NJKOs Stun New York Knights

The underdog New Jersey Knockouts stunned their perrenial cross-river rivals, the New York Knights, beating them 2.5-1.5 in Round One of 2009 US Chess League action. This is a great start for the NJ team, especially since New York has spoiled their chances of making the playoffs two years in a row.

Board 1

GM Giorgi Kacheishvili-NY (2666) - GM Joel Benjamin-NJ (2641) [E32]

ICC 90 30 u/Internet Chess Club 2009


1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d6 5. Nf3 c5!?

A rare move in this Nimzo line, which more typically goes Nbd7 or Nc6 and eventually e5 with potentially sharp play. Benjamin's plan at first board, however, is always to keep the draw in hand. Black tends to get a more solid control of dark squares here by playing both c5 and e5 advances.

 

6. dxc5 dxc5 7. g3!?

7. a3 Bxc3+ 8. Qxc3 Nc6 has been played most frequently here, but Black does well with an eventual e5 advance.

 

7... Nc6 8. Bg2 e5 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3!?

White accepts doubled pawns in order to hold the central squares, especially d4, which would be a good square for Black's pieces.

10. Qxc3 Qe7 is pleasant for Black.

 

10... h6 11. Rb1 O-O 12. Ba3?!










This plan to pressure the c5 pawn meets a strong rejoinder. The stronger 12. Rb5! looks like the best way to pressure c5 and exploit White's pressure along the long diagonal and at b7 by doubling on the b-file.

 

12... Qa5! 13. Qc1 Ne4 14. Qe3 Nxc3!?

Benjamin plays for exchanges, trying to keep control of the game. Less clear are:

a) 14... Qxa3 15. Qxe4 Qxc3

b) 14... Nxg3?! 15. fxg3 Qxa3 16. Nxe5

 

15. Bxc5 Nxb1 16. Bxf8 Kxf8 17. Rxb1 Qxa2 18. Qd3!?

18. Nd2!? is Fritz's choice. But the threat of Qh7 is interesting.

 

18... Be6?!










I don't understand why Benjamin allows Qh7 when he does not have to -- 18... Kg8 seems simpler.

 

19. Rxb7

Grabbing the pawn only establishes a temporary material parity, though White's active pieces maintain the balance. If he were seeking complications, White might have tried instead 19. Qh7!? Rb8 (19... Ne7 20. Nh4! (20. Rxb7 Bf5! 21. Qh8+ Ng8 entombs White's Queen) 20... Rb8 transposes) 20. Nh4 Ne7 21. Qh8+ Ng8 22. Be4 b6 23. Bh7 f6 24. Bd3 with definite compensation for the pawn in the pressure on Black's King.

 

19... Kg8 20. h3 Rd8 21. Qe4 Qxc4 22. Qxc4 Bxc4 23. Rc7 Bb5 24. Nh4 Nd4 25. e3 Ne2+ 26. Kh2 a6 27. Be4

White's more active pieces make it difficult for Black to hold the extra pawn. Also interesting was 27. Nf5!?

 

27... g6 28. Nf3 Rd7 29. Rc5!?

29. Rxd7 Bxd7 30. Nxe5=

 

29... Re7 30. Nxe5 Nc3 31. Rxc3 Rxe5 32. Bd3 Kg7

Game drawn by mutual agreement.

1/2-1/2

Board 2

IM Dean Ippolito-NJ (2535) - GM Pascal Charbonneau-NY (2560) [E68]

ICC 90 30 u/Internet Chess Club 2009


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

 










In his excellent book "Play the King's Indian," Joe Gallagher discusses how this "semi-waiting move" developed by East German GMs is "back in vogue." Black's idea is to avoid surrendering the center unless it is in his favor to do so. In the system that Gallagher developed, Black instead surrenders the center immediately and seeks counterplay with a queenside advance by a6, Rb8, c5 and b5 -- often combined with Re8 and Ne5:

8... exd4 9. Nxd4 a6 10. h3 Rb8 (10... Re8 11. Re1 Rb8 12. b3 c5 13. Nc2 b5 14. cxb5 axb5 15. Qxd6 Rb6 16. Qd1 b4 17. Na4 Rbe6! (Black switches to the real target -- e4 -- weakened by forcing the Knight to a4.) 18. Bb2 Qe7 19. f3 Nh5 20. Bxg7 Kxg7 0-1 Moradiabadi,E (2490)-Gallagher,J (2530)/Turin ITA 2006 (68)) 11. Be3 Re8 12. Qc2 (12. b3 Qe7 13. Re1 c5 14. Nde2 b5 15. cxb5 axb5 16. Nf4 b4 17. Ncd5 Nxd5 18. Nxd5 Qd8 19. Rc1 Nb6 20. Bf4 Nxd5 21. Qxd5 Be5 22. Red1 Bxf4 23. gxf4 Qh4 24. Qg5 Qxg5 25. fxg5 Rb6 26. Rd2 Bb7 27. f3 Re5 28. h4 h6 29. gxh6 Kh7 30. Rcd1 Re6 31. Bh3 Rf6= 0-1 Fridman,D (2650)-Vovk,Y (2546)/ICC INT 2009 (63)) 12... c5 13. Nde2 b5 14. Rfd1 b4 15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. cxd5 Qb6 17. Nc1 a5 18. Rb1 Ba6 19. b3 Rbc8 20. Nd3 Qb7 21. Nb2 Nb6 22. Bf4 c4 23. Nxc4 Nxc4 24. bxc4 Rxc4 25. Qd2 Qb6 26. Be3 Qc7 27. Bf1 Bc3 28. Qc2 Rexe4! 29. Bxc4 Qxc4 30. Qa4 Rxe3!! 31. fxe3 Qe4 32. Qxa5? Qxe3+ 33. Kg2 Be2 34. Rf1 Qe4+ 0-1 Wirig,A (2439)-Vandevoort,P (2388)/Belgium BEL 2006.

 

9. h3 Rb8

Here 9... b5 is the main move Gallagher discusses, when a recent game of Ippolito's continued 10. Be3! (White should concede nothing in the center. Certainly not 10. cxb5 axb5 11. Nxb5? Ba6) 10... c6?! 11. cxb5! axb5 12. a3 Qe7 13. Qc2 exd4 14. Nxd4 Bb7 15. Rad1 Rfe8 16. Rfe1 Ne5 17. f4 Nc4 18. Bf2 Rac8 19. Nb3 Nd7 20. Nd2 Ndb6 21. Ndb1 Nd7 22. b3 Nxa3?! (otherwise Black is driven back) 23. Nxa3 b4 24. Nc4 Bxc3 25. Nxd6 Bxe1 26. Bxe1 Rb8 27. Nxe8 Rxe8 28. Bxb4! Qxb4 29. Rxd7 1-0 Ippolito,D (2455)-Hughes,T (2278)/Indianapolis USA 2009 (53).

 

10. Re1 b5

10... exd4 transposes to the Gallagher Variation.

 

11. cxb5! axb5 12. b4!

 










A fascinating concept from Ippolito, whereby White plays to restrain Black's backward c-pawn.

 

12... c6 13. Be3 Re8 14. Qc2 exd4 15. Nxd4 Bb7 16. Rad1 Rc8 17. Nb3 Qc7

White's play is now directed toward dominating the dark squares and continuing to prevent the c5 break.

 

18. f4 Bf8 19. a3 Ba8 20. Qf2! Rb8

 










21. Kh2

Perhaps there was a way to prevent the c5 break completely, but it is not obvious what that would be:

a) 21. Ba7!? Rbc8 22. Bd4 does not quite keep Black under restraint either: 22... c5! 23. Bxf6 Nxf6 24. bxc5 (24. Nxb5 Qb8 25. Nxd6! Bxd6 26. e5 Bxg2 27. Kxg2 cxb4 28. Rxd6 bxa3) 24... dxc5 25. e5 Bxg2 26. Qxg2 b4

b) 21. e5!? dxe5 22. fxe5 Rxe5 (22... Nxe5?? 23. Qxf6) 23. Bf4 Rxe1+ 24. Rxe1 Bd6 25. Bxd6 Qxd6 26. Nc5 and Black is under restraint at the cost of a pawn.

Probably Ippolito does exactly the right thing by putting the King in safety before lines start to open, relying on his better piece placement to gain the upper hand.

 

21... c5!

Now or never! This must be played, whether it is good or bad.

 

22. bxc5 b4!?

Probably better is simply 22... Nxc5! 23. Nxc5 dxc5 24. e5 Bxg2 25. Qxg2 b4! 26. axb4 cxb4.

 

23. axb4 Rxb4 24. Nd2 Nxc5 25. Bxc5! Qxc5 26. Qxc5 dxc5 27. e5 Bxg2 28. Kxg2 Rb2 29. Re2 Nh5 30. Kf3!

Despite the simplification, White is still solidly on top due to his more active King and better pieces.

 

30... Reb8 31. Nd5 Ra8 32. g4 Ng7 33. Nf6+ Kh8 34. Nc4 Rxe2 35. Kxe2 Ne6 36. Ke3 Be7 37. Nd5 Bf8

White has played very well to put his Knights on ideal central squares where they restrain Black's pawns and pieces. He is now well situated to attack the c-pawn, which is the easiest target.

 

38. Ndb6 Rd8?!

After this exchange of Rooks, it will be much easier for White to attack Black's weak c-pawn.

 

39. Rxd8 Nxd8 40. f5! h5 41. Nd7 Bh6+ 42. Ke4 hxg4 43. hxg4 gxf5+ 44. gxf5 Nc6 45. Nd6 Kg8 46. Nxc5 Bc1

Ippolito has made excellent progress. He must now be careful, however, of exchanging Black's last pawn, since then Black could sac his pieces for White's last pawn and draw, since the two Knights cannot force mate. However, as Ippolito gets to demonstrate in this game, the two Knights can force mate if *Black* has a pawn. The way this works is that White is then able to trap and confine the Black King (essentially stalemating it) on the way to mate, because the mobile Black pawn prevents stalemate.

 

47. f6!

This advance prevents any exchange of Black's pawn. And with the last Black pawn on a light square, where the Bishop cannot help to defend, it can eventually be won. With eventual loss by strangulation a certainty, Charbonneau challenges Ippolito to mate him with the two Knights by sacrificing his pieces for the pawns.

 

47... Nxe5 48. Kxe5 Bb2+ 49. Kf5 Bxf6!?

The Bishop must sacrifice itself eventually: 49... Bc3 50. Nce4 Bd4 51. Nc4 Ba1 52. Ne5! would also be lost, since White can gang up on the Black f-pawn while blocking the Bishop's sacrifice for his own f-pawn.

 

50. Kxf6

A tableu you could easily see in an endgame book one day. As is welll known, if White ever plays Nxf7 it's a draw. But he is perfectly situated to force mate fairly quickly. Mating with two Knights versus King and pawn is usually a lot harder and more time consuming. The basic idea is to confine but avoid stalemating the Black King until you can release his pawn to run, then you bring home the point.










50... Kh7 51. Nce4 Kh6

White has the ideal set up to force mate, since the Black King is confined and Black's pawn is as far from the queening square as possible. The rest is very well done.

 

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

Black resigns since it is mate next move. The rare ending is the perfect conclusion to this super solid positional masterpiece from Ippolito.

1-0

Board 3

Matthew Herman-NY (2275) - Victor Shen-NJ (2305) [B47]

ICC 90 30 u/Internet Chess Club 2009


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?!










a) 14. Be3!? (hitting b6) 14... Rab8 15. h3 Rfd8 16. Rc1= looks playable for White

b) 14. Ba3?! Rad8 15. Qe2 Nd7! 16. Qe3 f5! 17. exf5 Rxf5 18. Rad1 Rdf8 19. Re2 R5f6 20. h3 Bf7 21. Nc3 Bh5 22. Ne4 Re6 23. g4 Bg6 24. Red2 Bxe4 25. Qxe4 Nb8 26. Qc2 Kh8 27. Be4 g6 28. Rd3 a5 29. Qd2 Rd8 30. g5 Na6 31. h4 Nb4 32. Bxb4 axb4 33. Bd5 cxd5 34. cxd5 e4 35. dxe6 exd3 36. Qxb4 Qc5 37. Qd2 Qd4 38. Qxd3 Qxh4 39. Qc3+ Kg8 40. Re1 Qxg5+ 41. Kf1 d5 42. Re5 d4 43. Qc7 Qf6 44. Rb5 Rf8 45. f4 Qxe6 0-1 Colovic,A (2412)-Markus,R (2522)/Subotica SCG 2003

c) 14. Bb2 Rab8 (14... Nd7 15. Qd2 Rfd8 16. Qc3 f6 17. f4 a5 18. Kh1 Bf7 19. Qe3 0-1 Degraeve,J-Marc/Auxerre 1992 (73)) (14... Rad8!) 15. Qc2 Nd7 16. Rac1 Qa7 17. Ba3 and now with 17... Rfd8 (rather than 17... Rbc8 18. Rcd1 c5?! 19. Nc3 in 1-0 Kyas,J-Kleinschmidt,F/BL2-O 9394 1994 (37)) 18. c5! d5 both players would have chances.

 

14... d5!? 15. f5?!

a) 15. cxd5 cxd5 16. exd5 Rad8 17. fxe5 Nxd5

b) 15. exd5 cxd5 16. fxe5 Ng4

 

15... Bd7 16. g4?! Bb4!

White's pawns are getting incredibly over-extended, and all on light squares.

 

17. Re3 Rad8 18. Qe2 Nxe4 19. Bxe4 dxe4 20. a3 Be7 21. Rh3?!

Not much better is 21. Rxe4 c5 but at least material is even.

 

21... c5! 22. Nc3 Bc6! 23. g5 Qd7

23... Qc8! 24. Qg4 Rd3!

 

24. Qg4 g6 25. Qh4 h5 26. f6 Qd4+ 27. Re3 Bd6 28. Qg3 Bc7 29. Ra2 Qd7 30. Rae2 Qf5 31. Rf2 Qe6 32. Rfe2 Rd3!

Very strong play. White has over-extended his pawns and his pieces, allowing Black to infiltrate. Also good, but not as forcing, is 32... Rd4!?

 

33. Qg2?

33. Nxe4 Bxe4 34. Rxd3 Bxd3 (34... h4?! 35. Qxh4 Bxd3 36. h3! Bd8 37. Rf2 Bf5 38. Be3) 35. Qxd3 Rd8

 

33... Rfd8 34. h3?










34. Nxe4? Rxe3 35. Rxe3 Rd1+

34. Bb2 Rxe3 35. Rxe3 Rd3

 

34... Rxc3! 35. Rxc3 Rd1+

White resigns, as after 36.Kh2 e3 (opening up the long diagonal) it is curtains.

0-1

Board 4

Arthur Shen-NJ (2107) - Yaacov Norowitz-NY (2354) [B11]

ICC 90 30 u/Internet Chess Club 2009


1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ gxf6

Shen should have been well prepared to play against this line, since it is a Norowitz specialty.

 

6. c3

The standard move for White, bolstering the center and limiting the options of Black's light-squared Bishop. Norowitz seems to have had more difficulty meeting other lines:

a) 6. Nf3 Bg4!? one Norowitz debacle with this line continued 7. Be3 (7. Be2 e6 8. c3 Qc7 9. g3 Nd7 10. Bf4 e5? 11. dxe5 fxe5 12. Nxe5! 1/2-1/2 Dutreeuw,M (2321)-Norowitz,Y/Internet Section 11A g/8'+2 2004 (60)) 7... e6 8. h3 Bf5 9. g4 Bg6 10. Nh4 Nd7 11. Qd2 Nb6?! 12. Bg2?! (12. c4!) 12... Be7?! (12... Nc4=) 13. O-O-O Qc7 14. f4 f5 15. Nf3 fxg4 16. hxg4 Nd5 17. Ne5 Bb4 18. Qf2 Qa5 19. Bxd5 cxd5 20. f5 Qxa2 21. c4 Qa1+ 22. Kc2 Qa4+ 23. Kb1 exf5 24. Bg5 Rg8 25. Qe2 Kf8 26. Bh6+ Rg7 27. Nxg6+ hxg6 28. Qe5 1-0 Lu,Y (2043)-Norowitz,Y/USA-chT Amateur East 2004

b) 6. g3 Qd5! 7. Nf3 Bg4 8. Bg2 Qe4+ (8... e5) 9. Be3 (9. Qe2 Qxe2+ 10. Kxe2 Nd7=) 9... Bh6 10. Qe2 Bxe3 11. fxe3 Nd7 12. O-O-O O-O-O 13. h3 Bxf3 14. Bxf3 Qg6 15. d5!? cxd5 16. Rxd5 Qxg3 17. Ra5! Kb8 18. Bxb7! Qc7 19. Rb5 Nb6 20. Bg2 Rd6 21. Qf3 and despite White's evident attack, eventually 0-1 in Trammell,G (2071)-Norowitz,Y/US op 2004 (46).

 

6... Qd5!










Definitely best, making it difficult for White to develop his light squared Bishop. Against the more frequent 6...Bf5 White can develop smoothly with Nf3, g3, and Bg2.

 

7. Qb3

A safe option for White, who should have a slight edge in the ending due to his superior pawn structure. If White wanted to try for more, though, the most aggressive move is certainly 7.c4! -- despite the fact it involves "moving the same pawn twice":

7. c4! Qe4+ 8. Be3 e5 9. Ne2 Bb4+ (9... Na6?! 10. a3 Qh4 11. Nc3 Bg4 12. Be2 Bxe2 13. Qxe2 Bg7 14. O-O-O O-O 15. Qf3 f5 16. Qxf5 exd4 17. g3 Qf6 18. Qxf6 Bxf6 19. Bxd4 Bxd4 20. Rxd4 1-0 Spoelman,W (2461)-Hofland,L (2272)/Amsterdam ACT op 3rd 2006 (33)) (9... Bg4 10. Nc3!) 10. Nc3 f5 (10... Bh3!?) (10... Bxc3+ 11. bxc3 Bf5 12. Qd2 Nd7 13. f3 Qc2 14. Qxc2 Bxc2 15. Kd2 Bg6 16. Be2 Chris Baker) 11. Qe2 f4 12. Bd2 Qxe2+ 13. Nxe2! Bxd2+ 14. Kxd2 f6 15. Re1 O-O 16. dxe5 Rd8+ 17. Kc1 fxe5 18. Nc3 Nd7 19. g3 f3 20. Re3 Rf8 21. Bd3 Nf6 22. h3 Be6 23. Rxe5 Rae8 24. Re3 Nd7 25. Rhe1 Bf7 26. Rxe8 Rxe8 27. Rxe8+ Bxe8 28. Kd2 Ne5 29. Ke3 Bd7 30. Bf1 Bf5 31. Ne4 Be6 32. b3 b5 33. Ng5 Bf5 34. cxb5 cxb5 35. Bxb5 Bb1 36. Nxf3 1-0 Charbonneau,P (2496)-Rombaldoni,D (2292)/La Roche-sur-Yon FRA 2006.

 

7... Nd7

7... Qe4+ 8. Be3 Bh6 9. Kd2!? (also playable are 9. O-O-O!? Bxe3+ 10. fxe3 Qxe3+ 11. Kb1 Bf5+ 12. Ka1 or 9. c4) 9... Bxe3+ 10. fxe3 b6 11. Ne2 Be6 12. Ng3 Bxb3 13. Nxe4 Be6 14. Ng3 h5 and now with Bd3 and Nf5 White could have kept a clearer edge in 1-0 Turov,M (2460)-Eliseev,A (2345)/Chigorin mem 1998 (71).

 

8. Nf3 Rg8!?

Still making it difficult for White to develop the kingside. A recent high level game saw instead 8... Nb6 9. c4 Qh5 10. Be2 Bg7 11. Be3 O-O 12. O-O e5 13. Qc2 Bf5 14. Qd1 Bg4 15. h3 Bxf3 16. Bxf3 Qg6 17. Bh5 Qe4 18. Bf3 Qg6 19. Bh5 Qe4 1/2-1/2 Rublevsky,S (2680)-Ponomariov,R (2717)/Elista RUS 2007.

 

9. Bc4!?

9. c4 Qh5 10. Be3 and O-O-O is probably best, getting the King to a secure location before inviting complications.

 

9... Qh5 10. Be2 Qg6

10... Rxg2? 11. Ne5

 

11. Be3

Black also gets good play after 11. g3 Nb6

 

11... Bh6 12. O-O-O Bxe3+ 13. fxe3 Qh6!?

The g-pawn is still immune: 13... Qxg2?? 14. Rhg1

 

14. c4

With the f-pawn undefended, perhaps now 14. Bc4!?

 

14... Rxg2

After this, Black is up a pawn but White still has some initiative.

 

15. Rhe1 Qh5 16. e4 Qa5 17. a3 e5 18. Nh4 Rg8 19. dxe5

Better 19. Nf5 exd4 20. Qh3

 

19... Nxe5!? 20. Nf5! Qb6 21. Nd6+ Ke7 22. Qc3 Be6 23. c5 Qb3! 24. Qxb3?!

This exchange gains White nothing and only helps to make Black's pawn tell. The better 24. Nf5+! Kf8 25. Qd2 Bxf5 26. Qh6+ Ke7 27. exf5 is double-edged but not easy for Black.

 

24... Bxb3 25. Rd4 a5! 26. Nxb7 Rg2 27. Bd1 Bc4 28. Re3 Rxh2 29. b3 Be6 30. Rd2? Rxd2 31. Kxd2 a4 32. Nd6

32. b4? Nc4+

 

32... axb3 33. Bxb3 Rxa3 34. Bc2 Nf3+ 35. Ke2

 










35... Nd4+

White resigns since 36.Kd2 Rxe3 and ...Nxc2 is hopeless.

0-1

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