Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Victor Shen Annotates Win Over Getz

by Victor Shen
edited by Robert N. Bernard

Editor's note: We are honored to have Victor annotate this beautiful victory over Alec Getz of the New York Knights.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nf3 h6 8. O-O Be7 9. Re1 O-O 10. h3 Be6 11. Bf1 Rc8 12. Nd5 Bxd5 13. exd5 Nb4 14. c4 a5

I was pretty happy about my position at this point, as I have two bishops and slightly more space. However, I found it more difficult than I thought to make progress.

15. a3 Na6 16. Bd2

I thought this was better than Rb1, as the rook may potentially be wanted on c1. Also, I had strange dreams of attacking the a5 pawn.

16...Nd7 17. b4 f5

18. Qb3

I spent way too much time playing this natural move, perhaps because I was frustrated that black had counterplay. The computer suggests the move 18. Qc2 as the road to advantage, which to me looked odd but actually is quite interesting as it stops a piece from coming to f6.

18...Bf6 19. Bc3 Qb6 20. Nd2

Apparently the retreat 20. Qd1! is the only way to make progress, as black's queen is slightly misplaced on b6. If e4, Nd4. This would have a been a cool solution to the problems of the pin on my queen and e4

20... axb4

My idea was 20... e4 21. Bxf6 Nxf6 22. c5

21. axb4 e4 22. Bxf6 Rxf6 23. Rab1 Ne5

24. Qc3

I was happy with this move. This is a position with not much going on, and so strategical maneuvering begins. My idea is c5, and I simply wait to see what black will do.

24...Qc7 25. Qe3

Now I gain the diagonal, but more importantly the d4 square for my queen.

25...Qf7 26. Kh1

I'm not sure how to assess this move, but I wanted to see what he would do. If he commited with Qh5, I would be free to break on the queenside, and I believed that with only 3 pieces he could not stir up much of an attack

26...Qh5 27. Rb3

Multipurpose: I protect h3 and the kingside, while at the same time may double on the c-file in the future.

27...Qh4 28. Kg1

...Ng4 ideas were scaring me.

28...Rg6 29. Rc1 Nc7 30. Qd4

Around here we were both down to about 5 minutes, but I thought that my position was easier to play. His c7 knight is clumsy, and my plan of c5 is simple. The computer says equal, but under the circumstances white should be preferred.


It seems natural to try and get the knight into play, but now white's q-side initiative gives him a large advantage.

31. c5 Nf6 32. Rbc3


The losing mistake in time pressure. 32... Nh5 was necessary to quickly create threats with Nf4.

33. c6 Kh7

34. c7

Call me a coward, but with a couple minutes left I didn't want my queen to go too far
away. For example, 34. cxb7 Rb8 35. Qa7 Nfd7 36. Ra3!! followed by Rc8. The a-rook is
needed to guard against e3} (36. Rc8? e3!! 37. Qxe3 Rxb7) Note that 34. b5 is also
better than c7.

34... Rc8 35. b5

With the idea of b6 Ba6.


A good practical try in time pressure. Taking the b-pawn wins, but decided on a "safer" option.

36. Ra1?! Nfd7

Oops. he wants to bring a knight to c5.

37. Ra7 Nc5?

Instead, 37... Qe7 should hold.

38. Rxc5!

Forced, but good.

38...bxc5 39. Qe3 Nd7 40. Nc4 Qe7 41. Qb3 f4 42. b6 e3

With both our clocks running low, this move, though objectively bad, is scary.

43. Bd3?

Instead, 43. fxe3! fxe3 44. Qxe3 Qxe3+ 45. Nxe3 Nxb6 46. Bd3

43... e2 44. Bxg6+ Kh8

45. Ra1

Of course I saw 45. b7!, and of course I considered it. But with a minute on the clock I was seized with the fear of...I don't know... two queens for my opponent? Forgive me, but I didn't want to allow him two queens, lose, and have my teammates kick me. (45...e1=Q+ 46. Kh2 Rf8 47. Qf3!!)

45... e1=Q+ 46. Rxe1 Qxe1+ 47. Kh2 Nxb6

48. Nxd6?!

Winning immediately was 48. Nxb6! Rxc7 49. Qa4!

48... Qxf2 49. Nxc8 Nxc8 50. Bf5 c4 51. Qc3

Um... 51. Qa3! Eeek!

51... f3!

One last trick in time trouble.

52. Qxf3 Qc5 53. Qf4 Nb6

Or, 53... Nd6 54. Bg6 Kg8 55. c8=Q+

54. d6 Nd5 55. Qe5


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Knockouts Roster 2010

by Robert N. Bernard, NJKO Manager

The New Jersey Knockouts are getting prepared for their fourth season in the United States Chess League. Last year, the NJKOs had the best regular season record in the USCL, but were vanquished in the divisional final by the eventual USCL champion, the New York Knights.

This year, the Knockouts have returned with many of the same players as last year, and a new face. GM Joel "SeƱor Sombrero" Benjamin (pictured at right), captain and founder of the Knockouts, once again leads the team on the top board. GM Boris "The Incredible Gulk" Gulko, hopes to continue his streak of eight straight USCL wins on Board 2, which made him a USCL Board 2 All-Star last year.

IM Dean "501" Ippolito, also a 2009 USCL Board 2 All-Star, returns to the team as well, despite preparing for his world record simultaneous exhibition attempt in November. Newly minted IM Mackensie "Big Mac" Molner will capitalize on all his recent tournament successes to take down the Knockouts' opposition.

Also returning are FM Victor "No Longer Eligible for U-2400" Shen, who won the U-2400 section of the World Open this year, and IM Albert "Dr. Theory" Kapengut who returns after his two victories last season.

The team's rookie, FM Gregory "The Fridge" Markzon, will fill a valuable hole in the team's roster, filling the mid-2200 range. FM Arthur "Bro-Bro" Shen, returns as a formidable fourth board.

Finally, we have Sean "Dorsal" Finn, last year's late season replacement, returning to more success. And, finally, Anna "Gonna Drop You To The" Matlin, will anchor the final position.

Currently three of the Knockouts, Victor Shen, Arthur Shen, and Anna Matlin are competing in the North American Youth Championships, for which you can see up to the minute results by clicking here. Anna has all but sewn up her division (Girls Under 16) already, and the Shen brothers are in contention for the top prizes in their divisions as well.

Stay tuned for more Knockouts' Knews!