final game to finish, the BASIS player had a decisive advantage after: 1. e4 e5 2. d4 Na6 3. dxe5 d6 4. exd6 Bxd6 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. Bxa6 bxa6 7. O-O Nf6 8. Nc3 O-O 9. Bg5 Be7 10. Qxd8 Raxd8 11. Bxf6 Bxf6 12. Nd5 Bxb2 13. Rab1 Ba3 14. Nxc7 Bxf3 15. gxf3 Rd6 16. Rb3 Bc5 17. Rd3 Rg6+ 18. Kh1 Bd6 19. Nxa6 Rh6 20. h3 Rxh3+ 21. Kg2 Rh6 22. Rfd1 Rd8 23. e5 Rg6+ 24. Kf1 f5 25. Rxd6 Rdxd6 26. Rxd6 Rxd6 27. exd6 Kf7 28. c4 Ke6 29. c5 g5 30. Nc7+ Kd7 31. Kg2 h5 32. Nd5 g4 33. Nf6+ Kc6 34. d7 Kc7 35. fxg4 hxg4 36. Kg3 a5 37. c6 a4 38. Nd5+ Kd8 39. Kf4, but like all resourceful chess players Black stayed astute for a way to save the game.
39… g3 40. fxg3 a3 reached the position shown on the left, and if White captures the f-pawn without thinking, 41. Kxf5?? is stalemate. Instead, White sharply sidestepped Black’s drawing trap with 41. Nf6 and won in twelve more moves. (41. Ke5 would have mated faster, but a win is a win.) BASIS narrowly won the match 4.5-3.5 and took the title.
Howard University Middle School of Mathematics & Science swept their match against E.L. Haynes to retain third place in the season standings, while Meridian held onto fourth place on the board points tiebreaker despite losing to Children’s Guild. One more half-point in their match would have put Children’s Guild ahead.
Round-by-round results and the final standings for the season can be viewed here. We congratulate all of the students who showed up to play on lichess this year and we hope to see more of them in upcoming chess competitions in the DC area.