Macaspac and Pitts finished their games fairly quickly. Both are entertaining games especially Pitts'. He was behind two pawns but West’s 19…d5 was an error. He underestimated and reacted poorly to Pitts’ king-side aggression. Allowing the queen to stay on g5 allowed the knight fork on h5. West seemed oblivious to the threat because he recaptured on f6 with the queen instead of the rook which would just cost him an exchange.
Round 7 Results
Pitts vs. West (1-0)
Drake vs. Donovan (still playing)
Shepherd vs. Baniel (still playing)
Macaspac vs. Corona (1-0)
King vs. Fissel (1-0)
Floto vs. Duke (0-1)
I can only imagine the shock he felt once the knight landed on h5. Pitts is playing with a lot of confidence. Being two pawns down from a botched opening sequence did not temper his aggression. Pitts seldom doubts his abilities to overpower his opponents. His only loss so far in this tournament was to Macaspac. Pitts handed that game to Macaspac in a platter when he blundered the d-pawn accidentally.
The top four places will not change much after this round. Duke and King are now in a good position to secure the last two spots. Donovan still has an outside chance if he can manage to hold against Drake. He has three pawns for a bishop. If he plays solidly and figures out a decent way to advance his pawns, he may even win this game as Drake’s king lacks sufficient cover.
West’s chances are not any dimmer even after a loss against Pitts. But a draw with Pitts would have made his qualifying task simpler. He has to win at least three of his remaining four games. But he has yet to face Baniel in the last round. The critical encounter will be between West and King in the penultimate round. The winner of the encounter will most likely secure a team spot.
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