NJ Knockouts vs. Queens Pioneers Rematch

By Michael Goeller

The New Jersey Knockouts, who had been undefeated through three rounds of US Chess League action, lost a return match in Round Four of US Chess League action to the Queens Pioneers after their first two boards, GM Joel Benjamin and IM Zlotnikov, went down to defeat. I have annotated the games and posted them online. In previous matches, New Jersey had been holding their own on the strength of their top boards and the occasional luck of their bottom boards. But in last night's match, the roles were reversed, with the bottom two boards, young masters Molner and Ju, coming through with 1.5 out of 2 points while the top two were blanked.

The heartbreaking part of the night was that both Benjamin and Zlotnikov had chances to at least hold their games. Benjamin probably could have equalized against Stripunsky's early novelty in the Taimanov Sicilian by playing 11...d5! but instead went pawn hunting with 11...Nxd4 12.Bxd4 e5 13.Be3 Nxe4?! creating a whole series of problems for himself that led to his King being stuck in the center of the board and subject to attack. Stripunsky, out for revenge after losing to Benjamin in their previous match, was relentless in his pursuit of Black's King and finally capitalized on its situation with a nice concluding combination (see diagram above). Zlotnikov, meanwhile, chose neither his favorite English with 1.c4 nor my recommended 1.e4 (in order to play against Vovsha's favorite Scandinavian Defense) but instead 1.Nf3, which he has favored of late, leading to a rather stale-looking Reti system where Black had greater control of space. However, Zlotnikov secured excellent chances in the middlegame and missed at least one chance for a very clear advantage. But he missed his chances, let his initiative slip away, lost a pawn to a nice Knight fork, and finally blundered the Exchange to prompt his resignation. If we had drawn either of these games, we would have at least maintained our unbeaten record.

The bright spot of the night was last year's New Jersey State Champion and Cadet Champion Evan Ju's performance on bottom board, where he redeemed his lucky draw against Queens in the first round with a very careful and masterly performance. Ju was able to repel his younger opponent's unsound attack and gain a winning material advantage for the endgame, which he promptly converted to a win by a nice concluding combination (see diagram above).

Board One

Stripunsky-QNS (2686) - Benjamin-NJ (2651) [B48]

ICC 90 30 u/Internet Chess Club 2007


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Bd3 a6 8. O-O b5 9. Qe2 Bb7 10. a4!?

a) 10. Kh1 h5 11. f4 Ng4 12. Bg1 Nxd4 13. Bxd4 Bc5 14. Bxc5 Qxc5 15. e5 Qe3 16. Qxe3 Nxe3 17. Rf2 f5 18. Re2 Nd5 19. Nxd5 Bxd5 20. h4 Ke7 21. a4 Bc6 22. c3 Rhb8 23. axb5 axb5 24. Rxa8 Rxa8 25. b4 Ra1+ 26. Kh2 Rc1 27. Rc2 Re1 28. Rd2 1/2-1/2 Felgaer,R-El Debs,F/Sao Paulo BRA 2006

b) 10. f4 h5!? 11. Nf3 Ng4 12. Bd2?! Bc5+ 13. Kh1 Qb6 14. Nd1 b4 15. Be1 a5 16. h3 Nd4 17. Nxd4 Bxd4 18. Bh4! Nf6 19. a3 Bc5 20. axb4 axb4 21. Rxa8+ Bxa8 22. e5 Nd5 23. f5! Ne7 24. fxe6 (24. f6! gxf6 25. Rxf6!) 24... dxe6 25. Nf2 Nf5 26. Bxf5 exf5 27. Nd3 Be4 28. Rd1 O-O 29. Qxh5 Bd4 30. Be7 Rc8! 31. Qe2 Qb5 32. Bxb4 Bxb2 33. Bd6 Qc4 34. Rb1 Bd4 35. Rb8 Rxb8 36. Bxb8 Qb5 37. Bd6 Qb1+ 38. Kh2 Qg1+ 39. Kg3 g5 40. Be7 f4+ 41. Kg4 Bxg2 42. Kf5 f3 43. Qd2 Bxh3+ 44. Kf6 f2 45. Nxf2 Qxf2+ 46. Qxf2 Bxf2 47. Kxg5 Be6 48. Bd6 Bg3 49. c3 Kg7 50. Kh5 Bf4 51. Bc7 Kf8 52. Bd6+ Ke8 0-1 De Dovitiis,A-Sunye Neto,J/Buenos Aires ARG 2005

 

10... b4 11. Na2! Nxd4

Black sets off down the wrong path. Best was 11... d5! 12. Nxc6 Qxc6!? 13. e5 (13. exd5 Qxd5=) 13... d4 14. f3 dxe3 15. exf6 gxf6

 

12. Bxd4 e5 13. Be3 Nxe4

Logical but dangerous as all hell.

 

14. Rfe1!? Be7

14... d5 15. f3

 

15. Bxe4 Bxe4 16. Bg5! d5 17. Bxe7 Kxe7?

GMs often choose a bad move like this one because the alternative leads to a bad ending with only desperate drawing chances. That might have been the case for Benjamin. 17... Qxe7 18. f3 b3 19. fxe4 bxa2 20. exd5 Qc5+ 21. Kh1 Qxd5 22. Qxe5+ Qxe5 23. Rxe5+ Kd7 24. Rxa2 Rhe8! 25. Rxe8 Rxe8 26. Kg1 Re1+ 27. Kf2 Rb1 presents White with some technical difficulties but he has excellent winning chances.

 

18. Nxb4 Qd6 19. Na2

19. c3

 

19... f6 20. c4

20. Nc3!

 

20... Rhc8 21. Rad1 Qc5 22. Nc3 Qxc4










23. Qg4! Kf8 24. Nxe4 dxe4 25. Rd7! Qg8 26. Qg3

26. Red1

 

26... e3! 27. fxe3 Rd8 28. Red1! Ke8 29. Qg4 g6 30. a5 Qb3 31. R1d3 Qa2

31... f5 32. Re7+!! Kxe7 33. Qh4+ Ke6 34. Rxb3

 

32. b3

32. Rxh7!

 

32... Qb1+ 33. Kf2 Qc2+ 34. Kg3 Qc6










35. Rxh7! f5 36. Qg5 f4+ 37. Kh4

Black resigns, and with that New Jersey lost the match.

1-0

Board Two

Zlotnikov-NJ (2408) - Vovsha-QNS (2495) [A26]

ICC 90 30 u/Internet Chess Club 2007


1. Nf3 d6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. O-O Nf6 5. c4 O-O 6. Nc3 c6 7. d3 Na6 8. Rb1 d5 9. b3 Bf5 10. Bb2 Rc8

White's Larsen - English hybrid does not look too appealing.

11. cxd5 cxd5 12. Nb5 Bd7 13. Nbd4 Qc7 14. Qd2 e5

You have to like Black a little after this move.

15. Rfc1 Qb8 16. Nc2 d4 17. Na3 Nc5 18. Rc2 b6 19. Rbc1 Ng4 20. h3 Bh6 21. Qe1 Nf6

21... Bxc1 22. Qxc1 Nf6 23. Qg5

22. Rd1 Rfe8 23. Nc4 Bg7 24. e4 dxe3 25. Nxe3 Nh5 26. d4 exd4 27. Bxd4 Bxd4 28. Nxd4 a5 29. Kh2 Qe5 30. Re2 Qb8 31. Rdd2 Nf6 32. Nc4 h5 33. Kg1 Kg7 34. Re5 b5










35. Rxe8?!

I don't see why not 35. Nd6! Rxe5 36. Qxe5

35... Rxe8 36. Ne3 Nce4 37. Rd1 h4! 38. g4 b4 39. Ne2 Qa7 40. Nf4 Nc3 41. Qd2 Bc8 42. g5?










42... Nfe4! 43. Qd4+ Qxd4 44. Rxd4 Nxg5 45. Nfd5?? Ne2+

White resigns

0-1

Board Three

Critelli-QNS (2337) - Molner-NJ (2335) [B07]

ICC 90 30 u/Internet Chess Club 2007


1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Be3 c6 5. Qd2 b5 6. Bd3 Nbd7 7. Nf3 Qc7 8. O-O Bg7 9. Bh6 O-O 10. Ne2 c5 11. Bxg7

11. c3 a5 12. Ng3 b4 13. Rfe1 e5 14. Bxg7 Kxg7 15. Qg5 bxc3 16. bxc3 Ng8 17. dxe5 Nxe5 18. Nxe5 dxe5 19. Nf5+ Bxf5 20. exf5 c4 21. Bc2 Rfe8 22. Re3 Rab8 23. Re2 Rb2 24. fxg6 hxg6 25. Bxg6 Rxe2 26. Bh5+ Kf8 27. Bxe2 Rb8 28. Rd1 Ne7 29. h4 1-0 Emms,J-Beaumont,C/Telford ENG 2003

11... Kxg7 12. c3 Bb7

12... a6 13. Ng3 e5 14. a4 c4 15. Bc2 Bb7 16. Qg5 Ng8 17. Nf5+ Kh8 18. N3h4 Ndf6 19. Ng3 Rfe8 20. Qd2 d5 21. axb5 axb5 22. Rxa8 Bxa8 23. Nf3 Nxe4 24. Nxe4 dxe4 25. Nxe5 Kg7 26. Qf4 Re7 27. Ra1 Bb7 28. Qg3 Nh6 29. Ra7 Qb6 30. Ra1 f6 31. Ng4 Nxg4 32. Qxg4 b4 33. Qf4? bxc3 34. bxc3 Qb2 35. Rc1 e3 0-1 Geller,J-Burmakin,V/Voronezh RUS 2007

13. d5 Ne5 14. Nxe5 dxe5 15. Ng3 c4 16. Bc2 e6 17. dxe6 fxe6 18. a4 a6 19. Qe3 Nd7 20. Ne2 Nc5 21. h4 Rad8 22. axb5 axb5 23. Rfd1 h6 24. f3 Rxd1+ 25. Rxd1










25... Ra8!

After this move, securing counterplay on the queenside, Black holds the draw.

26. Nc1 Ra1 27. Qd2 Qe7 28. Qe3 Bc6 29. Kf1 Nd7 30. g3 b4 31. cxb4 Qxb4 32. Qc3 Qxc3 33. bxc3 Nc5 34. Ke2 Ba4

Game drawn by mutual agreement

1/2-1/2

Board 4

Ju-NJ (2303) - Zhao-QNS (2227) [B42]

ICC 90 30 u/Internet Chess Club 2007


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Bc5 6. Nb3 Ba7 7. Qg4 Nf6 8. Qg3 d6 9. O-O Nc6 10. Nc3 h5!?

A frequently seen attacking idea in this line, where the h-pawn supports a possible ...Ng4 or pushes through to h3.

The chief alternative is 10... Ne5 with which black should also do well: 11. Kh1 O-O 12. Bg5 Ng6 13. Rad1 Nh5 14. Qg4 Nf6 15. Qe2 h6 16. Bxf6 Qxf6 17. f4 b5 18. a3 Rb8 19. Na5 Bb7 20. f5 Ne5 21. fxe6 Qxe6 22. Nxb7 Rxb7 23. Nd5 Re8 24. Rde1 Qg4 25. Qd2 Qg5 26. Qe2 Qg4 27. b4 Qxe2 28. Rxe2 Rc8 29. h3 Bd4 30. Rb1 Kf8 31. Rd2 Nc4 32. Bxc4 Rxc4 33. Re2 Rb8 34. Rb3 Re8 35. g4 Ba7 36. Rc3 Rd4 37. Nc7 Rexe4 38. Rxe4 Rxe4 39. Nxa6 Bd4 40. Rd3 Be5? (40... Bb2) 41. Nc7! Re1+ 42. Kg2 Re2+ 43. Kf3 Rxc2 44. Nxb5 Ke7 45. Ke4 Ke6 46. Rxd6+ Bxd6 47. Nd4+ Kd7 48. Nxc2 g6 49. Nd4 Bg3 50. Kd5 h5 51. gxh5 gxh5 52. a4 Kc7 53. Nb5+ Kd7 54. a5 1-0 Nakamura,H-Kunte,A/Philadelphia USA 2006

11. Bg5 Ne5

11... h4!? 12. Bxh4 Nh5 13. Bxd8 (13. Qg5 f6! 14. Qg6+ Kf8 15. Qg4 Ne5 16. Qd1 Nxd3 17. cxd3 g5 18. g4 (18. Bg3 Nxg3 19. hxg3 Qe7 20. d4 Qh7) 18... gxh4 19. gxh5 f5) 13... Nxg3 14. hxg3 Kxd8= 15. g4 b5 16. g3 b4 17. Nb1 Ne5 18. Be2 Bb7 19. N1d2 Rc8 20. Bd3 Nxg4 21. Nf3 d5 22. Rae1 dxe4 23. Bxe4 Rxc2 24. Nfd4 Rxf2 25. Bxb7 Rxb2 26. Rxf7 Rh3 27. Rf8+ Ke7 28. Rf3 e5 29. Bc8 Rxb3 30. axb3 Bxd4+ 31. Kg2 Rh2+ 32. Kf1 Nf6 33. Bxa6 Ra2 34. Bc4 Ng4 35. Rf7+ Kd6 36. Re2 Ne3+ 37. Rxe3 Bxe3 38. Rxg7 e4 39. Rf7 Ke5 40. g4 Kd4 41. Rf5 Rc2 42. g5 Rc1+ 43. Ke2 Rc2+ 44. Kf1 1/2-1/2 Magem,J-Bellon,J/Espana equipos 1993

12. Kh1

12. Rad1 h4 13. Qh3 Rh5 14. Bxf6 gxf6 15. Kh1 Qe7 16. f4 Nc6 17. Qf3 (17. Be2) 17... Rh8 18. h3 Bd7 19. Qe2 Nb4 20. a3 Nxd3 21. Rxd3 O-O-O 22. Rfd1 Bb8 23. Na5 Bc7 24. Nc4 Bc6 25. b4 f5 26. exf5 Qf6 27. fxe6 fxe6 28. a4 Rhg8 29. Ne3 Qxf4 30. b5 d5 31. Nf1 axb5 32. axb5 Bd7 33. Ra1 Kb8 34. Rf3 Qe5 35. Qf2 d4 36. Re1 Qh5 37. Ne4 Bxb5 38. Nf6 Qg6 39. Nxg8 Rxg8 40. Rf8+ Rxf8 41. Qxf8+ Be8 42. Nd2 e5 43. Ne4 Ba5 44. Ra1 Qxe4 45. Qxe8+ Kc7 46. Qe7+ Kc6 47. Qe6+ Kc7 48. Qf7+ Kc6 49. Qf6+ Kc7 50. Qf7+ Kc6 51. Qc4+ Kd6 52. Rf1 Bd8 53. Qb4+ Ke6 54. Qf8 Be7 55. Qc8+ Kd6 56. Qb8+ Ke6 57. Qc8+ Kd6 58. Rb1 Qc6 59. Qf5 b5 60. Ra1 b4 61. Ra6 Qxa6 62. Qg6+ 1-0 Adams,M-Hansen,S/playchess.com INT 2003

12... Bd7 13. f4 Neg4










14. e5 h4 15. Qh3

15. Bxh4 Nxh2!! 16. Kxh2 Ne4!!

15... Qb6 16. Ne2! Nf2+ 17. Rxf2 Qxf2 18. exf6 gxf6 19. Bxf6 e5 20. Bf5 Bxf5 21. Qxf5 h3 22. Qe4 Rh6 23. fxe5 hxg2+ 24. Qxg2 Qxg2+ 25. Kxg2 dxe5 26. Rf1 Kd7 27. Ng3 Ke6 28. Bg5 Rg6 29. Bc1 f5 30. Kf3 Rh8 31. Rh1 e4+ 32. Kg2 e3 33. Kf3 Rh3 34. Re1 Rxh2 35. Bxe3 Bxe3 36. Rxe3+ Kf6 37. Nd4 Rg4 38. Ngxf5 Kg5 39. Re5 Rh3+










40. Ng3+

Black resigns

1-0

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