Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Real Time Blog (Week 6) - NJKOs vs. Cobras


And Dean drew! And the Knockouts have won the match, 2.5 - 1.5! Two in a row! The Cobras have proved themselves to be nothing but garter snakes!

Stay tuned next Monday, for Monday night chess versus Philadelphia!


And not a minute later, Zaikov offered a draw to Friedman, and it was accepted! The Knockouts are assured to draw the match. It is 2.0 - 1.0 for the good guys over the Snakes.


Jayson survived the attack, and his extra exchange proved worthwhile, as he crushed Jones! The Knockouts now lead 1.5 - 0.5!


Still two pawns up on Board 2, but they are pretty ugly pawns.


Yes, game drawn by repetition on board 1. So the current score is 0.5 - 0.5...


Looks like we have a repetition upcoming on Board 1. Wait for details...


Craig Jones, on board 4, has what looks like a dangerous attack on Jayson's king. Can Jayson survive it?


The games are speeding up. It is difficult to go from board to board. All boards are low on time, and the games are all complex. Most likely just results from now on.


On Board 4, Carolina has sacced the exchange, for an attack, but Jayon is holding on so far with a little over three minutes remainins.


Milman declined the draw, and he an Benjamin play on, while the clock is now far more balanced.


A bunch of trades in the Friedman game, and there's what looks to be an interesting, and difficult, B+R ending.


GM John Fedorowicz is commenting on Friedman's game, and saying that Aviv got his money worth. The end here is exciting!


How interesting. Three pawns down, down on the clock, and FM Friedman has offered a draw to his opponent on Board 3. It is an interesting offer; while materially and temporally, Friedman is far worse, his most recent move, 25. Nf5 suggests that he may have a devastating attack, that is not 100% sound. But, will Zaikov risk that it is, in fact, unsound? Or will he take the draw?


The Knockout's Board 4, Jayson "I'm not 12 even though the USCL website claims I am" Lian, has rammed a knight down the throat of his Cobric opponent. 21...Ne3. Blam!


Zaikov didn't do a Kramnik.


On Board 3, Friedman is threatening mate in 1 with 24...Qd7#. Will Zaikov see it? Or will he do a Kramnik?


IM Milman is still thinking about the draw offer....


The crowd is buzzing. Has Joel made a "team" decision, because the KOs are looking good on Board 2? Or, Joel, cognizant of his own clock status, has made a strategic decision to call it a day, even though he may be a tad better, and has White.


On Board 1, GM Joel has offered a draw to IM Milman. The crowd seems in disbelief.


A look around the room here would suggest that the match is not going well for the Knockouts. Players are slouched, chewing on themselves, grumpy. The KOs are down on the clock on most boards. The time is getting short. The scramble should start soon.


I've determined that for next year, I will have a better camera!


The situation doesn't look so promising for a few reasons.

First, the Knockouts are losing time on the clock. GM Joel has 14 minutes left compared with IM Milman's 32 minutes. And they are still only on move 19. And on Boards 3 and 4, the KOs are down to 18 and 12 minutes respectively, while their opponents have move.

Moreover, on Board 3 FM Aviv Friedman is a pawn down, but his opponent has a 3-1 majority on the queenside -- soon perhaps 3-0.

The guys need some water. Like this...


Boston is having a good night. The Red Sox won the baseball playoff, and their Board 4, Chris "is Awesome and 0 friends" Williams won his game quickly versus San Francisco. Whatever you may think of young Mr. Williams and his "awesomeness" at chess and (ahem) "music", it cannot be denied that his 4-0 record in USCL is pretty awesome.


Knockouts player Victor "Stalemate" Shen informs me that Jayson Lian was born in 1992, not 1995 as stated on the website. That makes much more sense, as he would be really tall for a 12 year old.


On Board 2, Dean Ippolito looks like he's returned one of the two pawns.


The games have all still not reached the 20th move yet. And, unlike other Knockout matches, the clocks remain reasonably balanced for both sides.

Looks like the increment rush will happen in an hour or so.


It is an hour and forty-two minutes later. Only 13 1/3 donuts left. See below. These people are animals!!


Almost 9:oo, and here are my assessments of the Knockouts' games so far.

Board 1: Benjamin's game looks like it is a game between GMs, so therefore, it is far too complicated for me to figure out.
Board 2: Ippolito's game has him up material, and way behind in development. I wouldn't want to be Ippolito is I was playing against Zapfrybizkapa.
Board 3: Friedman's game looks like it was plucked from the library of bullet games.
Board 4: Lian's game has too much mixing of the colors -- the pieces need to go back to their own sides!


Time used on the clocks is very balanced across the teams. (Team with more time indicated)
(1) 43-49 (CAR)
(2) 36-51 (NJK)
(3) 44-46 (CAR)
(4) 50-38 (CAR)


Interesting factoid: All games are on a different odd move (11, 13, 15, 17). Concidence?? I think not!


Back to the physical layout of the room. If you've read the blog before, you know that the Knockouts play at the Chapel Hill Academy in Lincoln Park, New Jersey. It is a charter school. We're in the computer lab, and the players are spread out in the room. GM Joel is in the corner of the room by himself. Big Dean is at the head of the room at his own table with his dual drinks (Poland Spring water and Nestle strawberry milk). Young Lian, and "Sveshi" Friedman are at opposite ends of a long table.


It just seems like the atmosphere in the room tonight is a little different than the other matches I've attended. There is more of a determined atmosphere.

It is also a little hotter in here than it has been the previous weeks.


Back to the unusual opening on Board 2... Ippolito is up 30 minutes on the clock, two pawns ahead. White didn't take the apparent draw, and castled instead.


"They" have commented on whether I have better things to do, than take pictures of donuts. So.... here's a picture of the coffee, instead.


Comments on the Ippolito games suggest that White may have a "perpetual" attack on Black's queen, with this line.

9. Be3 Qe5 10. f4 Qa5 11. b4 Qb4 12. Rb1 Qa5 13. Rb5 Qc3 14. Rb3, etc.

But it seems like taking a quick draw with White may not be in Carolina's best interests. However, White down some material, so maybe it is best at this point? What will Schroer do?


Board 2, Ippolito versus Schroer has acquired its own gravity. Not that I'm anywhere near qualified to comment on the quality of the chess, but... Dean Ippolito did get a little greedy, it seems, when he played 8...Nxe4. Will White chase Dean's queen clean from the scene?


All the games have interesting positions. On Board 1, GM Joel Benjamin's position looks more serpentine than the Cobra's player's position. His pieces are lurking back, ready to strike at any moment. On Board 2, IM Dean Ippolito looks like he may be a pawn or two ahead, but whether White's compensation will give him anything is unclear -- Dean just can't get too greedy, I suspect. On Board 3, the acreage that FM Aviv Friedman has encountered is impressive looking, but will black just squat his pieces in White's space? On Board 4, young Jason Lian has some potential holes in White's position at which to poke.


FM Aviv Friedman is munching on peanuts from a Ziploc bag.


On Board 1, GM Joel seems to be a little underdeveloped. His light-squared bishop flew out to c4 early, and now has backed into c2, after a few moves. The consensus of the 80 people watching the game is the White is playing a Ruy Lopez, and Black is playing a Sicilian Dragon. The question is, though... who will prove triumphant? The Spaniard or the Italian?


On Board 2, the Cobra's Schroer took over seventeen minutes to figure out how to recapture Ippolito's cleric, who giving check. It looks like Ippolito is a pawn up, maybe more.


The first week, there were sandwiches, chips, donuts, coffee, soda, and water all very generously provided to the players. The second week, the sandwiches were gone, but the chips, donuts, coffee, soda, and water were still available.

But now, it is the staples of life. Donuts, coffee, and water.

Here are the donuts.

I know that I and the players are all very grateful for the food. Thanks!


On Board 3, our newest player, FM Aviv Friedman is gaining a great deal of space on the kingside, with pawns on e4, f4, g4, and h4. He's White in a Sicilian, and he's prepping his kingside attack, although Black hasn't quite castled over there yet.


More on Dean Ippolito's game. His 4...Bb4+ is a relatively rare move. More common is4...Be7. His move scores 38% for white and 30% for black. However, Schroer's response 5. Nbd2 is extremely uncommon, only played about 2% of the time. 98% of the time, 5. Nc3 is the move.


On Board 2, IM Dean Ippolito, playing black, is in a Queen's Gambit Declined, which is a nice change from all the Slavs we've seen recently in the World Championships.


On Board 4, Craig Jones decided to give up his advantage of the first move by playing Nf3 and e3.


And we're off! The games started on time tonight... On Board 1, GM Joel Benjamin takes on IM Lev Milman, while on Board 2, IM Dean Ippolito tackles IM Jonathan Schroer.

The Knockouts tonight feature the debut of two player on board 3 and 4. On Board 3, FM Aviv Friedman, who was an early roster substitution for FM Tom Bartell plays youngster FM Oleg Zaikov. And on Board 4, the Knockouts youngest member, Jason Lian (born 1995, you do the math) plans on not pulling his punches against Carolina's Craig Jones.


The KOs versus the Snakes.