Friday, September 4, 2009

New York Knights, Week 1 Recap

In case you haven't heard, the United States Chess League (USCL) kicked off it's opening week, with the New York Knights, playing on site at the Marshall Chess Club, against the New Jersey Knockouts.

Board One: GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) 1/2-1/2
Giorgi and Joel went into a Qc2 Nimzo, where white sac'd a pawn for pressure. Black quickly gave back the pawn to complete development, shortly won the pawn back with a slightly better position. But with time pressure looming, Giorgi and Joel agreed to a draw.

Board Two: IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) vs GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) 1-0
Dean had Pascal under tremendous pressure throughout this game, but it looked to those of us kibitzing on ICC that Black finally had the draw in sight. Pascal must have disagreed, as in time pressure he swapped his remaining bishop and knight for all white's pawns, leaving white with only two knights. One problem - Black had one pawn left and his king in the corner. Dean quickly trapped Pascal in a mating net.

Board Three: NM Matthew Herman (NY) vs NM Victor Shen (NJ) 0-1
According to NM Evan Rosenberg, Matthew looked "totally comfortable, both position wise, and lounged on the plush crimson Marshall seat". It seemed to me that Matt's position was for choice in the Kan Sicilian, but when I looked at the game 45 minutes later, the black pieces were swarming all over the place. Victor wrapped things up with a nice exchange sac, forcing resignation.

Board Four: NM Arthur Shen (NJ) vs NM Yaacov Norowitz (NY) 0-1
This was a rating mismatch, as Yaacov is currently rated 2378, while Arthur lists at 2112. Yaacov has been on a rampage lately, and his rating increase beat the USCL cut-off, giving the Knights a big edge on the lower boards. The game developed into a Nf6 Caro-Kan, where black recaptured on f6 with a pawn. Black's pawn structure looks terrible, he's completely behind in development, so what happens? Black wins, of course. Times like this I wonder if I'll ever understand chess.

Alas, a 2½ - 1½ loss for our Knights. Week two's opponents are the Seattle Sluggers, with a late 9pm start. Feel free to drop by the Marshall, or if you can't, watch online via the Internet Chess Club.

And of course, visit the Knight's blog at, and the USCL website at

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