Monday, August 31, 2009

USCL Season Five Premiere Match: NY Knights v. NJ Knockouts

OK, I will spare everyone an elaborate apology for completely dropping the ball on this blog last season. I was probably just resentful because I was an alternate instead of a full-fledged team member. However, since that has been rectified I will genuinely try to regularly update the blog with match previews, player interviews, predictions, and all sorts of scandalous, illicit attacks on other teams and their players. I will make my best effort to be as scathing and ferocious as possible. So lets begin with a surgical breakdown of Wednesdays match.

Board one is a highly anticipated matchup between two extremely tough GMs. I have had the pleasure of competing against both Kacheishvili and Benjamin, and they are not only extraordinarily talented chessplayers but also gentlemen of the highest order. Giorgi is a very technical, efficient player who can apply a lot of pressure to his opponent with the white pieces. Joel has an extensive opening repetoire and he could play a variety of defenses with confidence. However, Joel has been inactive recently, while Giorgi is cruising the summer chess circuit, a factor that could be advantageous for the Knights.

Board two pits two more mighty players against each other, GM Pascal Charbonneau and IM Dean Ippolito. Here is another instance of one player competing seriously with greater frequency, but the teams are reversed. But despite Pascal's lack of recent tournament exposure, he is always extremely sharp, and manages to kick up his game a notch to the delight of chess league fans. I imagine Pascal will play solidly, without tempting fate by using a risky, tactical defense. Or, on the otherhand, he could try to disrupt Dean's granite-like positional style with an unbalanced, sacrifical opening. One thing is for sure, Pascal will have Coach Edwards inspirational words resonating in his head: we play to win the game.

Board three introduces two competitors who are mutual benficiaries of a summer rife with rating points. I can attest to the virtual rating point buffet of summer chess as a scholastic player. Without the stresses of school and parole officers, I would go on massive, tidal wave like runs, playing far better than I expected to. Shen and Herman are exhibiting the same appreciation for these golden summer months, as they have broken the 2300 barrier. I forsee a lot of punching and counter-punching in this contest, remeniscent of the Tal-Botvinnik championship matches. Considering that Matt is routinely beating me in training games, I give him the edge.

Board four is, with no disrespect to Arthur Shen, something of a joke. Norowitz is a dream board four considering he is easily 150 points stronger than his September 08 rating indicates. The lineup flexibility permitted by Yaacov's lower rating will be enormously helpful for every match he participates in. Arthur Shen is a quickly improving junior player who shows a lot of promise, but at this stage he simply doesn't score against higher ranked oppoenents with much consistancy.

I'm going to predict a 3-1 victory for the Knights in their season debut. And I have no shame in calling out Matt Herman to bring home a GOTW nomination, a reward that Matt himself will tell you he has been overlooked for on many prior occasions. It was no other statesman than Sir Philip Sidney himself who said "A true knight is fuller of bravery in the midst, than in the beginning of danger." A true knight indeed, Sir Philip. A true knight, indeed.


Mark said...

"Board four is, with no disrespect to Arthur Shen, something of a joke."

Hahaha. Just like Ricky Bobby, when he prefixes gross insults "with all due respect".

I'm not sure what the joke is on board 4, but I'll be snickering if JERSEY (devil's horn hand sign) can turn the tables on this one.

WatchUSCL said...

When Arthur Shen was lower rated than other strong players (Gregory Nolan, Todd Luna to name a few), he has consistently beaten them. His USCF MSA record holds testimony to it. In fact Chess Folks in NJ say Arthur may achieve more than his much talented brother Victor. With no disrespect to Norowitz, Norowitz has got his hands full. :-)

Your post is good. If sweeping statements like "he simply doesn't score against higher ranked oppoenents with much consistancy" can be avoided, it would become better.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Norowitz is of course a ridiculously good board four and the favorite in today’s game, but Arthur Shen is not even remotely a joke. I saw him play and analyze at a recent US Chess School, and he’s very strong.

Yair said...

Liz, nowhere does Evan say that Arthur is a joke. "Board X" in each paragraph refers to the matchup, not an individual player. In this case, the rating disparity *is* enormous (2nd largest of any USCL board matchup this week, behind Lenderman - Burnett, and largest in terms of real-time rating). Evan succeeded in giving New Jersey great bulletin-board material, but he did not insult Arthur.

Evan said...

My intention was never to criticize Arthur. He is a young, enthusiastic player who no doubt is taking chess very seriously, and this is reflected in his recent successful tournament results. I did want to emphasize how grateful I am, as a member of the Knights, to have a player the caliber of Yaacov as an option for fourth board. I imagine he is one of the highest rated, if not the overall highest rated, players who will regularly occupy bd. 4.

I'm planning on blogging from the match tonight at the Marshall and hopefully taking some photos.

Thanks everyone for your comments and for reading the blog, I'll try my best to provide the most insightful and entertaining pro-Knight propaganda on the web.

NJKOs said...

All we can say is read the headlines tonight..... We let our pieces do the talking.