Anna has won! New Jersey is in the playoffs for the first time in USCL history!
Here's a picture of the team before the match.
Joel's game ended in a draw by repetition. New Jersey leads 1.5-0.5. With a match win tonight, New Jersey is in the playoffs.
Kapengut has left the building. Anna and her opponent are locked in a tight endgame sruggle. Gulko the Grinder is still grinding. Joel's position is markedly better, and might head for a draw.
Kapengut wins! His opponent flagged in a complex and interesting position!
Anna has traded to a pawn up endgame. She has the two bishops against her opponent's bishop and knight.
Kapengut's opponent declined the offer, and is now pushing is queenside pawns.
Kapengut has offered a draw on board 3. A strategic offer, since he's down on material, but way up on the clock.
Wow -- this looks close. Perhaps Joel can draw on board 1, but he's low on the clock. Gulko just needs to continue to grind on board 2. Kapengut is in an interesting position, and his oppoent is very low on the clock. Anna is trying to find a better move than the one good one that's there.
Anna looks like she's in good shape. Benjamin is trying to grind out a draw. Gulko is still slowing building up.
Here's Anna before the match.
Everyone tonight wearing a different color. Anna in purple, Albert in blue, Boris in red, Joel in green.
All games are having a multitude of captures. Matlin's and Kapengut's opponents have 16 and 13 minutes on the clock left respectively, and are on move 16 and 24.
All games have gotten quite interesting. Joel Benjamin looks like he's given up the c-file to Enkhbat's powerful rook battery. Kapengut smashing open Uesagi's position. Gulko GMing Kaufman to death. Matlin tense in a sharp Scotch.
Some excellent imbalances in the Kapengut game. But Uesugi spent a LOT of time, and is way down on the clock.
Pre-match preparations... Kapengut (left) and Gulko (right) are discussing important issues relevant to many people. Ok, it was in Russian, and I don't know what was being said, but it sure looked serious.
Kapengut's game also getting interesting... looks like there might be some imbalances soon.
Looks like Matlin's game going to get tactical pretty soon. According to Kenilworthian blogger extrordinaire, Michael Goeller, Matlin has been following Kasparov-Yusupov, 1994 through 11. Qa5.
It is completely amazing to me that all of the New Jersey boards are up on time. Looks like we out-prepared the Kingfishers this week, making up for Arizona's uber-preparation that killed us last week.
Gulko's bishops look very very nasty, sitting on a2 and a3, cutting a swath down the middle of the board.
The crowds are restless... Can we see the donuts! Free the donuts! I'm wondering if I sold the pictures of the donuts to Us magazine, would they fetch a higher price than a picture of Brad and Angelina's new baby? Naw, forget it. Here they are!
Guess what? We have donuts tonight. That means invincibility. Next week, we're playing Boston, and having... you guessed it... Boston Cremes.
On Board 4, Anna Matlin puts up her 1-1 USCL record against Jared Defibaugh. As white, she played the Scotch, which she had prepared for. Joel Benjamin and Anna did some pre-match conferring on the opening -- see picture on right.
Nope... Breaking up ice... I think it was Sharon Stone.
What the heck was that noise?? It sounded like someone decided to pop some popcorn outside the playing room. I'd better investigate.
On Board 3, IM Albert Kapengut is taking on Uesugi. Kapengut has gone into his first serious think of the game. We has a typical pose for thinking, hands on both cheeks, low board, slightly hunched over the board.
On Board 2, GM Boris Gulko, and his undefeated USCL record, is playing the World Champion... No, not Anand, but instead World Senior Champion, GM Lary Kaufman. Gulko tossed out an English, but Kaufman really wasn't comfortable playing against that, and Gulko transposed into a Queen Pawn opening, which Kaufman turned into a Nimzo-Indian.
It's move 12, and Gulko has added two minutes to his clock, while Kaufman is down 20 minutes already. Gulko is relaxed, leaning back, casually staring at the board.
Let's go around the horn and see what we've got.
On Board 1, GM Joel Benjamin is playing IM Enkhbat, a USCL veteran. Benjamin has black and is playing against Enkhbat's Catalan. They are already on move 11, and Joel has a five minute advantage on the clock.
In my three years of the Knockouts' play, I cannot remember us ever being ahead on time on all four boards 20 minutes into the match. But we are. Board 2, 3, and 4 have all gained time.
Early in the match, and all players looked relaxed. Before the match started, Benjamin gave Matlin some last minute preparation; Gulko and Kapengut chatted seriously in Russian.
We're off! And the blogging has started.