Eric Rosen, Ilan Meerovich , Keaton Kiewra, and decorative horse - Lindsborg, Kansas, July, 2004
Tonight, the 7-0 Chicago Blaze have a date with destiny, and with the Dallas Destiny as well. The Blaze can clinch the Western Division championship, and make league history by continuing the longest winning streak that either the team or the USCL has ever seen. Each week, it seems like the Blaze face tougher competition than the week before. This week is certainly no exception as Dallas throws a powerhouse lineup at the Blaze. Here are the evening's match-ups:
|GM Cristian Chirila: 2565||GM Josh Friedel: 2609|
|IM Conrad Holt: 2520||GM Dmitry Gurevich: 2547|
|FM Keaton Kiewra: 2436||NM Eric Rosen: 2333|
|FM Jeffrey Xiong: 2237||FM Jim Dean: 2336|
|Avg Rating: 2440
||Avg Rating: 2456
The first match I would like to comment on takes place on Board 3 where Keaton Kiewra faces off against Eric Rosen, who is my son, for those of you that might not know. This is Eric's first match since the season opener, where he won his match on Board 4. Eric and I have always been somewhat in awe of Keaton. The first time Eric or I became familiar with Keaton was at the 2002 National Junior High School Championship held at the Milwaukee Convention Center where Keaton successfully remained on Board 1 (and the stage) in the K-9 division throughout the tourney. Keaton finished with 6.5/7.0, drawing and sharing the title with Reed Sorensen, one of our chess friends to this day, who is now an epidemiologist in Washington State. Keaton finished that tourney with a 2111 rating. Eric, then a second grader, played in the U-1000 division and finished up with 1021 rating (quite eye-popping at the time).
In 2004, Eric, Ilan Meerovich, a good friend and former Blaze team member, and Keaton all attended the Yury Shulman Chess Camp in Lindsborg, Kansas and got a chance to study, swim, and hang out together. Ilan now attends Northern llinois University where he majors in Accounting. At that time, Keaton's rating had risen to 2275 and Eric's was up to 1572.
Since then 7 years have passed. Keaton recently graduated from University of Texas at Dallas while Eric is finishing up his senior year at Niles North High School in Skokie (we hope). Over time, the ratings gap has narrowed. Keaton, now an FM, is currently at 2444, while Eric who recently earned his Senior Masters designation, clocks in at 2404. Chess, like life, is funny, and one never knows when paths, lines and diagonals may cross again. In tonight's match, Keaton will have the white pieces. Suffice to say, it should be an interesting battle.
In other action, on Board One Josh Friedel will have the black pieces against Romanian Grand Master Cristian Chirila. Not much is known about the 20 year old Chirila other than he won the U16 World Championship back a few years ago and he is an exceptional chess player. Josh certainly will have his hands full as he plays this one from deep in the heart of Texas himself, where he is competing in the SPICE cup, doing quite well, and is tied for first place.
On Board 2, GM Dmitry Gurevich will be white IM against Conrad Holt, one of the strongest junior players in the country. To round things out on Board 4, FM Jim Dean, with the white pieces, will go up against 11 year old FM Jeffrey Xiong, a Silver Medalist at last year's World Youth Chess Championships U-10 Division. Jeffrey represents that new crop of chess prodigies who will likely give the Sam Shanklands and Robert Hess's of the world fits in the years to come.
Certainly, Dallas presents serious obstacles as the Blaze attempt to maintain perfection, and continue its incredible season with win number 8. The action starts this evening at 7:15 pm at Skokie's North Shore Chess Center. This is one you will not want to miss. Stay tuned… and Go Blaze!