Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week 4: Knights fall to New Jersey

We lost a very tough match tonight against the surging New Jersey Knockouts, who are off to a perfect 4-0 start. By comparison, we are 1.5-2.5, clinging to the 4th and final playoff spot in the East.

New Jersey played very well on all boards and earned a well-deserved victory.

On board 1, Giorgi managed to wriggle out of a dead-lost position against Joel Benjamin. 18. Rf7! would have immediately ended matters. Instead Joel allowed Giorgi's king to escape to the queenside and, in deep time trouble, gave perpetual check.

On board 2, Pascal held a small pull throughout the game against living legend Boris Gulko, before eschewing 39. Nd8! for 39. b4?!

Gulko's active pieces put Pascal on the verge of defeat and he was forced to shed a knight to avoid mate. Gulko got careless with his extra piece and after 54. ..Ke6??, Pascal only needed to find 55. Nd5!!, immediately forcing a stalemate draw after 55. ..Bd5 56. b7 Bb7. Alas, it was not to be for the Knights, as Pascal instead played 55. Nf5?? and Gulko was able to round up the b-pawn while avoiding stalemate, securing the point.

On board 3, Mac Molner played a stellar game on the white side of a Najdorf, using nearly all of his remaining time to find the super-precise 21. Ne5!, temporarily sacrificing a piece to consolidate and win. Other moves would not have sufficed. For instance, 21. Bd3 Bh6! 22. Qg8 Ke7!! 23. Qa8 Qe3 24. Be2 Bb5 25. Qb7 Kf6 and white has to sacrifice back his queen to avoid mate.

On board 4, Yaacov played a very sedate game against rising junior Anna Matlin. She missed her chance for another upset prize with 34. ..e3?, dropping a pawn and leading to a lost endgame. Instead, the prophylactic 34. ..Kh6!, preparing 34. ..e3 would have led to at least a draw. For example, 34. ..Kh6 35. h4 e3 36. Qe7 ef 37. Kf2 Qb2 38. Ke1 Qc3 when white cannot avoid the perpetual. Yaacov's technique in the rook and pawn ending was impeccable and he scored the Knights' sole victory.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week 3: Knights back to .500

The Knights got into the win column in 2009 with a convincing 3.5-0.5 victory over their cross-town rivals, the Queens Pioneers.

On board 1, Giorgi got a promising position against Alex Stripunsky's Trompowsky and was close to winning with either 34. ..Re1 or 34. ..Nf4, but played 34. ..Re2 which led to a draw by perpetual check after 35. Ne5! R7e5 36. de Qg4 37. Kf1 Rb2 38. e6 Nf4 39. Qd4 f6 40. gf Qh3.

On board 2, Pascal prepared a nasty surprise for roommate Dmitry Schneider in a sharp line of the Two Knights Defense. After 14. Qh5!, Pascal was winning and Dima resigned before making his 21st move.

On board 4, Yaacov looked poised to deploy his trademark Stonewall, but Elizabeth Vicary had prepared a tricky move order with an early exchange on d4 and Qc7. In what looked to be a pawn blunder (given the times spent on each move), Liz soon got great compensation for her missing d5 pawn. Yaacov consolidated and luckily got a takeback on Qh4-h5 in the position below (he did not intend to move at all, but his hands brushed the touchpad). Instead, after the more reasonable Bc6, he traded pieces and ground out the full point in a rook and pawn endgame.

On board 3, I was paired against the red-hot FM Andrei Zaremba (Pascal and Dima's other roommate). In the first two weeks, Andrei has garnered multiple GOTW nominations, including a second place for his victory against IM-elect Marc Esserman. Zaremba had his third white in a row and I was looking to score my first points of the season after starting with a difficult loss to NM Victor Shen in week 1.

Zaremba - Herman

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. cd?! ed 7. Bd3 Bd6 8. 0-0 0-0 9. Qc2 Re8 10. e4?! de 11. Ne4 Ne4 12. Be4 Nf6

12. ..h6 also warranted consideration, as the Bc1 has no natural home and Nd7-f6 and Bc8-g4 are coming.

13. Bf5?! Qa5N 14. Bc8 Rac8 15. Bg5 Ne4 16. Bh4 Qd5

Black's pieces have all found natural squares, with tempo. I briefly considered 16. ..Qf5 to prevent 17. Bg3, but white can simply play 17. Qb3.

17. Rfe1 Re6 18. Re3?

White's sense of danger is missing. 18. Bg3 was necessary, though black is for choice after 18. ..Bg3 19. hg Rce8.

18. ..f5!

Suddenly the Bh4 lacks for squares and the Re3 is in the path of the onrushing f-pawn.

19. Rae1 Rce8

Black threatens h6 and g5 so white tries to bail into an endgame.

20. Ng5 Ng5 21. Bg5 f4!

The bishop's troubles will live on.

22. Re6 Re6 23. Re6 Qe6 24. Qb3 Qb3 25. ab

Black wants to bring his king to d5 before white gets to d3. This was accomplished by combining threats to snare the g5 bishop with a timely f4-f3 push.

25. ..h6! 26. Bd8 Kf7 27. f3

If 27. Kf1, black has 27. ..f3!

27. ..Ke6 28. Ba5 Kd5 29. Kf1 Kd4!

If 29. ..g6 30. Bc3 b5 31. Ke2 b4 32. Be1! Kd4 33. Bf2 Kd5 34. Ba7 Be5 35. Kd3 Bb2, it will be nearly impossible to break white's blockade.

30. Bc3 Kd3 31. Bg7 h5 32. Kf2 Bc5! 33. Kf1 Ke3!

Eschewing the unclear pawn hunting after 33. ..Kc2 34. g4 fg 35. hg Kb3 36. g4 hg 37. fg Be7. Black should still be winning, but why allow counterplay?

34. Bh6

34. ..h4?!

Black must play concretely! In time pressure, I mistakenly saw and rejected the following as unclear. 34. ..Bd4! 35. g4!! Kf3 36. g5 Bb2 37. g6 c5 (only) 38. g7 Bg7 39. Bg7 b5 40. Bf8 c4 41. bc bc 42. Bb4.

It looks like white may have enough resources, but 42. ..a6! wins for black, as the pawns are one too many.

35. h3?

Andrei and I both saw the "obvious" h4-h3 idea, but white's best chance was to complicate with 35. Bg5! h3 36. Bh4! Kd3 37. Bf2 hg 38. Kg2 Be3!

and now either

A) 39. Kf1!? Bc2 40. Ba7 Bb2 41. h4

B) 39. h4 Ke2 40. Be3 fe 41. h5 Kd3 42. h6 e2 43. h7 e1Q 44. h8Q and black's advantage, if any, is minimal.

Now white can never create a passed pawn and he cannot abandon the kingside.

35. ..Be7!

Black's "bad" pawns restrain white's "good" pawns and restrict white's bishop activity.

36. Bg7 a6! 37 Be5 b5!

Slowly improving the position before deciding on a committal king move.

38. Bc3 Kd3 39. Be5 Kc2!

It's finally time to go after the queenside. White can only create harmless, disconnected kingside passers.

40. Ke2 Kb3 41. Kd2

Tantamount to resigning. 41. Kd3 c5 42. Ke4 c4 43. Kf4 b4 44. Kf5 still lost but demonstrated resistance.

41. ..Bg5
42. Kc1 a5

Time to roll.

43. Kb1 a5 44. Bc3 b4 45. Bd2 c4 46. Bc1

Allowing a cute finish.

46. ..c3 47. bc bc 48. Ka1 Bf6!

On any white move, c3-c2 is mate in two. Andrei resigned. 0:1

Friday, September 11, 2009

Week 2 Roundup

We got on the board this week against a tough Seattle team, headlined by super-GM Hikaru Nakamura and sporting the second highest rated lineup in USCL history.

On board 1, Hikaru played a non-opening and received a full point due to an unfortunate blunder from Giorgi, who had played a stellar game til that point.

On board 3, Jay defended well against FM Michael Lee, finding 17. ..a5! and 18. ..b4 to secure at least equality.

On board 4, in his debut match, Raven took queens off early against NM Howard Chen and built some queenside pressure. He avoided the critical 21. b5!?, which would have led to the following forced sequence 21. ..cb 22. Ba5 b6 23. Bb6! (23. cb Kb7! =/+) Nb6 24. cb Kb7! 25. Ra6 Ra8! 26. Ra8 Ra8 27. Ra8 Ka8 28. Bf1 Bd8 29. Bb5 (29. Kf2!? Bb6 30. Ke3 Kb7 31. Bb5 is drawn) Bb6 30. f4 Be5 31. Kg2 Bb2 32. Bd7 Kb7 33. Be6 Kc6 34. Bf5, when black likely has enough to hold a draw. After 21. b3 and the critical 24. g4!, preventing black from g5-g4, a mutual fortress arose and peace was agreed.

Pascal played a star game on board 2 to secure the match draw for the Knights.

Charbonneau - Serper

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cd 4. Nd4 a6 5. Bd3 Nf6 6. 0-0 d6 7. c4 Be7 8. Nc3 0-0 9. Qe2 Re8

A justifiably rare move. Far more popular are Qd8-c7 and b7-b6.

10. Kh1 b6 11. f4 Bb7 12. Bd2

A novelty, and a bad one. White's attack begins to play itself. 12. ..Nc6 might be an improvement.

13. e5! Nfd7

14. f5!?

White's pawns lurch forward. Also strong was 14. Ne6! fe 15. Qh5! Nf8 16. Qe8 Nc6 17. Qh5 de 18. Be4! +-

14. ..Ne5 15. fe Bf6 16. Nd5

White plays the simplest line and is comfortably winning, but brutal and direct was 16. Rf6! gf 17. Ne4! Re6 (only) 18. Ne6 fe 19. Nf6 Kh8 20. Nh7! Nd3 21. Ng5! Nc6 22. Qh5 Kg8 23. Qg6 Qg7 24. Qe6 Kh8 25. Qh3 Kg8 26. Qd3 +-

16. ..Bd5 17. cd Nd3 18. Qd3 fe 19. Ne6 Qf7 20. Qg3 Ra7 21. Bc3 Nd7 22. Qd6 Qe7 23. Qg3 Bc3 24. bc Nc5 25. Rae1 Ne6 26. Re6 Qd8 27. Qe3!

And the rest is easy.

27. ..Rae7 28. Qb6 Qb6 29. Rb6 Rc7 30. d6 Rf7 31. Kg1 a5 32. c4 Rf1 33. Kf1 Kf7 34. c5 Ke6 35. Rb7 Kd5 36. Rc7 1:0

With that spectacular victory, the Knights drew even and pushed their record to 0.5/2.

I would be remiss if, after covering such a spectacular game, I didn't mention another worthy contender for GOTW, played by board 3 for our fierce rivals, IM-elect Marc Esserman of the Boston Blitz. Esserman conducted the white pieces with immense precision and energy -- the 10 move sequence of captures and checks is the longest in USCL history to end a decisive game.

Esserman - Simpson

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 b5 6. Bb3 Ne4!?

A rare move, as black often follows 5. ..b5 with either 6. ..Bc5 or 6. ..Bb7.

7. Re1 d5?!

This may be too much. Also possible was 7. ..Nc5 8. Bd5! Bb7 9. d4 Ne6 10. Ne5 Be7 and black should be OK.

8. Nc3!

Black is slightly underdeveloped and Esserman wastes no time in facilitating the rapid deployment of his pieces. The forcing nature of the remaining moves is stunning.

8. ..Nc3

The machine-like 8. ..Be6 leads to the depressing 9. Ne4 de 10. Be6 fe 11. Re4 Bc5 12. b3! and white will pick up the weak e-pawns.

9. dc Be6 10. a4!

Esserman is not willing to settle for equality after 10. Ne5 Ne5 11. Re5 c6!

10. ..Rb8?!N

This is a novelty and it is a slight improvement on the awful 10. ..Ne7 played in 1939(!) in Buenos Aires. Given the speed at which the white pieces would flood into black's position following the opening of the a-file, 10. ..b4! was more circumspect. Play could continue 11. Ne5 Ne5 12. Re5 c6! 13. cb Bd6! (not 13. ..Bb4 14. Qg4! Bd6 15. Qg7 Be5 16. Qe5 with massive compensation for the exchange) and black should have equality.

11. ab ab 12. Ra6! Qd7

The most natural move, though in retrospect 12. ..Rb6 might have limited the damage. White emerges a pawn up after 13. Rb6 cb 14. Qe2! but black can survive. Esserman now unleashes a torrent.

13. Rc6! Qc6 14. Ne5 Qc5?

Black had to play 14. ..Qd6! with two potential outcomes

A) 15. Nf7! Kf7 16. Qh5! g6 17. Qf3 Kg7 18. Bf4 Qd7 19. Be5 Kg8 20. Bh8 Re8 21. Be5! (21. Re6 c6!!) c6! with compensation due to the limited activity of white's Bb3.

B) 15. Bf4 Be7! 16. Ng6 Qd7 17. Nh8 Kf8 with similar compensation

If Simpson tried 14. ..Qb6, two branches emerge

A) 15. Bd5 Bc5! 16. Be6 Bf2 17. Kh1 Qe6 18. Re2 0-0 19. Nd3 Qd5 20. Rf2 with two pieces for the rook. Better however, would be

B) 15. Nf7! Bc5!

and now, not 16. Re6? Qe6 17. Bd5 Qf6 18. Nh8 Qf2 19. Kh1 Kf8!! and black will soon bring his rook into the game with devastating effect, but

16. Kh1!

with a few choices

A) 16. ..0-0 17. Ng5!!
(17. Re6? Qe6 18. Bd5 Qb6! and the discovery brings white nothing) and wins or

B) 16. ..Kf7 17. Qf3 Kg6 (17. ..Ke8 18. Bd5 Kd7 19. Be6 Qe6 20. Re6 Ke6 21. Qg4 +-) 18. Re5! h6 19. Bd5! and wins

15. Nf7! Kf7 16. Qf3

White also wins after 16. Qh5. Instead of the game-like 16. ..Ke7, black has the option of 16. ..g6, which loses after 17. Qf3 Bf5 18. g4! Be7 19. gf Bf6 20. Bd5 Kg7 21. Re6!

16. ..Ke7 17. Bd5 Rb6 18. Bg5!

18. Re5 also wins but the text gives black the possibility of losing in quicker fashion than the depressing Q+2p vs RR endgame that would have arisen after 18. ..Qd6 19. Bg5 Kd7 20. Be6 Qe6 21. Re6 Re6 22.g3!

18. ..Kd7 19. Be6

Also possible is 19. Re5, but the text contains a tiny practical trap.

19. ..Re6 20. Qf7 Re7?

Black could carry on a grim defense after 20. ..Kc6, but clings to the illusion of hanging onto his extra material.

21. Be7 Be7 22. Qe6!

After 22. ..Kd8 white can play the direct 23. Ra1! or the picturesque 23. Re5!

Simpson resigned.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

First Match Recap, Annotated Games, and Inflammatory Remarks

The Knight's bones are dust,
And his good sword rust.
His soul is with the saints,
I trust.

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English lyrical poet, 1772-1834

Even though I prefer unearthing quotes related to victorious Knights, as opposed to vanquished ones, I still thought Coleridge's poignant stanza deserved a place atop this blog post. This is a blog where readers are encouraged to laugh, and learn, at the same time.

The Knights lost an extremely close match to the New Jersey Knockouts. There were no reported mouseslip incidents.

Matt Herman humbly submitted some annotations to his loss against NM Shen. These annotations are presented below, completely unedited. I have made intermittent jokes at Matt's expense.

[Event "USCL"]
[Date "2009.09.02"]
[White "Herman, Matthew"]
[Black "Shen, Victor"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B47"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. g3 a6 7. Bg2 d6 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. O-O Nf6 10. Re1 e5 11. Na4 Be6 12. b3 Be7 13. c4 O-O 14. f4 d5!!?
Played after a half hour think, this thematic counterstrike was necessary to prevent black's position from being overrun
15. f5
Other captures were against the demands of the position and would have allowed black to achieve significant piece play. If 15. fe Ng4! and black had the terrible threat of Qa7
15. ... Bd7 16. g4 Bb4!
This move looked incorrect, as it drew the bishop away from the kingside, and exposed it to trapping themes with c4-c5. It transpired that active counterplay, preventing white from slowly building an initiative and controlling the d2(!) square were sufficient justification for the clerical jaunt. (Clerical jaunt is a pretentious way of saying a bishop moved. -Evan)
17. Re3 Rad8!
Brilliantly calm. (This comment is not really necessary, but Matt is struggling to justify his loss. -Evan)
18. Qe2!
I was convinced black's position was critical, as 18. ..Ne4 19. Be4 de 20.
c5 traps the bishop. If 18. ... Be7, white calmly builds with Re3-h3, Bc1-e3,
Ra1-f1, g4-g5 and can swing Na4-c3-e2-g3 and sac on h5 whenever black plays g6/h5 to clog the file
18. ... Nxe4! 19. Bxe4 dxe4 20. a3? ...
20. c5!? Qa5! 21. Qc2 Bc8! 22. Re2 would have been met by 22. ..Rd5 23. Be3 Rad8 and black survives, though a fresh battle emerges after 24. Qe4. If 21. Qc4, black had the ridiculous 21. ..Bf5! and would have ended up no worse after the complications. That said, c5 would have transformed the contest and was probably the right practical decision. The idea of a3 was to allow the Na4 to swing back to the kingside, where it would have been needed to sacrifice on h5 and prevent black from making inroads on d2
20. ... Be7 21. Rh3 c5!
Black's resource on move 23 allows him to untangle
22. Nc3 Bc6!
The Bd7 has been standing watch against g4-g5 but could now pull off the Indiana Jones "idol switch" with the Qc7 (This is a really obscure Indiana Jones reference, and I could not be more pleased Matt decided to include it in his chess game annotations -Evan)
23. g5 {Threatening 24. Rh7!} Qd7!
Only move! If Shen saw this on move 16, my hat is off (It is customary for men to remove their hats as a sign of respect and/or admiration. This is not to be confused with glove removal, which indicates a departure from civility with the intention to win at all costs. -Evan)
24. Qg4 {24. Rh7 Qf5!} g6! 25. Qh4 h5 26. f6 Qd4+! 27. Re3 Bd6
Unfortunately, Ra2-d2 drops the R on e3. Black is effectively winning
28. Qg3 Bc7 29. Ra2 Qd7 30. Rae2 Qf5 31. Rf2 Qe6 32. Rfe2 Rd3 33. Qf2 ...
33. Ne4 Be4 34. Rd3 Bd3 35. Qd3 is significantly better for black, but this lost immediately
33. ... Rfd8 34. h3? Rxc3 35. Rxc3 Rd1+ 0-1

Here are the remaining games from the match. There is no commentary, only Informator like stone cold analysis. This can be improved on in a number of ways, including me learning how to negotiate certain chess software, upload chess diagrams, and become an overall better person.

[Event "USCL"]
[Date "2009.09.02"]
[White "Kacheishvili, Giorgi"]
[Black "Benjamin, Joel"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E32"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d6 5. Nf3 c5 6. dxc5 dxc5 7. g3 (7. a3 Bxc3+ 8. Qxc3 O-O 9. Bg5 Nbd7 10. e3) 7... Nc6 8. Bg2 e5 (8... O-O) 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 (10. Qxc3 e4 11. Ng5 Qe7 12. Be3 h6 13. Nh3) 10... h6 11. Rb1 O-O 12. Ba3 (12. Rb5 Qe7 13. Ba3 b6 14. Nd4 Nxd4 (14... exd4 15. Bxc6 Bh3 16. Bxa8 Bxf1 17. Bf3 d3 18. Qxd3 Rd8 19. Qc2 Bh3 20. Rb1) 15. cxd4 Bd7 16. Bxa8 Rxa8 17. dxc5 Bxb5 18. cxb5 e4 19. Qc3) 12... Qa5 13. Qc1 Ne4 14. Qe3 (14. Rb3) 14... Nxc3 (14... f5 15. Rb3 Be6 16. Nd2 Nxd2 17. Qxd2 e4) 15. Bxc5 Nxb1 16. Bxf8 Kxf8 17. Rxb1 Qxa2 18. Qd3 Be6 19. Rxb7 Kg8 20. h3 Rd8 21. Qe4 Qxc4 22. Qxc4 Bxc4 23. Rc7 Bb5 24. Nh4 Nd4 25. e3 Ne2+ 26. Kh2 a6 27. Be4 g6 (27... Bd3 28. Bxd3 Rxd3 29. Rc2 Nc3 30. Nf3 e4 31. Ne1 Rd1 32. Rxc3 Rxe1 33. Ra3 (33. g4 Ra1 34. Rc4 a5 35. Rxe4 a4 36. Re8+ Kh7 37. Ra8) 33... f5 34. Rxa6 Re2 35. Kg2) 28. Nf3 Rd7 29. Rc5 (29. Rxd7 Bxd7 30. Nxe5 Nc3 31. Bxg6 fxg6 32. Nxd7 a5 33. Kg2 a4 34. Kf3 a3 35. Nc5 a2 36. Nb3 Na4 37. e4 Nc5 38. Na1 Kf7 39. Ke3 Kf6 40. f3) 29... Re7 30. Nxe5 Nc3 31. Rxc3 Rxe5 32. Bd3 Kg7 1/2-1/2

[Event "USCL"]
[Date "2009.09.02"]
[White "Ippolito, Dean"]
[Black "Charbonneau, Pascal"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E68"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. d4 d6 6. O-O Nbd7 7. Nc3 e5 8. e4 a6 9. h3 Rb8 10. Re1 b5 11. cxb5 axb5 12. b4 c6 13. Be3 Re8 14. Qc2 exd4 15. Nxd4 Bb7 16. Rad1 Rc8 17. Nb3 Qc7 (17... c5 18. bxc5 b4 19. Nb5 Bxe4 20. Bxe4 Nxe4 21. Nxd6 Nxd6 22. Rxd6 Qc7 23. Red1 Ne5 24. Qe4) 18. f4 Bf8 19. a3 Ba8 20. Qf2 Rb8 21. Kh2 c5 22. bxc5 b4 (22... Nxc5 23. Nxc5 (23. Bxc5 dxc5 24. e5 Bxg2 25. Kxg2 Nd7) 23... dxc5 24. e5 Bxg2 25. Qxg2 b4 26. axb4 cxb4 27. Ne2 Qc4 28. Bg1 Nh5) 23. axb4 Rxb4 24. Nd2 Nxc5 25. Bxc5 Qxc5 26. Qxc5 dxc5 27. e5 Bxg2 28. Kxg2 Rb2 29. Re2 Nh5 30. Kf3 Reb8 (30... Rd8 31. Nde4 Rxd1 32. Nxd1 (32. Rxb2 Rd3+ 33. Ke2 c4) 32... Rxe2 33. Kxe2 Be7 34. Kd3 h6 35. Kc4 f5 36. exf6 (36. Nxc5 Nxg3) 36... Nxf6 37. Nxf6+ Bxf6 38. Kxc5 g5 39. f5 h5 40. g4 hxg4 41. hxg4 Kf7 42. Nf2 Bb2 43. Ne4 Bc1 44. Kd5 Be3 45. Nc5 Ke7 46. Ne6 Bd2 47. Ke4 Kf6 48. Kd3 Bc1) 31. Nd5 Ra8 (31... Ng7 32. Nf6+ Kh8 33. Nd7 Rd8 34. Nxf8 Rxf8 35. Ne4 Rb3+ 36. Kf2 Ne6) 32. g4 Ng7 33. Nf6+ Kh8 34. Nc4 Rxe2 35. Kxe2 Ne6 36. Ke3 Be7 37. Nd5 Bf8 38. Ndb6 Rd8 (38... Ra2 39. Nd6 Kg8 40. f5 Bh6+ 41. Kd3 Nf4+ 42. Kc4 Rc2+ 43. Kb5 Ne2 (43... Nxh3 44. Rh1 Nf2 45. Rxh6 Nxg4 46. Rh4 Nxe5 47. f6
h5 48. Re4 Rb2+ 49. Kxc5 Nd3+ 50. Kc6 g5)) 39. Rxd8 Nxd8 40. f5 h5 (40... gxf5 41. gxf5 Nc6 42. Ke4 Kg8 43. Nd7 Nd4 44. Nd6 Ne2 45. f6 Ng3+ 46. Kf4 Ne2+ 47. Kg4 h5+ 48. Kg5 (48. Kxh5 Bxd6 49. exd6 Ng3+ 50. Kg4 Ne4 51. Kf4 Nxd6 52. Nxc5 Kh7 53. Kg5)) 41. Nd7 Bh6+ (41... hxg4 42. hxg4 (42. Nxf8 gxh3 43. Kf2 gxf5) 42... Kg8 (42... gxf5 43. Nxf8 (43. gxf5 Kg8) 43... fxg4 44. Na5 c4 45. Nxc4 Nc6 46. Kf4 Nxe5 47. Nxe5 Kg7 48. Ned7 f5)) 42. Ke4 hxg4 43. hxg4 gxf5+ 44. gxf5 Nc6 45. Nd6 Kg8 46. Nxc5 Bc1 47. f6Nxe5 (47... Nd8 48. Kd5 Ba3) 48. Kxe5 Bb2+ 49. Kf5 Bxf6 50. Kxf6 Kh7 51. Nce4 Kh6 52. Ng3 Kh7 53. Ndf5 Kg8 54. Ne4 Kh7 55. Nc5 Kg8 56. Nd7 Kh7 57. Kg5 Kg8 58. Kh6 Kh8 59. Ne7 f6 60. Nf8 1-0

[Event "USCL"]
[Date "2009.09.02"]
[White "Shen, Arthur"]
[Black "Norowitz, Yaacov"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B16"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ gxf6 6. c3 Qd5 7. Qb3 Nd7 (7... Qe4+ 8. Ne2 Nd7 9. Be3 e6) 8. Nf3 Rg8 9. Bc4 Qh5 10. Be2 Qg6 11. Be3 Bh6 12. O-O-O Bxe3+ 13. fxe3 Qh6 14. c4 Rxg2 15. Rhe1 Qh5 16. e4 Qa5 (16... c5 17. d5 Qh6+ 18. Kb1 Qf4 19. Ka1 b6 20. Qa4 Bb7) 17. a3 e5 (17... Qb6 18. Qxb6 Nxb6 19. c5 Nd7 20. b4 Nf8) 18. Nh4 Rg8 19. dxe5 (19. Nf5 exd4 20. Qh3 Ne5 21. Qxh7 Rf8 22. Ng7+ Kd8 23. Rxd4+ Kc7 24. Red1 Bd7 25. Qh4 Rad8 26. Qxf6 Kc8) 19... Nxe5 (19... Qxe5 20. Nf5 Nc5 21. Qh3 Qf4+ 22. Kb1 h6 23. Bd3 Be6 24. Bc2) 20. Nf5 Qb6 21. Nd6+ Ke7 22. Qc3 Be6 23. c5 Qb3 24. Qxb3 (24. Qd2 Rg2 (24... b6 25. Nf5+ Bxf5 26. Qd6+ Ke8 27. exf5) 25. Rg1 Rg6 26. Rg3 Rxg3 27. hxg3 Qxg3 28. Kb1) 24... Bxb3 25. Rd4 a5 26. Nxb7 Rg2 27. Bd1 (27. h4) 27... Bc4 28. Re3 Rxh2 29. b3 Be6 30. Rd2 (30. Ra4 h5 31. Nxa5 Ra7 32. Nxc6+ Nxc6 33. Rxa7+ Nxa7 34. b4 Rh1 35. Kd2 h4 36. Re1 Rh2+ 37. Re2 Rxe2+ 38. Bxe2 h3 39. Ke3 h2 40. Bf3 Bd7 41. Kf2 Nb5) 30... Rxd2 31. Kxd2 a4 32. Nd6 axb3 33. Bxb3 Rxa3 34. Bc2 Nf3+ 35. Ke2 Nd4+ 0-1

Our next match is Tuesday, September 8, at 9:00 EST against the Seattle Sluggers. I have no knowledge of potential lineups. I am unaware of any preparation the Knights are intending. I know that there might be conflicts because certain Knight team members have really important fantasy football drafts. Based on that, here are my predictions for the match:

-If Matt Herman plays he will drink upwards of 15-17 cups of Marshall Chess Club homebrewed coffee.
-If Pascal Charbonneau plays, his sister Anne-Marie, who is in town visiting, will probably stop by and say hello.
-If Jay Bonin plays, he will make a sentimental reference to the Sword and Shield that was irresponsibly thrown away by club management.
-If Raven Sturt plays, it is because I decided that my fantasy football draft is more important. But for the sake of posterity, Raven is way better than me at chess.
-If John Fernandez shows up, he will be stressed out, but maintain a pleasant disposition nonetheless.

I hope the USCL will invent an award for the most "unusually measured" blog. Because whoever wins it will be showered with unusually measured praise by me, sustaining a season long neutral attitude and occasional silly jokes.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

More Photos, More Coffee, Some Merchandise

From top to bottom:
1. Pascal and Giorgi turning up the intensity
2. Yaacov enjoying his position, Matt looks confused after his opponent played d5
3. Chic and affordable Marshall Chess Club hats and shirts

Some comments from the Match

So we're off and running!

The Marshall Chess Club has generously offered their premises as the location for Knights matches every season. It is an historic chess institution, and they have coffee, which is phenomenal.

So around an hour and a half into the match nothing dramatic has happened. As far as I can tell everything looks ok on every board. In fact, it doesn't appear like any particular board is out of the opening phase yet.

On board 1, Giorgi and Joel entered a classical Nimzo-Indian where Joel voluntarily relenquished the bishop pair but succeeded in creating some queenside pawn weaknesses.

On board 2 Dean and Pascal arrived at a fianchetto KID. Dean seems to be employing a strategy where he will principally limit Black's counterplay, instead of initating any potential attacks of his own. This line is notoriously difficult to beat and Dean is as patient as they come, so hopefully Pascal can avoid any passivity.

On board 3, Matt looks totally comfortable, both position wise, and lounged on the plush crimson Marshall seat. The opening was a Kan Sicilian where white fianchettoed his light squared bishop to bring additional support to the d5 square. But if Victor can make his eventual d5 break work then he should certainly be no worse.

On board 4, Yaacov and Arthur are in a fairly unbalanced position. Yaacov employed the rare Nf6 variation in the mainline Caro-Kann, recapturing on f6 with the g pawn. Hopefully he can manufacture some kind of attack down that half-open file, or even try to organize something on the queenside.

To close to call at this point. More to come.

First Match Photos

From top to bottom:
1. GM Pascal Charbonneau and GM Giorgi Kacheishivili
2. NM Yaacov Norowitz and NM Matthew Herman
3. Pascal and Giorgi
4. Yaacov and Matt

Jay Bonin Blogs Live From the Match

go knights!!! Great to be here at the world famous Marshall Chess Club to cheer on my team! Im sorry to say I dont have my sword and shield anymore because it got mistakenly thrown out, but its there in spirit. were long overdue to win the championship this year because were resilient. Heck, we made the playoffs after going a half point out of our first five matches. Everyone wrote us off. Everyone but the NY Knights. We scratched and clawed and fought our way back. We showed heart. We never gave up. And here we are again. The roster may have changed ,but the spirit remains. The chemistry is there. We are a team. We made the playoffs every year, reaching the finals against San Francisco. Were due. This is our year. Let the naysayers say what they want! but were gonna prevail. Go knights!!!