On September 3 2008, the New York Knights valiantly returned to USCL action in week two versus the Miami Sharks. The buzz always intensifies when two Grandmasters face off, so predictably the match-up on board one between GM Julio Becerra and GM Pascal Charbonneau garnered serious attention. In a Richter-Rauzer Sicilian, Pascal launched a queenside attack, but the unfortunate exchange of light squared bishops allowed Julio to occupy the vulnerable d5 square with his knight, and black was positionally grounded. GM Charbonneau capitulated after all the major pieces were traded off and only the dominant knight and sickly bishop remained.
Board two featured IM Irina Krush and FM Osmany Perea. Perea was making his USCL debut. In a queen’s gambit accepted, the middlegame revolved around black’s pawn on d4. Unfortunately, Irina played an inaccurate order of moves with12. h3 immediately, as opposed to 12. Be3. Once black was allowed to exchange one of white’s potential attackers on d4 he remained a pawn ahead. IM Krush aggressively rejected a three-fold repetition but was unable to ever achieve equality. She resigned on move 31.
SM Gregory Braylovsky competed for the second consecutive week. His opponent was FM Charles Galofre. A hedgehog type middlegame arose, and both players depended on their respective ability to outmaneuver the other. Gregory came very close, and if he had chosen the energetic 40. … f5 as opposed to 40. … Qb6 a win for black was a definite possibility. Instead the majority of pieces were exchanged and a draw was agreed.
Board four accommodated an exciting battle between NM Matthew Herman and NM Eric Rodriguez. The opening dictated a Sicilian Najdorf, however the middlegame resembled some type of Scheveningen hybrid. Down a pawn, NM Herman had an opportunity to conceivably equalize with 24. Qd4. This would force a queen exchange and white could subsequently go after the weak pawn on a6. However, 24. g6 was more bark than bite and black converted the material advantage into a win. Miami Sharks 3.5-New York Knights 0.5.