Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Real-time blogging: Week 5 -- battle of NJ and NY


Finally! They've agreed to a draw! And the Knew Jersey Knockouts win!! 2.5 - 1.5 over the Knew York Knights.

Next week, Wednesday October 3 at 7:00pm against the Carolina Cobras!


We're all tired, but the game continues. Is it a win for white or a draw?


The commentary is buzzing. It looks like it might end up with three pawns (NY) versus a rook (NJ). But things are still unclear.


Hess offered a draw to Mike Zlotnikov, but we don't think Zlotnikov acutally saw the offer, else he would have immediately accepted, since that would have won us the match. Oh boy...


Zlotnikov is still playing. Hess lost a pawn, but that seems to make his position freer, and he needs to win. They are shuffling pieces around the board, but Zlotinkov has got his rook in Hess's face, but it isn't clear how much it can do there.


Evan just blundered, and fell victim to ...Rxg6+ Kxg6 Qg5+ and then he resigned, as his rook was about to become victim to a Queen fork.

So the match stands at 2.0 - 1.0, with New Jersey still in the lead.


Hess knows he needs to win, and is justifiably reluctant to draw his game (and thus, lose the match for his team).


We've at least drawn the match. Evan is struggling to hold on on board 4, but it doesn't look good. He's exchanged his queen, and now has three minor pieces for White's queen and two pawns. She's pretty low on time, though. She needs to win, as it looks like Zlotnikov Hess has turned into the closed position shuffle.


Boom! Boom! Two wins back to back! Benjamin and Molner both won within seconds of one another, and the Knockouts lead 2.0 - 0.0!


Zlotnikov has offered a draw to Hess. Zlotnikov is way up on the clock, but the consensus seems to be that the position is roughly equal.


Evan Ju is still thinking. His time has now gone below his opponent. I am still blogging.


Mac played 30. Re7 ... he sacced another piece! Will it work? Does it win?? Is this the game of the week????


Mac is staring intently on the screen. Does 30. Re7 win for him?

Oh, and Bionic Woman is over.


The room is very tense. Mac is making waiting moves, trying to gain some time on the clock, but he is still very low on time. Zlotnikov and Hess are locked up in a very closed position. Evan Ju is still trying to figure out how to convert his advantage. The consensus is, though, that Joel has a significant advantage against Charbonneau.


Evan Ju has been thinking hard about his his opponent's 28. Rc3. He may be trying to calculate how the endgame will look for him if all the pieces have been swapped off. While he has a knight and a bishop for a rook and a pawn, the pawn on g3 will be lost soon, one way or another. He is up on the clock, though, and has the luxury of planning how to grasp a victory from the Tree of Winners.


There is a tactical possibility that has arisen on the Molner board, which Mac missed. 26. Re7 Bxe7 27. dxe7 Qc7 28. Qxh5!! +/-


Unlike most of the other weeks, the Knockouts are actually up on the clock on three of the four boards. The only board on where we are down is the Molner board, and that was due to the 49 minute think on the piece sac.


Molner (white) is trying to press his advantage. Looks rather dangerous for black, but if he comes out of it okay, then black is a piece up.


Eighteen minutes into the Bionic Woman premiere, and all four games are still going. Here are some random observations.

On Board 1, Charbonneau has forgotten that pawns can move two squares on their first move.
On Board 2, Hess gives new meaning to the phrase bad bishop.
On Board 3, the Big Mac Attack is still on track.
On Board 4, there is unbalance on the board and on the clock.


I didn't fully give credit to Mac Molner's piece sacrifice on Board 3. The jury is out on whether it is sound or not, but the crowd seems to think it is at least dangerous for black.


The coffee is especially good tonight. But the cups are a little too flexible. There are two choices of donuts, cinnamon and powdered sugar, but the powdered sugar has orange food coloring in it. Halloween is coming early, it seems.


Ugh. The series premiere of Bionic Woman starts in 11 minutes. I have to get a donut to console myself.


Life master Dr.Brian McCarthy (DropZone on ICC) made these comments about GM Joel's play in his game:
Joel has saved a tempo on Nigel Short's system of Be2-f3-g2 and g4, vs g3 g4 and bg2, and Nigel has been wiping the floor with people lately in one of the only lines he still scores with. Joel can try to save the Be3 tempo for something else (a trick Nigel also uses) but Joel can think he is 2 tempi up on a main line, maybe even 3, since he has left out Kh1, a universal Nigel move.Thanks for letting us use the comments, DropZone!


The general consensus is that Joel Benjamin seems to have a very good position against Charbonneau, and he's up on the clock to boot. One observer made what appears to be astute comments about the game, and claimed that Joel has made improvements on Nigel Short's system of beating the Sicilian.


Observers at each of the games...
Board 1: 86
Board 2: 43
Board 3: 34
Board 4: 37


Mac still hasn't moved. He's gone from looking at the physical board to the screen.


Wow! On Board 3, Mac Molner has gone into a very long think. It is almost 40 minutes so far. The wide open position allows a lot of possibilities for attack and Molner is ready for a Big Mac Attack! (image taken from:


On Board 1, Joel Benjamin's 12. g4 has confused Charbonneau, who is thinking long and hard as to why he only occupies 3/8 of the board.


I'm hopeful the Knockouts can win the matches quickly tonight, so I can go home and catch the premiere of "Bionic Woman".


As many of you know, at the playing site, the players have the option of playing on the physical board or on the computer screen. The rules state that once you make a move on the board, you must make that move on the screen. Most of the players seem to use the physical board for the first half of the game, and then they move to the screen.


On Board 1, captain GM Joel Benjamin is on the White side of some strange "Marmotta Nordamericana" opening, which is actually Italian for 'woodchuck', since I was trying to find hedgehog in Italian, cause to me it started as a Sicilian and turned into a hedgehog.

Ok, I'm losing it.


On Board 2, IM Mike Zlotnikov wields the ebony warriors against the ivory soldiers controlled by IM Robert Hess. Mike has played a Modern-like opening, jettisoned his bad bishop and has eyes on the big hole on g3.

Here's Mike setting up his pieces at the beginning of the game, while GM Joel Benjamin looks on.


On Board 3, the Knockouts' Mac Molner is playing white against FM Marc Arnold. Already on the 16th move, Mac has castled long and has flung his kingside pawns in what appears to be a kitchen sink attack against Arnold's wing. Arnold's king is stuck in the center, and it appears that this will be a wild ride.

Here's a picture of Mac in his pre-match warmup -- trademark headphones, playing a 5-minute game.


We'll go around the horn now, and check out each of the games. Let's start with Board 4...

On Board 4, the Knockouts' Evan Ju, the current US Cadet Champion, has the black pieces against WFM Irina Zenyuk. 26 people are tuned in watch Evan skillfully rearranging his pieces on the back row, while keeping an eye on the closed phalanxed center.


Finally all the games have started. Because of their delay in starting the games 2 and 3, the Knights were given a 12 minute penalty on those two boards. USCL commissioner Greg Shahade threw the yellow flag, blew his whistle, crossed his arms, and said "Delay of game!"


A picture of GM Joel Benjamin's board, awaiting Charbonneau's response to 2. Nf3.


The Knights are having trouble getting their act together. Maybe they are helping each other set up the boards properly? :-)


And two of the games have started! Evan Ju is black in a King's Indian Defense, and !st board Joel Benjamin seems to have completely stumped New York's Pascal Charbonneau, with 1. e4 c5 2. Nf6 ... Charbonneau is having a long think about this incredibly unusual move from Benjamin.


Evan Ju is here, he's here from the Garden State Parkway.


The matches are scheduled to start in five minutes. Most of the New Jersey team is here, the remainder is on the Garden State Parkway, again...


Its getting time for the battle of the Hudson River, the battle of the silent Ks. The Knew Jersey Knockouts and the Knew York Knights have Knever met, and the clash begins at seven tonight.


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