Thursday, September 03, 2009

NJKOs Shock NY Knights

Herman - Shen
Black to play and win

In the opening round of 2009 US Chess League action, the New Jersey Knockouts stunned the New York Knights, winning 2.5-1.5 despite being heavy ratings underdogs. I have analyzed the games and posted them online.

Recent US Cadet runner-up Victor Shen won a great game against USCL veteran Matthew Herman (see diagram above for the winning stroke). The other crucial victory was turned in by IM Dean Ippolito over GM Pascal Charbonneau in a brilliant positional squeeze that ended in a perfectly executed K+2N vs K+P ending. The diagram below is one worth playing against your computer to see if you can force mate as flawlessly as Ippolito did. (Update: After I posted this, the news came that Ippolito received his first "Game of the Week" award for this victory).

Ippolito - Charbonneau
A great position for computer practice.

The rest of the games went as predicted, with bullet-proof GM Joel Benjamin drawing his match and Arthur Shen (Victor's younger brother) losing to the much more experienced Kenilworth Chess Club Champion Yaacov Norowitz (playing for New York).

This is a great start to the season, especially since New York has spoiled the Knockout's playoff chances two years in a row. Let's hope the third year is the charm.

And don't forget: come out and see the best New Jersey players in action (including Ippolito, the Shen brothers, and recent Cadet champ Andrew Ng) at the New Jersey State Championship this weekend.

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