Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Week Four Photos

Sorry everybody who expected punctual updates on the Knights matches. I was competing in the Miami Open so I was selfishly immersed in my own games.

Here are photos from tonight's forgettable match against the Carolina Cobras.

Game analysis will be posted shortly for this match and the previous one, and I am eagerly anticipating the integration of diagrams this time. Yay diagrams!

IM Justin Sarkar

WFM Irina Zenyuk

GM Alex Shabalov

IM Jay Bonin

Author and Knights fan Paul Hoffman

IM Sarkar and GM Shabalov

GM Pascal Charbonneau reacts to the teams performance

Monday, September 8, 2008

2008 Week 2 Recap

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.

2008 Week 1 Recap

In the inaugural match of the 2008 season, on August 27 2008, the Knights squared off with bitter rival Boston. There was crazy anticipation surrounding the GM Alexander Shabalov – SM Jorge Sammour Hasbun game. GM Shabalov proceeded to sacrifice a piece in a theoretical semi-slav position and he acquired an extremely dangerous looking attack. However SM Sammour Hasbun defended meticulously and eventually scored the full point.

On board two IM David Vigorito opposed SM Gregory Braylovsky. IM Vigorito had impressively nursed an edge on the white side of a symmetrical english for forty moves, until the inexplicable 41. Qc3 allowed SM Braylovsky to penetrate with his queen. David had nothing better than a perpetual check and the game was drawn.

IM Jay Bonin and SM Denys Shmelov had played three times in the 2007 season, with 1.5 points recorded for each. Their match on board three had all the tension of their first three matches combined. After a transposition to a symmetrical english, IM Bonin squandered his slight edge with the unnecessary 21. b4. After queens were exchanged some moves later the game ended peacefully, maintaining the balanced score between the two USCL heavyweights.

I wish it were easier to objectively describe the contest on board four. NM Ilya Krasik is a good friend and great competitor. I got the better of him once over the board in Foxwoods 2006, but he remains my superior in USCL competition. I had only prepared for the gambit 5. e4 in the proper slav, and after Ilya promptly moved 5. a4, I was left to my own, inadequate devices. I certainly had many opportunities to improve throughout the game, but as soon as Ilya discovered the winning blow 17. Bc8 my fate was sealed. A desperation mating attack was swiftly disarmed, and I lost. Boston Blitz defeated New York Knights 3.0-1.0.