Thursday, October 30, 2008

Goodbye and thanks for all the fish...

Hello NJ Knockouts Fans!

Well, this is my last entry on this blog for a while. Now that the Knockouts' season has ended, its onto the playoffs for the other teams.

Next year, I hope to be a guest blogger here again, and follow the matches with the rest of you.

Best wishes and good luck to all the Knockouts and their fans, and especially to the captain and managers Joel Benjamin and Michael Khodarkovsky for the oppotunity to blog for this great bunch of guys and exciting team!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Knockouts Season is Over!

Well, deja vu all over again... all over again.

The New York Knights defeated the New Jersey Knockouts to take the final playoff spot in the Eastern division, by a score of 2.5 - 1.5.

Just like last year.


Oh well -- next year, the Knockouts will prevail!

Deja vu all over again

It is the last week of the USCL matches. New Jersey stands in 4th place in the Eastern division and tonight takes on the New York Knights, who stand in 5th place.

A win or draw tonight, and New Jersey goes to the playoffs.

A loss tonight, and New Jersey goes home.

Where have I heard this before? Oh yeah... the same exact situation happened last year -- same teams, same scenario.

Stay tuned as New Jersey battles the Knights...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cobras, Real time blog week 8 and webcam

FACEBOOK: Join the NJ Knockouts group on Facebook!

ARTICLE: Read a profile of Benjamin and Gulko at 201 Magazine.

WEBCAM: Watch the live NJKO webcam at


Next week, New Jersey takes on Miami and tries to lock up a playoff berth.


In the span of a few minutes, several things happened -- and the match ended.

Ju resigned his game, after his attack fizzled.

Molner lost the thread, lost a piece, and lost the game.

Milman resigned and Joel won.

Shen and Jones agreed to a draw.

Carolina wins a squeaker, 2.5 - 1.5.


On Board 2, Mac Molner is up a piece for some pawns, in a very entertaining position. Will he be able to pull it off? He seems to excel in unbalanced positions.


On Board 4, Victor Shen is down to 50 seconds or so. It is going to be tight there too!


On Board 3, Evan Ju is down to 38 seconds in a crazy position. His opponent must play carefully to counter Evan's speculative attack.


I always wondered. A sacrifice is called a "sac". But which is correct, "saccing" or "sacking"?


Joel is walking from game to game, checking out all the other players' action. His serpentine movements are ironic.


The room is quiet as the tension in palpable.

On Board 1, Joel Benjamin has a menacing position, with his knight squarely in the center of Milman's esophagus.

On Board 2, Mac Molner has some space, and a decent time advantage, but it is not clear whether it is enough for the pawn.

On Board 3, Evan Ju forayed a rook onto f5, sacking a pawn in the process. A risky move by the young man, but his play is inspired.

On Board 4, Victor Shen, down on the clock but with an even position, looks like it will be down to the wire.


Joel Benjamin's pieces are slowing making their way toward Milman's king. With a few more exchanges, Joel could see a solid plus.


On Board 1, a third mate-in-one threat from Joel Benjamin. Trying to see if his opponent will fall for it. (wink, wink)


On Board 3, Simpson is trying to open the position against Evan Ju. Ju's next move will be to bludgeon Simpson's thorax with his mighty pieces of doom.


On Board 2, Mac Molner is trying to figure out how to hold his initiative for his sacked pawn. White looks pretty solid, though, so it might be time for Mac to rip the intestines out of his opponent's position.


Back on Board 1, Joel has thrust his bishop into the love handles of Milman's position with the pointy Bh6!


Evan Ju is having a long think about his fifteenth move. It seems like this is the critical position on how he is going to break the game open.


After a couple of munchkins, its back to blogging. Victor Shen has loosened up his position, with an exchange of rooks along the a-file.


Victor Shen is down on time by a big margin on board four. White also has the bishop pair and more space. Looks like Victor will have to do something drastic to get back in the game.


On Board 2, Mac has his big wood ready to smash White's queenside pawns, which theink they're going somewhere.


GM Alex Yermolinsky is commenting on Joel's game on board 1. He said that Milman's parrying of Joel's mate-in-one threats was "no fun". We agree!


The games all seem to be tight. For a change, it appears like New Jersey has time advantage on three of the four boards, which is unusual


Joel Benjamin is throwing around another mate-in-one threat.


The ubiquitous back up alarm is going off again! Ah, it stopped.


On Board 2, Carolina's Zaikov is trying to emulate a Fischer Random setup, but putting all his pieces on the first rank.


Joel's Ng5 throws out the mate in one threat. Maybe Milman will do a Kramnik and not see it?


Joel Benjamin will be commentating on the Internet Chess Club on the World Chess Championship, which starts tomorrow. The game tonight serves as a good warmup for it!


On Board 2, Mac Molner has some wide open a- and b-files. I expect that's where his attack will begin on the defenseless Cobra.


Joel is pacing the room like an expectant father, or so he said earlier. Indeed, both Evan Ju and Victor Shen are Joel's students.


On Board 1, Joel is trying his best to get in time trouble again. A fifteen minute think on move 13 for the little pawn push a2-a3. Certainly, there is deep meaning in the pawn push -- don't get me wrong -- but the pawn taking 15 minutes to go 2.25" means it was moving at 0.000142 miles per hour.


The room, once again, is cold, but not as bad as it has been before. The air conditioner is actually on today, because of the near 80 degree temperatures today in New Jersey.


We've not been known to have a plethora of fans show up to the site, but today we have a local Expert who's walking around the room taking in the games. All NJ fans are welcome to join the action here at the Chapel Hill Academy.


The webcam is a big hit among the fans, but it seems that Boston is dispensing with their webcam because it makes the players too uncomfortable. I find that really interesting, as players are used to being watched all the time at tournaments, and the webcam subscriptions (number of watchers) is usually so low.


On Board 4, Craig Jones of Carolina has pulled out a pure English against fourth board and second year Knockout Victor Shen. Both have spent about 10 minutes and are on the 9th move.


On Board 3, 2007 US Cadet Champion Evan Ju has pulled out a Ruy Lopez against FM Ron Simpson. On move 8, Evan is down on the clock nine minutes or so, and has just played Be3.


On Board 2, Mac Molner, true to his reputation, has essayed a Benko Gambit against FM Zaikov. Playing quickly and confidently, Mac has gained a minutes and a half on the clock already on move 12.


Joel Benjamin, first board and captain of of the NJ Knockouts, has an interesting Closed Sicilian against IM Lev Milman. Milman has played all seven games for the Cobras and has done well.


Hard to get the webcam aligned just right. Evan Ju is being cut out a bit from it.


Welcome to week 8 of the Knockouts' (presumably) championship season! We're live at the Chapel Hill Academy in Lincoln Park, NJ, to watch the Knockouts take on the second place Carolina Cobras!

Knocking out the Cobras


Join the NJ Knockouts group on Facebook!


Read a profile of Benjamin and Gulko at 201 Magazine.


Tonight, we're hoping for real time blogging and the webcam again, as the Knockouts take on the Carolina Cobras in a battle for second place in the Eastern division.

Monday, October 6, 2008

NJ vs Queens! Live blogging and webcam!

Knockouts versus Pioneers, LIVE!

Tonight, we had a live webcam!

The Knockouts and the Pioneers tied 2-2. Next week is the Carolina Cobras, in the battle for 2nd place in the Eastern division!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Joel Writes About Midseason

Click here for a great, detailed article about the New Jersey Knockouts at midseason. Don't miss it!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Knockouts draw Kingfishers

Click here to read an article on the USCL (sponsored by PokerStars) at

The battle of the Knockouts and the Kingfishers was drawn last night. The Knockouts are now 4-2, and firmly in second place in the Eastern Division. Division leader Queens lost last night, and are now 5-1. The Carolina Cobras pushed up to third place in the East with their win over Queens.

The first game to finish was Board 3, where Mac Molner unloaded two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, and a sesame seed bun against FM Ray Kaufman's kingside. A nice combination finished the same, which can be found here.

On Board 1, GM Joel Benjamin lost to GM Sergey "I Win Every 2008 Event That I Play In" Erenburg. Benjamin played the Panov-Botvinnik attack against Erenburg's Caro-Kann, and lost in 58 moves, as Erenburg's b-pawn was about to give birth. The game is here.

About the same time, on Board 4, the Knockouts Victor Shen had to give up his black bishop to stop Aaron's Kahn's white pawn from queening in a 68-move Trompowsky. The material advantage was just too much. The game is here.

So, at that point, the Kingfishers were up 2-1. The only hope was for IM Dean Ippolito on Board 2 to pull out a win. But, like a knight on the rim, his prospects for a victory, or even a draw, were dim (or grim, depending on your preferred cliche).

However, the tables turned, and after a series of exchanges, Ippolito was up a passed h-pawn, with his king nearby. Far be it for me to try and judge whether it was objectively won or drawn for Dean, but Dean didn't falter, and pulled out the victory. The game is here.

Dean's great success has propelled him to fourth in the USCL MVP standings.

Next match is huge for the Knockouts. It is against division leading Queens and it is this Monday night, October 6 at 7:15pm at the Internet Chess Club. A win for the Knockouts will put them tied for the division lead.