Here is my contribution -- a game with opposite side castling where White neglects to attack on the queenside, so Black has all the fun on the kingside.
Monday, December 31, 2007
Here is my contribution -- a game with opposite side castling where White neglects to attack on the queenside, so Black has all the fun on the kingside.
Friday, December 28, 2007
# of GOTY Candidate Games Won
4 - San Francisco
3 - Miami, New York
2 - Boston, Carolina, Dallas, New Jersey
1 - Philadelphia, Tennessee
0 - Baltimore, Queens, Seattle
# of GOTY Candidate Games Lost
3 - Boston, Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle
2 - New York
1 - Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, New Jersey, Queens, Tennessee
0 - Philadelphia
Of the 40 participants from the 20 games, 22 (or 55%) come from just four teams -- San Francisco, Boston, Dallas and New York. I wonder what the bias-conspiratorialists will make of that?
I must say that I was shocked when this game was picked as a Wildcard. Why? Well because I frankly didn’t think it deserved to be in the GOTY contest. And if it doesn’t deserve to be in the contest then why should it do well in it? Simple answer: it shouldn’t.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
This is our Boylston Chess Club annual party and fund raiser.
- If you will be up late celebrating on New Year's eve, not to worry - first round is 11:45.
- If you don't feel like rated games in the rated section, play in the unrated section.
- If game/30 is too quick for your taste, this year again the time control is changed to G/45.
- If you are not a member of the BCF, no problem -- you do not need to be a BCF member to enjoy the tournament and food and fellowship, though it is a traditional time for many to join or rejoin.
Adapted from Bob Oresick's e-mail
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
I’d provide a link to it, but Hanon Russell doesn’t appear to believe in permalinks, so any link I’d provide here would break in short order, hence there’s no point in doing so...While it is in fact a bit challenging to find the permanent links on The Chess Cafe site, they are there. Look in the archives section (there's a link at the bottom right on the front page). For example, a permalink to the Dvoretsky article in question can be found here.
Monday, December 24, 2007
It just got to a point where my enthusiasm was shot to hell and I just couldn't be bothered with it anymore....Read his complete post, "It's not cricket...".
I know some people can take a positive from their losses, but for me, well it just pisses me off. There's a dozen other pastimes out there I can excel in in only a few months of practise and I'd rather spend my rather limited time, patience and enjoyment on those than constantly bang my head against a brick wall that is the Australian chess scene.
Do I love Chess? my oath. On design and principle it's strategic gaming at the absolute pinnacle with a rich and fascinating history.
But if you want to learn to play to win, you better start before you grow pubic hair because it's one hell of a bloody competitive game and for a late bloomer like me, I'm way way too late to the game to hold my own against the top dogs.
So with regret and sadness I am withdrawing from the Knights. I was foolish to think that it would help me get a leg up on the competition but really, I was just fooling myself.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Sunday, December 23: Sunday Scholastic
4SS; Game/30. Sections: Under 8 years old, Under 11 years old, Under 14 years old; Entry fee: $15; $10 for BCF members; join at the tournament and get the member rate. Prizes: Trophies to top two in each section. Registration: 9:00-9:50 AM; Rounds: 10:00 – 11:00 – 12:30 – 1:30
Boylston School Break Chess Camp Series
December recess: 26th , 27th, 28th 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day
This chess camp is for young chess players who already have a complete understanding of the rules of chess and desire to develop their abilities. With a combination of lecture, question & answer, and hands-on techniques, the instructors will cover:
The head instructor is Chess Master Jacob Rasin, an experienced coach who has been the coach of many of New England's best young players and has inspired them to many championships.
Who can join?: School-age children, K to 12, interested in getting better at chess from motivated beginner to intermediate.
How much does it cost?: Each camp is $60 for Boylston Chess Club members.
Reserve your place in the December Break camp by contacting Paul MacIntyre, President of the Boylston Chess Foundation at (781) 322-7936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
While I don't wish to diminish Bonin's effort, it is worth recalling that much of the game transpired after the Blitz had already clinched the match victory and Shmelov was forced to play out the ending with the rest of team and its fans celebrating around him. In addition, the original Rook and 3 pawns vs. Knight and Bishop ending was probably better for Denys. Kudos to Jay for outplaying his opponent, but hardly Game of the Year material in this observer's opinion.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
In keeping with its name, Chess Park will feature 10 tables with chessboard designs. There will also be a giant chessboard for playing giant chess, explained Alan Cajacob, the DeLand architect who designed the park.Players will need to be careful not to wager on games, make illegal moves or knock the pieces off the board when they are about to lose, since all the action will be monitored.
"I understand that some of these giant chess parks have tournaments going on till the wee hours of the morning," Cajacob said.
There will be super-size game pieces — pawns, knights, rooks, bishops, queens and kings — that players may move about on the park's checkerboard surface....
...Chess Park will be equipped to record any lawlessness that occurs within its walls.
"I'll have security cameras in it," [Volusia County director of facilities services, Fred] Schwenck said.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Chad has made several articles on chess openings available to readers.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Hat Tip: Gila Chess Patzer
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Where: The Boylston Chess Club
Admission: For BCC Members: Lecture - Free, Simul - $5; Non-members: Lecture - $5, Simul - $10
Other: The simultaneous exhibition will take place if 10 people or more are interested
Monday, December 10, 2007
Board 1: Larry Christiansen - 3rd Team
Board 2: Jorge Sammour-Hasbun - 1st Team
Board 3: Denys Shmelov - 2nd Team
Board 4: Chris Williams - 2nd Team
In addition, Sammour-Hasbun received Rookie of the Year honors.
By Harold Dondis and Patrick Wolff
Globe CorrespondentsThe US Chess League came to a climax in one event-filled evening that lasted until 2:30 in the morning. Dallas Destiny defeated the Boston Blitz in what must be called a most surprising finish. The two teams were matched in the first play-off as follows:
First board (Blitz v. Destiny): Larry Christiansen v. Drasko Boskovic; second board: Jorge Sammour-Hasbun v. Davorin Kuljasevic; third board: Denys Shmelov v. Jacek Stopa; fourth board: Chris Williams v. Bayaraa Zorigt. Christiansen, as Black, drew early when his opponent elected to play a repetition of moves. Sammour-Hasbun came up with a victory and Denys Shmelov drew against Stopa. Williams had the better position against Zorigt, but she gained material during time pressure, and the match was tied.
So the two teams went into the accelerated play-offs. The rules were that these would start with Board 4 and move to the top by elimination. A draw eliminated both players until only one player was left on a team. Boston Blitz seemed impregnable, with ICC champion Sammour-Hasbun and former US champion Christiansen on first board. Williams started off by avenging his defeat by Zorigt, but was eliminated by Stopa, who turned out to be a spoiler in the match. Stopa defeated Shmelov and then drew with Sammour-Hasbun, thus striking three Blitz players off the list. Christiansen was left alone to face Dallas' first two boards. Christiansen drew with Kuljasevic and then defeated him. He then moved on to Boskovic, but erred in the end game and Boskovic won. Thus did Dallas end Boston's long list of victories and became US Chess League champion. A remarkable win....
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Over the years, as his playing ability deteriorated he inevitably lost many more games than he won. Yet, he never complained about his results. Instead, he set up the pieces for the next game and let loose with his swashbuckling, romantic style. Greg never saw a pawn that he didn't think was worth sacrificing. His "initiative at all costs" approach often threw a scare into higher rated opponents and sometimes netted him an upset win.
The last time I played Greg was during the 2006 Hauptturnier. This was the period of time when players would take the short ride over to his house in Somerville every week for their games. He sat up in bed and we played on a demonstration board hung on the wall. When the game was finished and I was heading out, his mother stopped me to offer her thanks to all the players who came by each week to play Greg. "You know" she said, "Greg really looks forward to his chess games each week. In fact, he just seems better on the days he knows he's going get to play." Greg loved chess and Caissa loved him in return.
God rest your soul, chess friend.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Second place went to David Glickman with 8.5, a game and a half behind the winner. Eddie Chisam secured third with 8.
Here are the final standings:
10.0 - Carey Theil (2031)
8.5 - David Glickman (2027)
8.0 - Eddie Chisam (2063)
7.0 - Ken Newman (1909)
6.0 - Joshua Haunstrup (1898)
6.0 - Ruben Portugues (1823)
5.5 - Alex Slive (2000)
5.0 - Jon Lee (1724)
4.0 - Walter Driscoll (1800)
4.0 - Frank Frazier (1600)
2.0 - Robert Oresick (1472)
0.0 - Ted Gorczyca (1380)
Click here for the final crosstable.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
The storyline is fairly well known by now. The Blitz appeared well on their way to defeat after GM Christiansen could achieve no more than a draw by repetition against Boskovic on Board 1 and things looked dire for the good guys on all three remaining boards. Sammour-Hasbun was fighting an uphill battle after Kuljasevic sacrificed a piece in a French Tarrasch; Shmelov's promising position had given away to a strong attack by Stopa against his King; and William's opponent, Zorigt, had secured an advanced passed pawn and nice piece outposts for the exchange.
However, it wasn't that long before the tables had turned completely. First, Shmelov managed to find a nifty resource to secure a drawn position. Next, Jorge finally coordinated his pieces, broke through and traded off to a won two pieces vs. a rook ending. Suddenly, the Blitz were just a draw away from the title and fortuitously, Williams' game had suddenly become eminently drawable. Yet it was not to be, as Chris blundered away his chances and allowed the Destiny to the tie match.
So, off they went to blitz tiebreaks. While there are certainly many paragraphs that could be written about the tiebreak games, in my view the USCL tiebreak system makes only the top board matchup relevant, by design....
I suppose an aside to explain this view is warranted, since I'm sure some will disagree with my supposition. While it is theoretically possible that a team's 1st board might be defeated by the 2nd or 3rd board of the other team, I suspect the actually probability of this is fairly low. Therefore, more often than not, it doesn't really matter what happens in the preliminary blitz games because eventually the 1st boards will face each other for the title. So far, this is how things have played out the two times tiebreaks have been used. It's only a guess on my part, but I'd bet that over the next several decades, this will be the case more than 9 out of ten times (we should only be lucky enough that the USCL shows enough longevity to generate such a large sample).....In the game that mattered, GM Christiansen eschewed a draw and played on seeking winning chances. Instead, it was Larry who made the critical blunder and a minute later Boston's season was over. Some might claim that Christiansen's loss was attributable to the fact that he had to play three blitz games as opposed to his opponent's one. I find this highly unlikely. Larry may very well have been tired, but only because it was 2:00 am, not because he had to play an extra 30 minutes of chess.
First, why did Williams throw away his rook with 50.Rxf7? It doesn't take a master to see that there was no winning follow up to this sacrifice and Chris is more than strong enough to have realized this. Instead, I think he thought he had found a quick way to draw the game, only to realize after the sacrifice that his key move wasn't possible.
Second, I've been pondering why Larry decided to risk it all in a totally equal position in the last blitz game when he could have simply taken a draw and tried for more in the next one. There are certainly plausible explanations like it was late and he just wanted to get things over with, or he thought he could outplay Boskovic in the ending, or he didn't think his chances of winning with Black in the next game were particularly high. While one or more of these may very well have been a factor, I think an off-board occurrence may well have influenced the final outcome the match.
All speculation as I said before, but perhaps the players in question will shed some light on what was actually going through their minds.
BCC Weblog provides independent coverage of the United States Chess League. It is not affiliated with the USCL or the Boston Blitz.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
For many years Greg had played chess at the BCC, been a member, and for some years, served as a board member.
After he became less and less mobile, he was unable to come to the club; we gave him a little token of appreciation which he kept on a bookcase.
His flag has dropped and we all miss him.
Rest in peace.
November 27, 2007
Born in Newton, NJ, he was raised in Rochester, New York and lived in Somerville for the past 10 years. Gregory was a Realtor, CRS and GRI with Charles Associates in Cambridge for 10 years. Formerly he was Chemist with the Seamen Company in Boston. Gregory attended Rochester Schools, Fordham University and the University of Maryland where he received his Masters Degree. He also was an avid reader and for many years was a member of the Boylston Chess Club in Somerville.
Cherished son of Angela M. (Dovi) Hager of Rochester, NY and Somerville and the late Robert E. Hager. Loving nephew of Anna Louise Huguenin of New York City. His faithful dog Zeppo. Also survived by many many loving friends. A funeral service will be conducted in the Dello Russo Funeral Home, 306 Main St., MEDFORD Saturday at 4 pm. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend, and may visit with the family from 3 thru 4. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be sent in Gregory's name to the VNA of Middlesex East and Visiting Nurse Hospice, 607 North Ave., Suite 17, Wakefield, MA 01880.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Dallas 3rd board IM Jacek Stopa on Ilya Krasik:
I have never heard of that guy. Frankly, I don’t really care about random people expressing their ridiculous opinions. I’m ok with whatever leaves that gentleman’s mouth.Dallas 1st board IM Draks Boskovic on Ilya Krasik:
Well, I don’t really know who this person is (Ilya Krasik).... If four players like Ilya Krasik played against Dallas, they wouldn’t score more than ½ point. hahaha.After slights like these, we can expect to see an extra special effort from Boston's head cheerleader tonight. No doubt he's warming up the Championship pom-poms as we speak.
Boston Blitz 1st board GM Larry Christiansen:
TWIC, Chesslab. Chessgames.com, ICC, Chessbase and BoylstonCC I get recent games, news, and local color. Chesslab is easy to use, TWIC has great timely info, Chessbase has it all and the Boylston blog keeps me informed on local issues. ICC is simply the best site out there.USCL Commissioner IM Greg Shahade:
Hmmm, uschessleague.com, uschess.org (at least before they did the terrible makeover), lizzyknowsall.blogspot.com, boston-blitz.com, boylstonblog.blogspot.com (probably got the url wrong, but you know what I mean)Let's hope Greg has us bookmarked since that url isn't going to help him find his way here.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Sam Sloan has posted several snippets of audio from their recent meeting on November 3rd in Crossville, Tennessee. Of course, everyone knows that Sam is pursuing a political (and legal) agenda against the Federation, so there is no need to accept his interpretations of the events on the tapes. However, since you can listen to the raw material, feel free to generate your own opinions. By the way, in a couple of the clips you can hear the voice of blogger Jack Lemoine.
For those who are closely following Sloan's lawsuit against Polgar/Truong et. al., you might also be interested in this additional piece of audio of USCF Board Members being served summonses in the case.
Monday, November 26, 2007
In fact, Bhat’s loss was a triumph of good sportsmanship. As shown in my previous post, in league competition Bhat plays his moves on a regular board and with a regular clock, then enters them into the computer. (At least until the time pressure gets too intense, then he switches to all-computer mode.) Against Lugo, Bhat played 23. Bd5 and then realized it was a bad move. However, according to Donaldson, because he had already made the move on his board "he felt honor bound to make that move on the computer."I'm not sure what to make of this. The USCL rules clearly state that entering a different move into the computer than was made on the board is illegal:
A player may also play with a physical board at their side, as some players can concentrate better on an actual chessboard as opposed to playing directly at a computer. In this case the players would first make their move on the chessboard and then input it into the computer. The player is FORCED to make whatever move they made on the chessboard on the computer as well. If a TD sees that they have done otherwise then the player will be penalized.Were this rule not in place, players would be able to use their physical boards to analyze the position prior to selecting a move to play on the computer -- a clear violation of the principles of OTB play.
So, when Mackenzie/Donaldson say that Bhat showed "good sportsmanship," what could they possibly mean? ...that Vinay considered the option of cheating, but chose not to because "he felt honor bound?" ...that the TD wasn't looking, so Vinay realized he could get away with playing another move, but didn't do so since he realized it would be wrong? Could they possibly mean to disparage Bhat's reputation in this way?
Isn't it more likely that Vinay played the inferior move on the computer because that's what the rules required and he never considered anything other than following them? That's what I'd like to believe. I'd also like to believe that playing by the rules is an expectation of all players in the league. Therefore, I don't think we need to be handing out good sportsmanship medals and badges of honor to those who do so.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Who will the Blitz be playing? The Dallas Destiny
When will it be? Wednesday, November 28th at 8:00 pm EST
How much will Blitz management be charging for those Harvard Astrophysics Center luxury box seats? We still haven't heard, but I bet there will be tickets available "for sale" at the door.
GM Larry Christiansen: 2663 vs. IM Drasko Boskovic: 2532
SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun: 2558 vs. IM Davorin Kuljasevic: 2489
NM Denys Shmelov: 2251 vs. IM Jacek Stopa: 2414
NM Chris Williams: 2175 vs. WFM Bayaraa Zorigt: 2196
Although the average ratings of the two teams are close (Boston - 2412, Dallas - 2408), the Blitz probably have an edge on the top two boards, and possibly on Board 4 as well. In addition, with a GM up top, you have to like Boston's chances if the match goes to tiebreaks.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
In a recent post, Chess Tyro writes that the most recent addition of the Carnival ... "left a sour taste in my mouth and make[s] me question, perhaps unfairly, whether the coordinator’s original intention was really as noble as he made it out to be..."
He lists three major complaints:
- "...an internet money-making scheme that has a big fat zero relation to chess..." was included
- "...no editorial work [was] done..."
- The Carnival was "...posted in a newly created discussion forum known to be owned by a currently controversial chess personality that the coordinator seems to be closely associated with..."
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
A former Lowell (Mass.) High School math teacher and chess coach was sentenced Monday to 20-40 years in prison for repeatedly raping a young girl....
Prosecutors had urged an even stiffer sentence of 30-60 years in prison. Assistant County Attorney Patricia LaFrance recognized Wamala won't become eligible for parole unless he admits his guilt as part of the prison's sex-offender treatment program and thus may serve the maximum term, effectively a life sentence.
"If he chooses to step up and admit what he did, he has the chance to get out of prison before he dies," she said. "It's on him . . . the ball is in his hands."The victim, now 16, said though her life has improved since his arrest, Wamala had "ruined my life in a lot of different ways."
"There's nothing he can do to erase the past six years of my life. The damage is done," she said....
Wamala spoke at length before he was sentenced. Wamala said he agrees that a person found guilty of sexual assaults should be removed from society, but he said juries sometimes make mistakes and did so in his case.
Wamala said the girl had lied many times during her life, usually to cover up when she got into trouble. He spoke at length about instances when he said she lied about hitting another child in sixth grade, using a cell phone in school and sharing test answers with friends. Repeatedly, he remarked, "everything I have said can be verified by someone other than me."
"You have fooled people," he told her. "You know how to make yourself a victim, to appear as a victim."....
Monday, November 19, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Others have pointed out Charbonneau's error and an improvement that he didn't find until the game was long over (check out posts by Adamson, Bournival and Hoffman). Instead, I'd like to look at something different -- the position after Pascal's 15th move.
Answer: When he doesn't take the team or the league seriously.
What other conclusion can be drawn from these remarkable comments that GM Nakamura made on the ICC after he drew his game with GM Christiansen:
"This isn't a real tournament"Now to be fair to Hikaru, even if he is being paid to play in the USCL (and I don't know that he is), it is a small pittance at best. As a world class player, it pales in comparison to the potential rewards of winning a critical game at a major international tournament or a big money swiss. Therefore, from a perspective of self interest, you can't really blame him for his attitude.
"I'm not going to waste any of my d4 prep on this"
However, this raises serious concerns for the growth and development of the league. Surely the popularity of the USCL depends on recruiting the best players to play. Yet, how can fans and, more importantly, sponsors be expected to take the league seriously if the top players don't?
Braden Bournival rightly points out that William's technique in closing out the game was less than precise. While watching on the ICC, I don't know how many times I asked myself, "Why doesn't he just take the pawn on d6?" or ...
Of course, Chris never put the full point at risk and did eventually close out the game and the match for Boston.
Who will they be playing? We're not sure yet.
When will it be? According to a note on the USCL homepage, there seems to be some uncertainty about that too.
Most importantly, how much will Blitz management be charging for those Harvard Astrophysics Center luxury box seats?
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
[Dave finished off Frank with 25...Re3!! The game concluded 26.d3 (if 26.dxe3 then 26...Rd1 wins) Rexd3 27.Ba5 (27.Bxd3 Rxd3 and Black still can't be stopped from playing Rd1) Rd1 28.Rxd1 cxd1=Q 0-1]
By the way, the final crosstable for the Championship is now available in the news section of the BCC website.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
By Harold Dondis and Patrick Wolff
Globe CorrespondentsChess has its heroes but they cannot parade through the streets of Boston to the acclaim of thousands. The Boston Blitz chess team does not claim to be a nation, like the Red Sox, but it has clinched the Eastern Division of the US Chess League. The Blitz does not have a Jonathan Papelbon to whiff ninth-inning batters and do a folk dance before a full stadium of fans. It doesn't have a Jacoby Gazellesbury to steal a base and win free Tacos for every person in the nation. However, it has its heroes who toil at the chessboard and come up with victories in live games on the Internet in front of a worldwide audience. Larry Christiansen and [Jorge] Sammour-Hasbun have nearly always held Board 1, facing the likes of Hikaru Nakamura and Alex Stripunsky, with no losses and with plus scores. Eugene Perelshteyn and Bill Kelleher have generally bulwarked second place, Denys Shmelov is Boston's third-place guy with no losses and a plus score. Fourth Board has been defended by Ilya Krasik and Chris Williams (who has a plus score).
Recall that the Boston Blitz won its Division last year but succumbed to New York in the playoffs. This year, New York has again qualified as a wild card. Jay Bonin came through with a critical win against the New Jersey Knockouts in the last round.
The schedule appears to be that the Philadelphia Inventors will play the New York Knights in Round 1. The winner will then face the Boston Blitz. In the West, the San Francisco Mechanics will play the Miami Sharks for the right to play the Dallas Destiny team. The winners of the two divisions will then face each other for the finals. [DG] in his Boylston Chess Blog has used a computer calculation to predict the winners, and he has [the] Boston Blitz on top, but like the computer printouts for global warming, we must wait and see actual results....
Zenyuk on Williams:
I think Chris is very dangerous opponent. Looking at his games I see great determination from his side, he is an aggressive player, calculates very well, he is not afraid to go into sharp, double-edged play where the price of tempo can cost you a point. The first game we played was very sharp, at some point I thought I lost the thread of a game, after 21.Nd6 I thought I was just worse, my attack didn’t work and my king was bad. Then, after 21…Nb6 I found nice rook maneuver, of course giving up his bishop was a mistake but we were both in time pressure, so it was hard to find the best moves. I hope for a hard fought game on Wednesday! And btw the song about Chris is great!Williams on Zenyuk:
Well in our last game I really just messed up at the end, I didn’t play my fav move of all time quite possibly, I had my mouse about to release it instead I like just gave her a bishop and was lost the move was Qe6 sacking the queen for 2 pieces some pawns and tremendous dirty potential specially with her time situation. Iryna is a very strong player shes original, solid, and methodical, my game with her will be a hard one im sure I just hope I will be able to keep a consistent mind set throught the entire game.Apparently, punctuation is a lost art.
Monday, November 12, 2007
This year a new prize, the Allan Ong prize for top undergraduate student, was added to honor Allan, who was the first president of the modern BU Chess Club and started the BU Open. After 14 years of living in
Toronto and Boston, Allan returned to his native Manila in the . Philippines
The Open Section was won by Harvard freshman FM Teddy Coleman with 4 of 4 points.
Steven Abrahams, a BU freshman, won the U1900 section with 4 also. Teddy and Steven both tied for the 1st annual Allan Ong prize for the top undergraduate college student.
Travis Dover, a BU alum and former BU Chess Club president, won the U1600 section, also with a perfect 4.
Stuart Finney of the
You can view crosstables and photos of the BU Open at
1st FM Teddy Coleman (4.0; $300)
2nd NM Christopher Williams (3.0; $40) & NM Lawyer Times (3.0; $40)
Top U2200 WIM Esther Epstein (3.0; $40) & Dr. Aung Kyaw Lwin (3.0; $40)
1st Steven Abrahams (4.0; $75)
2nd Kapil Chandran (3.5; $40)
1st Travis Dover (4.0; $75)
2nd Soheil Saadat (3.5; $20) & Corey Tolbert (3.5; $20)
Top U1200 Akshay Saini (3.0; $40)
FM Teddy Coleman (4.0) & Steven Abrahams (4.0)
Corey Tolbert (3.5; $50)
(Corey won the prize money because Teddy and Steven qualified for more lucrative prizes.)
Artem Sharamet, Soheil Saadat, Corey Tolbert, Eric Lawless, Kent Leung
(Only the top three scores were counted.)
Jesse Nicholas, Lior Rozhansky
James Lung, Christine Lung, Timothy Lung
Friday, November 09, 2007
In case you missed last year's playoffs, the Knights defeated the heavily favored Blitz in the same round and dashed Boston's Championship hopes. In case you missed the last three years, New York's probable Board 2 is a Blitz killer, no matter who from Boston he faces across the board. One has to imagine that Blitz fans were looking forward to any opponent other than the Knights.
The New York Knights are the best team in the US Chess League! The Knights are going to obliterate Boston! Start making plans for the Championship parade now!
Let's start at the top -- GM Nakamura, for the last month, he has only been the best chess player on the planet. Then on Board 2, it's the unbeatable Charbonnator. Boston could have both their GMs consult during the game and still they wouldn't be able to find a way to defeat him. We probably won't even see Irina Krush at the boards on Wednesday; but, if we do, remember that she was the key to last year's victory.
So New York fans, bask in the glory and await the inevitable destruction of the Blitz. Stop reading now and go pack your bags for a trip to the finals.
Unlike last year's playoff match, there isn't a whole lot of intrigue about what lineups the teams are going to use. It's hard to imagine that Krush will put herself in and have to exclude either Nakamura or Charbonneau. And while Arnold could substitute for Bonin and Herman for Zenyuk, I just don't see it happening. Therefore, unless there are availability issues, the New York lineup will likely be:
Board 1 - GM Nakamura
Board 2 - GM Charbonneau
Board 3 - IM Bonin
Board 4 - WFM Zenyuk
For Boston, the only possible question is Board 2 -- go with the two GMs or use Sammour-Hasbun instead. I think the numbers make this an easy decision. Jorge has arguably been the best relative performer on the team all season, while Eugene has been the worst. Jorge hasn't lost a game, while Eugene hasn't won one. GM Perelshteyn has had two shots at Charbonneau over the past two years and he is 0-2. SM Sammour-Hasbun did face one GM this season (Nakamura!) and came away with half a point.
As for the other boards, I see no reasonable argument for going away from the ones that got you this far. Therefore, barring availability constraints, I expect Boston to lineup like this:
Board 1 - GM Christiansen
Board 2 - SM Sammour-Hasbun
Board 3 - NM Shmelov
Board 4 - NM Williams
Board 1 - It's hard not to give an edge to Nakamura, but LarryC has been unbeatable this season against a constant stream of GM competition, including Hikaru. I think Christiansen has a reasonable chance to hold the balance with Black.
Board 2 - Pascal gets the edge against any Blitz player until one of them beats him. However, don't be completely surprised if Jorge ends up being the hero of the night for Boston.
Board 3 - Shmelov has a psychological advantage going into this game. He and Bonin have faced each other twice this season, and Denys came away with a draw and a win.
Board 4 - Zenyuk defeated Williams with White earlier in the season, but in this game she'll have Black. This time you can expect Chris to play a move like 24...Qe6!?. Call me a homer if you wish, but I consider this game to be a push. However, a draw seems the least likely result. One of the two will probably score a (potentially decisive) full point.
In my view, this match revolves around Board 4. If Williams can score a full point, then the Blitz have several reasonably straightforward paths to 2 points even if Jorge fails to breakthrough against Charbonneau. Shmelov could defeat Bonin or he and Larry could both draw. However, if Zenyuk wins then Jorge is going to have to do something on Board 2. The most likely winning scenario for Boston in that case would be two draws up top and a win for Denys on Board 3 -- certainly a trickier proposition overall.
Of course, I suppose Iryna and Chris could have the last laugh by agreeing to a draw on move 10. Otherwise, fans should focus on Board 4 Wednesday night as it is likely to be the pivotal game of the match.
By the way, if you run into any Knights players or fans before then, don't tell them this ... I'm looking for the Blitz to advance 2-2. Shhhhh!!
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